No diet plan for any natural weight loss program is complete without a regular fat burning exercise program. Two types of exercises are explained in this weight loss program: aerobics and strength training exercises. These two disciplines of exercise have not much in common but complement each other and work together to keep you fit and healthy. All workouts are simple and easy to follow so that you don’t have to visit a gym or join a fitness club to start your weight loss program.
Aerobics Or CardioVascular Exercises To Lose Weight
Aerobics or cardiovascular exercises are considered to be the most effective fat burning exercises. These include walking, long-distance running or jogging, cycling, swimming, riding a treadmill, climbing up the stairs, etc. Such an exercise is supposed to improve your breathing and use oxygen for releasing energy in the body and giving you more stamina. Any physical activity that involves moving a lot and which serves to raise your heart rate is an aerobic exercise. These exercises will make you perform better in your everyday chores and are particularly useful if you get tired easily. Cardiovascular exercises can be divided into two groups: outdoor and indoor cardio exercises. Jumping rope and bicycling are examples of outdoor cardio exercises, whereas using an elliptical trainer is an example of indoor cardio exercise.
Easy as they might seem, these exercises do not contribute to effective weight loss unless you perform them at the right time. The best time to perform cardiovascular exercises is in the morning before eating your breakfast. When you combine cardio exercises with weight training, the best results are obtained when you perform aerobics right after a weight training session. In fact our goal is to realize interval training (explained below) in which you have to perform high intensity work and then relax in between and switch to a lower intensity workout.
Examples of interval training include sports conditioning and pyramid workouts in which 3 to 5 minutes are given to warm-up, followed by a series of low intensity and high intensity workouts (normally lasting from 30 seconds to 1 minute) and then again 3 to 5 minutes given to cooling down. An everyday aerobic session of 20 to 45 minutes (depending on your age and stamina) is enough for a weight loss program to work successfully. Remember that positive results are seen only if you are regular in your exercise program. Being regular doesn’t mean 7 days a week; even 3 days of high intensity workouts are fine but depending on how much you want to lose, you can increase the number of sessions. Since you have to combine aerobics with strength training, it is advisable to exercise on alternate days, e.g. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, or Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Cardio exercises work best when performed on an empty stomach.
Strength Training To Tone And Build Muscles And Burn Fats
Strength or weight training serves to tone and build your muscles and make you strong. It is also known as resistance training. One of the best ways to burn fat is to build lean muscle, which is only possible through strength training exercises combined with a healthy and well-balanced diet. There are different resistance training workouts for different body parts including the neck, chest, back, shoulders, legs, abdominals, biceps, triceps, and calves. It is advisable to train a different muscle group each day so that the muscles you worked have time to repair. The major benefit of weight lifting as seen in the context of fat burning is that it increases your metabolic rate (the rate at which food is converted into energy). By carrying out these workouts you replace fat with healthy muscle, thereby reducing overall weight.
To understand why weight lifting is good for weight loss, remember that muscle burns more calories than fat. Some additional benefits of weight lifting or strength training include stronger bones and connective tissues, improved balance and coordination, and prevention of injuries. It’s important to warm up before starting any weight lifting exercise. Moreover, if you don’t pay attention to your posture you will not be able to keep your balance while lifting heavy weight. There are many exercises to work out each muscle group. Don’t leave out any muscle group or it may cause imbalance.
Some common exercises for the muscle groups mentioned above are:
- Chest: bench press (wide grip/close grip), dips, chest press machine, high cable and low cable crossovers, pushups, pec deck machine
- Back: chin ups, barbell rows, wide grip seated cable rows, back extensions, lat pull downs
- Shoulders: front dumbbell raise, barbell clean and press, overhead press, lateral raise, standing military press
- Biceps (front of the upper arm): cable curls, hammer curls, concentration curls, preacher curls, reverse barbell curl
- Triceps (back of the upper arm): triceps extensions overhead, dips behind back, kickbacks, tricep rope pulldown, two arm dumbbell triceps extension
- Quadriceps (front of the upper leg): Squats, lunges, leg extension, leg curl, calf raise, leg press machines
- Hamstrings (back of the upper leg): barbell deadlifts, stiff leg deadlifts, plate drags, lunges, leg curl machine
- Abs: ball crunch, leg crunch, reverse crunches, long arm crunch, oblique twists, pelvic tilts
High Intensity Interval Training for Weight Loss
A combination of aerobic and strength training exercises is known as high intensity interval training or HIIT, which is aimed towards effective and quick weight loss. Interval training helps to develop stamina and build muscle at the same time. As such it combines the best of both fat burning workout programs. It includes short high intensity strength training exercises followed by intervals of low intensity aerobics. The duration of such exercises is from 10 to 20 minutes. Some examples of interval training workouts include high intensity aerobic intervals, speed and endurance, sprint interval workout, etc. These workouts provide many health benefits other than assisting in weight loss and the most prominent among these is prevention of type 2 diabetes. They help to develop endurance thereby making you more active and energetic throughout the day. Here are some fat burning exercises for the eight muscle groups ranging in difficulty level from beginner to advanced:
1. Fat Burning Chest Workouts
Here we will explain two strength training workouts for the chest: dips and wall pushups.
Dips: For this exercise you will need a dip bar, which is a portable machine for strength training available on the market. Position yourself on the dip bar by bending your knees and crossing your legs. Your chest is supposed to come in close proximity with the front of the dip bar and for this you will have to slowly lower your torso. Maintain this position for a couple of seconds. Repeat this movement 5 to 10 times or until you feel tired. The added advantage of this workout is that it also works the triceps. Level: Advanced
Wall Pushups: No fitness equipment is required for this one. Stand about 1 or 2 feet distance from a wall with your face towards it and your heels slightly raised. Stretch your arms and place your hands on the wall. Now bending at the elbows, move towards the wall and then back again. To increase the difficulty level, find something lower like a desk and then do regular pushups on the ground once you are ready. Level: Beginner
2. Fat Burning Back Workouts
Two fat burning exercises for the back are explained here: standing rows and the lat pulldown.
Standing Rows: For this workout you need an elastic exercise band. It is an easy exercise, which can be performed at home and is done from a standing position. Tie the band to a door knob (or any other stationary object) from the middle and grab both of its ends with your hands. Keep a distance of 3 to 4 feet from the door and fully extend your arms. By keeping your back straight, contract your shoulder blades and bring the band close to your body while maintaining tension on the band. Repeat this workout 8 to 10 times. Level: Beginner
Lat Pulldown: This workout not only works the back but also the shoulders and arms to some extent. Fitness equipment required is a weighted cable pulley system or a lat pulldown machine. Sit on the seat and grasp the cable bar with both hands. Pull it down to the level of your chest and then raise your arms to lift it once again. Level: Intermediate
3. Fat Burning Shoulder Workouts
For shoulder workout, two exercises namely upright barbell rows and seated dumbbell presses are given here.
Upright Barbell Rows: Fitness equipment required for this workout is a barbell. The exercise is performed standing up and uses a narrow (less than shoulder width) overhand grip. Take hold of the barbell with both hands and by fully extending your arms downwards, let it hang down and then raise it to the level of your chin. Repeat it by returning to the start position and going up again. This workout can also be performed using dumbbells. Level: Beginner
Seated Dumbbell Presses: For this workout you need two dumbbells. Sit on a chair or a bench with your back straight and your feet firmly planted on the ground. Hold a dumbbell in each hand by keeping them close to each shoulder. Raise the dumbbells over your head, then contract your shoulders and slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position. Repeat the exercise 8 to 10 times. Level: Beginner
4. Fat Burning Biceps Workouts
For biceps, we recommend two easy strength-training exercises namely incline dumbbell curls and machine preacher curls.
Incline Dumbbell Curls: You need an incline bench and a pair of dumbbells for this workout. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, lie down on the bench and let your arms hang on both sides. Starting with your right arm, bend it at the elbow and lift the dumbbell to shoulder length. Your upper arm should be fixed at the side and you should only use your elbow to lift the weight. Repeat the same for the other arm and keep doing it for 10 to 12 times for each arm. Level: Intermediate
Machine Preacher Curls: Fitness equipment required for this exercise is a machine preacher curl machine. Position yourself on the seat by placing your triceps on the preacher pad with your elbows in. Using an underhand grip, grasp the handles to form your starting position. Slowly curl the handles upward by moving only your forearms. Your upper arms remain stationary. Now bring the handles back to the starting point and repeat the movement many times to complete the workout. Level: Intermediate
5. Fat Burning Triceps Workouts
For triceps, we have two exercises with intermediate and advanced difficulty level respectively. These workouts are: close grip bench presses and standing dumbbell triceps extensions.
Close Grip Bench Presses: A bench press machine and barbell are required to carry out this workout. Lie down on the bench and hold the barbell with narrow or shoulder width grip. Lift it up and then lower it to the level of your chest by keeping the elbows close to the body. Repeat the workout 10 to 12 times. Level: Intermediate
Standing Dumbbell Triceps Extensions: Hold a dumbbell with both hands standing with your feet shoulders width apart and raise the dumbbell over your head by extending your arms. You should be holding it in such a way that the resistance sits in your palms with your thumbs in the center. Lower the dumbbell behind your head while keeping the arms close to your head. Going back to the starting position will use your triceps thereby working them effectively. Repeat the exercise many times to achieve desired results. Level: Advanced
6. Fat Burning Quadriceps Workouts
Two beginner level workouts to work quadriceps are given here: leg presses and hack squats.
Leg Presses: For this exercise you need a sled-type leg press machine. By keeping your feet a feet apart, position yourself on the machine and start by bringing your knees towards your chest. While you perform this, the weight platform should lower and held by your legs. Extend your legs again by returning to the starting position and repeat for 8 to 10 times. Level: Beginner
Hack Squats: This workout requires a hack squat machine designed for the quadriceps muscles. Press your back against the pad and place your feet about shoulder width apart. Your back should remain straight throughout the exercise. Start the exercise by squatting down until your thighs are in parallel with the floor and then move back upwards. Repeat this movement many times to complete the workout. Level: Beginner
7. Fat Burning Hamstrings Workouts
For hamstrings, we have selected one intermediate level and one advanced level workout. These are seated leg curls and barbell lunges respectively.
Seated Leg Curls: To carry out this workout you need a hamstring curl machine. Position yourself on the seat with your back straight and your feet just touching the floor. The padded lever will support the back of your legs. Grab the handles and extend your legs so that they are fully straight in front of you. Now pull the lever to the back of your thighs by moving your knees and then return to the starting position. Repeat the same movement many times to effectively work your hamstrings. Level: Intermediate
Barbell Lunges: For this exercise you need a barbell. Hold it behind your neck and rest it across your shoulders. Stretch one of your legs in a lunge position by keeping the other leg in place. First put your heel to the ground and then your forefoot. Bring the worked leg back and repeat the exercise for the other leg. Level: Advanced
8. Fat Burning Abs Workouts
There are many workouts devised to work abs or abdominals. They are divided into three groups: lower abdominal exercises, middle & upper abdominal exercises, and exercises to work the sides. We present here three workouts, one from each group. These exercises are reverse decline crunches, straight arm abdominal crunches, and elbow to knee oblique crunches respectively.
Reverse Decline Crunches: Lie down on a decline bench facing up and grasp the top of the bench with both hands. Using your abs, bring both your legs together in the air and then bring your pelvis up in the direction of your chest. Return to the starting position and then repeat the exercise many times.
Straight Arm Abdominal Crunches: No fitness equipment is required to carry out this workout. Simply lie down on your back with your knees bent and arms resting on either side. Using your abs, do a crunch by extending your arms straight in front of you.
Elbow to Knee Oblique Crunches: Again lie on your back on a flat surface (such as a mat) by keeping your feet flat. By placing your hands behind your head, lift your body in such a way that your elbow and shoulder move across your body and at the same time bring your right knee toward your left shoulder. You should try to bring your elbow and your knee as close as possible. Repeat the same for the other elbow with opposite knee.