The key to maximizing weight loss through exercise is to always keep your body guessing. Changing your routine, varying the intensity or adding strength-training exercises are ways to maximize your workout. Don't allow your body to adapt to your routine. Find an exercise you really enjoy so you can do it for at least an hour. The more calories you burn, the more weight you will lose.
Do cardiovascular exercise for at least 60 minutes a day, five days a week. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 20 to 60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three to five days a week for weight loss. If you are going for maximum weight loss, you have to put in the time. One hour of cardio allows your body to get deep into your fat stores for energy. The longer you run, walk, swim or whatever you choose, the more calories you will burn.
Constantly change up your routine. Doing the same exercises over and over again will cause your body to adapt and plateau -- in other words, stop losing weight. Change the order of your workout, choose a different time of day, adjust your speed, increase your repetitions, choose a different mode -- treadmill, bike, elliptical -- or go outside instead of inside. The more you change it up, the more your body will respond and continue to burn those calories.
Interval train instead of staying the same pace during your cardiovascular exercises. Interval training is alternating between low- and high-intensity exercise -- raising and lowering your heart rate. Interval training for 30 minutes can burn the same, if not more, calories as running the same pace for an hour. You can do speed interval training -- jog for one minute and sprint 30 seconds for a total of 30 minutes. Timed intervals are an option -- jog for two minutes and run for five minutes. You can also choose distance intervals -- walk 1/2 half mile and run 1/4 mile. Once your fitness level has improved, perform high-intensity interval training to burn even more calories in less time.
Choose a cardiovascular activity you really enjoy such as skating, bike riding, dancing or even canoeing. You are more likely to do a fun activity for longer periods of time if you don't consider it exercise. For instance, going to the family roller skating rink and skating for two hours can burn more 700 calories for someone who weighs 170 pounds.
Strength train at least two to three days per week according to "Fitness: Theory and Practice" by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. Strength training adds muscle, and muscle burns calories all day long. What better way to maximize weight loss than by burning calories even after your workout is finished?
Check with your health-care provider before beginning an exercise program for the first time or if you have been away from fitness programs for a while, or if you have any chronic health issues.