Which Workouts are Best for Weight Loss?

by Tia Dewick in Training

Body weight is a matter of energy balance whereby in order to lose weight, you must expend more energy than you consume which can be achieved by eating less energy dense foods or moving more to burn more energy. This process can be facilitated by the types of exercise you undertake within your weekly routine. In line with the recommended physical activity guidelines, for optimal health individuals should aim to complete 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week or 300 minutes for additional health benefits which should include a combination of aerobic training and at least 2 resistance sessions per week which works all of the major muscle groups. Therefore, aerobic and resistance training are optimal for both health and weight loss which can be most optimally achieved via the strategies listed below.


Aerobic training is the optimal training type to burn energy. Whilst high intensity training burns more calories than low to moderate intensity, this form of training burns carbohydrates within the muscle as its fuel source. However, for weight loss we want to target those fat stores by undertaking low to moderate intensity exercise for longer durations for example 30-60 minutes of walking, jogging, swimming or cycling. You should aim to complete at least 10 minutes of aerobic training each session even on your resistance session days to keep targeting those fat stores. Depending on how quickly you would like to see results depends on how often you should train. Although you will receive weight loss benefits from exercising twice a week, exercising 3-5 times a week will enable you to see results much faster.


Additionally, resistance training also helps with weight loss. Not only does resistant training help burn energy during your training session (although this form of exercise burns less energy than aerobic exercise), a further benefits of this form of exercise is that it also helps to increase your basal metabolic rate (the number of calories your body burns whilst at rest) as a result of the additional energy needed to recover the muscle tissue after your session. However, the intensity and work load of your resistance session needs to be carefully considered. Working at 80% or above of your 1 rep max values with 8-12 reps will enable you to build muscle mass which will inhibit your weight loss journey as your muscle weighs 3 times more than fat. Therefore, although your body fat stores will reduce with this intensity training, your scales will take longer to show your body fat progress. Alternatively, in order to facilitate the weight loss process you should focus more on intensity loads below 80% of your 1 rep max with greater repetitions (15 and above).


Collectively, to receive optimal weight loss through training alone, you should aim to undertake low to moderate intensity exercise which is supplemented by at least 2 resistance sessions per week which incorporate all muscle groups at less than 80% of your 1 rep max for at least 15 reps. Despite the fantastic benefits these forms of exercise can have for your weight loss, without maintaining an energy deficit (i.e. consuming less calories than you expend), your body weight will not decrease. Body weight is predominantly dictated by your calorie intake and so a combination of diet and training is the optimal strategy for your weight loss journey!