Let’s get one thing straight – ANY movement will aid your weight-loss journey. But, there’s no denying that some forms of exercise are just plain better than others. Specifically, those that burn tons of calories, engage large muscle groups and get the whole body moving.
Jumpstart your weight loss journey with these 10 exercises and watch the fat melt away!
Swimming is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that works the entire body and uses muscles that are generally neglected if running or biking are your go-to cardio. The added resistance of the water will also build strength, especially in the upper-body. It is low-impact, so almost anybody can do it.
The mega calorie burn is even increased by submerging your entire body in cold water. Your metabolism increases in response to the cold to stabilize your core body temperature, and if you swim in cold enough water, you’ll get the extreme fat burning benefits of cold thermogenesis. A 130-pound person swimming freestyle for one hour will burn 590 calories swimming fast, and 413 calories swimming slower.
Sprinting has been proven to be much more effective for fat loss than steady state cardio-and in much shorter time! A two week protocol of six sprint sessions consisting of six 30-second, all-out sprints with four minutes of rest in between can cut 3cm off the waist. Sprints make the body utilize more fat as fuel, burn major calories, and also build lean muscle.
Your resting energy expenditure (metabolism) will be increased up to 48 hours after a sprint session, and the additional lean muscle will make your body use even more fuel while at rest. Beyond just body composition, sprinting build cardiovascular and muscular endurance, improves heart health, increases brain function, and improves insulin sensitivity. All of this in 20 minutes or less!
3. Kettlebell Swing
The kettlebell isn’t just for Crossfit! According to the American Council on Exercise, the kettlebell swing can burn up to 20 calories a minute. This move elevates your heart rate as quickly as any form of jumping, without the major joint strain.
The entire posterior chain is engaged and strengthened with the swing, meaning you’re working your shoulders, back, hamstrings, and glutes. While you’re burning crazy calories, you’re working on your cardio, muscular endurance, mobility, and coordination.
4. Brisk, Uphill Walking
Everybody would benefit from walking more just as a part of their everyday life. Period. But, if walking is your preferred form of exercise, take it up a notch and walk on an incline. Walking is convenient, free, and almost anybody can do it.
Walking uphill increases the intensity and calorie burn, while also recruiting more muscles. The glutes, hamstrings, and calves will get a workout. Walking after a meal will also help control blood sugar and decrease the amount of calories that could be stored as fat.
Rowing is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that also improves muscle endurance and tone. Virtually every muscles group is involved in each stroke – arms, shoulders, back, core, hips, glutes, and legs. Because of this, calories are burned rapidly while rowing. You can easily change the intensity, making rowing a great option for both steady-state and interval cardio training.
6. Step Ups
Step ups work the legs through their full range of motion, activating all of the muscles with a single move. They can be a cardiovascular, fat blasting exercise when done quickly and explosively, or can be used to build muscle when weight is added. Step ups improve strength, stability, power, and stamina, while creating toned legs and glutes. They’re also generally safer than the traditional squat and deadlift.
There are many forms of yoga, but they all have this one thing in common: they teach you to become in-tune with your own body. This mindfulness and self-awareness can and will, with regular practice, teach you to listen to your bodily cues more readily.
Hunger, sleep, stress, and the overall usefulness of your body will become easier to recognize and manage. Yoga has been proven to reduce cortisol levels. This is the so-called stress hormone that can lead to weight gain. In addition, you’ll gain strength, flexibility, balance, mobility, and burn calories!
Who doesn’t love dancing?! It’s simple, free, fun, and gives you an excuse to wrangle up the group on a Friday night. Dancing is a cardiovascular exercise that not only burns calories, but also improves balance, muscular strength and endurance, cognition, and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. It’s also a mega mood-booster with social and cultural implications.
9. Hip Thrust
Big butts are in! And because the gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle in the body, it can also burn the most calories when trained properly.
Many people think that squats and deadlifts are the only moves necessary to build the glutes, but there are many other movements that target the glutes more directly and cause greater muscle fiber recruitment, such as the hip thrust. Because most people sit all day, we need to consciously activate the glutes in order to maintain a perky behind and reap the calorie-burning benefits of this muscle.
10. Back Extension on Stability Ball
This single move will improve posture, core strength, muscle endurance, and balance. The stabilizing muscles of the back are often overlooked, but are necessary for almost every activity, inside of the gym and out. By using a stability ball, you’re forced to maintain your balance, which recruits the entire core and even the glutes. Better posture will have you standing taller and appearing slimmer and more confident.
Try any or all of these to get fit in the new year. If you’re new to fitness or are looking for a complete program, check out my Perfect Workout Plan for 2017!