What is the best weight loss workout?

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Answered by: Emily, An Expert in the Weight Loss 101 Category
Weight loss is a desirable result of most workouts, but it is something that many people struggle with. A multitude of factors determine how quickly and effectively a person is able to lose weight including diet, genetics, and the type of workout performed. While each factor is equally integral in weight loss, physical activity is a great place to start. The best weight loss workout is going to be slightly different for every person depending on the amount of weight they desire to lose, how often they would like to workout, their diet, and much more.

When exercising for weight loss, you must understand the relationship between muscle, fat, and how each type of workout affects the muscle to fat ratio within your body. But first, it is important to decide whether you are exercising for fat loss or weight loss, because this will determine the best workout method for you to shed your unwanted pounds. Weight loss means that you are loosing both muscle and fat, whereas fat loss based workouts are targeting fat specifically.

Cardio workouts like running, cycling, or swimming are great for overall weight loss. During a cardio workout your body is not building muscle, therefore it is burning muscle and fat at the same time. These type of workouts are great for leaning out if you feel like you have gotten too bulky in your musculature, or if you have a substantial amount of weight to lose.

Most people who say they want to lose weight actually mean that they want to lose fat. Strength training and resistance training have been proven as the most effective ways to lose fat in a quick yet healthy manner. These techniques build muscle strength and size. It is important to note that the more muscle you have in your body, the more calories you burn over the course of a day. An increase in muscle mass is directly correlated to an increase in your resting metabolic rate- meaning that a body with more muscle burns more calories while at rest. And yes, that means that even after you workout, your body continues to burn calories.

If you are exercising to lose fat, strength training is most likely the best workout option for you. Lifting weights, body weight exercises, and resistance band routines are all great ways to build muscle and burn fat. If you prefer fitness classes or preset routines, Crossfit, TRX, or personal training classes might be for you. These all utilize strength training and aim to build muscle and burn fat.

One of the biggest misconceptions in weight loss is that you can decide where to lose weight from. Workouts that claim to target fat loss in one section of your body will not do so- fat is burned evenly across the body, making it key to focus on overall fat loss rather than one particular area. For example, crunches will not specifically burn belly fat. They will build and define muscles in your abdominal wall, which will in turn help to burn fat across your body, but they will not reduce fat in that specific area any faster than bicep curls would. This means that full body workouts and weight lifting movements such as squats, dead lifts, power cleans, push ups, pull ups, or planks (all of which work large muscle groups or the whole body) are the most effective in burning fat and losing weight.

When determining the best weight loss workout for you, you must first determine whether you are targeting fat loss specifically or just weight loss in general. Then, choose strength training or cardio. Finally, find a regularly scheduled class or routine that works for your schedule. Start slowly and listen to your body. Notice which methods work better for you, because everyone is different!

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