It’s not unusual to set personal goals when heading into the gym, whether that be benchmarks like getting stronger or growing your confidence. One of the most common goals when it comes to working out is losing weight and (most importantly!) keeping it off. This often comes down to a combination of diet and exercise as most wellness goals do, but there are certain workouts, like cardio and weight lifting, that may be more effective in achieving long-term fat loss.
Not sure which kinds of exercise are the best for promoting increased fat burn and meeting your healthy weight loss goals? To learn more, we spoke with Robert S. Herbst, personal trainer, weight loss expert, and powerlifter about the best exercises to do in the gym to keep weight off. Find out more below!
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Alternating weight training and cardio
The truth is there is no “one size fits all” solution to permanent healthy weight loss. What works for one person may not work for you. Our bodies respond differently to different foods and workouts–it all depends on health factors like genetics. Finding the right exercise method for weight loss will likely take patience and commitment. But, a combination of cardio and weight training is one of the most effective workout plans to promote long-term weight loss. This plan will help you achieve healthy weight loss by strengthening your muscles, this will in turn boost your metabolism.
Starting off your morning with weight training, first and foremost, can help burn calories, “One can do weight or resistance training two or three days a week as they cause your metabolism to be elevated for 48 to 72 hours afterward as your body rebuilds muscle that was broken down,” Herbst explains.
However, it’s important to not overexert yourself with weight or resistance training every morning. For significant results, do three days of weight training and two to three days of cardio. Cardio exercises like HIIT are also known for increasing your metabolic rate. “You can do high-intensity interval training (HIIT) as that will keep your metabolism elevated for the rest of the day,” Herbst suggests. “You can do that more frequently although a few days a week is best to prevent burnout.”
Herbst says that while evidence shows that weight training over time can help increase muscle volume and boost your metabolism, cardio first thing in the morning can, too. “There is evidence that other cardio type work such as running or rowing will cause you to burn fat if done first thing in the morning in a fasted state,” he notes. With cardio, it’s important to keep your energy levels up. So, try an energy-boosting snack like a banana or a slice of peanut butter toast in the morning to offer a hit of fuel before you start running.
As a general rule, alternating between weight training and cardio in the morning can help you lose weight and keep it off. These exercises also help build up muscle and give your metabolism a natural boost.