Combining aerobic exercise and resistance training is one of the most effective ways to lose weight. You get the best of both worlds — you burn a high number of calories during aerobic exercise and build muscle with resistance training. The optimal workout regimen is to alternate days of aerobic exercise with days of strength training for a total of 6 days per week. Burning calories and building muscle will promote fat loss in a timely manner.
Do your aerobic workouts 3 days per week, such as on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week. However, you can burn more body fat and get the same aerobic benefit by increasing the intensity to a more vigorous pace. Some examples of effective exercises include high-intensity interval training, sprinting intervals, and spinning or high-impact aerobics. Just 30 minutes per workout is all you need to start burning fat.
Alternate your strength training workouts with your aerobic exercise days. Based on the previous example, you would do your strength training on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Strength training complements aerobic exercise perfectly. According to the Mayo Clinic, muscle naturally burns far more calories than fatty tissue, so increasing your muscle mass will help you lose more fat. Each workout should be 30 to 60 minutes in length, and you can focus on two or three major muscle groups per workout. For instance, do the chest and abs on Tuesday, upper/lower back and shoulders on Thursday and legs and arms on Saturday. Hit each muscle groups with two different exercises for a total of 6 to 8 sets per muscle.
Everyone burns body fat at a different rate, so it’s tough to pinpoint a specific body fat percentage you can lose after “X” number of days. However, Len Kravitz, Ph.D., of the University of New Mexico says a combination of aerobic and resistance training done consistently can greatly increase the odds of losing weight and/or maintaining a healthy body composition. Strength training is especially beneficial to the fat burning process. Although dieting can help you lose a significant amount of weight, as much as 50 percent of that weight can consist of muscle tissue, according to Dr. Kravitz. Resistance training effectively stops this process, and instead promotes the burning of fatty tissue rather than muscle tissue.
A 6-day weekly workout program consisting of three aerobic and three resistance training days will offer a huge amount of weight loss potential for people of any fitness level. Although results will vary from person to person, you can count on seeing results within the first 30 days. Don’t use a body weight scale to determine your progress because it’s not an accurate indicator of how much body fat you’ve lost. Instead, use a simple eye test to gauge your progress, such as how loosely your clothes are fitting.