You know you need to work out if you really want to lose weight. But your time is precious and you want that workout that will give you results the fastest. To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. The fastest way to burn calories is by doing cardio workouts and high-intensity training. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn daily, even when you're not working out. The largest muscle groups you have are your abs, thighs and butt. Working out these muscles regularly is another way to lose weight.
Lose Weight by Gaining Muscle
Your thighs and butt have some of the body's biggest muscles that burn the most fat when you work them out. Two exercises that engage all of your thigh and butt muscles are squats and lunges. Squats work the hamstrings, glutes and quad muscles. Add a weighted barbell or dumbbells to increase intensity. Lunges also target several of your large leg muscles and can be performed with a barbell on your shoulders behind your neck for additional muscle resistance. According to FitnessMagazine.com, regularly doing exercises that tone the butt will help you lose weight quickly, as the glutes are the body's biggest muscle group. To target the glutes, do exercises such as squats and jumps, and walk or run at an incline. Be sure to work out your abs as well. Classic crunches and the plank are two basic ab exercises that can help you lose weight. The plank not only strengthens your abs, but also your butt and thighs.
Cardiovascular workouts burn fat because they make you work your large muscle groups, including the thighs and butt. Moving at an incline works out your leg muscles more than moving on a flat surface. Some exercises you can do include running hills, running stairs, cycling and jumping rope. Running stairs and cycling target your quads, while running up hills and sprinting target your upper thighs, hips and hamstrings. Jumping rope targets your calves, hips and glutes. All of the above will not only help you burn fat because they engage large muscle groups, but also cause you to burn calories quickly by raising your heart rate.
High-Intensity Interval Training
Though endurance training, such as training for a marathon, is good cardio work, high-intensity interval training works your muscles more and burns more calories faster, helping you lose weight quickly. Do high-intensity intervals when you do cardio workouts; exercise vigorously and get your heart rate up for short periods and take short rest periods between intervals. Pick an aerobic activity, like running, cycling or swimming. Take five minutes to warm up by doing the activity at a slow, easy pace. Then begin doing high-intensity intervals with recovery intervals in between; do your aerobic activity as fast as you can for one minute, then take three minutes to recover by doing the activity at a normal speed. Repeat three more times. Take five minutes to cool down.
Circuit training is another type of workout really effective for weight loss. If you get bored on the treadmill for half an hour and you have access to a gym, circuit training is for you. When you go to the gym, choose between eight and 10 stations you'll use for your workout. Pick strength-training equipment that targets your upper body, lower body and core. Choose how long you plan to stay at each station and use a stopwatch to time yourself. You could be at each station for as short as 30 seconds or as long as four minutes depending on how much time and energy you have.
Safety and Recovery Considerations
Eat well and rest well when you're exercising to lose weight. Don't deprive yourself of your minimum requirement of calories. Get the energy you need for your workouts by eating fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. Cut out candy, desserts and junk food to reduce your calorie intake. Be warned, however, that slashing your calorie intake dramatically is neither healthy nor effective for losing weight. Muscle weighs more than fat, so as you build muscle and lose fat, you gain weight. Kick the scale and take your waist measurement once a week to track your progress accurately. Stay hydrated by drinking water before and after each workout. Let your muscles rest for at least two days after each workout so you don't overexert them and jeopardize your ability to work out later that week. Stretch and massage your muscles when they get sore to help them heal faster.
- TheDietChannel.com: Successful Weight Loss: Top 10 Tips On What Works and Why
- Ron Jones High Performance Health: Chair Squat
- Exercise.com: Tone Up Your Thighs
- BodyBuilding.com: 9 Ways To Burn Fat Fast
- Ab-core-and-stomach-exercises.com: Home Ab Exercises and Ab Workout No Ab Machines Necessary Means No Excuses!
- Shape.com: Hill Running Made Easy
- ACEFitness: High-Intensity Interval Training
- ACEFitness.com: Circuit Training
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.