Hearty exercise sessions are not always necessary to lose weight effectively. Shorter periods of exercise can be just as good, if not better. But which exercises are the most effective for weight loss? This guide will help to figure that out.

Doing cardio exercises helps burn a lot of calories. However, to lose weight, it is better to do a combination of cardio and strength exercises.

If you are working out intensely but not seeing the results you want, you may need to focus on building muscle. This is because muscle tissue is metabolically active, meaning that it burns calories even when you are at rest. A good way to get cardio and strength training in one workout is interval training, which is reported by experts to be one of the best ways to burn fat.

The Benefits of Interval Training

Interval workouts, which alternate between short bursts of intense effort and periods of lower intensity or rest, are a way to reap the benefits of cardio and strength while maximizing your calorie burn in a short amount of time. Your body’s metabolism is reset to a higher rate during your workout when you work out with intervals, so it takes hours for your body to cool down again. This is known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). That means you burn calories long after you’ve finished your workout compared to doing a workout at a continuous moderate pace (a.k.a. LISS), according to a 2017 study from the European Journal of Applied Physiology.

If you’re looking to promote weight loss, intervals are a great way to do it. According to Chris Ryan, one of the founding trainers at MIRROR, a lot of weight loss is mental, and intervals are a great way to stay motivated.

Here are some of the best exercises for weight loss: If you want to lose weight, you should try working out in intervals. For example, you can do the exercise for 30 seconds every minute and rest for the remaining 30 seconds. As you progress, you can increase your time to 45 seconds of activity and 15 seconds of rest. Remember, you want to be working at your maximum—leaving you out of breath by the end of that interval.

If you want to interval train to increase your metabolism and lose weight, here are some of the best exercises to do.

Best Exercises for Weight Loss


Whether you love it or hate it, running is one of the best and simplest ways to burn calories. You don’t need a treadmill to do it, just lace up your shoes and hit the road. Running in intervals will help make the minutes and miles go by quickly. Run in fartleks, which means speed play in Swedish, where you pick up the pace every other street lamp or hydrant you hit, and then slow down after you pass the next one.

You can burn the most calories while running by mixing up your workouts, says Natalie Dorset, a running coach in New York. Varying the speed and type of runs you do will keep your body from becoming too used to any one workout.

Sprinting can help build core strength and can be done in short bursts at a high intensity. It’s also good for conditioning your body to handle stress.

A Fartlek sprinting routine may help improve your running ability. The routine consists of a 5-minute jog, followed by 10-second sprint intervals alternated with 50-second moderately-paced jogs. After 15 minutes of this, end with a 5-minute jog. As you get stronger, you can try increasing the sprint effort to 20 seconds with 40 seconds of jogging.

Jump Rope

If the last time you used a jump rope was in grade school, you should start using it again. This workout can help you burn up to 318 calories (for a 140-pound woman) every 30 minutes. Not only does this benefit your heart, but other muscles as well.

Jumping rope is a workout for your whole body. Your leg muscles, like your quads and glutes, work hard to help you jump up and your core muscles help you stay balanced and upright as you land. Jumping rope also works your arms and shoulders a little bit because they have to stay stiff as the rope moves around your wrists.

Dorset says that there are many benefits to jumping rope including burning calories, improving cardiovascular health, toning your body, and improving coordination. Additionally, jumping rope can help build power and lower your risk of injury.

This Crossrope routine consists of 60 seconds of freestyle jump roping, followed by 30 seconds of mountain climbers. Return for 60 seconds of freestyle jump roping, and end with 30 seconds in a plank. Rest for 2 minutes and repeat the cycle. Complete 3 rounds.

Low-Intensity Cardio

Low-intensity cardio workouts are a great way to burn calories and lose weight, no matter what your fitness level is, according to fitness expert Jennifer Blackburn. Some examples of low-intensity cardio exercises include jogging, cycling, power walking, or a fun cardio dance class. Once you get stronger, you can add more intensity to your workout by doing things like adding light weights to a cycle class, power walking on a treadmill with an incline, or adding intense bursts of work for 30 seconds with a 30-second rest. Blackburn recommends doing these type of workouts four to five days a week for 45 to 60 minutes.

Mountain Climbers

Edwards states that mountain climbers are great for fat loss and gaining stability and strength. To do them, start in a plank position and alternate driving your knees into your chest. For weight loss, Edwards suggests aiming for 20 a day, five days per week.

Strength Workouts

According to Jonathan Tylicki, a master trainer and director of education for AKT, cardio is great for burning calories at the moment, but strength is good to increase your metabolism and burn more calories over time. He explains that a metabolic increase happens because you have added muscle tissue, which requires the body to use more energy, increasing caloric burn. Tylicki suggests incorporating a low-impact strength workout that works large and small muscle groups into your weekly routine.


Chris Pabon, a trainer with FlexIt.Fit, says that while yoga may not be seen as a great fat-burning workout, it is a fantastic addition to anyone’s workout regimen. He explains that yoga teaches you how to control your body, your breathing, and focus your mind on the task at hand, which are all skills that will carry over into any type of weight lifting, cardio-centric session, and everyday life, making those workouts more productive as well. Pabon also notes that yoga is great for your recovery.

TRX Bodyweight Workout

A TRX Bodyweight workout is great for weight loss, says certified fitness trainer Jessica Mazzucco. The TRX Suspension System is a great low-impact workout that uses your body weight against gravity and challenges your muscles in a different way than traditional bodyweight training. Many gyms have TRX stations, or you can order the bands online.

Here is an example of a TRX workout that Mazzucco recommends:

  • Squat to row (3 sets of 12)
  • Push up (3 sets of 12)
  • Reverse lunge(3 sets of 12, each leg)
  • Tricep press (3 sets of 12)
  • Hamstring curl (3 sets of 12)
  • Mountain climber (3 sets of 12)
  • Side Plank Dip (3 sets of 12, each side)
  • You can do workouts with the TRX 3 times a week.

Kettlebell Workout

“Kettlebell workouts help you burn a lot of calories, which can lead to weight loss,” says Mazzucco. “Plus, you build muscle while you’re working out, which gives your metabolism a boost. That means you’ll continue to burn calories even after you finish your workout.” She recommends doing a kettlebell workout three to four times per week for the best results.

She recommends starting with the following routine:

  • KB Swing (3 sets of 20)
  • KB single arm row (3 sets of 12)
  • KB Goblet squat (3 sets of 12)
  • KB Shoulder Halo (3 sets of 12)
  • KB Single leg deadlift (3 sets of 12)
  • KB Standing single arm press (3 sets of 12)

Zadok observed that kettlebell swings, when done correctly, can help to burn calories as well as stimulate some muscle movement. According to Zadok, a common mistake people make is treating the swing like a squat. Instead of using your legs to bend and lower yourself, you should hinge at your hips and bring the kettlebell forward with a powerful thrust through your hips. This movement should be done with force, not by using your arms, but by contracting your glutes as you come forward.


Tommy Dibernardo, a personal trainer and retired professional MMA fighter, says that boxing is a great way to lose weight. He explains that it is one of the highest burning calorie cardiovascular exercises. He emphasizes that when trying to lose fat, burning the proper calories is a must. He says that even a short session of boxing can help burn calories. He adds that shadowboxing using dumbbells can help burn even more calories.


According to Harley Pasternak, a celebrity trainer and chief fitness advisor at FORME Life, walking is one of the best forms of physical activity for weight loss. Walking does not require any special equipment and can be done anywhere at any time. Pasternak also says that most of the calories burned while walking come from fat rather than carbohydrates. Additionally, the rate of perceived exertion while walking is very low, so people are more likely to do it more often and for longer periods of time.

Swimming Laps

Pasternak states that swimming is an excellent method of calorie burning because it engages so many muscle groups without causing strain on the joints. If you wish to ramp up your intensity, try using webbed gloves or flippers while swimming.


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Rhoda is an award-winning dietitian, mature age model, and CEO of Sayvana Women.  

She is the creator of the Elegant Eating Solution, an affordable program that helps women avoid weight regain and feel great about themselves, without restrictive eating.

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