The right exercises can slim your down and add muscle tone.
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Whether you desire to lose 10 pounds or 50 pounds, eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise is essential to your success. It takes a deficit of 500 calories a day to lose a pound a week, and exercise contributes to this deficit. Rather than just losing weight by doing cardio, include strength training to preserve and enhance muscle tissue. You'll lose weight more efficiently, and when your excess body fat reduces, you'll be left with a lean, well-defined physique.
Calorie-Blasting Cardio Exercises
The American Heart Association recommends 30 to 60 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise on most days to lose weight. Cardio exercises increase your heart rate and breathing, and make you work up a sweat. For optimal caloric burn, do exercises that work your upper and lower body simultaneously. For example, walk or jog while swinging your arms back and forth, play tennis, use an elliptical with moving handles, jump rope, row, swim laps or take a kickboxing class. In one hour, a 150-pound person can burn about 320 calories by walking at a speed of 3 mph, 400 calories by playing singles tennis, and 750 calories by jumping rope.
Muscle-Enhancing Strength Exercises
MayoClinic.org recommends resistance training for 20 to 30 minutes on two to three nonconsecutive days a week. They suggest working in sets of 12 repetitions and using enough weight so the last repetition of each set is tough to complete. Unlike fat, muscle tissue is metabolically active -- it burns calories to sustain itself -- and it takes up less space. These factors can result in taking inches off your size. Compound and combination exercises that work your large muscle groups optimize muscle stimulation by working multiple muscles. Exercises can include bench presses, pushups, lunges with lateral raises, step-ups with biceps curls, dead lifts, bent-over rows and squats with front raises.
Challenging Intervals and Circuits
After gradually improving your fitness level and mastering proper exercise form, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and circuit training can boost the intensity of your workouts and add variety to your routine. HIIT is more effective in reducing fat than any other type of exercise, according to the Journal of Obesity, and circuits give you the benefits of a cardio and strength-training workout in one, according to the American Council on Exercise. Post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, is mainly the reason why HIIT and circuit training are so beneficial. With EPOC, your body consumes more oxygen and continues to expend energy to restore itself long after you've finished your workout. Intervals are done by alternating between short bursts of moderate and vigorous cardio; for instance, go from a jog into a sprint. During circuits you swiftly work through at least six resistance exercises with minimal rest between the sets.
Things to Consider
Before losing weight or starting a regular exercise routine, consult your doctor, particularly if you've been inactive, or suffer from a health condition or injury. Also, always begin your workouts with five to 10 minutes of light cardio to warm up your muscles and prep them for the work to come. Cool down in a similar manner, adding in some light stretching, at the end of your workout.