When it comes to weight loss, a lot of people focus on cardio. But while cardio is important, it’s not the only thing you need in your workout routine. You also need strength training! That’s why we put together this full body workout for weight loss women.
Strength training helps build muscle and burn fat at the same time, which means you’re getting two things done at once. It also keeps your metabolism high even after your workout is done, which will help keep those pounds off for good!
This routine is designed specifically for women who want to slim down quickly and get more toned. It’ll help you lose weight fast—and keep it off long-term.
Right here on Buy and Slay, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on best cardio for weight loss at home, best fat burning exercises at home, exercises to lose weight in 10 days, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.
Home Workout For Weight Loss And Muscle Gain
If you’re dedicating valuable time in your day to sweat, and if weight loss is a goal of yours, you want to know it’s actually worth your time. When it comes to the best weight loss exercises, though, the confusion is real. Some people say cardio is the ultimate calorie-burner, while other swear by strength training. Well, it’s time to set the record straight.
It’s true that people tend to expend more calories while doing cardio, like running, compared to lifting weights, says physical therapist and fitness coach Laura Miranda, CSCS, DPT. “But anaerobic workouts (think weights) keep our excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), or post-workout calorie-burn, going from hours to days,” she explains.
The reason weight training has this prolonged calorie-burning effect? When you work at that higher intensity, your body needs more oxygen afterward in order to recover and repair muscles, Miranda says. By choosing exercises that ramp up that after-burn effect, “you get more bang for your buck in the long-term,” she says. “Muscle is the most metabolically active tissue, so the more of it we have, the more effective we are at burning calories all day long.”
But just how many cals you torch depends on multiple factors, like how much you weigh (the more you weigh, the more calories you burn doing any particular task) and just how all-out you go. That said, certain workouts do generally burn more than others. This list ranks the top 9 trainer-backed weight loss exercises by calories torched. (FYI: Calorie burn is estimated for a 125-pound person and a 185-pound person, per American Council on Exercise estimates.)
1. Jumping Rope
The burn: 667–990 calories/hour (jumping at 120 skips per minute)
Yep, this blast from your playground past is a total torcher. Plus, “jumping rope is great for developing coordination, calf and ankle strength, core strength, posture, and cardiovascular endurance,” says Gabbi Berkow, a personal trainer and nutritionist. “It also helps build bone density, which guards against bone loss, osteoporosis, and bone loss.”
Ideally, the best way to start jumping rope is to go slow and do it in 20- to 30-second bursts, Berkow suggests. Once you’ve mastered that flick-of-the-wrist and your timing, work on increasing your speed and duration to burn more calories.
For a full-body workout challenge, give this calorie-torching jump rope workout from Carrie Underwood’s trainer a try. (It helped her score those iconic legs!)
Bonus burn: Use a weighted jump rope to engage your arms and shoulders even more.
The burn: 639–946 calories/hour
Whether you’re on a tread, at a track, or on the sidewalk, charging ahead at top speeds during a sprint workout is guaranteed to rev that inner engine.
“Sprinting is a maximal effort that requires a lot of power from your glutes and hamstrings,” says Berkow. By alternating between maximal efforts and recovery periods, you build cardiovascular endurance and promote fat-burning, she adds.
To make the most of your efforts, “you want to sprint at a pace you can only maintain for about 20 seconds,” Miranda says. “Follow that with a recovery run at half of the intensity but double the time.”
Bonus burn: To kick up the heat, take your sprints up a hill or up stairs and you also fight against gravity, which increases the intensity even more..
Miranda recommends starting with 10 to 15 stairs at a time. Once you’ve found your groove, you can even take two steps at a time to amp up the power required of each stride, suggests Berkow.
The burn: 582–864 calories/hour
“Kickboxing works your upper body and core without a lot of impact to your legs, so it’s great if you can’t jump or have knee pain while jumping,” says Berkow. Plus, kickboxing has been shown to improve cardio, strength, agility, balance, coordination, upper body fitness, and aerobic power, per research published in Muscles, Ligaments, and Tendons Journal. And, let’s be real: Hitting something is seriously stress-relieving.
To get started, you’ll want to learn common boxing moves (like jabs, crosses, uppercuts, and hooks) and be ready to incorporate squats, lunges, and ducks. Pro tip: Learn the handwork before you start the footwork, and decrease rest times between sets.
Bonus burn: Turn up the intensity by resting for just 30 seconds for every 90 seconds of sparring.
The burn: 568–841 calories/hour
“Cycling is great for no impact-cardio and for strengthening your knees and hamstrings,” says Berkow. “It’s an excellent form of cardio if you have knee pain with running or are recovering from knee issues.” In addition to improving both aerobic and anaerobic function, doing intervals on an exercise bike has also been shown to be particularly effective for reducing body fat, per research published in the Journal of Education and Training Studies.
For best results, “make sure you maintain good posture (chest up, shoulders back and down, and a flat back) as you cycle,” says Berkow. From there, “adding sprint intervals at fast paces and recovery intervals and a moderate pace will burn more calories and yield a greater after-burn than a steady state ride.”
Bonus burn: Try an instructor-led spin class to guarantee you’ll hit those intervals hard. If cycling alone, alternate between one minute of high-intensity effort and 30 seconds at a calmer pace.
The burn: 566–839 calories/hour (10-minute mile pace)
One major reason running is such an effective weight loss exercise? In addition to working the large muscles in your legs, it’s high-impact. “You have to push your body weight off of the ground with every stride,” says Berkow.
If you’re just getting started (or if running at a steady pace bothers your ankles or knees), opt for intervals of runs, alternating with intervals of light jogging or walking. “If you are new to running, use a 1:2 work to rest ratio, or recover for twice as long as you run,” Berkow recommends.
Bonus burn: Run at a strong, steady pace (a 7 out of 10 effort), and you’ll continue to burn extra calories over the rest of the day.
6. Kettlebell Circuits
The burn: 554–822 calories/hour
Haven’t hopped on the KB train yet? “Kettlebell circuits or complexes (sequence of movements you perform without putting your weight down) are my favorite calorie-burning exercise because they work both strength and cardio,” says Berkow. “You’re lifting weights in a way that keeps your heart rate up the whole time, so you build muscle and burn fat!”
Yep, working with kettlebells consistently has been shown to both improve overall strength and boost your metabolism, according to findings published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
The key to KB success: “Include a squat, swing, push, pull, and core move in order to work your entire body,” says Berkow. Personal trainer Noam Tamir, CSCS, recommends alternating between upper- and lower-body movements so you can keep going for longer before fatiguing.
If you’ve never done a kettlebell complex before, try this: Perform a kettlebell deadlift to squat clean, then a kettlebell push press, and repeat. (You can also pick and choose some other moves from the best kettlebell exercises.)
Bonus burn: Perform your kettlebell magic HIIT-style, working for one minute, resting for 30 seconds, and repeating.
The burn: 481–713 calories/hour (150 watts, which you can check on the machine)
“Rowing works your entire body—glutes, hamstrings, back, core, hips, and arms,” says Berkow. “It’s great for strengthening your posterior chain, a.k.a., the back of your body.”
Since it lights up all of your muscles, rowing gets your heart pumping and supports muscle-building. The result: Rowing can help you shed body fat and rev your metabolism, according to research published in the Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine.
Of course, proper form is key (and easy to miss): As you start each pull, “your legs push back first, then your torso leans back to about 45 degrees, and then your arms pull into your chest,” Berkow says. To reverse the movement, your arms reach forward past your knees, then you hinge your torso forward, and then your legs return to the starting position.”
Bonus burn: For maximum torching power, alternate super-fast, one-minute rowing intervals with 30- to 60-second active rest periods of squats, pushups, and planks.
8. Loaded Kettlebell Carries
The burn: 476–705 calories/hour
“Kettlebell (or dumbbell) carries are one of the best exercises you can do for your core and posture,” says Berkow. Kettlebell carries are a total-body move and can help build serious strength, especially if you keep upping your weights over time.
To really burn calories, “your weights should be heavy enough that you feel like you have to lead with your glutes,” Berkow explains. “Hold the weights at your sides with shoulders down and back, chest open, lats engaged, abs tight, glutes squeezing, and shoulders and hips square.”
Bonus burn: Try Miranda’s 3-in-1 carry burner by walking as far as you can with weights extended up overhead, then as far as you can with weights on shoulders, and then as far as you can with weights down at sides. Rest for a minute, then repeat.
The burn: 452–670 calories/hour (77 steps per minute)
If sprinting up stairs just doesn’t appeal (or sounds like a banged shin just waiting to happen), you can walk your way up and still burn the calories necessary to support weight loss.
“Stairs burn a ton of calories and work your legs and hips, which are muscles that really need to be strengthened after sitting all day,” says Berkow. In addition to promoting fat loss, stair-climbing can help lower cholesterol and boost your anaerobic fitness, according to research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Bottom line: Whether you’re working the StairMaster or running steps around town, à la Rocky, stair-climbing forces you to work against gravity and strengthen your muscles.
Bonus burn: To up the ante, hold light dumbbells in each hand to get your upper body fired up, too. Or, starting taking to steps at a time.
Best Cardio For Weight Loss At Home
orking out from the comfort of your own home can be a real godsend, saving you on both travel time and costly gym memberships. Still, as appealing as it sounds, it can be tricky to work out effectively, especially if you’re not blessed with a large living space — something that’s especially true for cardio workouts.
With a bit of creativity and know-how, it is possible to do an effective cardio workout at home. In fact, there’s a wide range of indoor cardio exercises that’ll do the trick in 30 minutes or less — plus, you’ll burn calories, strengthen muscles, and aid your weight loss or weight management goals. Keep reading and we’ll reveal all.
Below are some of the best cardio workouts to do at home — anytime, anywhere. Try these exercises in the morning (or whenever you have some free time), and you’ll be energized and empowered throughout your day. If you scroll down to the end, you’ll see we even threw in an 8fit-inspired cardio HIIT workout routine.
What is cardio exercise?
Cardio exercise, in essence, is a form of aerobic exercise that ups your heart rate, but intensity and length can vary depending on stamina and activity. Cardio activity gets our heart-rate up, as to pump more oxygen-rich blood all around our body and deep into your cells. This helps improve stamina, reduce the risk of heart disease, build muscular endurance and eliminate toxins to name a handful of positive physiological effects. The origins of the word cardio come from “cardiovascular” or “cardiorespiratory” training — which relates to our heart muscle and, just like any muscle you exercise, working it regularly will make it stronger.
Cardio helps with weight loss as it makes our muscles more efficient at consuming the available oxygen. So, as we become fitter, our muscles burn fuel more easily and we can then exercise longer and longer i.e. increase our stamina.
Best cardio workouts to do at home
Along with elements taken from HIIT training, the 8fit team put together some of our favorite cardio activities that’ll get your heart rate going — also demonstrating just how easy and effective it can be to do a cardio workout at home.
- Cardio kickboxing: This all-in-one activity pushes you on every level. The rapid movements involved don’t just get you sweating and shedding those pounds, kickboxing also improves balance, coordination and even flexibility. In addition to all this, the stress relief it affords and the fact that you’re learning self-defense are pretty rad reasons to kickbox. On top that, regular sessions can increase your energy levels. So why not try it first thing in the morning and channel your inner Rocky Balboa in front of the mirror?
- Dance: It doesn’t get more fun than dancing, and while you’re having oodles of fun serving up some fierce dance moves, you’re getting in a whole-body workout that burns as many calories as jogging. Though running and cycling are great workouts, they only target a specific part of your body — your legs. Also, as dance moves often require alternating between arms, legs, and glutes, the core is almost always engaged. Plus, few breaks means it’s one of the most fat-burning workouts around (now you know why dancers are so lean and toned). So, even if you don’t have the moves like Jagger, put that music on full blast and let loose!
- Jump rope: Skipping rope is cheap, cheerful and calorie-burning! You probably remember this activity from your childhood, but how about giving it a go now? Jumping rope requires a lot of coordination and engages your arms, shoulders, back, quads, and abs at all times, and if you sneak in a few tricks, you can even target more muscles than that. The exercise is best suited to a big living room or a small garden. Make sure to move any objects from the vicinity and do not try this near small children or pets. Oh, and watch out for light fixtures and ceiling fans!
- Stair climber: Another great cardio workout at home and an exercise that burns a ton of calories while building muscle and power is stair-climbing. Pushing that body up against gravity means you work on those legs in a functional way, which doesn’t have the same potentially damaging impact on your knees as running jogging. And since every staircase will eventually come to an end, you can rest as you walk back down – it’s a HIIT exercise in disguise. So get up those office building or house stairs now!
Count: One every time you return to start position
Muscles involved: Calves, quads, hamstrings, core, lats and shoulders
- Stand with your feet together and arms at your sides
- In one motion, jump your feet out to sides and your raise arms above your head
- Immediately reverse the motion back to starting position
- Keep your arms straight at all times
- Stay light on your feet and jump as quietly as possible
Count: One every time you return to start position
Muscles involved: Core, glutes, quads, calves, hamstrings, chest and triceps
- Begin standing, then squat down and place your hands on the floor outside by your feet
- Keeping your hands planted, jump your feet behind and land with straight legs
- Lower yourself down until your chest touches the floor with your elbows tight to your body
- Briefly keep your hands on the floor and use your hips to pop your feet back into a squat
- Explode up into a jump and land on your feet as softly as possible
- Keep your spine straight, neck long and shoulders back throughout
- Complete the entire exercise with as much control as possible
Mountain climbers (knees to chest)
Count: Left and right as one
Muscles involved: Shoulders, chest, triceps, core, glutes and quads
- Place your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders, with your hips lifted, and extend your legs keeping your feet together and toes curled under
- Tense every muscle to keep your body in a straight line from head to heels throughout
- Keep your left foot straight out behind and pull your right knee in towards your chest
- Place your right foot back down behind and pull your left knee in towards the chest
- Keep your neck long, shoulders back and down away from ears
- Don’t hold your breath
- Spread your fingers out and grip the floor to make slightly easier
- To increase the intensity, execute the exercise rapidly, but remember correct form trumps speed
Jumps (knee tucks)
Count: One every time you return to start position
Muscles involved: Calves, quads, glutes, hip flexors, and core
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart
- Jump up and tuck both knees in towards your body — get your knees up as high as possible
- Land softly and immediately perform the next jump
- Try to keep your head/shoulders as level as possible
- Land as quietly and as softly as possible
Count: One every time you return to start position — alternate legs
Muscles involved: Glutes, hamstrings, calves and core
- Start with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart
- Jump sideways to the left, landing on your left leg, keeping the right leg raised off the floor and behind and passed your left leg
- Reverse the movement and jump to the right
- Keep your neck long and shoulders back — no slouching
- Engage your core
- Plant your foot firmly on the floor
Count: Left and right as one
Muscles involved: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves and core
- Stand straight with your shoulders above hips, feet hip-width apart, toes turned out slightly
- Quickly drop your hips back and down below parallel with your knees behind and hips and ankle in a line, so your knees don’t collapse inward
- Drive your weight into your heels to explosively jump up to center and softly land back to the start position
- Keep your neck long, shoulders back and down away from ears
- Keep your shoulders above or behind your knees
- Engage your abs and extend your arms in front for balance
- To make the movement easier, squat with your feet wider apart
Try this simple cardio workout at home
Combine the previous exercises and turn them into an easy-to-do routine. Do 3-5 rounds of the following back-to-back:
- 20 jumping jacks
- 20 skaters (fast)
- 10 squats (dynamic)
- 10 mountain climbers
- 10 jumps (knee tucks)
- 5 burpees