If you want to lose weight rapidly, aim for a weight-loss rate of no more than two pounds per week. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this amount is considered healthy, and you'll be more successful at keeping the weight off long-term. To lose weight at this rate, you must accumulate a deficit of 1,000 calories a day. In addition to a reduced-calorie diet, effective workout plans can help you achieve your goal.
Cardio with Intervals
To lose weight, the American Heart Association suggests at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio, or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio a week. High-Intensity Interval training, or HIIT, belongs in the latter category. It's done by alternating between a short, all-out vigorous pace and a less intense recovery pace. Think going back and forth from a jog to a sprint, or alternating between a moderate and vigorous jump-rope pace. By working at a higher intensity, your body burns more calories and fat, and continues to do so during post-exercise recovery.
Combination and Compound Exercises
Strength training is recommended at least two days of the week. Unlike isolation exercise, combination and compound exercises engage multiple joints and large muscles. This revs up your metabolism and optimizes muscle stimulation, along with fat and caloric burn. Exercise examples include pushups combined with dumbbell rows, lunges with biceps curls, squats with shoulder presses, and step-ups with front raises. Start with one set of eight to 12 reps -- as you get stronger, add two more sets. To make strength training part of your workout plan, dedicate 30 to 60 minutes to it -- on Tuesdays and Thursday, for instance. Always schedule it on nonconsecutive days so your body has enough time to recover between workouts.
Calorie-Blasting Circuit Training
Circuit training can give you the benefits of a strength-training and cardio workout in one session. It saves time and incinerates calories and fat, both during and after your workout. To do a circuit-training session, select about eight cardiovascular and strength-training exercises. Do each exercise for one minute, or for a set number of repetitions. Schedule minimal rest -- about 15 seconds -- in between the exercises, so your heart rate stays up. You can go from bench presses to crunches, for example, followed by jumping jacks and lunges. Then do pushups and bent-over rows, followed by jumping rope and squats. Complete the circuit two to three times. To make circuit training part of your workout plan, schedule two to three, 30-minute sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Things to Consider
Always start your exercise routine with a warm-up of five to 10 minutes of light cardio, to get your blood flowing and to prep your body for the more vigorous exercise to come. You can end your routine in a similar manner, and also include some light stretching. If you're new to exercise, or suffer from injuries or health conditions, get your doctor's approval before starting to work out. Also, don't forget to adjust your diet to contribute to your caloric deficit; eating smaller portions, and emphasizing low-calorie foods over high-calorie foods, can go a long way.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
- American Heart Association: Losing Weight
- Shape.com: 8 Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
- Ask the Trainer: Exercises to Lose Weight Quickly
- Shape.com: 7 Benefits of Circuit Training (and One Downside)
- American Council on Exercise: Circuit Training