Before we get into the best workouts for fat loss and burning calories, let’s make something clear. First, there are a huge number of reasons to work out that have absolutely nothing to do with losing weight. From mental health benefits to better sleep to boosted immunity, regular exercise is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise doesn’t have to be about losing weight, and for a huge number of people, it isn’t.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk about the specific workouts.
Working out every day is great, but if you’re repeating the same workout, you may not be getting all of the benefits – or results – you could be!
The Truth: To continue to challenge your body and improve your strength and conditioning, you need to switch up your day-to-day workouts — and try something new each month.
If you really want to start seeing those pounds melt away, try these high-intensity workouts on for size:
Short for “high-intensity interval training”, HIIT involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise like sprints or squat jumps followed by a longer, low-intensity phase that White refers to as “active recovery.”
HIIT still remains the number one training method experts turn to again and again for weight loss. It’s any form of exercise where your heart rate spikes and then comes down repeatedly. This type of training keeps your heart rate elevated, which in turn keeps your metabolism humming. When that’s happening, you burn more calories.
One of the many styles of interval training is indoor cycling, though this workout leans heavily toward cardio over strength training. Cycling requires you to use various muscles in your body—quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core, for starters—which once again translates to weight loss. The more muscles you have to incorporate, the more calories you’re going to burn because those muscles all require energy in order to work. And the more energy you use, the higher those calorie-burning numbers climb. It’s all a cycle.
If your biggest excuse for skipping a workout is being crunched for time, Tabata is your dream come true. It’s designed to be four minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that consists of 20 seconds of all-out effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times.Tabata can be performed one to three times per week depending on your current fitness levels. It shouldn’t be the only type of workout you do, or the workout you do every day, but throwing it in at least once a week is a great way to torch calories and confuse the body from whatever routine it’s used to.
3. STAIR STEPPER
Stair steppers are an effective aid to cardiovascular fitness. They simulate the motion of climbing flights of stairs, which is a vigorous activity that works the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles. The constant movement provides an aerobic workout that gets your heart and lungs pumping. A 30-minute stair stepper workout burns from 180 to 266 calories, depending on your weight. The best stepper workout will get your heart rate to 70 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate.
4. INTENSE CYCLING
Pedaling away on a cardio machine isn’t the same as flying over hills in the fresh air. Don’t fret. You can get in-and-out of the gym and still have the same benefits of your long rides by saddling up for bouts on high intensity interval training (HIIT) on a stationary cycle.
The high-intensity cardio sessions will burn fat and have you dripping in sweat. While prices may be a bit steep, it pays to get in on a class because it’s much more difficult to get the same results by hopping on the stationary bike solo. When engaged in a class you are less prone to quitting, Instructors tend to motivate people to work at higher intensities, leading to an increase in calories burned.
THE ROWING MACHINE—AKA the “erg”—is one of the most effective pieces of fitness equipment for burning fat and improving conditioning.
A great non-weight-bearing exercise machine, a rowing machine uses both your upper- and lower-body muscles to increase cardiovascular conditioning. Since you’re using your entire body, targeted muscle soreness is unlikely—you’ll more likely feel the soreness all over as you train your cardio ability and burn fat quickly.
If you want to trim, tone and strengthen your core and midsection, this 15-minute workout will give you all that you need. Perfect for anyone who wants to see awesome results on a tight schedule, this workout delivers incredible core strength, fast. Each exercise can be modified and progressed to accommodate any fitness level, so there is no need to be intimidated – jump right in!
Perform each exercise for 60 seconds with 30 seconds rest in between each exercise. When you are finished with all five exercises, repeat the entire sequence, for a perfect 15-minute workout. It’s super-effective, it offers hundreds of exercise options, and because the gear is portable, you can do it anywhere.
Break out your racket! Whipping that ball around will actually whip you into pretty good shape. When it comes to staying on track with your workouts, it’s all about variety, and a game of tennis with a friend can help you break out of workout monotony. Play singles rather than doubles to ramp up the fat burn even more.
What You’ll Get: A 160-pound person can burn 580 calories in a one-hour game of tennis — that’s much more than a one-hour elliptical session, which will burn around 365 calories. What’s more, tennis involves a lot of short, intense sprints on the court, which not only kick up the fat burn, but also improve your agility and coordination.
Boxing is the cream of the crop, when it comes to a total body workout and burning calories. It requires strength, power and endurance. When you throw a hook, it takes serious power and strength. To sustain a punching combination — for example, jab, hook, uppercut — requires stamina for a period of time, resulting in a great cardio endurance workout.
What it comes down to is, in order to maintain all of that activity, you have to be burning a lot of calories. Don’t be intimidated by boxing — classes can accommodate all levels. You don’t have to be Rocky to get a rock-hard body with this workout; your best one-two combination at any level of fitness will fire up your fat burn.