Life is short, time is limited, so when you’re trying to get in shape and lose the weight, you want to just know which type of workout is best for your goals. You don’t want to mess around with something that’s not going to do the job, you just want to stick with the type of workout that’s best for weight loss, right?
Well, although ANY kind of moderate activity is going to be SUPER helpful (especially if you’re not currently moving much), AND all kinds of exercises are incredibly good for your health and your mood, there are certain type of workouts that are best for weight loss. The heavy hitters of weight loss training involve cardio and resistance training.
I know cardio cops it a bit when it comes to weight loss, but OMG, please don’t rule it out.
Cardio torches calories, is SO great for your heart and lungs, boosts your mood, and is effective for losing fat.
Cardio can be broken down into two sub-types:
Steady state cardio
Steady state cardio
Steady state cardio is any kind of cardio that you do at a steady pace, keeping your heart rate within a certain range.
Steady state cardio is great for your heart and lungs, boosting your mood, improving your endurance, and burning calories.
It’s normally performed at a longer duration (over 20 minutes) at a pace you can sustain (about 60-70% of your maximum capacity), so your heart rate doesn’t normally get as high as it would with, say, HIIT cardio, meaning you won’t burn AS many calories or fat.
BUT steady state cardio certainly has its place – in fact, it has benefits you just can’t get from HIIT. It improves your cardiovascular health in a way HIIT can’t, and it also helps to lower stress.
Running is a popular example of steady state cardio, but it’s not the only one. Brisk walking, cycling, and swimming are also good for steady state cardio, and they’re a lot less impactful on your joints.
HIIT cardio (which stands for “High Intensity Interval Training Cardio”) relies on your anaerobic system, which mostly burns carbohydrate stores for energy, and involves working out at your maximum capacity (90% to 100%) for a very short period of up to 2 minutes, before backing off down to a lower intensity for a long period of time (less than 3 minutes), and repeating.
The idea is to go as hard as your body can possibly manage, then back off until you’ve recovered, and then hitting another burst.
Usually, your body’s only able to sustain this kind of training for a short period before it completely fatigues, so training sessions are brief, only up to a maximum of 20 minutes.
HIIT cardio, or interval training, is the clear winner when it comes to burning fat. Not only does it burn fat during your workout, it’s been shown to increase the rate your body burns calories for up to 48 hours post-workout.
But because HIIT training is SUPER intense, and can often involve plyometric (jumping) or other high impact movements, I really don't recommend it for beginners.
HIIT is better for seasoned exercisers who want to crank it up a notch.
If you’re new to working out, start out with steady state cardio and build up to at least 150 minutes of activity a week, spread out over most, if not all, days of the week.
Don't feel like you have to rush in and break your body with HIIT because all the influencers on Instagram are doing it!
Start where you are! It will be way safer, AND way more sustainable.
Once you’re able to manage this comfortably, and your resting heart rate is down to 60 beats per minute or less, you can start spicing up your cardio sessions with HIIT training. I recommend talking to a qualified fitness trainer, or your doctor, before getting started.
When you are ready to introduce HIIT, start slowly. Switch out just one steady state cardio session for a HIIT workout, and build up to no more than 2 sessions a week with at LEAST 48 hours in between.
HIIT is certainly great for fat loss, but it takes an extreme toll on your body, so it’s important not to overdo it, or combine it with other intense forms of training. This will give your body a chance to recover properly between workouts.
Okay, I LOVE working out with weights, and not just because they make me feel and look like a superhero.
Weight training is especially important for us girls as we get older, because it improves things like bone density, joint strength, posture and even makes your skin look younger – swear.
BUUUT it’s also great for weight loss and shaping your body.
I always say “cardio reduces your size, and your shape is built in the weights room”.
Weight training gives you a moderate intensity workout that helps you burn calories and fat, but it goes so much deeper.
Proper weight training builds lean muscle mass, which gives you a curvy, “toned” physique AND ** drumroll, bonus benefit ** every pound of every lean muscle mass you gain helps your body burn calories.
True story! Muscle weight burns more calories than fat stores, meaning your body has to burn extra calories just to keep you looking strong and curvaceous. Yay!
If you’re ready to get started with weight training, aim for 3 sessions a week that target the whole body. Rather than just doing bicep curls to death, focus on compound movements like squats, push ups, and planks, which work more than one muscle group.
(Happy to help with this in need – comment below if you’d like more info!)
When you’re just starting out on your weight loss journey, ANY kind of regular exercise is going to go a long way in helping you to lose weight, especially if you’re currently not very active. And remember – all forms of exercise have great benefits for your physical and mental health.
BUUUT there are certain kinds of workouts that are especially best for weight loss and these include cardio (BOTH low intensity steady state cardio, and HIIT cardio) and resistance training. A program that combines these two types of workout is a winning formula for weight loss.
Now, onto the Captain's Log for yesterday! P.S. if you're just joining us, I'm on a 90 day journey to transform my health and fitness and I'm bringing you with me! Each day I keep you updated about what I'm eating and how I'm exercising to get into the best shape of my life.
You can catch up on Days 1 through 38 by scrolling to the "Related Articles" section at the bottom of this post.
P.S. If you’d like to build a healthy and fit lifestyle you’re obsessed with, I’ve created a FREE bundle just for you. It’s a series of journal prompts, an .mp3 self love affirmation audio and a eBook designed to help you build healthy habits for life.
Click the button below (or HERE) to get started now. Did I mention it’s completely free?
Putting today’s workout first because we did it first thing in the morning!
Greg and I went for our Sunday swim this morning, the first one back after my jellyfish encounter (no, I didn’t meet any more squishy stingy friends this time).
Ahhh it was bliss. I can’t even explain it to you – sun and sand and fresh, cool seawater, boats going by, seagulls calling – it’s just honestly my happy place.
We had quite a long swim today, about an hour and a half and it was HARD! The tide was rushing out pretty fast, so just to stay where we were, we had to swim furiously against the current.
(P.S. If you’re not a strong or confident swimmer, I don’t recommend this. It can be dangerous. Swim at patrolled beaches between the flags and stick to a depth you feel confident in. Like, my chosen swimming style is doggy paddle or a very bastardised version of breast stroke, so I always made sure I could stand up easily to keep it safe.)
A good swim at the beach is my favourite form of active recovery. It’s so great for your body and your skin and your mental health. I’m 1000 X a happier person after a swim at the beach.
As is tradition, we went for a post-swim brunch at our favourite cafe overlooking the Broadwater and (as is also tradition), I ordered the French toast.
I get maple syrup on the side so the whole thing isn’t just drenched in sugar, and dip as I feel like it. I hardly make a dent in the maple syrup but I still get all the flavour.
It's like my little hack to low(er) calorie French toast.
Because we didn’t brunch until late and then we were out and about, my next meal was dinner. I had the most delicious grilled chicken burrito bowl from Guzman y Gomez.
It was divine!
Although ........... they put coriander in it ?!?!
They’ve never done this to me before.
I just can’t with coriander.
Does anyone else just despise coriander and feel legitimately mad when they find it in their food? Please comment below if “yes”.
Apart from the moment I crunched down on a coriander stalk, I felt like my soul needed this meal. Need to meal prep it again.
And (shock, horror) – no dessert tonight. Dinner was satisfying enough!
Okay, that’s all for today, my glam babies. Let’s huddle it in for the motivation message.
If you had some big plans for yourself today, and they didn’t work out, don’t beat yourself up.
It happens to EVERYBODY.
It’s not going to derail you, and it doesn’t mean you can’t do this.
This journey is about more than just one day and in the grand scheme of things, you’ve been doing amazing, right?
If your kid is learning to walk, you don’t get mad at them when they take a few steps and fall over, right?
No! You cheer for their effort, you reassure them, you pick them up and encourage them forward, because you KNOW they can do this and they will figure it out.
You deserve the same love, support and encouragement from yourself.
Beating yourself up will NOT help you. It will not make things better – I promise.
Instead, focus on the tiny steps forward you made today.
The little moments today where you got closer to your goals.
No matter how small.
Think of three, write them down, and celebrate them.
They’re victories, too.
They moved you closer.
Remind yourself what a great job you’re doing and you will get there, eventually.
And tomorrow? Write down a way you can improve on today by 5%.
Then all you have to do is believe in yourself.
Tomorrow is another day, full of the promise of a fresh start.
Celebrate your wins today, and commit to doing an even better job tomorrow.
Then go out there and get ‘em, superstar. I know you can.
Until tomorrow, keep shining bright.
- Xo, rhi
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