Lose weight and keep your fitness goals on track with these simple exercise and weight loss tricks — you’ll be summer-ready in no time!
If lockdown lounging has got the better of you the past few months, we've got a few helpful tricks that are guaranteed to get your fitness motivation (and your waistline) back, just in time for summer.
It can be hard to stay motivated when you're cooped up indoors, so to help you keep your fitness goals in check (and your weight from spiralling), we asked Jess Neill at JN Fit for some quick exercise tips that will cut your workout time in half AND burn even more calories while you’re doing them — now you don’t have any excuse to throw in the towel!
Here are 12 genius ways to maximise your workout and lose weight fast, PLUS some clever diet swaps, guaranteed to burn off any extra calories and keep your fitness momentum at an all-time high.
1. Plan your workouts in advance
Rather than choosing a random Youtube workout, Jess suggests buying tailored online workout programme that’s customised to your level of experience. Each program can be tailored to be time-effective, ensure progress and help you avoid injuries. Jess has some great online workouts that you can try out!
2. Set yourself goals
Before you launch into a weight loss journey, it’s important to set yourself realistic goals that you know you can achieve. Goal setting is a crucial part of successful training because it ensures that you can track and measure your progress and have a clear benchmark to work towards.
Goals hold us accountable, and encourage us to push through temporary discomfort for long-lasting gain. So, to make sure you set yourself goals that you know you can achieve, it’s important that your goals are specific, so really think about why you’re doing what you’re doing, and what the motivators are to keep you going (i.e. you want to improve your athletic performance, or to lose weight for your next holiday or event) even when you feel like you want to throw in the towel.
Try setting a combination of short and long term goals, so that you have an ultimate goal you can work towards, but shorter (and slightly easier) goals that you can tick off along the way.
3. Choose resistance training over cardio
Cardio burns calories — it’s true. But once you stop moving, the calorie burn also stops. So what’s the solution? Resistance training!
A challenging resistance training session causes micro damage to your muscles, which your body then needs to repair. Whilst your body repairs the damaged muscle, it also makes them stronger, so that it protects the muscles from getting damaged if you lift the same weights again. This whole process is called muscle protein synthesis. Pretty cool, hey?
Repairing muscles is an energetically expensive task for your body, and can take up to 48hrs to complete, so technically you’re burning calories even while sitting down — we like of the sound of that! You can help your body repair itself by sleeping well, eating a fibre-rich diet and consuming lots of good quality protein like chicken, fish, pork, eggs and tofu, in the days around your resistance training sessions.
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4. Prioritise compound lifts
Exercises that work multiple muscle groups give you more “bang for your buck”. Remember, the more muscles you work, the more energy your body needs to use to repair them. Think squats, deadlifts, lat pulldowns and bench press. The best thing about these compound exercises is that you can get in a lot of training volume in much less time.Try this simple circuit on your next workout. Don’t be fooled by how short it is (that’s the whole point, remember?), you’ll be sweating in no time!
- Goblet Squats, 10 reps x 3 sets
- Deadlifts, 10 reps x 3 sets
- Lat Pulldown, 12 reps x 4 sets
- Bench Press, 12 reps x 4 sets
5. Use supersets, trisets or giant sets
Traditionally, an exercise session will focus on one exercise at a time, but we can target different muscle groups in the same sets using supersets, trisets and giant sets. This means less time working out and more time doing the things you love!
Try this workout: Perform 3 sets of each, resting 1-3 minutes between sets:
- Deadlift x 8 reps
- Shoulder Press x 8 reps
- Squats x 10 reps
- Bench Press x 10 reps
- Seated Row x 10 reps
- Seated Row x 12 reps
- Tricep Pushdown x 12 reps
- Bicep Curls x 12 reps
- Plank x 0:30
6. Train smarter, not harder
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to train every day to see miraculous results. Yes, you need to put in the hard work, but a smart workout routine means planning your time with the right workouts that are going to get you the results you want, fast. It doesn’t mean you have to bust your hump with cardio-based endurance exercises every day at the gym. It does mean that you incorporate a solid balance of endurance, strength and HIIT training, and allow your body adequate time to rest between your sessions — aim for a rest day every three to five days in between your workouts.
Try interval training a couple of times a week, along with your regular workout regime. HIIT combines both cardio and strength, whilst maximising your calorie burn in a short amount of time. The workouts alternate between short bursts of intense effort and periods of lower intensity or rest. It takes longer for your body to cool down once you’ve finished your workout, so you burn more calories long after you’ve finished exercising.
Be sure to allocate sufficient time each week for a low-intensity activity like walking or yoga. From there, you can incorporate mobility routines to ensure your body can continue training consistently at a higher intensity without burnout.
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7. Alternate between different muscle groups
You might have a problem area that you’re focussing on, like your abs, your lower back, your bum, or your thighs. Whilst you might be tempted to put all your efforts into one main area to get the maximum results, you’ll actually sustain a higher level of intensity for longer than if you worked the same muscle groups back-to-back. Try and balance out your muscle strength work, so after you finish killing your legs with lunges, shift your focus to your upper body with overhead presses, and then get back to your lower-body with box jumps.
8. Engage your core
Most exercises involve using your abs in some capacity. And when you remember to engage them, you’re using them even more! Since your core is a large muscle group, if you really concentrate and engage those muscles properly, you’ll burn more calories as a result.
9. Do something that you enjoy
This might seem like we’re stating the obvious, but the more you enjoy your workout, the more you’ll want to do it! And the more workouts you do, the more weight you’ll lose. So choose something that you really enjoy jumping out of bed for. You’ll be more likely to work harder and stick to your routine more consistently. Whether that’s cardio, HIIT, yoga, running, tennis, cycling — choose your new workout fave and your weight loss will soon follow.
10. Lose the scales
Yes, you might want to lose a few kilos to fit into that new LBD, but when you're training, the goal should be to have a greater percentage of lean muscle mass and smaller percentage of body fat. That doesn’t necessarily mean you will lose weight as a result. If you build muscle while you shed fat, the scale might not budge — if at all. Don’t get hung up on the numbers. Instead, focus on how your clothes fit (and how you feel).
11. Make these simple diet swaps
If you’re worried about going overboard in lockdown, try these simple strategies to help minimise the bingeing:
Snack on protein
Have a high protein snack and a piece of fruit about an hour before an event. Protein is high on the satiety scale and the fruit contains fibre; both of which help you avoid feeling hungry and overdoing it at the buffet.
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Choose spirits over cocktails or wine
Alcohol is high in calories and also has a negative effect on our recovery and sleep quality. When paired with loads of sugar (like in cocktails or wine), it can leave us feeling bloated and less-than-fabulous for days after. Switch them up for good quality spirit and diet soft drink.
Cook for yourself
It's true, lockdown can be a killer when it comes to eating healthily. Uber Eats and Deliveroo are FAR more appealing than a chicken and broccoli salad. BUT, if you want to stick to your goals, the best way to eat healthy is to prep and cook it yourself. So instead of ordering a pizza, stick to your meal prepping, home cooking and fresh fruit and vegetables. Of course you can have cheat days, but try and stick to as many healthy days as possible. That way, you’ll minimise the impact of the higher calorie foods when you have them, and be able to enjoy them a lot more!
12. Get a personal trainer
There’s no shame in asking for a little help! Workouts are hard at the best of times, so getting some expert tips from a trainer, nutritionist or coach, or even some 1:1 training sessions, will help you develop a plan towards achieving your goals.
Having someone help you develop a plan towards achieving your goals can take out the guesswork, and set you on track with actionable steps to get to where you want to go. Jess offers online and face-to-face training. Visit her website for further details or to book a session.
Loved 12 ways to maximise your workout and lose weight fast? We've got plenty more fitness and health advice on our Health & Wellness Edit, guaranteed to give your body a well-deserved boost. Do you know about the health benefits of hemp? PLUS, how to tell if your how to tell if your back pain is muscular or spinal.