The Best Exercises for Weight Loss

When it comes to exercise for weight loss, strength comes before cardio — to a point.

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Here’s some good news for anyone looking to shed a few pounds: You don’t have to run ten miles a day to lose weight. In fact, studies suggest running ten miles a day is inferior to shorter sprints and other so-called High-Intensity Interval (HIIT) workouts.

Research from the University of Western Ontario compared short and intense exercise to less-intense endurance cardio. One group of participants performed four to six 30-second all-out sprints, while the other group ran for 30 to 60 minutes at a brisk, but comfortable pace. Participants who sprinted burned more than twice as much body fat as distance runners. This is far from the only study to conclude that weight training and sprinting are more effective than running, especially when it comes to targeting belly fat. HIIT workouts and weight-lifting exercises also allow your body to burn more calories throughout the day. One study found that you could burn up to 800 more calories throughout the day, after a tough weight-training session.

So instead of focusing on slogging it out with some cardio, try pushing your cardiovascular system with high-intensity activity and building fat-busting muscle with strength building workouts. Incorporate exercises like pull-ups, push-ups, and squat jumps. That, along with a balanced diet, will ensure that the number on the scale never tips above what’s healthy for you. But don’t worry about trying to write out your own workout—we’ve got that covered. Here’s an easy regimen that you can try at home.

Warm-Up – 6 minutes 

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Heel kicks
  • High Knees
  • Squat Jacks
  • 30 seconds each, repeat x3

Arms

  • Pull-ups
  • Dips
  • Push-ups
  • 10 reps, repeat x5
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Abs

  • Planks, 3x 1 minute 15 second rest
  • Supine bicycles, 30 reps x2
  • Crunches, 30 reps x2

Legs

  • Squat-Thrusts, 10 reps x5
  • Squat jumps, 10 reps x5
  • Box jumps, 10 reps x5
  • Bodyweight squats or weighted barbell squats, 10 reps x5

Cardio (yes, you have to do a little bit)

  • 20 minutes on treadmill or stair-machine or run outside

Cool down

  • Stretch