One of the keys to losing weight is to find a weight-loss program you enjoy so you’ll stick with it. Gyms offer so many opportunities to create workouts that you will likely be able to find several activities you enjoy enough to keep coming back. You won’t need to spend money on a workout class or personal training session to create a variety of calorie-burning workouts.
Types of Workouts
Depending on your goals, you can use different types of workouts to lose weight. You will work out differently if you are new to exercise, are already in good cardiovascular shape, or want to build muscle while you burn fat. Introductory, fat-burning workouts take place at a pace similar to brisk walking. Aerobic workouts have you moving fast enough to break a sweat, but able to talk during workouts. Sprint training burns the most calories but requires you to be in excellent shape. Strength workouts that burn calories add weights or resistance bands, but not at maximum resistance levels, so you can keep working and burning calories.
Regardless of what type of workout you do, start with a moderate intensity warm-up that raises your heart rate, stretches your muscles and coordinates your body’s circulatory and musculature systems. After you’re warmed up, perform the exercises you have chosen. Finish your workout by cooling down, reducing the intensity of your movements for several minutes as you lower your heart rate. Stretch your muscles after you are done to improve flexibility and prevent sore muscles later.
For most people, aerobic exercise is your best choice for weight loss. While sprint training burns more calories, you may tire too soon and have to stop your workout. If you’re just beginning an exercise program, start at the fat-burning level, working at a pace that allows you to continue for 30 minutes or more. Your goal is to build your stamina and endurance so you can eventually perform aerobic exercise. If you are ready for aerobic exercise, consider whether you need to limit your exercising to non- or low-impact workouts to prevent knee, hip and lower back pain. The American Heart Association suggests that you do 60 minutes or more of cardio exercise, three to five times during the week, for weight loss.
Performing the same exercises or workout each time can lead to boredom and adaptation by your body, which leads to a plateau in your benefits. Consider cross training, performing different exercises each workout. You might focus on cardio one session, using a treadmill, rowing machine, elliptical or exercise bike. The next visit, use free weights to create a circuit-training workout. For circuit training, use about 50 percent of your maximum intensity or resistance, do three to four exercises for 30 seconds each, or 10 to 15 reps of a lift, then take a two-minute break. Keep performing circuits for the duration of your workout. You can also combine resistance and cardio workouts, moving from weights to exercise machines during your session.