The Most Effective Workouts for Weight Loss

Lose weight and build lean muscle with high intensity interval training workouts.


By Katie Ringley


As you begin your journey in becoming a healthier you, you should first make sure to set goals. Setting goals will help you clearly see what route you should take when approaching your diet and exercise planning. 

Many times people begin with the overall goal of losing weight. The biggest thing to remember is that when you are just starting, you want to make small changes. If walking is what you love to do and is active enough for you, then you should walk. If running marathons is something that you love, then you should do that. Ultimately, finding sustainability in all facets of health and fitness should be your number one goal. 

There are certain workout plans that will help you lose weight and build lean muscle so that you maintain a strong metabolism. The best workouts for this are resistance training and high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. When losing weight, you want to keep your calories high enough and your workouts planned right so that you aren’t breaking down muscle. This will also allow you to conserve a fast metabolism. To build your metabolism, you want to build lean muscle. Resistance training will help you do so. 

Resistance training is anything that requires weight to provide muscle contraction to break down muscle fibers and change their size. Building lean muscle is very difficult, so don't be concerned with “bulking up” as you begin your weight loss journey. Again, you want to build lean muscle because muscle burns more than fat and you can increase your metabolic rate. 

If you don’t have access to a gym, then you can improvise with water bottles at home or buy a set of weights to use in your home. 

To complement your resistance training, you should also do cardio. Steady state cardio (elliptical or treadmill) are less effective for fat loss than HIIT cardio (high intensity interval training). High intensity interval training consists of you setting a timer to work out hard and fast, interchanged with periods where you rest. 

This change in heart rate throughout your workout helps you conserve muscle while losing fat, which is key in weight loss. 

Here are 2 samples of HIIT workouts you can try: 

HIIT Workout #1: 

Warm Up: 10 pushups, 50 High Knees 

Exercises: 10 Rounds (50 seconds on, 10 seconds off. Try to do as many as possible during the 50 seconds.)

  • High Knees 
  • Burpees 
  • J umping Jacks 
  • Mountain Climbers 
  • Jump Squat 

REPEAT all 5 exercises twice for a total of 10 rounds. 

HIIT Workout #2:

  • Tricep Dips x 20 
  • Kettlebell Swings x 25 
  • Bicycle Crunches x 100 
  • Mountain Climbers x 100 
  • Jack Jumps x 50 (jumping jack with touching your feet at the bottom) 
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press x 20 
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curls x 15 
  • Jog to Treadmill → 2 min jog, side step 1 minute, sprint 1 minute, jog 1 minute 

REPEAT entire sequence. 

These 2 workouts are a good starting place that you can use and branch off in any way that you wish. The goal is just that you are doing high intensity with minimal breaks in between to keep your heart rate high with intervals of low. 

Any movement is great for weight loss, but these will help your workouts to be effective towards your weight loss goals. 

Katie is a pharmacist from NC. She moved to New York City with her husband and two teacup yorkies for an adventure. After completing her doctorate in pharmacy last May, Katie decided to pursue nutrition coaching. Katie specializes in creating custom macronutrient profiles for clients based on their individual goals. You can find Katie on her blog Katiesfitscript.