Getting the weight-loss results you want means burning more calories than you consume. Doing intense workouts regularly will not only help you lose weight, but it will also build your strength and raise your fitness level so you keep the weight off. Good intensive workouts for weight loss include high-intensity interval training, weight training and circuit training.
High-Intensity Interval Training
Intensity, rather than endurance or duration, can lead to faster weight loss. High-intensity interval training is doing intervals of a vigorous cardio exercise, like running, swimming, hiking, cycling or spinning, at between 80 and 95 percent of your maximum effort. The faster your speed and higher your intensity, the shorter your high-speed interval needs to be. Recovery intervals should be the same length as or longer than your high-speed intervals.
Weight Training and Bodybuilding
Regularly doing exercises that build your body's biggest muscles -- the abs, glutes, butt and thighs -- will help you burn calories quickly. Lunges and squats engage all of your thigh and butt muscles. Use a barbell or dumbbells to increase the intensity of your lunges and squats. Weight training itself burns calories, and the more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn every day even in your sleep. To build up your glutes, do jumps and squats and run uphill or on the treadmill at an incline. Do crunches for your abs and the plank for your abs, thigh, glutes and butt.
Circuit Training Workouts
Circuit training is a type of high-intensity workout in which you do many repetitions of all different types of cardio and muscle-toning exercises. Circuit training works all of your muscles, and you switch to exercises that work different muscles to allow time for recovery. It's also a cardiovascular workout because your heart pumps hard to deliver blood all over your body as you race from station to station. Circuit training is especially good for people trying to lose weight who get bored running or weight training for long periods at a time. At the gym, pick eight to 10 workout stations for your circuit before you begin. Include strength training for your upper body, legs, butt and abs. Before you start, decide how long you'll work out at each station, which could be anywhere between one and five minutes. Monitor your time with a stopwatch.
Low-Impact Intense Workouts
No matter how fit you are, you may have joints that can't tolerate high-impact sprinting and jumping. You can do equally intense workouts that won't put stress on your joints. At the gym, use the elliptical machine or the spin bike. Otherwise, hit the swimming pool and do high-intensity interval training with your swimming laps. If you haven't worked out in a long time, begin with one or two workouts per week, then increase to four workouts per week as your body gains strength. Have no more than one or two of those workouts be high-intensity interval workouts to avoid injury and overexertion.
Safety and Recovery
Eat well when you're doing intensive workouts to lose weight. Get the fuel you need from fresh vegetables and fruits, lean meats and whole grains. Drink plenty of water before and after you work out. Let your muscles rest 48 hours or more following each workout to allow for proper recovery. Stretch and massage sore muscles to help them recover faster.
Lindsay Haskell enjoys writing about fitness, health, culture and fashion. She is a contributor for "Let's Talk Magazine" and "The Wellesley News." Haskell is completing her B.A. in philosophy at Wellesley College. She's also a fiction writer whose work can be read online.