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10 Best Weight Loss Exercises

So you gained some weight. Not a problem. Here’s how to shed the excess pounds and get back to your pre-kid fighting weight.

Your wife carried the baby, but somehow, you both ended up packing on extra pounds during pregnancy. Not until you became a dad did you appreciate the amount of sleep deprivation that goes on during this parenting thing. Not to mention that cooking yourself a well-prepared meal of hand-washed, neatly chopped, and lightly sautéed vegetables is like a scene out of someone else’s life right now. More like, if it comes in a can or a box and can be heated in five minutes or less, you’ll consume it.

So here’s the whole truth: The moves here can help stoke your metabolism to help you get back to your pre-baby weight, but you’re going to have to make a few sacrifices. You have to adhere to a sensible eating plan. That means curbing the mindless midnight munching on cookies while rocking your baby back to sleep and making sure at least half your dinner plate is covered with green stuff (you don’t have to cook them — raw veggies are better for you anyway).

You also need to make sleep a priority because plenty of research shows that too little or inconsistent shut-eye messes with your cells’ circadian rhythm, ultimately throwing your metabolism out of whack.

When it comes to exercise, focus on moves that raise your metabolic rate. You might think that just means running, running, and more running, but you’d be wrong: Research shows adding just three pounds of muscle to your frame through strength training can increase your metabolism by 7 percent.

Read on for the 10 moves that will help you lose weight faster.

Squats

Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Drop your seat toward the floor, keeping your back straight. Straighten back up. Do three sets of 10 reps.

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Pro Tip: Aim to get your quads parallel to the floor. Lower than that puts stress on your knees.

Jumping Jacks

Get your heart rate up with this classic gym class move. Go as hard as you can for one minute, followed by 60 seconds of rest, then another minute of JJs.

Pro Tip: To get your heart rate up, make sure you jack your arms over your head each time.

Planks

Lie facing the floor, then raise yourself into an extended push-ups position (arms and legs straight). Drop down onto your elbows, keeping your spine and legs straight. Hold for one minute.

Pro Tip: Prevent lower back strain by tightening your core muscles and “tucking” your butt slightly.

Jumping Rope

Hands down the best cardio bang-for-your-buck you can do in a small space, jumping rope raises your heart rate and maximizes calories burned per minute. If you’re a newbie, start with double-hops (bounce between each rope jump), then advance to single hops. Do 3 x 60 seconds.

Pro Tip: If you’re a total rope-jumping pro, try jumping with one leg for 30 seconds, then switching to the other side.

Lunges

Stand with feet together, arms by your sides. Step one leg forward into a deep lunge (keep your knee over your toes). Straighten as you swing the other leg through, landing in another deep lunge. Proceed in this fashion until you have completed 10 lunges on each leg. Rest a minute. Go again.

Pro Tip: For better balance, swing the opposite arm to leg forward and the other back as you take each step (imagine you are running in slo-mo).

Box Jumps

Find a bench, sturdy hard chair, or set of stairs that rise about two feet off the ground. Stand in front, bend your knees, then push through the ground as you leap onto the high surface with both feet.

Pro Tip: Think about tucking your knees to your chest as you jump. Explosive power builds muscle quickly and elevates your heart rate, the two keys to stoking your metabolism.

Biceps Curl

For this move, you’ll need an exercise band or long bungee cord. Attach one end of the band to a doorknob and hold the other end in one hand. Stand facing the door, arms at your side, at a distance where there is slight tension on the band. Turn your palm to face forward. Keeping your elbow at your side, bend your elbow and curl your forearm toward your chest. Do 3 sets of 10 curls. Switch sides.

Pro Tip: The further you stand from the door, the more tension there is on the band and the harder your muscles will work.

Running Stairs

Find yourself a nice flight of stairs (or two or three) and run up and down them for two minutes as fast as you can.

Pro Tip: To make it harder, do two steps at a time going up.

Standing Row

Attach one end of an exercise band or long bungee cord to a doorknob and hold the other end in one hand. Stand facing the door, arm stretched out in front of you at a distance where there is slight tension on the band. Turn your palm to face down. Bend your elbow and pull it back as far as you can, keeping your hand at chest level. Do 3 sets of 10, then repeat on the other side.

Pro Tip: Bend knees slightly and focus on keeping your torso still in order to maximize the work being done by your arms and chest muscles.

Bavarian Split Squats

Stand with your back to a sturdy chair or bench, about two feet away. Raise one foot and place it on top of the chair seat behind you. Bend your front knee into a shallow squat/lunge. Straighten back up. Do 3 sets of 10, switch legs.

Pro Tip: If you are struggling with balance or finding it hard to get deep into the squat, take another small step forward, away from the chair, and try again.