The basics of weight loss: Part 1

  • Weight loss. Probably the most common two words in the world of health and fitness. You haven’t done any physical exercise since your school days, eaten what you’ve wanted for 5 years, gone out with the lads/ladies every weekend drinking everything in sight and all of a sudden you look at yourself in the mirror one day and think “how did this happen!?”Sound familiar? It’s so easy to get side-tracked with our jobs, family, social life that we tend to forget about a very important part of our life’s, health.To me health is at the top of my priority list. Without good health I wouldn’t enjoy my times with my family as much, I want to be raising my 4 month old son in good health and exercising with him when I’m 40+ and when he’s a teenager! In order to do this I need to take care of my health and my body. Without good health I wouldn’t be able to perform optimally at my job as a personal trainer or perform as well in the gym. Health effects everything and it certainly effects your weight. From how we exercise, to what we put in our mouths, to how we sleep at night directly effects our weight and body composition. I’m going to discuss the bare basics when it comes to weight loss as sometimes it can become a minefield. Sometimes keeping it simple can be the most effective solution.

    In part 1 of this blog we’ll discuss the best workouts to help combat that stubborn body fat, and get rid of it as quick as possible.

    Best workouts/exercises for weight loss

    When it comes to exercise for weight loss you need to hit it hard, you need to sweat, you need to challenge yourself and get out your comfort zone. Walking on a treadmill or taking it easy on a cross trainer for 60 minutes is going to be the bare minimum when it comes to burning calories. Doing countless amounts of sit-ups is pretty much pointless if your body fat percentage isn’t 15% or below as your midsection (abs) won’t be visible. There are fair and few amount of options when it comes to training for pure weight loss, again this is simplicity at its best.

    High Intense Interval Training (HIIT)

    Interval training can be performed pretty much anywhere and only needs to be done for about 10-20 minutes to really benefit from it. You can do this in the gym on a treadmill, bike or rower. Or even outside in the park on foot or on a bike. Set yourself the speed you want to sprint/run for and then set your speed you want as a rest period. For example on a treadmill, sprint for 30 seconds at 15kph rest for 30 seconds at 9kph, this a work to rest ratio of 1:1.

    Now you can play around with this as much as you like. 60 seconds work, 30 seconds rest (2:1) or vice versa (1:2) if you want it easier or are new to HIIT training. I always start with the ratio of 1:1 and play around with the times and speed from there. As I said you really only need to do this for around 10-20 minutes on whatever piece of equipment you are using. If you’re doing 30 seconds work and 30 seconds rest then do that 10X and you got yourself a 10 minutes HIIT session. 10 minutes doesn’t sound long but trust me you’ll be feeling it. Start at 10 minutes and work your way up to 20 minutes and push yourself! Incorporate HIIT training into your programme 2-3 times a week to get the full benefits. You’ll be burning more calories in less time to a standard jog or walk for 45 minutes, and also raises your metabolism meaning you’ll be burning more calories AFTER the workout is done.


    Sprints/Hill Sprints

    So simple yet tough. The best place to do sprints would be in an open area somewhere, like a local park, field, car park, where ever you can sprint distances from around 50m-100m. If you can find a place with a hill involved that would be even better. Sprint a certain distance, as fast as you can, then rest, walk back to your starting position and go again (30-60 seconds rest). Do this as long as you like, but again the sweet spot of time for this would be around 10-20 minutes. If you’re going for 20, rest at the 10 minute mark for a few minutes, suck it up, get a drink then go again. Count the amount of sprints you do in the amount of time you’re doing it and try beat it next time. Sprinting not only burns fat at an alarming rate, but builds muscle in too (legs and core). Again this method of cardio burns more calories and raises your metabolism.

    Circuit Training

    Circuit training is fantastic for burning fat. And the beauty of it is you can make it as hard as you like, you can put whatever exercise you want in and work for as long as you want. As long as you’re working hard and pushing your body it’s a great way to get fitter and lose weight, fast. As an example, incorporate cardio and resistance based exercises that will work your full body. All you need is a few bits of equipment, an open space and yourself. Or maybe set up a circuit at your local gym, or even easier attend a circuit class. Get some friends involved as well and you can give each other some extra motivation. Here’s an example of a simple circuit:

    • Burpees
    • Walking Lunges with dumbbells
    • Kettlebell Swings
    • Press Ups
    • Leg Raises/Plank
    • Lateral Raises with dumbbells
    • Shuttle Runs/Sprints

Now you can time yourself on each “station” for as long as you like, 30-60 seconds is about right. Or set yourself a number of reps on each “station” (10-20 reps on each) The above is just an example circuit, you can put what your want in your circuit. Perform 3-4 rounds on your circuit which will last 20-40 minutes and you’re done! Try incorporating a circuit style training session to your programme 1, 2 or even 3x per week and watch that fat melt!

Play a high intense sport

And finally another option if you want to lose weight is to join a local sports team, like rugby, football, basketball, tennis anything that will make you fitter and lose fat. You don’t have to be a member of a gym to lose weight, or go running every day on your own. Play a sport that you like with friends that will have a social element to it as well. Not only will you be getting a good workout, losing weight and getting fitter, but also having a good time with the sport you enjoy playing. Playing sport brings out a competitive edge and team spirit too.


The above workouts are in my opinion the best methods to burn fat quickly. Now if you’re new to the gym and training or haven’t exercised in a long time, then I would recommend building your fitness up first for a few weeks before your try HIIT, Sprints, Circuits or join a sports team. Then give it a go. Start off simple and easy and build it up each week. Give yourself time, don’t expect to lose 4 stone in a month, be realistic but be consistent and the weight will come off. In the next part of this blog we will explain the basics of nutrition with weight loss. And how with good nutrition and effective training, you will have a solid foundation to begin with losing that gut! So stayed posted.


Thank you for reading,


SJ Fitness


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