The Best Exercises for Weight Loss

What are the best exercises for weight loss?  This is a question that nearly anyone embarking upon a weight loss journey asks.  After all, you don't want to be wasting your time on a less effective exercise and thus achieving less results!

As a fitness professional, I am asked this question regularly and I always provide the same answer.  Here's the thing - there are no "best exercises for weight loss".  Hopefully that isn't too much of an anti-climax to this post, but it is the reality of the situation.  But please read on, I may be able to enlighten you with an alternative mind set when it comes to losing weight.

Let's take a step back from "the best exercises for weight loss".  You need to understand that weight loss is not quite as simple as exercising.  Weight loss is going to be a result of a calorie deficit.  You need to consume less calories (through food) than what you expend (through exercise, bodily functions, general movement etc.).  So whenever you approach weight loss, it is vital that you consider it as a lifestyle approach, including BOTH exercise and nutrition, rather than isolating one or the other.

Now let's reconsider exercise.  Exercise is a great way to increase your calorie expenditure.  The more calories you expel from your daily activities, the more likely you are to create a calorie deficit and thus lose weight.

I did mention that there is no specific exercise that is better than all others to assist in weight loss.  It really boils down to your overall approach to exercise.  You need to consider three particular forms of exercise to increase your daily output of calories:

  • Resistance Exercise (Or weight training, which expends calories, aids in muscle growth which can further assist in calorie expenditure)
  • Cardiovascular Exercise (Or cardio training, which expends calories and assists in various physiological and metabolic processes for weight loss)
  • Incidental Exercise (Which is all the non-prescribed "movement" that you perform outside of your exercise regime.  For example walking up stairs, walking around the block, leisure activities etc.)

Looking more specifically at exercises, it depends upon your particular goals, medical, exercise history, lifestyle etc.  Here's an example why with two different people who want to lose weight:

Fred has a knee injury.  He wants to lose 20kg of weight and can only exercise 3 times a week.

So Fred would want to avoid any impact work (eg. running, jumping etc.) and stick with the bike, recumbent bike or even the cross trainer.  The initiation of a specific weight training regime can assist in strengthening up his knee joint, and also accelerating his weight loss progress.  Because he can only exercise three times a week, it would make most sense for him to combine his weight and cardio training into the single workout.

Judy wants to lose 5kg, tone up and build her strength.  She has been exercising regularly by running outdoors and training with weights for 3 years.  She wants to join a gym and can exercise 6 times per week.  She is very dedicated.  Judy also hates the exercise bikes at the gym because the seat is so uncomfortable!

In this instance, we would be looking at putting Judy onto a more comprehensive resistance training regime.  Her cardio workouts could include anything but the bike.  After all, why perform exercise on a cardio machine if you don't like it?  Considering that she is an experienced trainer, we would look at a higher intensity program which separates the cardio and weight training sessions.  An example could be a three day weight training program and a 3 day cardio program.

So as you can see, the best exercises to lose weight will vary from person to person.  I could go on and on why the "best exercises" for one person would be completely different to that of another.  What I would recommend is considering obtaining some professional services to get you headed in the right direction.  Follow this link for information on our online personal training.

Also, I recommend that you have a read of a general article that was published on the web site, entitled "How to Lose Weight". 

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