The best (and worst) exercises for losing weight

Alice Sholl
Contributor
Some are more worth the time invested than others [Photo: Pexels]

It’s hard to lose weight.

However many low-fat yoghurts we buy (oh wait, they’re actually fattening), fry ups we avoid (well that was pointless) or crash diets we begin (just don’t), it’s tricky doing it right, however much motivation we have.

Yes, it’s important to eat the right diet, but staying active is also key to losing weight or maintaining a healthy one.

And some exercises are more effective than others. Here are the best forms of exercise to add to your workout routine, and the ones that you might want to save for the weekend.

Remember though: Don’t give up an exercise you love just because it’s not the ultimate weight loss activity.

Enjoy the other health benefits it brings and remember that you’re still lapping people on the sofa.

Most effective: Weight training

Go to classes if solo exercise isn’t your thing [Photo: Pexels]

Resistance training has an affect on our basal metabolic rate, so could help us lose weight long term.

“A single bout of resistance exercise can lead to a sustained increase in BMR that persists for up to 48 hours after exercise,”  Matthew Haines, who lectures in Health and Wellbeing at Huddersfield University, told The Conversation.

“Furthermore, increases in BMR have been observed after ten weeks of resistance training compared to endurance training and this may assist with weight control in the long term.”

Most effective: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT is one of the hardest, but most effective [Photo: Pexels]

Although HIIT is a real tough one to do, it sounds like the “no pain no gain” mantra is relevant here.

“It is considered to be more time-efficient and research shows this type of exercise can bring about rapid beneficial changes in metabolic function and even reductions in body fat,” said Haines.

Most effective: Kickboxing

May as well look badass as you exercise too [Photo: Pexels]

Wendy Larkin, a personal training manager at Crunch’s Polk Street gym in San Francisco, told Cosmo that you’ll use more calories if you pick a cardio routine that engages multiple muscles simultaneously.

These include spinning, cardio kickboxing and boot camp workouts.

Less effective: Yoga

Yoga has loads of other benefits, though [Photo: Pexels]

Personal trainer John Rowley told PopSugar that yoga “has a lot of benefits, but losing weight is not one of them”.

Apparently, to shed the pounds, “you want to work as much of your body as possible to lose weight and to stimulate your metabolism”, which yoga doesn’t really involve.

Less effective: Running

At least it’s an excuse to get outdoors [Photo: Pexels]

This is a particularly bitter pill to swallow for regular joggers.

Exercise physiology and nutrition expert Rachele Pojednic, PhD,  told Self  that exclusively running in order to shed weight won’t do it alone – it should be complimented by other forms of exercise.

“Relying on running alone isn’t the best way to lose weight because it burns relatively few calories for the time invested,” she said.

Less effective: Crossfit

Above all else, don’t injure yourself [Photo: Pexels]

Crossfit may be super popular, but it’s actually too intense for a lot of people looking to achieve moderate weight loss.

“If your goal is to lose weight and improve health, CrossFit is the number one exercise you should avoid,”  Dr Luiza Petre, cardiologist and weight management specialist, told Rodale Fitness. “It’s too intense for many people, and often includes high-risk activities.”

“If you’re a fit, active, and athletic individual, CrossFit might be the best workout for you, but if your body is not already in top shape, don’t unnecessarily risk injury,” she added.

“You’re likely to lose more weight if you combine a healthy diet with a moderate exercise program that’s more sustainable.”

Whichever exercise you choose, remember to keep up the ones you actually enjoy (whether they help you lose weight or not) and don’t push yourself so hard that you’re in serious pain.

After all, you won’t be able to work out if you’re injured.

Now that you’ve got the exercise part covered, here’s how to adjust your diet for weight loss according to actual doctors.


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