Survey the women at your gym, and it's highly likely a large number of them will have fat loss as their main goal. Everyone seems to want to burn some fat -- whether that means simply losing a few unwanted pounds, dropping a dress size or getting ripped. When you're starting out as a beginner, you need a fat-burning workout that gets results, but doesn't make you do too much too soon.
Most people turn to the treadmill, elliptical or rower when burning fat, and for good reason. Cardiovascular exercise is well known for burning calories and shifting pounds. Depending on your weight and the intensity of the exercise, stationary cycling can burn between 210 and 466 calories in half an hour, aerobics between 165 and 311 calories, and running from 240 to 555 calories. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of intense cardio every week as a minimum to get you started.
Interval cardio is slightly more advanced than steady state, but you can include it in your routine, even as a beginner. Interval training involves alternating short bursts of high-intensity work with longer periods at a lower intensity. Interval training boosts your metabolism and burns more calories than steady state, claims trainer Rachel Cosgrove, owner of Results Fitness in California. Start with 20 seconds of high-intensity work, followed by two minutes of lower-intensity work, for a total of 20 to 30 minutes. Use any gym machine or run outside for this.
Weight training is a slight curve ball and one you may not expect, but surprisingly, weight training burns fat too. Not only does the training itself burn calories, but your body has to work harder to repair the muscle damage from lifting, causing it to burn calories long after the session's finished. Beginners may fare better with resistance machines, but you should look to progress to free weights as soon as possible, as these are more functional to everyday life and use extra stabilizing muscles. Learn the basic moves such as squats, deadlifts, lunges, rows and presses with the help of a trainer.
Start with what you're comfortable with and gradually look to increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts. Aim to go for a bit longer on your cardio each session and add a little weight or perform more reps with your resistance training. Make sure your diet is on point too, as you need to consume fewer calories than you burn to lose fat. Some of this will come from your fat-burning workouts, but a calorie-controlled diet will speed up the process. Check with your health care provider before starting an exercise regimen.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.