If you're prepping for a special occasion, a vacation, or just want to fit into an old pair of jeans; you might be looking for a quick way to lose weight. While slimming down overnight is not an option, you can follow a drop a pant size workout and reach your weight loss goals in a matter of weeks.
Rules of Weight Loss
When it comes to losing weight, the first rule of thumb is to steer clear of fad diets and false promises. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends skipping on any diet that claims rapid weight loss, requires you to follow a rigid menu, doesn't include exercise as part of the plan, allows only specific food combinations or eliminates entire food groups. These types of diets may result in fast weight loss, but there's also a good chance you'll regain some of the weight after you resume regular eating habits.
To lose weight and keep it off, many experts, including the Mayo Clinic, recommend a weight loss of one to two pounds a week. One way to work towards this goal is to consume 500 fewer calories each day and burn 500 calories through exercise, which results in a net loss of 1000 calories each day, or a two-pound weight loss each week.
Finally, buddying up with a friend or family member can help you lose weight and it may even help you keep it off for the long haul. Try creating a drop a jean size challenge to keep you on track. Recruit other like-minded people and ask each participant to send a daily message packed full of inspiration, recipe ideas and fitness tips.
Exercise for Weight Loss
Burning calories through cardiovascular exercise and resistance training is an excellent way to enhance your weight loss efforts and keep the pounds off long-term. The minimum health standards set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services call for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise each week.
But if you want to lose weight and take advantage of increased health benefits, consider bumping that number to 300 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a week. You can also do 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity such as high-intensity interval training or HIIT.
This style of training uses bouts of high-intensity exercise alternated with short rest periods to maximize calorie burn and cardiorespiratory fitness. For both HIIT and steady-state cardio, you can perform aerobic exercises such as jogging, cycling, rowing, stair-climbing, hiking, swimming, fitness classes, sprints and dancing.
When it comes to resistance training, you want to aim for at least two days a week of strength training moves that focus on the major muscle groups. That said, if your goal is to lose weight, consider increasing the number of days to three or four, and designate two of those days for circuit training.
Drop a Pant-Size Workout
While any form of exercise is better than no exercise, there are a few workouts that top the list of favorites when trying to shed a few pounds. According to the American Council on Exercise, performing a circuit training routine is an effective form of exercise to lose weight. Circuit training involves doing resistance exercises for all of the major muscle groups with minimal to no rest between each exercise.
To create a circuit-style workout, start by choosing six to eight exercises that target both the upper and lower body. Examples include squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, planks, chest press, rows, shoulder press, biceps curl, triceps dip, hamstring curls on an exercise ball, or deadlifts. If you don't have access to the gym, you can still do a circuit-style workout with bodyweight exercises.
The goal is to perform each exercise for 10 to 12 repetitions, with little to no rest between exercises. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds, and repeat the circuit two to three times. If you want to add some cardio to the line-up, crank out some jumping jacks or skip rope for 45 seconds at the end of each circuit.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Physical Guidelines for Americans"
- American Council on Exercise: "Circuit Training for Weight Loss"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Staying Away from Fad Diets"
- The Mayo Clinic: "Fast Weight Loss: What's Wrong With It?"
- The Mayo Clinic: "Social Support: A Necessity for Weight Loss"