The key to effective weight loss is a workout of calorie-busting cardio and strength-training balanced with a healthy diet. The best weight-loss program for you will always be the one that you enjoy; if your interest dwindles, so will your results. Consider a variety of the top weight-loss exercises to decide what is best for your lifestyle, fitness level and time commitments.
Top Cardio Exercises at the Gym: Elliptical, Step Treadmill, Stationary Bike
Three of the best calorie-burning cardio machines at the gym are the elliptical, step treadmill and stationary bike. The elliptical mimics running similarly to the treadmill but has the benefit of lessened impact with footpads that rise and lower with your stride. The step treadmill is an effective calorie-burning machine that can be placed at a high intensity for increased burn as you step. Stationary bikes can also be an excellent workout with the added benefits of being no-impact on your joints as your entire weight is supported. According to HealthStats, one hour on these machines burns substantial calories; a 130-pound woman can burn 670 calories on the elliptical, 460 calories on the step machine or 650 calories on the stationary bike.
Top Studio Classes for Weight Loss: Bikram Yoga, Step Aerobics, Kickboxing
Studio classes at the gym can be an excellent workout with the benefit of keeping you motivated as you work side-by-side with others. Bikram yoga is an intense yoga class in a room heated to 109 degrees. The class allows for deep stretching and can burn up to 480 calories in an hourlong class. Step aerobics is a vibrant dance-aerobic class that can burn up to 624 calories in an hour. Kickboxing is an intense workout that similarly burns 619 calories in an hour.
Top Calorie-Busting Workouts at Home
Three highly effective workouts that can be done from home include jumping jacks and walking lunges, running and cycling. Jumping jacks and walking lunges get your heart pumping with the fast-paced movement and deep lunges working your legs. Running can be done easily from nearly anywhere, as all it requires is a decent pair of running shoes. Cycling has the plus of being able to replace a daily commute to work or errands while being an excellent workout.
Strength Training to Burn Calories: Weight Machine Routine
Pair your cardio with a weight-training routine to build muscle. Work out the major muscle groups including the legs, glutes, abs, back and arms. A 20-minute routine several times a week including the leg curl, leg extension, leg press, back extension, crunch machine, biceps curl and triceps extension can substantially increase muscle mass over time. Having a greater amount of muscle mass assists weight loss since muscle tissue burns more calories than fat during day-to-day activities.
Safety and Tips
As with any new workout, listen to your body's stress signals and take it slowly, upping your workout only as you acclimate comfortably. If you are using weights, start low and move up until the final repetition is challenging but possible. If you have substantial weight to lose or health concerns, speak to your doctor before starting this new routine.
Grace Bordelon is a public relations professional, teacher and writer. She owns her own boutique public relations firm that specializes in the advertising, gaming and software industries. She also teaches at a major design school for fine artists, commercial artists and graphic designers. Bordelon holds a B.A. in international economics and an M.A. in English from Bard College.