Should I Work Out Every Day to Lose Weight?

Two women doing yoga on beach
2 women doing yoga on the beach. (Image: Erik Snyder/Photodisc/Getty Images)

If you want to lose weight quickly and are unwilling to alter your diet, you should do some form of at least moderate physical activity every day of the week. You will generally lose weight when you eat significantly fewer calories than normal, burn significantly more calories through exercise than normal or both. Naturally, the quickest route to losing excess pounds is to restrict your caloric intake and increase your daily activity level. However, even if you make no dietary changes, you will probably lose weight by working out every day.


A dietary-guidelines report on the USDA website recommends engaging in moderately intense physical activity lasting an hour every day, or nearly every day, just to maintain a healthy weight as you age. The same report advises adding an extra 30 minutes to the total for weight-loss purposes. Moderate-intensity exercise consists of activities such as walking or bicycling, or any other activity that causes you to sweat without stopping the flow of your conversation.


Losing a pound of fat is equivalent to burning 3,500 calories. If you work out every day of the week, you will have to burn 500 calories per workout to lose 1 lb. of fat in a week. Playing basketball or doing high-impact aerobics for an hour burns about 500 calories for someone weighing 160 lbs. Burning the same number of calories doing moderate-intensity exercise requires even more workout time.


You can reduce workout time without compromising calorie expenditure by using high intensity interval training. HIIT is a training technique that involves “sprints” in activity followed by lower-intensity activity in roughly equal proportion. You can burn as many calories in 20 minutes using this method as in an hour or more of “steady state” activity at a lower intensity level. Use HIIT with any form of aerobic activity -- such as running, bicycling and swimming. However, because your heart rate will dramatically rise for short duration using HIIT, consult a doctor before beginning such a program.


Include some degree of weight training or resistance training, using inexpensive exercise bands if you don’t belong to a gym or own dumbbells or barbells, in your everyday-workout regimen. Resistance training adds muscle, and muscle increases metabolism. Any increase in metabolism burns extra calories. According to the Weight Loss Resources website, regular resistance training can increase metabolism rates by 15 percent.


If you work out every day, and particularly if you incorporate resistance and HIIT into your weekly routine, you will almost undoubtedly lose weight. However, if you can reduce the number of calories you eat in a day, you can lose more weight in less time. Even making a single dietary change, such as substituting white bread with whole-grain bread and thereby increasing your intake of fiber, can have a significant influence on your overall weight loss.

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