A two-month weight-loss exercise plan can help you get leaner and improve overall health. Your workouts should include both aerobic and anaerobic exercise to burn more calories, get stronger and maintain or even build lean mass.
The best workout to lose 20 pounds in two months should include both aerobic and resistance training. For your aerobic workouts, interval training helps burn more calories.
Energy Balance and Weight Loss
Building a two-month weight-loss exercise plan is no small task. It takes consistency and discipline to lose that amount of weight, but it is possible. Understanding how weight loss works can help you build your workout plan.
Energy balance is the name of the game when it comes to weight loss. This term defines the number of calories you take in minus the number of calories you burn each day. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, if you take in more calories than you burn, you gain weight and vice versa.
There are two sides to the equation. The first side is how many calories you take in, which is your diet. The other side is how much you burn, which happens in a few ways. First, you must consider your resting metabolic rate, or the number of calories your body burns at rest. According to the American Council on Exercise, this makes up about 60 to 80 percent of total daily caloric expenditure.
Other than that, energy expenditure comes from exercise and something called NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis). NEAT includes small movements, such as fidgeting, and activities like dishwashing, which you might not think about during the day. A June 2018 study published in the Journal of Exercise Nutrition and Biochemistry found that people with a low NEAT are more likely to develop obesity.
Diet, Exercise or Both?
There's some debate about the best way to lose weight. Diet and exercise are the factors over which you have the most control. Eating fewer calories decreases your overall energy intake, while exercise increases your energy expenditure.
A June 2019 review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that exercise alone wasn't very effective at helping people lose weight. The number of calories burned from exercise turned out to be lower than expected.
Starting a workout program helped subjects lose weight initially, but their body weight plateaued later on. According to the above review, subjects had stopped burning extra calories and were back to baseline within a year of starting the workout program.
Working out may help you keep the pounds off, but it's necessary to decrease your calorie intake to lose weight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a few tips to help you in the battle against the bulge:
- Eat more fruits, veggies and whole grains.
- Eat lean meat, poultry, nuts, fish, beans and eggs for protein.
- Eat foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugar.
- Stay within your daily calorie needs.
- Replace your comfort foods with lower-calorie alternatives.
- Eat smaller amounts of desserts and comfort foods.
Best Workout to Lose Weight
Even though nutrition is key, exercise is just as important. If you lose weight through diet alone, you can lose muscle mass and decrease your aerobic fitness. Working out prevents either of those from happening, according to a small study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise in January 2017.
A March 2019 review featured in Metabolism explains that exercise should be part of every weight-loss program. Whether you engage in endurance training, weight lifting or high-intensity circuits, it all helps. Regular exercise can make you healthier and alleviate the effects of obesity, even if you don't lose weight.
For your two-month weight-loss exercise plan, you have to decide what type of fitness routine to follow. In general, you can do aerobic or resistance training. Aerobic training includes things like jogging and cycling. Resistance training includes weight training and body-weight resistance exercises.
A small study published in April 2018 in the Journal of Exercise Physiology suggests that aerobic training is more effective than resistance training at reducing total body weight and body fat percentage over 12 weeks. That means you'll probably burn more calories doing aerobic training compared to weight lifting.
It's important to note that weight training raises excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), causing your body to torch more calories after training. This is the so-called afterburn effect. Although it may not help you burn enough calories, to make a big difference, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, but it's something to consider when planning your workouts.
Weight training is helpful, even when your focus is on losing weight. A small April 2017 study published in Science and Sports found that combining aerobic training with resistance training resulted in greater fat loss than using aerobic training alone.
Resistance training helps you preserve muscle mass as you lose weight and keeps your bones strong, according to an April 2017 study published in the Journals of Gerontology. Additionally, it promotes muscle growth, which in turn, raises your energy expenditure. Compared to fat, muscle tissue requires more calories to sustain itself.
2-Month Fat Burning Workout
According to an article from Harvard Health Publishing, the best form of exercise to burn calories is running. A 125-pound person can burn 300 calories during a 30-minute run at 6 miles per hour (10 minute miles). A 155-pound person can torch about 372 calories, while a 185-pound person can burn 444 calories running at 6 miles per hour for as little as 30 minutes.
The Cleveland Clinic also recommends cycling, stair climbers, elliptical machines and swimming as forms of cardiovascular exercise. There are two main types of aerobic exercise: steady-state and interval training.
For steady-state training, you do an activity for an extended period without stopping. Jogging is a good example. You would jog at the same pace for an hour or more to burn calories.
Another option is interval training, which alternates between short bursts of intense exercise and short rest periods. A February 2017 review published in Obesity Reviews states that both steady-state training and interval training may improve body composition, but the latter is more time-efficient.
You can do interval training workouts at a group exercise class or on your own. Group exercise classes have the added benefit of bringing people together, who can motivate you. There's also an instructor who can show you proper form.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Fat Loss
Get Leaner With Resistance Training
Lifting weights can help you maintain muscle during your two-month workout plan to lose weight. You can also maintain your strength by sticking to a weight-training program. Plus, the extra calories burned from resistance training won't hurt.
The American College of Sports Medicine offers some guidelines that you can follow to easily add strength training to your routine. You can do these workouts before or after aerobic training or on separate days during your two-month weight-loss exercise plan.
For equipment, you can use free weights, bands or cable machines. The workouts should engage the major muscle groups and be completed two to three times per week. During each workout, perform eight to 10 different exercises, each focusing on a different body part, such as your chest, shoulders, legs, or back muscles.
For each exercise, perform two to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions. The weight should be heavy enough that you'd rate it 8 out of 10 on a scale of difficulty, with 1 being the easiest and 10 the hardest. Seek the advice of a fitness professional if you feel that you need help with your technique.
- American College of Sports Medicine: "ACSM Guidelines for Strength Training"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Aerobic Exercise & Heart Health"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- The Journals of Gerontology: "Change in Bone Mineral Density During Weight Loss with Resistance Versus Aerobic Exercise Training in Older Adults "
- Science and Sports: "Effect of Short-Term Aerobic and Combined Training Program on Body Composition, Lipids Profile and Psychological Health in Premenopausal Women"
- Journal of Exercise Physiology: "Effects of Aerobic Training versus Resistance Training on Body Composition and Systemic Biochemical Parameters of Overweight or Obese Adults"
- Metabolism: "Exercise in the Management of Obesity"
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: "Effects of Weight Loss on Lean Mass, Strength, Bone, and Aerobic Capacity"
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Exercise for Weight Loss"
- The Journal of Exercise Nutrition and Biochemistry: "Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (Neat): A Component of Total Daily Energy Expenditure"
- American Council on Exercise: "Tools and Calculators"
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: "Balance Food and Activity"
- American College of Sports Medicine: "EPOC"