Me, you, and many others have at one point or another sought out the “best” exercise for fat loss (as well as for other goals I’m sure).
We all seem to want results now and NOT tomorrow.
In a world where we can get just about anything delivered to our door in a relatively short period of time, our ability to wait for the things we want continues to dwindle.
Because of this lack of patience, we tend to seek out which workout will burn the most calories, strategies that will allow us to burn fat all day long and in general what works best.
The TRUTH, however, is that “best” is a relative term so looking for what was best for another is usually not the right path (just because it was best for THEM does not mean it will be best for YOU).
What IS the Best Exercise for Weight Loss
Truly, the “best” exercise is that which you enjoy doing and will stick with long-term!
Let me explain…
The key in losing weight is to put ourselves in a caloric deficit through decreased energy intake and/or increased energy expenditure.
Therefore, the best exercise for you is that which allows you to continue doing it consistently and/or long-term so that you have a continually increased energy expenditure.
A workout that burns 1,000 calories will produce very little for you in the long-term (concerning weight loss and general health) if you dislike it to the point that you will not continue doing it.
If you hate walking on the treadmill, DON’T use it as a weight loss tool!
If you cannot stand a form of resistance exercise (such as weight lifting), try calisthenics (or vice versa)!
If you love jump roping, jump rope!
Prioritize the sustainability of the exercise over “how many calories it burns”.
Too many search for “what is the best exercise for weight loss” not realizing that there is no answer that fits everyone.
Again, best is a relative term. I have tried many different types of cardio and the only one I have stuck with consistently is boxing.
I liked the exercise bike for a while, but never enough to keep doing it consistently. It helped me lose a few pounds in the short-term but if I had not adopted another form of cardio, I would of ended up right back where I started.
The same goes for resistance training. I knew I had to resistance train if I wanted to improve my body composition and not just “lose weight”.
So I started weight lifting.
However, I really didn’t like free weights. I tried out body weight training (calisthenics) and fell in love with it.
You really have to just keep testing out forms of both resistance exercise and cardio until you find one that suits you. One that you truly love doing and therefore will keep doing.
“An important point is that it does not matter what type of physical activity is performed: Sports, planned exercise, household or yard work, or occupational tasks are all beneficial. The key factor is total energy expenditure; if that is constant, improvements in fitness and health will be comparable.”. (1)
“The key factor is total energy expenditure..”
Now, it would be ideal to have a solid mix of resistance, cardio, flexibility, and mobility training for weight loss, weight maintenance, and overall optimal health.
And that should be the long-term goal to one day get to.
However, the key point is that moving more increases energy expenditure and energy expenditure influences the energy balance (pushing it towards a negative energy balance, assuming dietary intake is where it should be).
Key Focus Points:
- Best is a relative term. Don’t worry about what someone says is the “best exercise”, just find a type of physical activity that you enjoy and can see yourself continuing long-term. Whether participating in a hobby such as tennis, basketball, flag football, or gardening for 30 minutes everyday, just be active!
- Though, generally I believe the most effective exercise program should consist of a mix of strength, cardiovascular, and flexibility/mobility training, physical activity (in any form) IS KEY (regarding general health, fitness and weight loss)!! Worry first about getting accustomed to being more active and then worry about perfecting your regimen later down the road (once being more physically active is habitual).
- An exercise program is of little to no value if it CANNOT BE SUSTAINED and because any physical activity influences energy expenditure and energy expenditure directly influences body weight, just moving more would be beneficial to our health and/or body composition.
Some advice on exercise:
- Start slow! One of the biggest mistakes people make is going too fast. Slowly and strategically add exercise sessions each week. Jumping right into 5, 60 minute sessions a week is usually going too quickly so try something such as one to two 30 minute sessions a week or three to five 10-15 minute sessions a week. Those or something similar, would be much better starting points.
- Do your best to make a SUSTAINABLE plan that includes a mix of resistance, cardio, and flexibility training. You can do this by mixing these three (or 2 of them into the same session). Resistance exercise followed by 10-20 minutes of stretching. Or resistance exercise followed by 10-20 minutes of walking.
- Do NOT neglect resistance training! Aim for 2-3 days a week (starting with just 1 session and increasing frequency and duration as you become accustomed to the exercise).
- If you find yourself continually falling away from your exercise plan and going back to your old habits, change things up. Continue to evaluate what works and what doesn’t, what you enjoy and what you do not. Remember the “most effective” exercise regimen is the one YOU enjoy and can continue long-term.
- Always consult your doctor/physician before altering your exercise regimen and/or physical activity level.
Whether regarding exercise, diet, or any other aspect of health and fitness, best and worst are relative terms.
Do not stress yourself out trying to find special workouts or those that claim to burn the most calories. Instead, always remember the best exercise program is the one which you enjoy and can sustain long-term.
Truly, the “best” exercise for YOU to lose weight is that which you enjoy and can stick with long-term!
The key to losing weight is a negative energy balance (i.e, expending more calories than you take in).
Exercise and/or physical activity is one of the ways we can control the energy out part of the equation (while also carrying with it many more health benefits).
Keep it simple and just move more in a way that you enjoy!
I hope that you enjoyed this article and that it aids you in more effectively adopting a sufficient exercise regimen that will aid you in your weight loss goals.
Please feel free to like, share, and/or comment!
Best of luck with your weight loss goals!