Are you looking for the best workout for weight loss and toning that you can do at home? If so, then you’ve landed on the right page.
Despite what you may have been lead to believe, you won’t need to go to a gym or hire a personal fitness trainer to lose weight and get into shape. The best way I’ve found to lose weight and burn body fat is to combine sensible low calorie eating with regular aerobic activity undertaken for three to five hours a week. Commit to this, and watch the pounds and inches drop off!
The aerobic activity you choose to do can be as simple as walking. Walking is an excellent option if you don’t have the money to buy, or the room to accommodate, exercise equipment. It’s practical; it’s convenient, and all you will need to start is a pair of trainers. It is also one of the easiest exercises to do if you’re not athletic. Start with twenty to thirty minutes, 3 to 5 times a week, and build from there if you wish to.
If you want to burn calories without stepping outside your front door, look at investing in some home cardio equipment or a good exercise DVD or two. I currently use an elliptical trainer and a Maxi Climber, and I work out to fitness DVDs. I love the variety the latter offers. My current favorite is Zumba Fitness Exhilarate DVD. (Click the previous two links to read product reviews.)
The next thing to consider when formulating a workout for weight loss and toning is which toning exercises to include. I’ve tried many muscle toning exercises over the years. All worked to a certain extent, but some worked better than others. Following is a workout for weight loss and toning at home that works well for me.
My Recommended Workout for Weight Loss and Toning at Home
There is no one best workout for weight loss and toning. Some people only do exercises that focus on their particular trouble spots. I prefer to do a variety of exercises that target different muscle groups, so that is what you will find in my recommended workout below.
None of the exercises require any equipment. However, by adding light weights to those that are relevant, you will tone up faster and burn more calories. Start with 12 to 15 reps of each exercise. Build up to two, then three sets as your strength and fitness improve.
This age-old classic exercises the upper body, improving core strength as it strengthens the chest, arms, back, shoulders, and triceps:
With straight arms, place your hands on the floor underneath your shoulders. Hold your body straight, the weight of your lower body resting on the soles of your feet, your heels off the floor. Your elbows should be bent and beside your body.
Slowly lower your chest towards the floor, then slowly push back up to your starting position. If you find the exercise too difficult at first, execute the moves with your knees bent on the floor.
As your strength improves, increase the difficulty level by doing the exercise with your feet resting on an elevated surface.
- Plank Crawl
This one works the entire upper body:
Kneel on the floor in a push-up position, your arms and hands below your shoulders as in the previous exercise. Lower your shoulders towards the floor in a plank position, one side at a time, balancing your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly below your shoulders. Push your arms back up, one at a time, to your starting position.
Alternate sides, keeping your body straight. Aim for 15 to 20 Plank Crawls on each side.
Lowering your knees to the floor will increase the challenge.
- Leg lifts
Leg Lifts work the lower abs:
Lie on your back with your legs straight out in front of you on the floor, an inch or two apart. With your knees straight and keeping your lower back in contact with the floor, slowly elevate your legs until they are perpendicular to the floor. Lower your legs back to your starting position, without allowing your feet to touch the floor.
Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Do not allow your lower back to leave the floor, as doing so could result in an injury. For extra support, place a rolled up towel beneath your lower back.
Another one for the abs:
Lie on your back; your knees bent at a 45-degree angle and your feet flat on the floor in front of you. With your hands behind your head, engage your core muscles and lift your head and shoulders off the floor towards your knees. Make sure your lower back remains flat on the floor throughout.
You can also do Crunches with your knees bent, and your legs elevated.
- Side Bends
Great for the abs and obliques:
Stand straight, your feet shoulder-width apart. With your elbows bent and your hands on your hips, slowly bend the right side of your waist and your right elbow down towards the floor, then return to your starting position. Repeat this movement, working the left side. Work both sides for the desired number of reps.
For a tougher workout and to burn additional calories and give your arms a workout, instead of placing your hands on your hips, hold a light weight in each hand. As one hand lowers towards the floor, reach up towards the ceiling with your opposing arm, arching it slightly, before returning to your starting position.
This one is great for the butt and hamstrings:
Lie on your back with your arms by your sides. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor in front of you. Keeping your back straight, lift your hips, so your shoulder to knee area is in a straight line.
Hold the position for a few seconds before lowering your hips back to your starting position.
Repeat for the desired number of reps and sets.
An excellent exercise for the buttocks, hips and thighs:
Stand tall with your arms straight out in front of you, your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Keep bending downwards, stopping when your knees reach a 90-degree angle.
Maintain the position for a second or two before returning to your starting position. By holding weights in your hands as you squat, your arms will also get a workout.
Don’t go any lower than 90 degrees, as doing so could result in an injury.
Lunges primarily work the hips, buttock and upper thigh region:
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by sides, step forward with your right foot as you lower your left knee towards the floor. Aim to bend your knee to approximately 90 degrees. Make sure your right knee is over your right ankle and do not let it go further forward than your toes.
Step back up to your starting position. Switch feet and repeat on the other side.
To increase the challenge, hold weights in your hands and do biceps curls as you lunge.
To avoid injury, don’t go lower than 90 degrees or too far forward.
- Bird Dogs
Primarily exercising the back, Bird Dogs also work the glutes and abdominal muscles:
Kneel on all fours; your hands placed directly beneath your shoulders, your knees directly underneath your hips. Slowly extend your right leg back, at the same time reaching your right arm forward in a straight line. Hold this position, keeping your back straight.
Return to your starting position, then repeat the sequence to work the other side.
- Side Planks
Side Planks target the glutes, obliques, hamstrings and quadriceps as well as the thigh abductors and adductors:
Begin by lying on your right side with your right elbow directly lined up under your shoulder, your forearm resting on the floor. With your feet on the floor, lift your hips up, supporting your upper body with your forearm.
Hold this position for three seconds before slowly lowering your right hip to the floor.
Repeat sequence, exercising both sides.
- Superman Back Extensions
This one is excellent for toning and strengthening the entire back:
Lie face down with your head up and your arms reaching forward. Gently lift your legs and upper body, keeping your head straight with your eyes looking down the bridge of your nose.
Hold the position for 3 seconds before lowering your legs and upper body to the floor.
Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Final Words on the Best Workout for Weight Loss and Toning
Do the above routine every second day, and within a few short weeks you will feel stronger and begin to notice improved muscle tone. If you decide to add weights to speed up your results, start with 2 or 3 pounds and build up from there as your strength increases.
Unless you only have a pound or two of body fat to lose, it won’t be possible to get the result you want through muscle toning exercises alone. You will also need to cut your portion size and regularly partake in aerobic activity. If you haven’t done any aerobic exercise before and you would rather exercise at home, I recommend you purchase some exercise DVDs. These can help you to stay motivated, and they are far less expensive to buy than most cardio equipment, which you can always buy later on.
Because we are all different, my best workout for weight loss and toning at home may not be yours. Use it as a starting point. If some of the exercises don’t suit you, include others that do. The sooner you start, the sooner you will achieve your goal of losing weight and toning up, so don’t put it off any longer.
I hope you found this article on the best workouts for weight loss and toning at home useful.