The key to steady weight loss -- burning body fat and keeping it off -- is filling your workout with a mixture of intense cardio and muscle-building strength moves. By replacing fat with lean muscle, you'll boost your resting metabolism, causing your body to burn fat even when you're not exercising. For maximum weight loss, replace junk food with healthier fair and aim for a lively, total-body routine.
According to Mayoclinic.com, warming up before exercising has the potential to enhance your workout and reduce injury. Whether your idea of warming up is a fast walk, a jog or quick swim around the pool, you'll want to safely, and gradually, raise your heart rate and warm up your muscles. Try five minutes of jump roping or dynamic strength-based moves, like forward lunges or arm circles, suggests the founder and CEO of Peak Performance, Joe Dodwell. By the end of your five- to 10-minute warm-up, your body should be ready for exercise.
Burn fat by combining active movements, such as kicks, squats and jump lunges, for an intense cardio workout. Some routines, such as the one from Steven Bogg, trainer and national spokesperson for Bally Total Fitness in New York City, burn 130 calories in only 15 minutes. Incorporate one of Boggs' fat-burning moves, the sumo kick, into your routine by spreading your legs to hip-width apart. Bend your elbows, placing your balled-up fists at chest height. With your right foot, take a large step out the right and dip down into a wide squat. Come up and repeat on the opposite side. Continue until you feel the burn in your abs, glutes and quads.
For sustained weight loss and a lean, sculpted body, select exercises that tone the lower and upper body. Then alternate between these exercises. Incorporate sissy squats and dead lifts, hamstring curls and lunges into your routine to build up the lower body. Grab a pair of dumbbells for some lifts, presses or an upright row. Start with a light dumbbell, working your way to a heavier weight until you feel tightness in your delts and traps by the 12th repetition. Start by standing with your legs spread to shoulder-width apart. Take a dumbbell in each hand, holding them near your hips. Keep your palms facing toward your hips. Pull your elbows up, stopping at shoulder height. Hold this position for three seconds before lowering. Repeat until you feel fatigue in the delts and traps.
Considerations and Cool-Down
Check with your physician before starting a new routine. If you have a chronic health condition or are new to exercise, make sure to get your doctor's permission before hitting the gym.
Remember to cool down after your workout, regardless of whether you’re focused on cardio or strength. The Mayoclinic.com suggests a five- to 10-minute walk, jog or swim. Alternate your strength and cardio routines, aiming to do a strength routine at least twice a week. Allow one day for rest and recuperation from all forms of exercise.
Having studied at two top Midwestern universities, Catherine Field holds degrees in professional writing and patient safety. Writing since 2000, Field has worked with regional newspapers while publishing fiction online. She conducts medical communication research at a Midwestern medical institution and is slated to write a book based on her research findings.