Top exercises for weight loss – By Anna Wood
Summer has arrived! This leaves us jubilant with joy as we have all stayed away from the dumplings and creamy winter warmer soups. We’ve been eating healthy and training hard throughout winter… or NOT! Let me guess, the second winter placed it frosty palm upon your face, all of your ambition and intentions got the “preserved in ice” treatment.
Don’t fret! There is still enough time left to erase any evidence of winter before the summer holidays welcomes us in. But to lose weight safely and permanently, you need to eat healthy food and get plenty of exercise. Remember you cannot out train a bad diet. Always follow a healthy balanced diet. But today we will be looking at my favourite exercises for weight loss.
Exercising has so many health benefits just to name a few:
• Controls your weight
• Fights health conditions and diseases
• Boost energy and promotes better sleep
• Burns calories and builds muscle, which is essential for increasing your metabolism so that you can burn even more calories and lose more weight.


1. Swimming
I recently started swimming and I found it to be one of my top exercises for weight loss. Depending on your speed you can burn from 500 to 800 calories an hour. Swimming is a highly effective exercise for weight loss and toning. It’s a very lowest-impact exercises and is also ideal to stay fit while rehabilitating an injury. Swimming strengthens, tones and conditions your whole body. It works all the major muscles, from your abdominals and back muscles to your arms, legs, hips and gluteus. To start off try swimming 2x per week and end it off with a good relaxation session in the steam room. If your excuse is you don’t know how to swim, as long as you can get yourself from the one site to the other side of the pool; you will get a workout.


2. Bootcamp – outdoor training
Outdoor training has become very popular over the past few years. There are many mental and physical benefits from outdoor training and more and more people are ditching the gym to join outdoor training groups. These “new” activities are offering more people the opportunity to reconnect with the great outdoors and improve their emotional wellbeing whilst getting fit.
Outdoor fitness training provides several benefits for those seeking an alternative option to the gym environment.


Fun – Group training is lots of fun, you can laugh with each other as you push your body to the next level of fitness and you make friends for life.
Motivates you -If you join a boot camp class there is always an instructor guiding you in what to do which is very beneficial for both the individual and the group, because you receive constant encouragement and motivation from the trainer and the group. It also motivates you to not give up so quickly, because as you see the other boot campers carrying working, it pushes you not to stop as well.


Train all body parts – Training outdoors gives you the opportunity to do exercises you wouldn’t normally do in a gym , examples would include sprint training, multi-directional running, throwing, climbing over obstacles and more functional body weight training. It is a great way to “bond “with nature, you can do exercises using benches, sticks, walls, trees or anything that is available to create a circuit type combination and you can use other equipment such as free weights, dyna bands, Swiss balls, TRX, skipping ropes and boxing pads to give you the most efficient and enjoyable workout outdoors. You can contact Anna at to join a class.


3. Group classes at your local gym
It is sometimes very intimidating for people to go to the gym, because they don’t know what to do or they feel that everyone is watching them. To get rid of that feeling I would advise you join a good group training class like Zumba, Kickboxing, Step or aerobics. All these classes are excellent with cardio, toning and calorie burning benefits.
An example would be a 45-minute step aerobics class will burn about 550 calories while targeting the muscles in the legs, hips, and bum, as well as work out the core muscles and improve coordination.
These are not the only classes that will help with weight loss or toning. The key is to add variety to your training schedule. If you prefer doing group training, then mix it up by attending a different group class every week and try adding the “gym circuit” to your training routine.


4. Jogging
I love to run and jog, and I know I am one of a very few people who loves running! Running burns about 600+ calories per hour, also helps build strong bones and gets your heart pumping which will help prevent heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Apart from all of the calories you will burn, I also find that I get a lot of thinking done, while running and listening to my iPod.

To challenge yourself you can add interval training to your running program. Example – sprint from one lamppost to next, then jog to next and sprint again. Do 10 sprints. This will burn even more calories in a short amount of time, increase your muscle mass and challenge your body to get results faster.
If you are new to running, start of slowly. Jog as far as you can and then rest and go again until you can complete a 3km run without stopping. For people with certain health issues, including obesity and heart disease, walking is an excellent way to start your path to better health.


5. Cycling
Bicycling is another low-impact exercise for losing weight.
Cycling can burn anywhere from 372 to over 900 calories per hour, depending on your weight, your speed and whether you are on a stationary bike in the gym or riding outside. Spinning classes are offered at most gyms if you don’t have a bike to cycle outdoors. Both indoor cycling and outdoor cycling will be easy on your joints and it is also suitable for the “out of shape” beginner.
Outdoor cycling is best, because it will challenge you more by cycling example uphill and on uneven terrain that will give you a good cardio workout and strengthen your lower body.


6. High Intensity Interval Training
This is one of the most effective weight loss exercise options available. HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a training technique in which you push yourself to the max for plus minus 20min. It is short intense workouts followed by short, sometimes active, recovery rest periods. This type of training gets your heart rate up very quickly and burns more fat in less time.

Here are a few benefits from HIIT.
Saves time – No more excuses about not having time to work out. HIIT workouts can be done absolutely anywhere: at home, in a hotel room, in a park, at a gym, etc. And most of the workouts are 30 minutes or less!
Increases Your Metabolism – Doing HIIT burns a lot of calories and it also gives you a metabolism boost for up to 48 hours after a complete HIIT routine. This means you’ll still be burning fat even after you’ve done a workout.
No big Equipment Necessary – HIIT workouts generally use only your body weight, since the focus is on getting your heart rate up and keeping it there. You can get equipment that’s easy to transport if you are going away on holiday like skipping ropes.


7. Crossfit
My absolute favourite exercise for weight loss and toning is CrossFit. CrossFit will work all areas of your body and including your mind. Yes, it will test you on so many different levels and you will quickly see how you improve and become stronger day by day.

CrossFit workouts incorporate elements from high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, plyometric, powerlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics, strongman and other exercises. It’s designed to target all of the major components of physical fitness, including endurance, flexibility, speed, power and cardiorespiratory fitness.

None of the days are the same when you’re doing CrossFit. An example of a CrossFit routine is to complete the following in the fastest time possible: 20 pull-ups, 30 box jumps, 40 kettlebell swings and 50 wall balls.

CrossFit routines are highly effective at burning calories and fat, improving physical stamina and endurance, and increasing metabolism. The good news is that the routines are short, lasting only 15 to 20 minutes when done properly and it caters for the beginner to the advanced athlete.

Let’s look at a few exercises that are excellent for weight loss and toning in CrossFit:

Rope Skipping
If you thought you were good at skipping, you will soon learn that your “show off skipping skills” means nothing when it comes to doing double unders. To do double unders you have to jump once and the rope has to pass your feet twice. This is a skill that will take some time to master. An hour of normal jumping rope burns over 800 calories and works the arms, legs, and core, as well as strengthens bones and joints. It’s also an excellent activity for improving coordination, agility and endurance. Rope skipping is a high-intensity activity and you don’t have to do it for a full hour to reap the fat burning benefits.

Kettlebells are cast iron balls fitted with a single handle. The weight of the kettlebell isn’t evenly distributed, this means that your body has to use many muscles to stabilise yourself and to counterbalance the weight of the ball.

There are so many benefits of kettlebell training, only to name a few:
• burns up to 400 calories in as little as 20 minutes
• strengthens your core as well as the stabilizing muscles
• targets all of the major muscle groups
• increases your metabolism to help your body burn fat faster
• get your heart pumping giving you an excellent aerobic workout
Whichever exercise you choose to help you get ready for the December holidays, always remember that any workout routine starts with a warm up and ends with a cool down.

Remember, summer bodies don’t come without sacrifices, hard work and determination.

Anna Wood