Workouts to lose weight – cardio & muscle

Workouts to lose weight come in many forms, but just a few are very effective. Learn how to cut the boredom out of cardio and burn fat, and fire up your weight training to pack on muscle on your body, so that you can lose body fat fast.

There are basically two types of workouts to lose weight:

  1. Cardio workouts to lose weight
  2. Muscle workouts to lose weight

You can do them both or you can do one and not the other, but if you add both to your weight loss program, you’ll would have found the fastest way to lose weight minus the dieting side of things, that is.

Let’s have a look at the workouts to lose weight…

Cardio workouts to lose weight

When people hear the word "cardio exercise" they immediately think of long boring workouts sitting on a stationary bike or running on a treadmill. But cardio does not have to be boring.

I know there are some advocates who preach that you can do workouts to lose weight that do not involve cardio exercise. These people are mostly referring to doing muscle workouts to lose weight instead of cardio.

While this is true, what they don’t tell you is that there is scientific evidence that cardiovascular exercise burns more fat as fuel if your exercise session is long enough. Workouts that involve lifting weights generally burn more carbohydrates as fuel; not fat.

If you go to a gym, you’ll most likely wind up in an aerobics class or on a stationary bike or treadmill to do cardio. But you don’t have to make your cardio sessions that boring by doing the same thing over and over again.

What I like to do instead is go out for a run and change my scenery every day. Running is an excellent exercise to get into shape fast.

It not only burns more calories than for example walking, but if you keep the intensity high enough and run in your target heart rate zone, you’ll literally see the fat melt off of your body in a matter of a couple of weeks or months, depending on how much weight you need to lose.

But let’s get down to business… Listen! There is a good way to do cardio exercises as workouts to lose weight, and there is a bad way. Let’s start with the bad way first.

If you do any type of cardiovascular exercise at a sub-optimum heart rate for less than 30 minutes, you’re unlikely to lose much weight. You see, the exercise must be intense enough for you to actually burn calories while you’re exercising and also to get what’s called an after-burn effect, where you burn calories for 15 – 30 minutes after you’ve exercised.

So the right way to do cardio workouts to lose weight is:

  1. Perform the exercise at a target heart rate of 65-80% of your maximum heart rate. Use a heart rate monitor until you know how to assess your body by the way you feel.
  2. Do the exercise for at least 40 minutes. A workout length of anywhere between 40 and 75 minutes is ideal. Remember, you start burning fat 20-25 minutes into the exercise. Before that, you’ll burn mostly carbs.

And to spice up your cardio workouts, add some interval training to them. It’ll not only keep the intensity high, but the after-burn effect will be greater.

Muscle workouts to lose weight

The second type of workouts to lose weight are muscle workouts or workouts where you use weights to build muscle.

As I’ve written in a previous article, the more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you’ll burn while you’re resting. Adding muscle to your frame is a way to increase your BMR.

But again, there is a good way and a bad way to do muscle workouts to lose weight.

When you weight train, you can achieve one of 3 things:

  1. Build muscle mass
  2. Build muscle endurance
  3. Build muscle strength

Where weight loss is concerned, you want to be doing the first, that is, building muscle mass. As I’ve previously written about muscle training, you need to choose the correct rep range and corresponding weights for each weight training goal.

If you want to build muscle strength, stay within the 1-6 rep range with a heavy enough weight for you to fail on the 5th rep.

If you want to build muscle mass, stay within the 8-12 rep range with a heavy enough weight for you to fail on the 10th rep.

If you want to build muscle endurance, go beyond 12 reps and do as many reps as you can with a chosen weight. Reps up to 100 are not uncommon when trying to build muscle endurance.

This brings us to the correct way to use muscle workouts to lose weight: You want to increase muscle mass, so stay within the 8-12 rep range with a heavy enough weight for you to fail on the 10th rep. Remember, you need to fail, that is, not be able to perform another rep. This is an indication that your workout is intense enough to build muscle.

And don’t forget to apply the progressive overload training principle and increase your weights with each workout you do. That’s the only way you’ll be able to tell that you’re making progress. If you’re lifting the same amount of weight workout after workout, it is unlikely that you’ll build muscle. You need to force your body to grow.

A second thing you need to keep in mind is that to pack on muscle quickly onto your frame, you need to focus on the large muscle groups and body parts. You need to learn how to group muscle groups for an effective workout. This means that you should focus on training your chest, back, glutes, hamstrings, and quads, instead of training your biceps, triceps, delts, forearms, and calves.

And to really pack on muscle, remember to do compound exercises instead of isolation exercises. So for example, do deadlifts for your hamstrings and back, do bench presses for your chest, do bent barbell or dumbbell rows for your back, and do squats for your quads and glutes. This is just a small sample of the many compound exercises you could do for all of the large muscle groups of your body.

Final words on workouts to lose weight

I hope this article has given you a clearer idea on the types of workouts you could do to accelerate your weight loss gains. Of course there is still one component missing. Your diet.

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