Unveiling the Most Efficient Exercise for Optimal Weight Loss: The Ultimate Guide

In our previous blog posts, we have extensively discussed the crucial role diet plays in a weight loss journey. Today, let’s delve into the second aspect of lifestyle modification – exercise.
Exercise and weight loss have always been intertwined, though the relationship between the two is not as straightforward as it seems. The nature of the workout, its intensity and frequency, alongside diet, all contribute to the outcome. In this blog, we aim to unpack the complex relationship between exercise and weight loss.

Why Doesn't Exercise Always Lead to Weight Loss?

The need for exercise is indisputably agreed upon among healthy lifestyle proponents. Still, its direct correlation with weight loss isn’t as universally accepted. To illustrate this, I would like to share an interaction from my regular visits to the gym.

During the summertime, the gym is usually teeming with patrons fervent about losing weight to fit into their summer wardrobe. They engage in frenzied workouts with some losing upto 2 kg within the first week. Motivated by this initial success, they raise their workout frequency. Surprisingly, one month later, their weight loss slows down to barely 1kg sparking frustration despite their increasing efforts. They begin to question, “Am I destined to be overweight?”

 

Upon listening to their concerns, I usually pose a question, “Are you controlling your diet?” More often than not, the answer is no. They argue that their high levels of physical activity justify eating more. This brings us to two common mistakes: not managing other lifestyle aspects such as diet alongside exercise, and choosing the incorrect form of exercise.

Can Exercise Really Lead to Weight Loss?

The most common misconception about weight loss is that it requires frequent, intense workouts. Counterintuitively, studies found that without dietary adjustments, exercise contributes minimally to weight loss. This leads to a baffling question: why doesn’t effort in exercising bring expected results?
 
Two reasons stand out. First, people tend to overestimate the physical effort expended during workouts. Although these workouts can be quite strenuous, the energy expended is rather insignificant. Half an hour of basketball, for instance, utilizes around 220 calories, which is approximately equal to the energy content of a cup of bubble tea; a 30-minute cycling would burn only 145 calories, equivalent to a bottle of Sprite. Secondly, people often reward themselves with a substantial meal post-workout, superceding the earlier energy expenditure, which makes weight loss imperceptible.

Therefore, considering physical activity alone has limited influence on weight. Without changing other lifestyle aspects, weight loss by sole reliance on exercise is scarcely possible.
Diet soul weight loss exercise the soul mate
This brings us to an important inference – While exercise alone may not dramatically decrease your weight, when combined with comprehensive lifestyle management, the results are noticeably different.

 

Under comprehensive lifestyle intervention, individuals exercising more than 200 minutes per week could on average lose 13.1 kg in six months; those keeping 150-200 minutes per week could drop 8.5 kg; while under 150 minutes weekly could only reduced their weight by 3.5 kg. More activity, the more weight loss.

Which Type of Exercise Helps The Most in Losing Weight?

Now let’s focus on the second error – choosing the wrong exercise. For a workout to be effective in burning fat optimally, it must fulfill three conditions:
Firstly, it must involve oxygen.
aerobic exercise- brisk walking- jogging-swimming-cycling-mountain climbing
The process of burning fat requires the involvement of oxygen. The more the amount of oxygen used, the more the fat burns. This implies that aerobic exercises – walking, jogging, swimming, cycling and hiking, which involve a high level of oxygen, are ideal for weight loss. On the contrary, resistance training and most ball games, which include little aerobic activity, do not contribute much to weight loss.

 

Secondly, the intensity of the exercise must be proper.

 

The level of fat metabolism changes with exercise intensity. It improves initially as the intensity increases, but after reaching a certain point, the efficiency of fat consumption decreases accompained by the growth of anaerobic exercise, indicating less effective.

 

To find the optimal heart rate for fat burning, you need to undergo cardiopulmonary exercise testing in a hospital. Or a simple formula (Maximal heart rate = (220 – age – resting heart rate) X (40%-60%) + resting heart rate) can apply for healthy individuals under 55 years old. Maintaining your heart rate within this range (medium intensity) during aerobic exercise will maximize the efficiency of fat burning. Of course, you would need a device such as a heart rate monitor or fitness tracker to measure this.
 

 

Lastly, you would have to exercise for a certain length of time.

 

Even when one performs aerobic exercises of medium intensity – the most efficient method to burn fat, around 60% of the energy used in the initial 30 minutes is derived from stored sugar within the muscles. Therefore, aerobic training of medium intensity should last for at least 30 minutes to burn fat effectively.

 

Exercises of high intensity, like HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training, has shown to burn fat even more efficiently. Research has shown that a 25-minute session of HIIT can burn as many calories as 41 minutes of medium-intensity exercise. However, the demanding intensity of HIIT makes it challenging for regular implementation and might result in injury. As such, it isn’t recommended as the first and only choice for weight loss. The gold standard is still safe, medium-intensity aerobic activity of at least 150 minutes per week.

 

Remember, exercising is a way to boost your new lifestyle. So, go at your own pace. If you’re okay with high-intensity workouts, give HIIT a shot, but if you can’t handle the intensity, then slower, medium-intensity workouts are still okay. If you still can’t keep up with that, no worries.

 

Surprisingly, brisk walking has been shown by the National Weight Control Registry to have the highest weight loss success rate, even exceeding moderate-intensity jogging, swimming, and HIIT.
Brisk walking actually has the highest success rate in losing weight
Lastly, while losing weight is important, shaping your body is equally essential.

 

To achieve the perfect body shape, one must focus on remodeling the waist-hip ratio. This involves reducing waist circumference and increasing hip measurement, which cannot be achieved just by adjusting the diet. It requires targeted workouts to shape and tone specific muscles.

 

To slim the waist, it’s crucial to reduce the visceral fat and subcutaneous fat around the belly. A combination of aerobic exercises and strength-based exercises like sit-ups, side planks, and planks can achieve this.

 

Once you’ve worked on slimming your waist, the next step would be to enhance the buttock – achieving this requires engaging the gluteal muscles. Workouts such as squats, hip lift, deadlifts are recommended.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it’s not just about losing weight, it’s about shaping the body. So take the first step, commit to a new lifestyle, and embrace a healthier, happier, and more physically fit you.

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