If you’re a woman trying to lose weight and get fit, there’s something you should know: It often takes longer for women to lose weight than men. And, if you’ve had a baby, you may have to factor in even more time. That said, women can do some things to speed up their weight loss. The following resources will help you learn more about how to maximize your cardio and strength training workouts, how to set realistic goals and how you can burn more calories.
For a woman to lose weight, she has to do the same thing a man does — burn more calories than she eats. That sounds simple, but it takes some work to change your lifestyle and commit to those changes day after day. Before you get started, take some time to learn about the basics of weight loss and what it really takes to see results.
Exercise for Weight Loss
Exercise is one of the most important tools you have for weight loss and setting up a balanced program with cardio and strength training is your first step to reaching your goals. Below you’ll find everything you need to set up a balanced program and create effective workouts.
I usually don’t have to convince my female clients to do cardio exercise to reach their weight loss goals. They know that cardio can burn fat and calories, but they don’t always know how to maximize their workout time.
Doing too much cardio: Women tend to like cardio more than strength training and sometimes do so much, they risk injury, overtraining, losing muscle and hitting weight loss plateaus.
Working at a low intensity: Some women have too many workouts in their ‘fat-burning zone’, or working at a low intensity. However, working at a higher intensity for 1-3 workouts a week can help you burn more calories, which is what you need to lose weight.
Neglecting other parts of their programs: Many women skip strength training because they’re afraid they’ll bulk up and they don’t think it actually helps them lose weight. However, strength training is key for changing your body composition, which puts you on the road to weight loss.
The resources below will help you learn more about how to find balance with your cardio workouts and make them work for you.
Take It to the Next Level
The best way to get more out of your exercise time is to focus on higher intensity workouts. The best thing about these kinds of workouts is that they’re shorter, so you can squeeze them in even if you don’t have a lot of time.
Try some of these ideas:
Interval Training: Interval training is one of the single best ways to increase your fitness while burning more calories and the best thing is, you can do it with just about any workout. Just work hard for a period of time (say 30-60 seconds), rest for the same length of time or longer (or shorter!) and repeat. Some great interval workouts:
• 30-60-90 Mixed Interval Workout
• Elliptical Interval Workout
• Beginner Interval Training
• HIIT 40-20 Workout for Women
• More Cardio Interval Workouts
Tabata Training: Tabata training is another form of interval training, pushing you hard for very short periods of time, helping you burn calories and rev up your metabolism. Try this Tabata Low Impact Challenge or this high impact Tabata Cardio Workout.
High Intensity Interval Training: This kind of interval training takes regular intervals to the next level, focusing on very high intensity exercises. My favorites:
• High Intensity Aerobic Intervals
• Sprint Interval Workout
Strength Training for Women
Though more and more women are lifting weights, some of you out there still avoid strength training like the plague. It’s unfortunate because strength training is as essential as cardio for burning fat. Some of the reasons women avoid strength training may include:
Thinking it only benefits men
Concern that it will build big, bulky muscles
Believing it won’t help with weight loss
Feeling intimidated by the weight room
Not knowing where to start
The good news is, you don’t have to be afraid of heavy weights. Women don’t have the testosterone necessary to build big muscles. Even men have a hard time building big muscles — and they have way more testosterone than you do.
Even better, once you start lifting challenging weights, you’ll see major changes happen in your body, more than you do with cardio which burns calories, but doesn’t help you build muscle. Don’t forget that you’re building strong bones and preserving your muscle mass, which means you can control the weight gain that comes with age and lack of exercise.
If I’ve convinced you to get started, check out the resources below to figure out where to start.
The Best Way to Lift Weights
Women really are different from men when it comes to losing weight and they also benefit from a different approach when it comes to strength training.
Focused strength workouts 1-2 times a week- First, focus on building muscle with straightforward strength workouts. This can be a total body workout twice a week or split routines for upper and lower body. And ‘straightforward’ workouts doesn’t mean you have to do boring exercises. There are great kettlebell exercises that can increase your strength just as well as regular dumbbells and don’t forget you can also use resistance bands as well. Just make sure you’re lifting enough weight.
Circuit training workouts 1-2 times a week – With circuit training, you go from one exercise to the next with no rest and often can include cardio exercises along with your strength moves. Circuit training is a great way to sneak in strength exercises without getting bored or feeling overwhelmed.