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The best weight loss exercise programs combine aerobic fitness training and weight training to kick start weight loss and keep your metabolism in high gear.

Aerobics alone does not accomplish toning and firming that is so important if you are losing weight.

Whereas is you only do weight training, you will certainly be increasing muscle tone but you might not be getting your metabolic rate up high enough to burn through those calories and help you get faster results.

When your muscles are more toned, they burn more calories just by being there, even when you are at rest.

Pound for pound, muscle burns up to 30 times more calories than fat. The only problem is that is much easier to create a pound of fat in the body than a pound of muscle.

Studies have shown that you can build muscle at any age. It is not dependent on your age.

Even elderly people can increase muscle mass by working out and lifting weights.

In fact, it has been shown that muscle decomposition is not a result of aging but rather a result of inactivity.

There are many ways to pursue strength training. You don't have to pump iron. Pilates and Yoga, which are gentle on the body yet are very good for strength training, encourage long, lean muscles.  Exercise programs like these will also include your overall flexibility.

Aerobic activity can include anything that lets you work up a sweat. Running to lose weight, brisk walking or aerobic fitness classes are all good ways to get the burn going.

For maximum efficiency you should keep up aerobic activity for at least 60 minutes at a time, and aim for 2 or 3 times a week.

Interval training combines brief periods of intense physical exercise with similar periods of lower intensity exercise. Interval training has long been recognized as a good way to increase weight loss. After periods of intense physical activity the body's metabolism will continue to burn fat long after your workout. The more regularly you work out, the longer your metabolism will work at fat burning for you.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that to stay healthy, men under age 65 do moderate cardio exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week or more intense exercise for 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week and combine that with 8 to 10 strength training exercise of 12 repetitions each, twice a week. To turn that into a weight loss exercise program, you might need to increase your physical activity to 60 minutes a day for 5 days a week or 90 minutes three times a week.

You can combine a variety of different types of sporting activities and exercises to keep you interested and keep your motivation high. Choose activities such as swimming, biking or basketball, and work out with friends or children.

Don't underestimate the power of walking to lose weight. Keep the pace brisk, and walk 3 to 5 miles or more for best results.

There are many choices for weight loss exercise programs, so get out there and find out what works for you. Remember, it isn't which exercise program ranks best in scientific fitness studies that counts, it's the one you love to do and will stick with that will really work for you in the end.

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