Fun Workouts for Weight Loss

Posted December 29, 2020

Losing weight is no small feat. Especially when you are dealing with a thyroid problem. There a thousands of fat to fit diet plans, workout regiments, low calorie menus, and pills that advertise immediate weight loss results, but what actually works? What’s the real secret to significant weight loss?

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the true secret to healthy weight loss is the answer we constantly run from — consistent workouts and a healthy diet.

A five-minute magical Youtube workout video is not always going to cut it, and two hour fitness plans do not always fit into our daily schedules. So what does? And how do we find what works for us?

Start with having fun!

Everyone is different and everyone enjoys a different type of workout! If you are enjoying your workout, chances are, you will stick with it! Check out our list below, see what sounds like a blast, or at least doable, and try it out for yourself!

Group Fitness Classes

Some people find that working out in a group setting is more enjoyable and maintainable for them than solo sessions. I personally love group fitness classes because they allow me to mentally “check out“. I don't have to program my workout or think too hard about what I'm going to do. I know that I just have to show up, and the instructor will lead me through the rest.

Many also find that they are able to push themselves harder in a group setting versus when they are working out alone. You can't deny the competitive spirit of humanity!

There are so many types of classes, but all typically follow a circuit style or high intensity interval training (HIIT) approach. Some popular classes are:

Cycling (Spin) Class: Takes place on a stationary bike with varied intensities, resistances, and choreography to Top 40 hits.
Bootcamp Style Class: A fitness boot camp typically combines calisthenic and body weight exercises with interval and strength training. This is a great option to have cardio and strength training combined in one class — be prepared to sweat!
Zumba/Dance Fitness: Zumba is inspired by Latin dance and music and combines choreographed dance and body weight exercises to your favorite music.
Step Aerobics: This is a classic group fitness class that has been around for decades. It involves using a 4- to -2 inch raised platform that is incorporated into the routine. Often times additional weights or equipment are involved to provide a full body workout.
Aqua Aerobics: Aqua aerobics is held in a swimming pool and focuses on improving cardiovascular fitness while simultaneously working your muscles as you are constantly move against the resistance of the water.
All of these workouts are completely different, but elicit the same result: increased cardiovascular fitness.

If you get anything out of this blog series, it should be to stop forcing yourself to suffer through cardio sessions. Instead, focus your efforts on finding a form of cardio fitness that you enjoy. When you enjoy something, you are more likely to stick to it for the long haul. I truly believe there is something out there for everybody, it just takes some trial and error to figure out!

Non-Impact Workouts

Non-impact workouts are a great option for those of you that are looking to begin your fitness journey, or those of us that don't wish to add any additional stress to our joints. These are particularly great options for people with osteoporosis or other orthopedic issues. However, these are also a fantastic workout for anyone interested in getting fit and healthy!

Rowing: Rowing is a seated exercise that engages the whole body and elevates the heart rate. One of the perks of the movement is that it is versatile. You can alternate between intense bursts of work for short periods of time or to use it as a steady state cardio machine.
Cycling: Cycling is an extremely versatile seated exercise that allows you to go for longer distances or shorter high intensity bouts of effort. Cycling emphasizes the use of your lower body muscles. Resistance can be added to elicit even more of a cardiovascular and muscular challenge — and you can even do it in a group setting!
Swimming: Swimming is an amazing full body workout. Perhaps the easiest exercise on your joints, it also engages every muscle in your body. You are constantly moving your body against the resistance of the water, elevating your heart rate and strengthening your muscles, as well as strengthening your lung capacity and breathing techniques.

Steady State Cardio

If fast-paced cardio movements are not for you, you are not alone! If you find that a trail hike, road cycling, or a neighborhood jog is more enjoyable, steady state cardio may be your cup of tea. Steady state cardio is a continuous, steady effort that involves staying in one training zone. This differs from interval training where you transition between high and low intensity zones. Ideally, with steady state cardio, you will hang out in a “middle ground“ in a moderate intensity training zone for the extent of the activity. It should feel challenging, but not impossible to stay in this zone for thirty or more minutes.

How do I know what training zone I'm in?

You are likely in a moderate intensity zone when you can hold a conversation with someone while exercising, but not without difficulty. If you are able to hold a conversation with no issue while exercising, you are probably in a low intensity zone. If it is absolutely impossible to hold a conversation while exercising, that is probably a high intensity zone for you.

Steady State Cardio in the Gym

Treadmill: The treadmill is the most well-known and easily accessible cardio machine around. To manipulate the intensity of your workout to reach the middle ground training zone, either increase or decrease speed — and don't forget to use the incline feature for an extra boost!
Elliptical: This is a great lower impact option. With an elliptical, you manipulate intensity by increasing or decreasing the resistance. There are typically two sets of handlebars: one stationary set to help with balance and a moving set of handlebars that incorporates upper body movement.
Stair Stepper: Ever feel like walking up a flight of stairs sometimes feels like the hardest thing you've ever done? That is because constantly fighting gravity and lifting your body weight is demanding on the lungs and muscles! This is a great cardio option that simultaneously strengthens the muscles in the lower body. Intensity is increased or decreased by manipulating the speed at which the stairs move. Handles are provided to assist with balance if needed. However, try to challenge yourself to not lean or rely on the handle bars

Circuit and HIIT Training

If you find yourself getting bored doing the same thing over and over, circuit training may be your new favorite! Circuit training is a technique that involves a series of different exercises performed in rotation with minimal rest taken between them.

Think of each exercise as its own station. Circuit training is rotating through the stations. The exercises chosen for the circuit are up to preference and ability, there are no “magic exercises.“ You can stick with traditional cardio moves like jumping jacks and jump rope. You can stick with traditional weight lifting moves like lunges and shoulder presses. Or you can blend the two by going from rowing to dumbbell squats! Your workout is up to you!

Many people don't realize that incorporating weights is the best way to elevate the heart rate, not just standalone cardio will get you there.

Here is an example of a circuit training workout.

Step Ups: 1 Minute

Burpees: 1 Minute

Plank Up: 1 Minute

Jump Rope: 1 Minute

Rest: 2 Minutes

Repeat Four Times

Remember: Your only rest should come from the transitions between the movements and the recovery station at the end. Circuit training is an easy technique to manipulate. Adding exercises, shortening station times, and increasing repetitions are all choices you can make to enhance your workout.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT combines short bursts of all out intense exercise with longer periods of rest or very low intensity exercise. An example would be performing an all out sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds followed by 1 minute of walking and repeat that series for 15-20 minutes.

The high intensity burst does not have to be running. It can be other explosive movements such as sprints on a bike, rower, or jump rope, or even the circuit above. The key is making sure you are giving a full out effort.

Whatever workout you choose to do, whether it is to lose weight, get fit, get healthy, or just try something new, remember that getting started is often times the most difficult part. And although it may not seem that way when you're halfway up a hill or have three more exercises until your two minute break, it's important to know that taking the time to better yourself is always worth it.

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