Statistical studies frequently show that over half of all American adults have a desire to shed a few pounds. Half of that number are currently taking any measurable action toward those weight loss goals (source).
Keep reading to learn about the absolute best, most efficient exercises you can do to get (and stay) bathing suit ready all year round.
Note About the Importance of Diet
Most people are willing to work their butts off to get a sexy set of washboard abs. However, the most important component to any weight loss plan is the diet. If you regularly indulge in foods that are high in processed fats and sugars, those love handles aren’t likely to melt away anytime soon, regardless of what kind of exercise routine you decide to take up.
Abide by the “you are what you eat” and “calories in – calories out” dictums when formulating your weight loss plan. The most intense forms of exercise such as swimming, cycling, jumping rope, rowing and weight training, will only expend about 600 calories an hour for the average person expending moderate effort. And we all know that despite our best intentions, there’s only so much intense exercise we’re capable in a given day and it’s impossible to go full tilt every single day.
A single Kit Kat chocolate bar contains 510 calories and over 60g of sugar. A 6” Assorted Sub from Subway has 440 calories and nearly 50g of net carbs (ie., sugar), and how many of us eat a 6” when the 12” is only a couple bucks more?
The point I’m trying to get across here is that an hour of the most intense exercise and the fat-burning calories they expend, can so be easily offset by eating a chocolate bar, a couple of cookies, or even a “healthy” sandwich.
Plan to cut your calories and carbohydrate intake if you really want to minimize your love handles as quick as possible! Learn more about eating for fat loss by reading this how-to article from Muscle and Fitness magazine.
Best Calorie Crushing Exercises
Anything that gets your heart rate up to 60 – 70% max heart rate will burn fat. Aim to get 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week, with 2 rest days somewhere in between for recovery. Recovery is important, as excess exercise causes inflammation throughout the body, which can be detrimental to your fat loss efforts and can actually cause many more serious conditions like diabetes and autoimmune disease (source).
The following exercises should give you a great starting point for your love handle-busting exercise plan, and are some of the best calorie burners around:
• Running the stairs (900 calories per hour): You really need to keep up a jogging pace for the entire workout to get maximum calorie burn, and an hour of straight stairs will take some practise. However, at nearly a thousand calories an hour, you aren’t likely to find many fat-burning exercises that net such massive weight loss results! There’s no substitute for actual stairs, including stair-climbing machines found at the gym which offer an approximate 450 calorie expenditure per hour, for most people.
• Jump rope (700 calories per hour): Often an exercise relegated to playgrounds all over the world, jumping rope is one of the most intense calorie-burning exercises you can do. In order to burn 700 calories per hour, you need to keep a pace of around 100 skips per minute, which isn’t out of the realm of possibility once you’ve done it regularly for a while.
• Rowing (700 calories per hour): Rowing is another almost taboo form of cardio exercise that’s often left out of fat-burning exercise routines. Big mistake! If you own, or have access to a rowing machine or row boat, this is one of the best ways to burn a “boat load” of calories in the least amount of time possible. Make sure you’re using proper technique for maximum benefit (learn how to row properly).
• Swimming (500 – 800 calories per hour): In order to get up to the 800 calorie per hour range, you’ll need to put in some practise time at the pool as it requires doing the butterfly for an hour straight! An hour of breaststroking nets a little over 580 calories per hour; the backstroke 550 after an hour of consistent swimming. Minimize the desire to rest between laps or stand in the shallow end.
• Weight training (400 – 600 calories per hour): Most people are taught to perform lots of reps and sets for fat loss, and fewer reps and sets with heavier weight for gaining muscle. This belief is completely false. Using weights that allow you to do 12 – 15 reps will burn around 400 calories per hour. Working out with weights that only allow for 6 – 8 reps per set can jack those numbers up over 600 calories! Always remember that “toning” is achieved when you burn away the layers of fat covering up your sexy muscles – more reps with lighter weight doesn’t cut it for maximum fat loss.
• Cycling (483 calories per hour): Cycling outdoors, particularly on hilly trails can help you to burn an extra 100 calories per hour (583 cals), but biking around your local streets or stationary cycling is just fine if that’s what is most convenient to your lifestyle. Try to avoid stop-and-go traffic areas if you’re biking outside, to keep your heart rate up and burn more fat.
• Walking with weights (420 calories per hour): Walking without weights will burn around 300 calories per hour for most people. However, adding as little as 10 pounds of weight, in the form of a weighted vest or backpack really jacks up the calorie expenditure! If you’re extra spry, find a hilly or mountainous area to do your weighted walk and you could easily burn up to 500 cals.
• Rollerblading (430 calories per hour): If you’ve ever strapped a pair of inline skates on, the whopping 400+ calorie burn they offer will come as no surprise. Aim for low traffic areas to ensure your safety and burn the most calories.
Your Fat Loss Starts Today!
With the great selection of exercises offered above, there’s no reason to put off your weight loss goals anymore. As you can see, most of them can be done at home, so you can’t use the “I need to go check out a few gyms first” excuse anymore.
Get your diet in line, pick a calorie-zapping exercise (or two, or three) and get out there and make those love handles ancient history!