Whether you're looking to lose two or 20 pounds, weight-loss can be a challenging and — at times — frustrating battle for everyone. But setting sustainable goals and keeping a realistic perspective will ultimately help you achieve long-term weight loss.
Buzzy diet or exercise fads (like losing two pounds in a day) may sound appealing but can be unhealthy and may leave you feeling discouraged. Instead, set your self up for success by creating a cardio and strength training routine that you can stick to for the long haul. Paired with a nutritious diet, these compound exercises can help you reach your goals.
Some Exercises to Promote Weight Loss
Exercise is extremely important in promoting weight-loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While you may be looking for rapid results, creating a sustainable exercise plan will help promote long term weight loss, which will help you keep it off in the long term.
When it comes to cardio, aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week, recommends the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Moderate-intensity exercise may include light jogging or walking, while more vigorous activities involve running or climbing stairs. Consider which options are best suited for your current abilities and available time.
Supplement your cardio with at least two days of strength training each week — prioritizing all the major muscle groups — recommends HHS. Compound movements — or exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time — are great exercises to incorporate, as they involve the whole body and create a higher calorie burn, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Consider incorporating these compound movements into your strength routine to promote weight-loss.
- Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other.
- Sink your hips into a squat, keeping your chest out and shoulders back. Then, press into your heels and reverse the motion back to standing.
- Press the dumbbells over your head, keeping the palms facing one another.
- Perform two to three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.
- Begin in a high plank positions, keeping your body in a straight line from head to heels. Avoid hiking or sinking your hips. Place your palms directly beneath shoulders.
- Hold dumbbells in your hands or set them on the ground next to your palms.
- Perform a push-up, lowering your body in one uniform motion.
- At the top of the push-up, press your feet into the ground and pull the right dumbbell up to your chest, keeping your hips square and elbow close to your ribs. Place the dumbbell and hand down and repeat on the left side. Then, go back to the push-up and repeat.
- Perform as many reps as possible with good form for 45 to 60 seconds, two to three rounds.
Reverse Lunge to Balance With Biceps Curls
- Stand with your feet hips-width distance, holding dumbbells at your sides, palms facing the body.
- Step back with the right foot and lower the hips into a lunge. Keep your weight in the left leg.
- Bring the right foot forward and return to standing but don't let the right foot touch the ground.
- Perform a biceps curl with both arms before you step back into another lunge with your right leg.
- Complete six to eight repetitions on one leg before switching to the other side.
- Perform this exercise for two to three sets.
Remember: Diet is Also Important
Pairing a smart workout plan with a safe diet plan will help you lose weight — and keep it off. This process involves determining the best calorie deficit (when you burn more calories than you consume) for your body and prioritizing nutritious whole foods.
Considering there's 3,500 calories in one pound, you can safely cut 500 to 1,000 calories per day from your diet, according to the Mayo Clinic. Calorie deficits will vary from person to person, depending on long-term goals, starting points and lifestyle. If you cut 800 calories from your daily intake but feel uncomfortable throughout the day, consider dialing your deficit down to 500 calories per day instead. Remember: Everyone is different, and you should consult with a physician before taking on a new diet or exercise routine.