Apparently, one of the most searched-for fitness inquiries on the internet is ‘the best exercise for weight loss.’ It makes sense. People want to know what is the most effective thing they can work at to achieve their weight loss goals. What a difficult question! Unfortunately, the answer is not that easy.
The best way to tackle this is to understand your goals. For some people, they want to look smaller. Or maybe it’s that someone wants to look firmer. Maybe you want to look better in certain areas, or lose fat to expose the muscles you have. That’s not just “losing weight”—you could get sick and drop pounds, but that’s not the same as getting fitter. Most likely your goals include a combination of losing fat and building muscle.
So let’s talk about how to lose fat and gain muscle!
The Best Exercise for “Weight Loss”
High intensity interval training (lovingly referred to as HIIT) is a type of exercise that involves intense periods of cardio with short breaks in between. For example, you might rotate through three or four exercises for 30 seconds or 60 seconds with 10 seconds of break in between. You’ll use a combination of movements that greatly increase your heart rate to reach a cardio level, but you may also be using bodyweight movements that are building strength, too. HIIT is considered the closest answer (for some people) to the question of which exercise is “best” because it incorporates lots of different types of movements and burns a lot of calories compared to longer periods of steady-state cardio.
Some people argue that strength training is the best way to “lose weight” because you build muscle, which burns calories. At rest, a body with more muscle burns more calories than a body of the same weight with less muscle. Some experts, then, point to the long term benefits of muscle building both for looking great now and for continuing to burn calories when you are not working out, reducing fat. Free weights are a great way to strength train, but you also might find other types of resistance or weight machine workouts helpful.
Not a lot of people seem to list cardio workouts as the best way to lose fat and gain muscle, but it can be a helpful part of a good workout plan for someone whose goal is to lose weight. For a lot of people—especially beginners—the benefits of cardio at a pace that keeps your heart rate up but doesn’t overwhelm you can be a great way to burn calories and increase your endurance. Most trainers agree that cardio alone is not a very effective plan, but it has its place.
So where does the answer lie for you? What is your goal?
For most people, it will be combining a few types of exercise into a workout plan that keeps them exercising on a schedule, taking rest days in between, and trying varying levels of intensity. Of course, there is the old adage that the best type of exercise for you is the one you’ll actually do. If you hate HIIT, it doesn’t do you any good to tell you that it’s the best. You want to enjoy what you’re doing!
Do you have a fitness goal that you need help reaching? Work with an expert! Personal trainers are the best-qualified people to set up exercise plans, show you how to safely perform the movements, and assess your starting point as well as your results. Never underestimate the power of having a helpful fitness pro in your corner with you!
Stop by to talk to one of our trainers! We have excellent personal trainers who can give you the support and guidance you need.