One of the greatest motivators to exercise is to lose weight. Weight loss is the most sought after goal for many of us. So what are the most effective weight loss exercises? First of all, you need to look at weight loss as a whole of life shift – your diet will need to shift. No point putting in only half the effort! When it comes to exercises, it’s really cardio versus strength exercises. And cardio really does get you burning more calories. However, don’t ditch the strength. Put the two together and you can double your weight loss efforts.

What You Put In… Is What You Need to Burn!

But first, diet. It is so much easier to consume more calories than we burn. A birthday cake here, a celebratory drink there, morning teas, catch ups with old friends, weddings… and then there’s Christmas! There is just so much yummy food out there to be devoured! So, if you want to exercise for weight loss, you really need to figure out how many calories you are putting into your body so you can figure out how much you need to burn. And then you need to burn more if you have excess weight. Or consume less calories. No matter which way you look at it, our bodies need energy to move and will store it up for future use if there is an excess. And this excess is what we all want to shift. If you embark on weight loss and only exercise, you will get fitter and healthier, and you may shed some kilos, but you will not see an amazing reduction in weight.

Cardio Burns the Most

“Minute per minute, cardio burns more calories, so it works best for reducing fat mass and body mass.” Cris Slentz, PhD

A study held at Duke University followed 119 overweight and sedentary volunteers for 8 months while they performed strength/resistance training, aerobic/cardo training or a combination of both. For the amount of time spent exercising, the cardio group lost the most amount of weight. Those that performed only strength training spent 47 more minutes per week exercising and didn’t lose any meaningful fat over the 8 months. Those that lost the most amount of weight were those who performed a combination of strength and cardio, however they also spent double the time in training.

Boost the Burn: Intervals

While straight cardio, such as walking, per day will gradually get your body’s metabolism burning calories, there are ways you can boost this burn. Intervals can actually get your body working for up to 24hours, long after you’ve sweated it out on the treadmill. Intervals is where you periodically inject bursts of intense effort into your regular cardio workout. For example, if you are walking, every 5 minutes you might jog for 30seconds. Or if you are running, you might sprint. The change in the effort your body is exerting is the key factor. The main thing to aim for is moments during your workout that you are breathing hard to get your metabolism working at a higher rate. It will then take longer to slow down after you’ve stopped exercising.

Work the Burn: Strength

Strength exercises, whilst they may not get your metabolism working as hard, quicker, they will increase the demand on your metabolism to feed your muscles. The bigger your muscles, the more fuel they need. Whereas the fitter your heart gets, it won’t require any more calories to burn throughout the day or night. Improving your strength has also been shown to strengthen your bones and increase day to day function. The older you get, the more this will be important to you – so invest in strength when you are young!

“Resistance training is important for maintaining lean body mass, strength and function, and being functionally fit is important for daily living no matter what your size.” Cris Slentz, PhD

Supercharge the Burn: Strength + Cardio

The all time best exercise for weight loss is to combine the two. Start with strength exercises and end with cardio (with intervals to really torch your calories). Apparently your heart rate is raised by approximately 12 beats per minute during your cardio if you have done strength exercises beforehand. It’s important to try and work your whole body to balance the strength out. Think legs and arms and core. You need all areas of your body to be working in sync together for the best effect. Most cardio is legs based, but not all get you weight bearing. If you’re cycling or swimming, invest in some dumbbells and get your muscles going strong.

Here are some weight loss exercise workouts to get you started. Pick some strength exercises for the first 30mins to get your heart pumping, then get your calories burnt by interval-ing your choice of cardio for the next 30mins. Breaking up an hour of exercise with strength and cardio will help the time go by quicker too!


  • Squats holding light dumbbells
  • Push Ups
  • Crunch
  • Bicep Curls
  • Reverse Dip
  • Lunge


  • Skipping rope
  • Running
  • Kettlebell Intervals
  • Kickboxing
  • Exercise Bike
  • Rowing Machine
  • Stairs
  • Elliptical Trainer
  • Power Yoga

Grab your gear and head into AJ’s to help you engage in a great workout routine for weight loss. We have all the equipment you need to tailor to your needs and your interests. They say that monotony in exercise is a real motivation killer. Joining a gym is an awesome way to fight the monotonous boredom. Switch up your strength and cardio exercises throughout the week and burn those calories!