Breaking It Down
At its simplest form, to lose weight, you must metabolize (i.e. burn, use up) more fats than you consume. This means that if you do not want to go on a diet (let’s face it, who does), you CAN lose weight through exercising instead. The key to being able to lose weight by exercising alone lies in ensuring that you are using the right types of exercises and that you are exercising on a regular basis.
There are a lot of exercises out there, but no surprise, some exercises are actually better at increasing weight rather than losing it. By using the wrong type of exercises, you could end up gaining weight (i.e. muscle) rather than losing it. When it comes to losing weight by exercising, consistency is critical. To be successful, you will need to make exercising a regular part of your life. Once the exercises are chosen then all that is left is to determine the intensity at which you do each exercise in order to get the results you want to achieve.
In order to lose weight faster, try to go for aerobic exercise because aerobic exercises require oxygen for energy production. Regular aerobic exercise helps to increase your metabolism, they improve your cardio-respiratory endurance, as well as increase the ability of your heart and lungs. Obviously, our goal to lose weight is heavily reliant on increasing our metabolism. Given their low barrier to entry (i.e. no cost of weight lifting equipment), bodyweight exercises are your preferred choice. Common bodyweight exercises include push-ups, chin-ups, lunges, sit-ups, squats, dips, and crunches. Each of these types of exercises will target specific muscle groups throughout your body.
The common bodyweight exercises
- Inchworm: In this exercise, you stand up tall with your legs straight and let your fingers hit the floor. While keeping your legs straight, slowly lower your torso toward the floor, and then walk your hands forward.
- Push-ups: You can do push-ups either on your knees (easier) or from the full plank posture (harder), based on your strength. When performing push-ups, you want to lower your body to the ground by bending arms in one controlled movement. Thrust your body up until your arms are once again straight. Both upper and lower body has to be kept straight throughout this movement to get the greatest benefit as well as to avoid the risk of injury.
- Squats: This full body exercise works primarily on the muscles of the hips, thighs, and buttocks. One of the most time-efficient ways of burning more calories is by gaining more muscles. In this exercise, you stand with your feet parallel and turned out ~ 15 degrees. From there start to crouch by bending your hips until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your heels should not rise off the floor. Press through your heels to go back to a standing position. That is one rep.
- Sit-ups: This is a quick way to get stronger abdominal muscles while at the same time oxidizing fats. This is done by reclining with your back touching the floor. Have your knees curved and the balls of your feet and heels positioned flat on the ground. Place your hands on opposing shoulders, so that your hands are crossed over your chest to give a central rising position. Using only your stomach muscles, slowly raise your upper body to a near vertical position. From there, slowly lower yourself back down to the ground.
- Lunges: These are a fundamental bodyweight exercise done in sets of eight or more per leg. Great for the legs as well as the core set of muscles.
- Chin-ups: These are done by hauling yourself up off the floor so that your face is more or less at par with the chin-up bar. This one is tough so to begin with, you may want to stand on a chair just below the bar. Doing this will allow you to take some of the weight off your arms and place it onto your legs. Over time you can eventually eliminate the need for a chair. Chin-ups are usually done with your palms facing you thus employing both your biceps and pectoral muscles.
- Pull-ups: Similar to chin-ups, but done with your palms facing away from you. They are a bit more difficult then push-ups because you are relying more on your triceps than your biceps.
So What Are You Waiting For?
To start off with, try choosing only a few of the above exercises and let your body get used to them. Over time, you can add on more of the exercises until you get to the point where you have each of them incorporated into a workout routine. You will be amazed at how powerful body weight exercises are in helping you to lose weight by exercising.