Losing weight isn’t the same for everyone. Depending on your fitness level, age, lifestyle, and medical history, it may seem to take you longer to reach your goals than it does for other people. For instance, there’s a general stereotype that women tend to lose weight more slowly than men.
This slower rate of weight loss can be attributed to several factors, including differences in muscle mass and hormonal variations between the sexes. However, it’s possible to overcome barriers that are slowing you down. With a positive mindset and the right training plan, you can start seeing the results you want.
Weight Loss Basics
The formula for weight loss seems simple: Burn more calories than you eat. But consistently following a weight loss plan isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Daily stressors, a lack of motivation, and harmful beliefs about dieting may be holding you back.
To explore these topics further, the following resources may be helpful:
- Giving up the weight loss obsession: It may surprise you, but putting weight loss aside and focusing on other goals can help you lose more weight.
- Secrets to successful weight loss: You can do four things to increase your chances of success in keeping the weight off. Do you know what they are?
- Staying motivated: The most important ingredient in any weight loss program is motivation. But how do you keep it going day after day?
- Weight loss survival skills: The road to weight loss is a long one, but you can make the process easier—and enjoyable.
Understanding the root cause of your weight challenges can help you come up with a personalized plan that’s more effective than what you’ve tried in the past.
Exercise for Weight Loss
Physical activity and nutrition both play a role in weight loss. Most experts agree that what we eat is more likely to have a greater impact on our rate of weight loss than exercise alone. Nonetheless, exercise provides several weight-loss benefits that go beyond burning calories.
Exercise produces feel-good endorphins that keep weight loss fun and prevent burnout. Building muscle, flexibility, and endurance through exercise can boost your body image and improve your chances of sustaining weight loss over the long term.
Cardio, or aerobic exercise, is often the first thing that comes to mind when trying to lose weight. Avoid some common cardio pitfalls to help you get the most out of your workout.
Common Cardio Mistakes
Keep these issues in mind the next time you work out:
- Doing too much cardio: Repetitive motions in cardio exercises (like running) increase the risk of injury and overtraining. Switch up your routine and take days off to recover between workouts as needed.
- Neglecting other types of exercise: If you skip out on weight training to focus only on cardio, you’re missing out on opportunities to change your body composition for the better.
- Sticking to low-intensity cardio: Doing cardio in your ‘fat-burning zone’ may not be enough to help you lose weight. Mixing in higher-intensity workouts will give you an extra edge for weight loss.
Maximizing Your Cardio Workouts
Try these techniques to make the most of your training sessions:
- Cardio 101: Go back to basics to learn how to choose activities, and how long, how hard, and how often you should exercise.
- Cardio for weight loss: Learn about the best cardio exercises and how to burn more calories.
- How to burn more fat with cardio: If you’ve been working in your ‘fat-burning zone,’ you may be surprised to learn a more effective way to burn more body fat.
- How to monitor your intensity: Working at the right intensity can make your cardio workouts work for you. Learn different ways to gauge your intensity.
Get more out of your exercise time with higher-intensity workouts. Because these workouts are shorter, you can squeeze them in even if you don’t have a lot of time.
Interval training is one of the best ways to increase your fitness level during just about any workout. Work hard for a period of time (say 30 to 60 seconds), rest for a set period of time, and repeat. Some great interval workouts include the following:
- 30-60-90 Mixed Interval Workout
- Beginner Interval Training
- Elliptical Interval Workout
- HIIT 40-20 Workout for Women
- More Cardio Interval Workouts
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) takes regular intervals to the next level, focusing on very high-intensity exercises. HIIT offers proven benefits for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Try these options:
- High-Intensity Aerobic Intervals
- Sprint Interval Workout
It’s always wise to speak to your doctor before starting an intense exercise program.
Tabata training is another form of interval training that involves pushing hard for very short periods of time, helping you burn calories and rev up your metabolism. Try the Tabata Low Impact Challenge or a high impact Tabata Cardio Workout.
Strength Training for Women
Both men and women can see improvements in body composition with weight training, especially when combined with the right nutrition. Fortunately, many women have caught on to the benefits of weight lifting. Beyond sculpting stronger muscles, weight lifting burns a lot of calories (sometimes more than cardio), making it the perfect pairing for any weight loss program.
Stronger muscles also help build stronger bones and boost metabolism. Following a regular weight training routine will help you maintain an active lifestyle for years to come, warding off some of the weight gain and chronic diseases usually associated with aging.
Circuit training involves going from one exercise to the next with no rest in between, usually combining cardio along with strength moves. If you get bored easily from weight training, circuit training is a fun way to sneak in a resistance workout. Aim to incorporate circuit training one to two times per week.
Here are some of the best circuit training workouts to try:
- 10-Minute Body Weight Circuit
- 10-Minute Home Circuit Workout
- 10-Minute MetCon Workout
- 10-Minute Strength and Power Circuit
- Advanced Cardio & Strength Circuit
- Fat Burning Circuit Workout
- Whole Body Circuit
Strength workouts build muscle through straightforward, targeted movements. Try a total body workout twice a week or split routines for your upper and lower body.
Kettlebell exercises can increase your strength just as well as regular dumbbells. You can also use resistance bands. Just make sure you’re lifting enough weight. Proper form is extremely important for effective and safe strength training. If you’re not sure how to get started, enlist the help of a qualified personal trainer.
Developing a Weekly Workout Plan
With all that said, how can you fit in cardio, strength training, and circuit training for maximum fitness benefits? Plan your workout schedule ahead of time. Here’s a sample of what that might look like:
- Monday: 30 minutes of HIIT, alternating 1 minute of speed walking or running as fast as you can with 2 minutes of walking for 30 minutes. Follow up with the Total Body Dumbbell Workout for 30 minutes.
- Tuesday: 30 to 60 minutes of moderate cardio, such as the Cardio Endurance Workout
- Wednesday: Circuit training
- Thursday: Stretch or rest
- Friday: 45-minute HIIT workout, such as a Treadmill Boredom Buster Workout
- Saturday: Total Body Ball Workout
- Sunday: Rest or something easy, like a walk
Rest and recovery are essential components of any workout program. If you get really sore or run down, give yourself a day off and pick it up again tomorrow.
When weight loss feels like it’s taking forever, try not to get discouraged. Keep the motto “progress not perfection” in mind. Remember, living a healthy lifestyle is an ongoing journey, not a race to the finish line. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on the positive changes you’ve achieved.