Slim down and firm up with these 10 effective weight loss exercises designed to help you burn calories and banish cellulite.
Sucking in your stomach hoping it will magically disappear? Want to fit into that gorgeous dress hanging in your closet? Desperately hoping you can pull off a swimsuit this summer? The only answer to your prayers, which you already know, is exercise. Like the wise say, there's nothing like starting today. Exercising is the best way to burn calories and build muscles, so don't make excuses. Instead, make progress. You need to take care of your body, and only you can make a difference. I'm not telling you it's going to be easy, I'm telling you it's going to be worth it. Look in the mirror, note: that's your competition. You have to do it for yourself.
Since weight loss is more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge, you have to get up every morning and tell yourself "I can do this". You have to be determined to not give up. So get on that sweaty pursuit and check out these 9 weight loss exercises:
1. High Intensity Interval Training
To max out the benefits of your workout, intensity is the key. HIIT i.e. High Intensity Interval Training involves short intervals of exercise at almost your maximum effort, followed by longer recovery periods. The secret to HIIT is in how hard you work during your intense intervals. The result? Your body's fat-burning potential shoots up and the pounds melt away. High-intensity exercise increases the release of growth hormones, which mobilize fat to be used as fuel. So your 20-minute workout ends up burning more calories throughout the day than a long, easy jog around the block. Robin, instructor at Soul to Sole Academy suggests, “HIIT forces your muscles to work harder, burn more fuel, perform better. It's a smart strategy to help you lose weight fast.”
2. Strength Training
It's a misconception that doing weights bulks you up, it in fact also helps you slim down and revs up your metabolism permanently. So head to the weight room, and when you feel like quitting, ask yourself why you started. The secret to shedding pounds is actually to build muscles. Go on, workout with weights. Another option is circuit training, which involves moving quickly from one exercise to the next, and burns 30% more calories than a typical weight workout. It blasts fat and sculpts muscle, burning up to 10 calories a minute.
3. Surya Namaskar
Surya Namaskar, one of the most widely practiced and basic yoga asanas, actually focuses on various parts of the body and work wonders with weight loss. The term literally translates to sun salutation, and comprises a series of 12 different poses encompassed in one including the prayer pose, forward bend and the bhujangasana. It helps strengthen your skeletal system and ligaments. Being a great way to keep the body active, it also aids in reducing stress and anxiety. If you keep breathing in and out during the poses, it helps you lose more weight.
Did you know that if you include 30 minutes of brisk walking to your daily routine you could burn about 150 calories a day? When you want to shed serious weight, walking doesn't even cross your mind. Well, it should. Walking is the easiest weight loss exercise, and low intensity of course. If you're a beginner, start by walking 3 days per week for at least 20 minutes and then gradually increase the frequency and duration of your walks until you are walking 30-60 minutes per day and six times a week. Now put on your walking shoes, turn on the music and walk off your weight.
If the gym isn't your thing, then just dance! Zumba is a feel-good way to improve your fitness and an effective way of incorporating exercise into your daily routine. Zumba is all about loosening up and burning calories. No wonder, it has been found to help relieve stress, increase energy and improve strength. It incorporates vigourous exercise and high intensity movement which helps sculpt the body. Sanaa, the founder of Sole to Soul Academy remarks, "Shake, shake, shrink- that's our motto. Before you know it, you'll be losing tons of calories and yet, your energy levels will be soaring! In the midst of squats, twists, multiple dance routines and upbeat music, you'll actually have fun."
Swimming workouts burn fat, trim inches and help you get stronger, fitter and healthier than ever. Swimming vigorously can burn up to 500-700 calories an hour, whether you do a breaststroke or freestyle. It's a highly effective form of exercise for weight loss and toning. Swimming engages all of the major muscle groups, from your abdominals and back muscles to your arms, legs, hips and glutes. It can be your sole form of fitness but can effectively compliment other exercises like walking and running as well. So go ahead, make a splash, lose weight and feel great.
7. Masala Bhangra
Bid the monotony of exercising goodbye with this ridiculously fun form of dance that blends traditional Bhangra moves with the dynamism of Bollywood beats. You can burn as much as 500 calories per class, and it can be modified to the comfort level of the participant, making it accessible to all ages. Considering your arms do all the dancing, it also strengthens the rotator cuff muscles in your shoulders. All that upper-body action shapes the shoulders, tones arms and sculpts the back. Anyone who's grown up listening to the beat of the dhol, will have their feet tapping to this intense workout.
8. Exercise Those Abs
Bye bye muffin top! Abdominals, a set collectively known as the core includes the many interconnected muscles that run up the back and stretch down to the butt and the front and inner thighs - not just the fat that blooms over the top of your skinny jeans. Here are weight loss exercises that will keep the love handles away:
Crunches - Lie on your back with your knees bent, and your hands behind your head. Lift your shoulders off the floor and curl your legs towards your ribcage; simultaneously. Slowly, return to starting position.
Low Belly Leg Reach - Targets corset and 6-pack area. Lie faceup with knees bent to 90 degrees, hands behind head, and abs contracted. Keeping knees stacked over hips, lift the shoulder and crunch up; inhale and hold for 3-5 seconds. Exhale and extend legs to 45 degrees; hold for 3-5 seconds while squeezing the lower belly. Do 2 sets of 10-15 reps.
Boat Pose - Sit with your feet on the floor, knees bent, hands beneath your knees for support. Keeping your chest lifted and shoulders back, engage your abdominal muscles and raise your lower legs until they are parallel to the floor (your knees should still be bent) and you are balancing on your sitting bones. If this feels comfortable, begin to straighten your legs (stop if you feel any discomfort in your back) and stretch your arms forward. Hold for 5–15 breaths, then release. Repeat up to 5 times.
Planks - Kneel on a mat on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders. Stretch your legs back one at a time to come into a plank position and engage your abdominal muscles. Your body should be long and straight. Press your hands and feet firmly into the mat for support. Hold for 2 minutes, then drop back on all fours. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it. Trust us, your future self will thank you.
Can't get rid of that extra fat around your thighs and butt? Fret not. When you do squats correctly, you engage your entire lower body and your core. Squats are one of the best bodyweight exercises to burn fat from the thighs and glutes, and get your lower body in shape in no time. Squats are popular amongst bodybuilders and athletes, because they work (and how)! Once you get accustomed to the regular type, you can alter the speed, maximise the reps, try new variations like jump squats, barbell squats, pistol squats and challenge yourself.
10. Desi Jam Cardio
Desi Jam Cardio is basically non-stop cardio to non-stop music. Shape up with this mix of Bollywood, Bhangra and Belly Dance - all in one. "You can't even tell you've worked out, it's like a Friday night party where you roughly burn up to 800-1000 calories," says Ms. Vidyalankar, the owner of Soul to Sole Dance Academy. It's a full-muscle workout involving glutes, quads, abdominals, lower back, chest and shoulders. So feel the beat, lose yourself in the movement and dance off your weight! This cardio-centric class should be your new mantra to have some fun.