Summer is just around the corner, and you know what that means: It’s time to finally make good on your long-lost New Year’s resolution to shed weight before swimsuit season. Even though warm weather is already fast-approaching, there’s still plenty of time to lose those extra pounds lingering around your waist and thighs.
To make the most of your workouts over the next few weeks or months, here are some exercises that will maximize the number of calories you burn each time you exercise.
When most people want to lose weight, they start running or engaging in frequent aerobic exercises in an effort to burn hundreds of calories. Although cardio is certainly a big part of any weight-loss program, it’s not the only style of exercise that results in weight loss.
If you really want to start seeing the pounds drop off quickly, throw some bodyweight training into the mix. According to experts, building muscles will help boost your metabolism, which then results in fewer calories stored as fat. Therefore, it’s a smart idea to pop into the weight room at least twice a week if you’re hoping to shed a few pesky pounds.
If you're just getting started with strength training, check out our Beginner's Guide to Strength Training video below:
If you’ve ever seen Jillian Michaels’ workout videos, you know she’s a strong proponent of pushups when it comes to increasing your body strength and toning your entire body. According to her website, the more muscle mass you create, the faster your metabolism will be. By just doing a minute of pushups each day, you can start to build more muscle. As a result, you’ll find that your body harbors less fat when you eat. Read on to see a few pushup variations you can add to your workouts.
Begin in pushup position and push your hips back so your torso is nearly vertical. Your hands, arms, and head should be in a straight line. This is pike position. Lower your body until your head nearly touches the floor between your hands and then press back up. That is one rep.
Crossover Pushup on Step
Start in a pushup position with right hand on top of the step and your left hand on the floor. Make sure that your body is in a straight line from head to toe, abs engaged. Perform a pushup. As you push back up, transfer your left hand (the hand that was on the floor) to join your right hand on the step. Place your right hand on the floor and keep left hand on step and perform a pushup. As you push back up, transfer your right hand (the hand that was on the floor) to join your left hand on the step.
Hand Release Pushup
Begin in high plank. Your body should be a straight, diagonal line from your head to your heels. Keeping your core tight and squeezing your glutes, lower your chest completely down to the floor under control, angling your elbows out to no more than 45 degrees. At the bottom of the movement, raise your hands up off the floor slightly by squeezing your shoulder blades together. Place your hand back on the floor and push back up into high plank. That is one rep.
Although any form of cardio is good cardio when it comes to losing weight, there is a way to maximize the effectiveness of a cardio session: intervals. A study done in 2011 revealed that just two weeks of high-intensity intervals can seriously improve your endurance and aerobic activity. The intervals will force your body to work harder, and even after you end the cardio session, your body will continue to burn calories as it rests.
» Try our 20-Minute Beginner Tabata Workout video to work up a sweat and burn serious calories!
According to fitness experts, squats are pretty much the best exercise you can do when it comes to building leg muscles, but lunges are almost as effective. By coupling the two activities, you can quickly start to shed those pounds clinging to your rear and thighs. How? Well, the lunges and squats cause your leg muscles to strengthen, which then increases your metabolism and keeps fat from accumulating in those areas. Plus, your legs will begin to look sculpted and hard as you continue to squat and lunge your way through the spring season. Try our Curtsy Lunge and Squat move to maximize this movement.
Curtsy Lunge and Squat
Begin with a curtsy lunge by standing tall, crossing one foot in front of your body and bending the knees. When you do this, your feet should be far enough away from each other so you can bend the back knee at 90 degrees. Give yourself plenty of space! The crossover should bring your front knee in front of the opposite hip. The hands are in front of the chest to keep it lifted. Step out to the side so your feet are much wider than your shoulders. Dip into your plié squat and raise your arms overhead. Go as low as you can, trying to get your hips in line with your knees. For a bigger challenge, skip standing up as you transition — keep the knees bent and stay low to hold onto the burn! Cross the other leg in front of your body to perform a curtsy lunge on the other side. Again, give yourself enough room between the feet to perform a deep lunge.
Although any weight-loss results will take time to become visible, by adopting these effective workout methods, you’ll start shedding pounds just in time for your next beach vacation. Remember to couple these workouts with healthy eating to truly maximize your results.
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