Increasing your overall fitness is a great way to lose weight and keep it off. Working out can often seem like a chore, so we encourage our readers to try out several different classes or other workout programs in order to mix things up and find out what works for you. There is no wrong way to exercise as long as you get up, get moving, and get your heart rate up. However, if weight loss is your primary goal, not all exercise is created equal. In fact, some of the most common types of exercise are not optimized for weight loss. If your primary goal is to lose weight, avoid these 4 workouts and instead focus on incorporating more resistance training in your weekly program.
Workout to Avoid #1: Marathon Cardio Sessions
You might be surprised to learn that marathon cardio sessions are really not a great way to lose weight. Many people think that getting their heart rate into the “fat burning zone” and staying there is the best way to lose weight. However, this has actually been proven to be a relatively ineffective weight loss tool. It is better to do more intense cardio sessions for shorter periods of time than to do a longer session that is only moderately intense. This is because high intensity workouts will keep your metabolism up for 12-24 hours after your workout ends, burning more calories over the course of the day.
You will also want to avoid strenuous cardio sessions right before you lift weights. While cardio can be a great warmup, a long, intense cardio session will leave you exhausted, increasing your risk of injury and decreasing the effectiveness of your resistance training. After all, you will not be at your best for your strength training if you are already tired from the treadmill.
Workout to Avoid #2: Yoga
While practicing yoga can have some great long term health benefits, it is not the best way to boost your metabolism and burn calories. The slow, steady pace of yoga is excellent for improving balance and flexibility but it will not burn fat at the same rate as other, more intense exercise classes. If your main goal is weight loss, you should look elsewhere for your workout program. On the other hand, if your goal is overall health, meditation, and stress relief, then a yoga class can be a solid addition to your weekly routine.
Workout to Avoid #3: CrossFit
While CrossFit is an extremely popular workout program, it is not recommended for those that are simply looking to lose weight. Most CrossFit workouts are designed for individuals that are already in good physical condition. This is one of the reasons that CrossFit is so popular – everyone loves a challenge – but for a novice athlete, these intense workouts can quickly lead to burnout or injury.
It is much better to find something you can stick with than to start an intense program that will quickly leave you feeling defeated. If you are new to fitness and looking to lose weight, it is advisable that you implement a more gradual workout program rather than going from zero to CrossFit.
Workout to Avoid #4: Spin Class
Many spin classes, or indoor cycling routines, fall under the same umbrella as CrossFit. While experienced athletes love spin classes, many novice athletes struggle to keep up with the pace. It can be easy to become discouraged when you are hot tired, and hungry. Long, sustained cardio sessions, such as a spin class or a “fat burning” workout on the treadmill, can leave you feeling hungry without significantly boosting your metabolism. For this reason, we recommend resistance training instead of cardio if you are trying to lose weight.
Resistance training tends to get a bad reputation when it comes to weight loss. After all, gaining muscle mass will actually cause you to gain weight, right? While this is true on some level, the benefits of resistance training far outweigh the minimal weight gain caused by increased muscle mass. Resistance training, such as lifting weights, improves muscle tone and increases lean mass.
One of the main benefits of increasing your muscle mass is that lean muscle burns calories simply by existing. That’s right, increasing your lean muscle mass will increase your BMR, or base metabolic rate. This will keep you burning calories and losing weight long after your workout is over.
Balancing cardio with resistance training is the key to putting together an exercise program that will encourage weight loss and improve your overall health and fitness. For more tips about how to workout and when, browse our website or check out our other blog posts.