The Best Type Of Exercise To Lose Weight & Tone Up

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Everybody wants to know the best way to lose weight and look lean and toned. Everyday we’re bombarded with new diets or a new exercise fad which promises to do just that. Everybody is looking for the Holy Grail of exercise and nutrition, which means that all too often people are disappointed with the results they get. We’re in a day and age where people want extraordinary results in minimum time with ideally as little effort as possible. This is generally what leads to the disappointment because in reality, this Holy Grail doesn’t exist.

Having said that, with a bit of hard work, discipline, and patience, it is quite realistic to get some great results, as long as you’re doing the right stuff. The fact is, the training methods and diet guidelines for losing body fat, increasing lean muscle tissue and toning up are a lot more ‘figured out’ than the media and magazines would have you think. There’s plenty of scientific studies & research, as well as anecdotal evidence from the trainers of elite athletes to your every day regular people that gives us a very good idea of exactly what the best methods are for fat loss.

Gone are the days of long slow cardio and aerobics for fat loss. Gone are the days when people though weight training was for muscle bound men dressed in lycra. Now, science and research tells us that the best way for anybody to lose body fat and change the way they look is though some high intensity metabolic weight training, complemented with interval cardio training. That’s it.

So I’ve written before on interval training, and now it’s time for the weight training side of things. To try and explain this all ‘in a nutshell’ here’s a quick summary of what you need to know:

– If you are a female reading this, it’s important for you to know that weight training will NOT make you big and bulky. Guys find it hard enough to build muscle so believe me when I say 99% of you should not worry about this. This mindset is a huge limiting factor in you getting the results and the body you want.

– Metabolic weight training done at a high enough intensity will create a huge metabolic effect on your body, meaning a single training session can keep your metabolism elevated for 24-48 hours depending on the individual and the nature of the training. Put in another way, you can go for a 60 minute jog and burn ‘x’ amount of calories in 60 minutes, or you can weight train for 45 minutes and burn calories for 24 hours.

– Long term, when you do put on a bit of lean muscle tissue, you’ll actually burn more calories at rest, all day long. This will further help you to lose weight and stay lean. It addresses a big reason why people find it harder to keep the weight off as they age (loss of muscle tissue and slower metabolism)

– Often when people lose weight by just drastically dropping their calories, without exercise or strength training, they’ll lose a lot of muscle tissue too. This means they’ll keep the same shape (just a smaller version) and it also means that their resting metabolism is lower than it was before, so their body won’t burn off as many calories as before. This is why people will typically put all their weight back on and worse when they cannot maintain their ‘starvation’ diet long term, and the net result is they’ve got an even slower metabolism than before and will find it even easier to put on body fat.

–  When losing weight, you have to make sure you’re eating less calories than your body burns in a day, and when doing this, it’s important that your body burns up body fat as extra fuel, not muscle. By doing some regular weight training you are signalling your body to hold on to the precious metabolic muscle tissue, (and hopefully even add some more lean muscle tissue). This helps in giving you that ‘toned’ look, and it will also help improve the shape of your body along with keeping your metabolism running high.

–  Apart from the aesthetic changes, weight training is very efficient. You’ll get a big metabolic effect, as well as improving cardiovascular fitness when keeping rest breaks short, plus you’re stimulating muscle tissue at the same time. Not only that, you’ll get stronger, you can improve your posture, and make yourself much more resistant to injury and the strains and stresses of everyday life. In this day and age where most people are short on time to exercise anyway, no other form of training can boast such a ‘bang for your buck’.

I could go on all day, but this should give you something to think about. Please keep in mind that no matter what type of exercise you do, you’re not going to get good results unless your diet is in order so if that is horrible, fix that up first, and if you think your current exercise program isn’t working well enough, then hopefully this article will steer you in the right direction.

By Ben Longley

Ben Longley owns The Fit Stop, a personal training and group training studio in St Kilda East, specialising in fat loss & real fitness results.

For more information about his services you can visit or read his blog at Alternatively, you can contact him at


1 Comment

  1. Akbar

    13/03/2012 at 10:51 AM

    Great topic. I watch my eating very faleculry, but I weigh a few pounds more than I did in past training cycles, and they really don’t want to budge. I’m okay with the idea of muscle weight, or glycogen storage/water weight…what I’m not okay with is the idea that maybe I am in such good running shape that my body has adapted and no longer burns as many calories running. I hope your expert will not say that is the case! (I also had my body comp tested, and it is fairly low, 15.2% body fat, which may be a factor as to why it is hard for me to lose more fat while still maintaining muscle….)

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