The best exercise for weight loss is cardio exercise.
It’s touted as a “fat-burning” exercise because it kickstarts your metabolism into higher gear, so you’ve higher “fat-burning” capacity, to burn off excess fat overall, to lose weight.
P/S: Note that you burn fat and lose weight off from your entire body, not just from a specific spot
The other best exercise for weight loss is weight training.
Weight training is touted as “metabolism-boosting” exercise because it boosts your muscle growth. As muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so if you’ve more muscle, you usually have a higher resting metabolic rate (RMR).
Note: RMR is the minimum number of calories, or energy, required to power the major functions in your body like breathing, sweating, eating, sleeping…
When you exercise (cardio or weight training), your RMR increases due to chemical and hormonal changes and it stays high for quite some time after you’ve finished exercising.
Now you’ve 2 best exercises for weight loss. What do you do with them?
Well, go for the best deal – the combo of cardio and weights.
This is the optimal way to burn more fat and gain more muscle. Several studies even conclude that weight loss increases by 56% for people opting for this combo.
How do you do this combo?
For cardio exercise, it’s good if you can alternate between high impact cardio and low impact one like running and walking. This way, you’re doing cross-training which helps reduce the chance of injury and overuse of certain muscles.
You can cardio 4-5 times per week for at least 30 minutes per session. You can easily burn off 300 calories in a 30-minute session if you work at moderate intensity. You burn even more calories if you’re adventurous enough to throw in higher intensity, more challenging types of cardio (e.g. step aerobics, rope jumping…). For these types of cardio, you may burn up to 500 calories in a 30-minute session.
For weight training, it’s good you start off with lighter weights (say 2, 3-lb weight) and progressively increase your weights as you get stronger.
You can weight-train 3-4 times per week for 15-20 minutes per session, to boost your muscle growth as well as to strengthen and firm it and give it a more defined, leaner look.
Ladies, don’t be afraid to do weights. Though muscle weighs more, when you increase your muscle mass, you’re able to burn more fat, even when you’re resting, because your metabolism is higher (Remember your RMR?)
P/S: 1 lb of muscle uses 350 to 500 calories per week to survive, while 1 lb of fat only uses 14 calories per week
What’s the difference between cardio and weight training?
Let’s compare them on the basis of you doing both in equal time duration.
In weight training, you burn about half the calories of the cardio session. This is because when you cardio, your heart and muscles are working continuously for 30 minutes; but when you do weights, after you take away the rest between sets and the rest between muscles worked, you’re really only working for about 10 minutes.
This means that you burn off more calories doing cardio than doing weight training, in equal time duration.
However, RMR makes the difference here.
After a cardio session your RMR remains elevated for roughly 2 to 3 hours; however, in weight training, your RMR could remain high for 10 to 15 hours after you’ve finished the training session.
If this is the case, why can’t you just do weight training? Why go for the combo?
Well, cardio provides you with an immediate higher caloric expenditure plus stronger and healthier heart and lungs, while weight training gives you the same caloric expenditure plus precious muscle but spaces over a longer period of time.
Hence, the combo gives you all of the short-term and long-term benefits of exercise.
You literally have the “best” of both worlds…