Since following a nutritious, well-balanced diet reportedly accounts for 80 percent of your weight loss, it's important that you carefully curate a workout routine—in accordance with your meal plan and fitness requirements—to make the most of the remaining 20 percent. Besides, regular exercise paves the way for a healthy, happy you, serving a multitude of physical and mental health benefits.
While a professional fitness trainer can guide you towards the ideal weight loss path, if you're one of those who's planning to take on the responsibility yourself, there are a few things you should bear in mind. From plyometrics and circuit training to battle rope exercises and boxing, scroll to know the most effective exercises that will help you burn more calories and achieve your best body yet.
Running is one of the simplest, yet best ways to burn more calories. And, if you don't own a treadmill, you needn't worry. Lace up your shoes and hit the road! Running in intervals—speeding up and slowing down your pace—will help make the minutes and miles go by quickly. Run in fartleks, a Swedish term that means 'speed play', where you pick up the pace after every other street lamp or water hydrant you hit, and then slow down after you pass the next one.
"Try to vary the speed within a workout, with bursts of intensity followed by mixing up the kind of running you do. Whether it's slow and steady, or hard with intervals, variety is key. Sprinting helps engage the core and offers multiple shorter duration of runs at a higher intensity," explains Deanne Panday.
The Fartlek sprinting routine: Start out with a 5-minute jog. Next, alternate between 10-second sprint intervals and 50-second moderately-paced jogs. Use the jog to catch your breath, then hit the next sprint hard. Perform these intervals for 15 minutes, and end with a 5-minute jog. When you start feeling stronger and more confident in your runs, try upping the sprint effort to 20 seconds with 40 seconds of jogging.
2) Jumping Rope and Battle Ropes
This calorie-busting workout can help you burn up to 318 calories (for a 140-pound woman) every 30 minutes—with your heart not being the sole muscle that's working hard. Jumping rope is a full-body workout that fires up your quads and glutes to help you explode from the ground, and engages your core to keep you upright and stable as you land back down. Plus, it involves arm and shoulder action, as they remain tight while the rope movement is exerted by the wrists. Jumping rope is the ideal at-home route to burn calories while improving cardiovascular health, all-over-toning, and coordination. Besides, it will help build power while lowering your risk of injury.
3) Strength Training—Battle Ropes
The more muscle you possess, the lesser your fat-content, since your metabolism runs higher. Furthering the cycle, a higher metabolism leads to more calories burned and greater weight loss. "Strength training also helps prevent osteoporosis—a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both—and also works on force production to maintain shoulder, hip, and spine strength, which enables your whole body to perform a wide range of strenuous exercises," informs Deanne.
Battle rope exercises are one of the best ways to achieve full-body strength training, coupled with a cardio workout. Working at a high intensity, battle ropes will increase your heart rate in seconds, lending a burn to your lungs and muscles, in the best way possible.
4) High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT is, by far, one of the most effective ways to burn calories and spike up your metabolic functioning. "Since some HIIT workouts only last for 10 minutes, it's imperative that you push your body to its limits, expending all your energy during that time," she adds. Research indicates that HIIT workouts can help specifically burn belly fat—the kind of unhealthy weight that puts you at risk for heart diseases and other health ailments.
Whether it's on an actual bike or a stationary one, spinning is another very effective way to burn excess calories and build endurance. According to Deanne, it is a great weight-loss activity that is relatively low impact and targets the biggest, strongest muscles in your body. When you engage your biggest muscles, you set off hormones to produce more muscles, similar to strength training, which helps burn fat across your entire body. "Whether you're engaging in a heavy climb in the first position or sprinting in the second, your core is the key to spinning efficiently and quickly," she explains.
Rowing serves to be a great fat-burning alternative to running, as it lends minimal strain on your back, knees, or ankles. Working on your quads, glutes, hamstring, arms, and back, it offers a full-body workout, with beneficial results. However, were you aware that the power for rowing is primarily derived from your legs, not your arms. Engaging your quads and glutes, you drive your legs back to pull the handle toward your chest, making it a calorie-burning, weight loss move.
Swimming combines cardio with strength training in one low-impact workout. In addition, water adds an element of resistance and you recruit more muscles to move efficiently and use your oxygen wisely. Engaging in water-based workouts help you burn more calories than on land, because your body's natural temperature is 98.6 degrees—it fights to keep itself warm in water by burning fat. Plus, you're also using your legs, arms, and core to help you stay afloat, making swimming a full-body exercise for building strength and endurance.
Also referred to as jump training or plyos, these include a wide range of exercises in which the muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal to increase power. The increased muscle strength allows you to run faster, jump higher, and change direction more quickly. Plyometrics also improve performance in any sport that involves running, jumping, or kicking. In short, all these benefits, combined, allow your muscles to work more smoothly and efficiently.
9) Circuit Training
Circuit training involves a combination of endurance training, resistance training, and high intensity exercises performed in a circuit. Typically, six or more exercises are performed for either a set number of repetitions or a specific amount of time, with short rest periods between each one. After a short break, you repeat the circuit once again. Deanne says, "Combining exercises within a circuit format can ensure that you target most muscle groups. This increases your body’s demand for oxygen, which in turn increases energy expenditure and contributes to greater fat loss.
Boxing-inspired workouts are among the most effective, owing to the fact that they help build muscle and burn fat at the same time. High intensity drills bring the calorie-burning effects of HIIT training, while bag work builds full-body muscle, as it engages your entire upper and lower body. Basically, boxing is a high-impact workout that can result in increased fat loss.