The healthiest way to lose weight is through exercise, since you need to burn more calories than you consume to shed the pounds. Although cardio provides the fastest way to burn calories, strengthening your muscles is essential for weight loss because lean muscle mass boosts your metabolism and burns more fat. Resistance training also helps you lose fat alone, rather than muscle. Resistance bands are affordable, convenient and lightweight tools to train all your major muscles, even when you're traveling.
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Perform three to five workouts a week combining resistance training with cardio. Start each workout with resistance training targeting all your major muscle groups. Do at least two exercises per group. Vary the range of repetitions you do to challenge your muscles in different ways. As a general rule, however, keep your reps in the range of eight to 15 per set, then adjust the amount of resistance you use accordingly.
Vary the exercises you do in your workouts, to keep your muscles challenged. For example, strengthen your chest with resistance band flyes by pulling each end away from each other in front of your chest. Perform resistance band pushups in a normal pushup position, but with the band across your back and the ends in your hands, to add resistance.
Add extra resistance to body-weight exercises by using a resistance band. More resistance means a greater challenge for your muscles, resulting in a greater calorie burn. For example, do triceps pushups on a yoga mat with your knees on the floor and your hands only 5 inches apart. Position the resistance band behind and across your back, with the ends under your palms. You'll feel your triceps burn when you push up against the band's resistance.
Perform squats by standing on the middle of your resistance band with your feet spread wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold one end of the band in either hand. To work your arm and back, hold your arms straight up to pull against the action of your squat. Otherwise, pull one end over each shoulder and cross your arms in front of your chest, then perform the squats.
Work your lower-body muscles by tying the band's ends together, or using a small, circular band. Perform a variety of leg, hip and butt exercises by putting your legs inside the circle and moving one leg against the band's resistance. You can also work your legs by fastening one end of the band to a secure, stationary object and the other end around your right ankle. Do hip abductions by turning your left shoulder to the anchor point, then lifting your leg to the right as far as possible. Repeat the exercise with both legs. Hold a chair for balance if necessary.
Exercise your upper and lower body simultaneously with the help of your resistance band. Performing two exercises at once burns more fat in less time. For example, do squats or lunges while holding a resistance band in your hands and doing arm exercises simultaneously. Alternatively, pull the ends to either side to work your chest and back. You can also do bicep curls and overhead triceps extensions using two hands and the resistance band, while performing lower-body exercises at the same time.
Finish your workout with at least 20 minutes of cardio training. The higher the intensity, the more calories you'll burn. Mix up the exercises you do, to keep it fun and challenge your body. Running, cycling, swimming, using the elliptical cross-trainer and rowing are some examples of cardio workouts. As long as you get your heart rate up you'll be burning calories, but if you add short, intense anaerobic bursts to an otherwise totally-aerobic workout, you'll burn more fat.