How to Lose Body Fat With 10 Easy Workouts
You're hitting the gym and staying generally active, but there's some stubborn body fat hanging around on your hips or belly. You just need to shift your exercise habits a bit to shape up those troublesome spots.
Add 30 minutes of cardio to your daily workout routine
If your workout style includes plenty of lifting but not a lot of sweating, certified personal trainer and fitness director Clarence Hairston says you’re missing out on the fat-busting benefits of cardio. Running, fast walking, swimming, cycling, and other faster-moving activities raise your heart rate, leading you to burn more calories than the steady moves of strength training. “Try changing speeds and adding inclines to burn fat even faster,” he says. Check out the best exercise bikes to stay active year-round.
Alternate lunges with push-ups
These moves might not seem complicated or even that impressive, but Hairston says that lunges combined with push-ups are one of the most effective ways to get rid of unwanted pounds. He suggests alternating 12 lunges and 12 push-ups for three sets every other day. “These two simple workouts will help sculpt muscle, giving you a more toned and lean figure. You can use this as a way to start your workout routine or as a little extra burner at the end to give you that cherry-on-top finish,” he says. If you’re looking for more tips on how to lose body fat, check out these 38 foods that help you burn fat.
Try HIIT workouts
Personal fitness coach Adam Gray-Hayward says that HIIT—high-intensity interval training—workouts are an effective way to lose body fat. This approach to cardio has you push yourself hard for a short period of time—say, 20 seconds—and then actively rest to catch your breath, up to twice as long as the intense part when you first start. You repeat the pattern for 20 to 30 minutes. If you’re a walker, break into a fast walk or a jog for 20 to 30 seconds, then slow down for 30 to 60 seconds, then repeat. “The constant elevated heart rate ensures that the body is in a fat-burning state,” says Gray-Hayward. “They help boost your metabolism and you’ll continue to burn calories even after your workout.” If you can’t get to five, no biggie: Gray-Hayward says in just three sets, you will activate the glutes, core, and thighs. Learn more about the benefits of HIIT training.
Go for a 45-minute walk every day
You don’t need to count your steps—just watch the clock, advises Gray-Hayward. Doing this in addition to your other activities will help your body learn how to lose body fat, he says. If you can squeeze in your walk before your workday—and before you eat breakfast—it’s that much more impactful. “This walk wakes up your metabolism first thing in the morning, putting you in a fat-burning state all day,” he shares. Find out how many calories you’re really burning during your favorite workout class.
Focus on total-body movements
If you’re breaking up your strength routine into “leg days,” “arm days,” and “ab days,” reconsider, says certified strength and conditioning specialist Tyler Spraul. Total body movements—exercises that involve multiple groups of muscles at once—not only give you a better workout in less time, but you also train your muscle groups to work together. “You’re building strength, not just through a single muscle group, but through your core as well,” he adds. Work with a personal trainer who can design a routine that hits all of your areas with effective movements and helps you stay focused on burning fat. (Just avoid doing any of these moves fitness trainers wish you’d stop doing.)
Seek activities you enjoy
It seems like a no-brainer, but the more you enjoy exercising, the more likely you are to keep it up. If you’re not a fan of running and force yourself to jog daily, it’ll feel like a chore and you’ll eventually find a reason to stop. Spraul says that outdoor activities like biking, swimming, and kayaking often feel less like exercise and more like something you look forward to. When it comes to figuring out how to lose body fat, Spraul says, “the key to burning fat—even with easy workouts—is to take it one day at a time and build healthy habits that you can stick to consistently. Trying to rush your results will increase the likelihood that you will ‘rebound’ back in the wrong direction.” Read what these 13 people reveal about the one thing that finally made them love exercise.
Take the stairs
Is your office on the eighth floor? Does the mall have stairs next to the escalator? It’s easy to push a button or step on the moving stairs and arrive unchallenged, but you’re passing up a great opportunity to lose body fat, says personal trainer Ambyr Chatzopoulos. You can take it a step further by doing some simple stair routines: You could try hopping up the stairs, two feet at a time, go up sideways, or take the steps two at a time. On a flight of, say, ten steps, do each move for 45 to 60 seconds. Take a short break and run through it again. “This is an incredible fat-burning workout because it gets your heart rate going like you wouldn’t believe,” she says. “As you start to get tired and you find it more difficult to get up the stairs, focus on driving your arms forward and backward.”
Do squats every single day
Shape up your rear with this tried-and-true move, certified personal trainer Jill McKay, creator of Narrow Road Fitness, suggests. And if you can manage it, try squat jumps: After sinking down—taking care to keep your spine straight, eyes ahead, and not let your knees extend past your toes—spring upward, then repeat. “Jumping squats just add a bit of explosion from the deep-knee-bend squat position to really get your heart rate up,” she explains. These moves help burn fat for a few reasons: They push you out of your comfort zone, elevate your heart rate, and leave you with an “afterburn”—your metabolism stays elevated—after your workout, she says. Find out how many squats it takes to begin to see results.
Work on your push-up game
Before you claim you can’t do a single push-up, remember that everyone feels this way before they build up their strength. Physical therapist Lauren Lobert, DPT, OMPT, CSCS, believes that this difficult move is among the most powerful things to do when you’re focusing on how to lose body fat because it engages your entire body and requires a high amount of concentration. “This will strengthen your shoulders and arms as long as you do enough repetitions to achieve muscle fatigue or failure. Some tips to make push-ups easier include putting your hands on an elevated surface like a bench, table, or even standing facing the wall. You can also do them from a modified plank position, which is on your knees,” she says. For fat-burning results, try a 30-day challenge in which you set the goal of doing 30 push-ups by the end of the month. Also check out these 30 simple ways to burn fat fast.
Try cardio circuits
Head trainer and nutritionist at IdealFit Lindsey Mathews points out that cardio circuits can be a fun way to reap the benefits of cardio without succumbing to boredom. If you’re trying to figure out how to lose body fat, she suggests four body-weight moves—like mountain climbers, skaters (sliding from side to side), and burpees—and do each one for 30 to 60 seconds, followed by a short rest for 20 to 30 seconds. Best of all, the time will go by quickly. “When you are enjoying your workout, you will push yourself harder and won’t watch the clock the entire time,” she recommends. “This allows for continued weight loss by longer adherence to your workout program. Make sure you choose moves that you enjoy and feel free to mix it up often to keep yourself interested.” Burn even more fat every day with these 50 simple ways to boost your metabolism.
- Clarence Hairston, certified personal trainer, Bay Clubs.
- Adam Gray-Hayward, personal fitness coach.
- Tyler Spraul, certified strength and conditioning specialist.
- Ambyr Chatzopoulos, personal trainer, Basking Ridge, NJ.
- Jill McKay, creator of Narrow Road Fitness.
- Lauren Lobert, DPT, OMPT, CSCS, in Brighton, Michigan.
- Lindsey Mathews, head trainer and nutritionist at IdealFit.