Skip to main content

The 5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss, According to an Expert

If you want to lose weight, it's important to not put all your hope in exercise because you'll be disappointed. The best way to drop pounds and reduce belly fat is to lower your calorie intake with a healthy diet and combine those efforts with a smart workout program.

"One thing that people hate to hear is that you really can't out-train a bad diet," says Lauren Powell, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and performance coach at Future, an app for remote fitness coaching. "However, fitness training increases your muscle mass, which elevates your body's metabolism. That means you'll be burning more calories at rest."

In essence, while creating a calorie deficit through diet is critical to weight loss, choosing the right exercises to perform can make dropping pounds quicker and easier too, Powell says.

Before we get to Powell's top exercises for weight loss, she recommends first figuring out your body's energy needs. Use an online energy needs calculator like this one at Baylor College of Medicine that's based on your height, weight, age, sex, and activity level. It calculates the number of calories you need to maintain your current weight, so bringing your total daily calories below that number will result in weight loss.

"Your eating should match with your training so that you are consuming enough calories to fuel your workouts while still burning more calories than you are taking in each day," says Powell, who is currently studying for a doctorate in health and human performance. She also recommends making sure you eat enough protein to increase lean muscle mass during strength training. "Finally, be patient," she says. "Body recomposition is not an overnight affair."

Keep reading to see Powell's 5 best exercises for weight loss. And for more, don't miss The One Diet That Will Slim Down Your Waistline.

Try These 5 Exercises

weight loss

Powell says the best weight-loss exercises are "compound" moves that "work through multiple joints" and stress several muscle groups at the same time. For example, the squat works the hip, knee, and ankle joints and stresses the muscles that extend those joints: your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes. "That way, you get more calorie burn for your buck," Powell says.

Doing compound exercises also can make for a more time-efficient workout. To further shorten your workout sessions while increasing calorie burn, organize your exercises in a circuit by performing the exercises one after the other with minimal rest between each.

After a three-minute warmup, perform the following weight loss exercises recommended by Powell as a circuit three times a week (with at least a day of rest in between).

Related: Sign up for our newsletter for the latest health and fitness news! 


Front Squat

front squat with weights

Hold a pair of dumbbells so that your palms are facing each other, and rest one of the heads of the dumbbell on the top of each shoulder. Stand with feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Brace your core and push your butt back as if sitting in a chair. Lower your body until your upper thighs are parallel with the floor. Press your heels into the floor and straighten your legs to rise to the starting position. Do 12 repetitions.

Related: This Workout Is Better for Your Health Than Running



dumbbell deadlift

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and a pair of heavy dumbbells on the floor in front of your toes. Bend your knees and grab the dumbbells with palms facing your body. With your chest up and your back flat, slowly pull the dumbbells off the floor by standing up as you thrust your hips forward. Pause, lower the dumbbells to the floor, and repeat. Perform 12.

Related: The #1 Best Exercise for Relieving Back Pain


Chest Press

chest press

Grab a dumbbell in each hand, then lie flat on a bench with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Position the dumbbells along the sides of your chest, elbows pointing toward the floor. Turn the dumbbells so that your palms face toward your feet. Keeping your back flat on the bench, push the dumbbells up until your arms are fully extended above your chest, but don't lock your elbows. Pause, then lower the dumbbells to your chest and repeat. Perform 12.


Two-Arm Row

weighted two arm row

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in. Keeping your back flat, bend forward at your waist until your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Your arms should extend straight down below you. Now, without moving your upper body, pull the dumbbells up to the sides of your torso and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Pause, lower the dumbbells to the starting position, and repeat. Do 12.

Related: Exercising This Much Can Prevent Multiple Cancers, Science Says


Then, Add One of These High-Intensity Movements

tired and sweaty

Add one of the following high-intensity movements to your workout to help get your heart rate up while still building strength, Powell advises.


Squat Jump

jump squats

Stand with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned slightly out. Squat down, butt back, with your weight in your heels, and chest up. Swing your arms behind you when you reach the end of your squat. Now, squeeze your butt tight and push hard through your feet to launch yourself straight up while swinging your arms above your head. Land softly, then use the momentum to go right into your next squat. Perform 12.

Related: The Best 11-Minute Workout Routine to Fight Fat


Step Up

step aerobics

Stand in front of a stair step and place your right foot firmly on the step. Press your heel into the step and push your body up until your right leg is straight. Pause for a second, then lower your body until your left foot touches the floor. Then repeat. Do six reps, then switch feet to step with your left foot. To make the move more challenging, hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides.


Lateral bound

lateral jumps

In this move, you'll jump laterally from side to side as quickly as possible while maintaining balance and control. Start with your feet hip-width apart in a half-squat position. Now propel yourself to the right by jumping off your left foot and landing on your right. As soon as your right foot hits the floor, bend into a half squat, tap your left toes to the floor to balance, then propel yourself back to the left as far as you can by pushing off your right foot. That's one rep. Do 12.

And you're done!

For more, check out This 15-Minute Workout Can Add Years to Your Life.

The post The 5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss, According to an Expert appeared first on Eat This Not That.

Eat This Not That

Popular posts from this blog

These 5 Grocery Items Are Cheaper Than Ever Right Now

The grocery industry has been facing major disruptions. The combined effects of the pandemic, climate change, and economic uncertainty over the past couple of years have culminated in a series of supply chain breakdowns. For the consumer, this means supply shortages , shipping delays , and temporary store closures are becoming more commonplace – and all of the added production cost to suppliers is driving up food prices . The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index report for January 2022 was released on Feb. 9, and it tells the story of cost trends for every spending category over the past year. Now the numbers are in, and since January 2021, "food at home" spending has increased 7.4%. Consumers should use this number as a benchmark, Phil Lempert, the consumer behavior analyst and founder behind Supermarket Guru , told Eat This, Not That! "Anything that's substantially less [than the 7.4% increase] is a deal," said Lempert. "When you

When Should I Take Creatine?

Creatine is probably the most well-researched supplement on the market today. Numerous studies have found positive adaptations in strength, power and muscle mass thanks to creatine supplementation—especially when it's combined with resistance training. Although the benefits of creatine are well-known to lifters, the best time to take it isn't common knowledge. Which leads us to some important questions:     Does an optimal time for consuming creatine exist?     If it does, should you take it before or after your workout? According to a new study published in the Journal of Exercise and Nutrition, the timing of creatine ingestion does indeed play a role in getting bigger and stronger. Creatine supplementation before resistance training increases muscular strength and lean muscle mass. Interestingly, taking creatine immediately after lifting weights results in greater muscle growth than taking it immediately before. However, in terms of strength gains, no difference betw

Reentry Anxiety Is Real - Why You May Experience It as Stay-at-Home Measures Ease

When the coronavirus stay-at-home orders began in March, most people's lives changed in immeasurable ways. At the time, we were bombarded with (admittedly, very helpful) advice on how to cope with anxiety , should we experience it during this time of social distancing and sheltering in place. But with restrictions slowly starting to ease in many parts of the world, there are many people who have seen an increase in anxiety all over again, this time about leaving their homes and reentering society. Posts about people's growing anxiety have been popping up around social media for the past couple of weeks, and it's given rise to the term "reentry anxiety." We wanted to find out exactly what reentry anxiety is, whether it's normal to be experiencing trepidation about leaving your stay-at-home orders, and how to cope if you are feeling anxious. What Is Reentry Anxiety? The short answer is that "post-lockdown anxiety is real," said Dr. Balu Pitchiah ,