Exercises for Weight Loss

Weight Loss Exercises

When it comes to losing weight and Weight Loss Exercises there is no easy way or instant fix button. Due to the processing, increased fat and sugar content in foods combined with a nation that is increasingly becoming less and less active and more sedentary, Australia finds itself quickly becoming one of the fattest countries in the world with the lack of physical activity one of the largest contributions to cancer development (second to smoking).

In order to combat the growing epidemic, many forms and research have been conducted to help you get the winning edge on losing those extra kilos, ranging from new fat burning smoothie formulas to the best ‘scientifically proven’  exercise machine advertised on TV. When being treated for obesity or other weight related issues, the first question that most doctors and physicians ask is “have you tried dieting and exercise?”. Of course, there are faster ways to lose weight than the traditional methods such as vigorous physical exercise and extreme dieting, but without the transition to a healthy lifestyle, you’ll find that the weight loss you once achieved will quickly be reversed. With the gym industry booming (boasting a $5+ billion in memberships in the US alone) access to effective workout equipment and health professionals are closer than ever before.

You may need to use exercise as a treatment of obesity if:

  • You are unable to undergo bariatric procedures due to health conditions
  • You are too heavy to operate on and need to lose weight before undergoing surgery

It is important to note that bariatric surgery should not be the first considered option!  Doctors recommend such procedures only when traditional dieting and exercise have failed.

In order to kickstart your weight loss goals we have included a list of  weight loss exercises below.

Beneficial Weight Loss Exercises

Walking

Walking is one of the easiest ways to start losing fat as it requires no extra equipment or fancy gym membership, apart from the somewhat decent pair of trainers most of us already have sitting around home. This low impact exercise doesn’t leave you ridiculously sore over the next few weeks and can be easily tailored to your lifestyle throughout the day, which is helpful knowing it isn’t going to cause any busted joints or torn muscles to ruin the rest of your day. It is an effective weight-loss tool that can lead to both a better overall health and an improved wellbeing, especially in those that are suffering from obesity-related conditions as it can improve effects such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol with minor effort as compared to intense strength/high endurance weight loss exercises. Walking for just 45 minutes at a moderate/average pace can burn around 223 to 399 calories depending on your body weight, averaging around 5-9 calories per minute. Walking can also provide you with a more social approach if necessary, as often walking groups are organised to help in motivating each other on the same journey, even providing a change of scenery as compared to staring out a gym window.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

weightloss high intensity training hiit

On one hand, the light non-intensive exercise can be beneficial to those who are otherwise not accustomed to intense physical activity, it often comes with its drawbacks as it doesn’t come with the level of fat burning that a high-intensity physical workout can provide. High-intensity interval workouts is a science-backed way of exercising that involves alternating high-intensity exercises with a less intense ‘rest’ activity or often complete rest. The benefits of this high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is that it burns more calories that an endurance style workout, with improvements to aerobatic capacity with just two weeks of interval training equating to that of around 6-8 weeks of endurance training. Along with its high calorie burning nature during the workout, research also shows that it provides as much as an 18% increase in resting metabolic rate even a day after the workout, meaning you burn calories for longer after the workout has completed. Any of the weight loss exercises below can be integrated into a HIIT workout.

Push-Ups

Push-ups are one of the most well known weight loss exercises and for good reason, they can be done with no equipment and in 10 minutes burn between 50-100 calories depending on your weight and workout intensity. Push ups provide a convenient fat burning tool but are more effective due to their muscle building nature. They help build a more toned, fit body by providing an effective workout to the shoulders, triceps, chest, lower back and most importantly the chest and abdominal areas – where the body tends to store visceral fat which secretes far higher levels of retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4), a  protein that is a high contributor to insulin resistance (a factor that causes type 2 diabetes). Luckily for us, this visceral fat is highly susceptible to physical exercises such as push-ups.

Push-ups are performed correctly by:

  • Placing hands slightly wider than a shoulder distance apart
  • Feet should be in a comfortable position behind you (wide or together is up to you, although wide provides a better stability)
  • The body should represent a straight line where butt shouldn’t be sticking up in the air or dipping down.
  • If you have trouble with keeping straight, try clenching abdominal and buttock muscles, this should kick the body back into its natural line figure.

If you find traditional push-ups challenging, a chair or plyometric box can be used to hold onto in order to elevate the push-up, or instead of performing the pushup on feet, knees can be used to ease the force. Like any exercise, your body will begin to condition itself if you find it increasingly easier to perform a set of 50 push-ups,  extra resistance should be added for the push-ups to have the same effect, this can be done through various techniques and equipment such as elevating the legs or adding an unstable surface to the hands.

Kettlebell Swing

kettle bell raises for weight loss

The kettlebell swing is often considered one of the best weight loss exercises due to its ability to get the whole body working, which in turn causes metabolism to rise and burn fat all around the body. The kettlebell is a cast iron ball with a handle that when held causes the body to stabilise and counteract the non-uniform weight of the bell. This exercise helps in reversing our sitting hunched posture into a naturally straight and extended one by strengthening and flexing the lower back muscles.

This exercise also helps to get a wide range of movement in muscles, strengthening glutes, hips, lats, abdominals, pecs and shoulders, as well as improving cardio and aerobatic endurance. It is important to note that the kettlebell swing is much safer than other strength building exercises, due to its low centre of gravity in the swing the rate and opportunity for injury are minimal.

The kettlebell swing is performed correctly by:

  • Standing straight with legs should width apart with toes pointing forward and knees bent slightly.
  • Grasp the weight in two hands with an overhand grip and bring it between your legs.
  • Keeping the back arched, use your glutes/legs to swing the bell upwards keeping arms straight until the bell is at shoulder height.
  • Let the bell swing downwards back into your legs while your back and legs bend back into the starting position.
  • Immediately start the next rep, do not stand up in between reps!

Sit-Ups

The sit-up is another common exercise whose popularity rivals that of the pushup. Once again it has a name for itself for good reason, it is an effective way of burning fat from the stomach area while also strengthening abdominal muscles below. It is a great exercise that can be done in the safety of your own home with little space needed as compared to that say of the kettlebell swing. The benefits of sit-ups are that it’s a quick way to tone and strengthen those abdominals to help you achieve that once a forgotten dream of developing that six pack, while also help strengthen the back muscles supporting and stabilising your spine and helping to increase your flexibility and range of motion. All this helps to improve posture and reduce the risk of back strain or related injuries.

In order to perform a sit-up correctly:

  • Lie on your back with knees bent slightly upward and feet flat on the floor.
  • Place finger tips around the back of the ear and pull shoulder blades towards the ground, forcing elbows outwards.
  • Exhale and tighten abs before curling your upper half towards the knees, making sure you aren’t pulling your neck or lifting your knees or feet.
  • Inhale slowly before lowering yourself until your back is in contact with the floor. it is important to keep your abdominals tightened during the downwards phase.
  • Repeat for the next rep, don’t rest in between reps if possible

Sit ups burn anywhere between 20-27 calories per five minutes depending on your body weight and physical intensity. It is important to note that a slightly soft surface may be preferred if you encounter any discomfort or pain in the coccyx region, something to layer such as a yoga mat may be beneficial to you.

Burpee/Squat Thrusts

burpees new body specialists Weight Loss Exercise

Often when new to working out and you hear someone mention the word burpee tend not do get excited about what’s to come, but what you probably didn’t realise is how beneficial they can be to your body. Burpees tend to be a fat burning machine by providing an intensive work out to not just one or two core areas but instead the target the whole bodies range of motion. They combine the strength training for the full body with a great conditioning/endurance element leaving your arms, chest, abdominals, glutes and more feeling like lead after just a few sets. They are dynamic enough to be combined with almost any exercise and can be done virtually anywhere. Speed is key to burpees in order to keep your heart rate up and calories burning, but it’s important not to go too overboard or you will find yourself tired and worn out after only a few.

In order to perform a burpee correctly you must:

  • Stand up straight and get into a lowered squat position with hands in front of you flat on the floor.
  • Kick your feet backward into a push-up position and lower your chests to the ground.
  • Lift your chest (similar to a cobra pose) before returning to the original squat position.
  • Jump as high as possible immediately after the squat position before returning once again to the squat.
  • Repeat steps for as many reps.

There is a wide range of variations of the burpee that control the intensity of the exercise, the most common being the pushup incorporated instead of the cobra pose on the ground, this is often referred to as the ‘ultimate’ burpee, but is often confused with being the official way of executing a burpee.

If you are still fearing the dreaded burpee, there is a similar exercise called the squat thrust that may be for you. The squat thrust is like the burpee except the cobra/pushup actions are replaced by a knee tuck. This is performed correctly by:

  • Stand up straight and get into a lowered squat position with hands in front of you flat on the floor.
  • Kick your feet backward into a push-up position.
  • Kick your feet inwards moving your knees up towards your chests.
  • Once again kick your feet back out into the push-up position before returning back to the original squat position.
  • Jump as high as possible immediately after the squat position before returning once again to the squat.
  • Repeat steps for as many reps.

Glute Ham Raises

Now that we have the abdomen, arms and chest working its time to move on to the lower body exercises. The Glue Ham Raise (GHR) is a more advanced technique but also one of the most underrated exercises in this area, it does an amazing job to successfully get the hamstring, glutes, calves and lower back muscles. The GHR is the perfect exercises to get your legs into motion and help burn fat and work muscles quickly while building on a nice healthy posture by working the posterior chain muscles (glutes, hamstrings and calves) reducing pain and discomfort especially if you find yourself sitting several hours at a time. Although this is a wonderful exercise for working the lower muscles it requires restraining the lower legs or ankles, the easiest way this can be done is with a Glute Ham Machine but is more commonly done through using various weights or help from trainers. The GHR is can be quite demanding for people with no exercise experience and as such may need to start with other simpler exercises before working up, an example of such weight loss exercises are lunges where details can be found below.

In order to perform a glute ham raise correctly you must:

  • Lie on your stomach with feet shoulder width apart.
  • Make sure feet/ankles are restrained with some form of weight or help from trainer or other.
  • Cross arms on the chest in a comfortable position.
  • Exhale and tighten legs before curling your lower half at the knees pulling yourself upwards, making sure you are keeping your body above the knees straight.
  • Once upright slowly lower your body back down before returning to the original position, making sure you aren’t just falling to the ground.
  • Repeat the steps for however many reps.

Lunges

lunges Weight Loss Exercises

Lunges is another very common exercise that is good for beginner’s as it provides the initial stepping stone into exercise and leg strengthening before transitioning to other more intense weight loss exercises. The lunge is a great starter exercise as it extends on the body’s most naturalist motion of walking, but taking it to a point where you can feel it both burn and stretch more than it would with normal walking. The benefits include an equipment free workout that can be done almost anywhere while being flexible enough to compensate for both complete beginners and active exercisers by mixing it up with different variations including the highly recommended dumbbell stepping lunges. The lunge is a great way to burn the fat from your thighs and butt in order to get your summer body ready by targeting a large portion of leg muscles including glutes, hips, calves and hamstrings.

In order to perform a lunge correctly you must:

  • Stand upright with legs together, making sure the back is kept straight
  • Take a large step (or lunge) forward with one foot, leaving the other planted firmly on the ground behind.
  • With the back kept straight we dip the knee of the trailing leg until the knee of the leading leg is bent to a 90 degree angle.
  • This position is held for a few seconds before returning to the original standing position.
  • Repeat the steps, alternating feet for however many reps.

In order to perform the widely recommended dumb bell stepping lunge, we simply place two dumbbells of your own desired weight into each hand while keeping arms straight down beside you at all times.