Earlier this month, health experts blamed supersized portions of pizza, cake, ice cream, and alcohol for more Australians facing the battle of the bulge. I couldn’t disagree more. I blame two things: Australians’ choice to consume such portions and Australians’ choice not to negate calorific intake via exercise.
So, what are those ‘best exercises’ to negate calories and lose some weight? If you fancy building strength, tone, and losing weight, here are the 10 best exercises to lean up:
The least used, yet king of the cardio machines at the gym is the rower. While the heart rate increases, rowing utilises every muscle from shoulders to toes – 40 per cent upper body, 60 per cent lower body. If you buy one piece of gym equipment for your home, make it a rower.
Pro tip: You’re the fittest lad / lady at the gym if you can row two kilometres in under seven minutes.
What do we do all day? Sit down and stand up. Therefore, squats are one of the most functional exercises around that work your quads, hamstrings, calves, and bum. Squats build muscle, and building muscle burns calories.
Pro tip: Every beginner should be performing bodyweight squats. More advanced can smash out squat jumps, barbell squats, or CrossFit’s squat thrusters.
Jogging for distance is a superb bodyweight movement. We all have room to run, it’s is great for the mind, and running is a cardio exercise every man and woman should be capable of performing for functionality and weight loss.
Pro tip: Long jogs are great for weight loss, but don’t forget sprints and HIIT. Remember – outdoor running trump treadmill sessions.
Invented by New York City Physiologist Royal Huddleston Burpee (true story) burpees are the most intense bodyweight movement using no equipment. It’s a jump, squat, push up, and ab movement that gets every muscle burning while the heart rate increases in a rower-esque fashion.
Pro tip: Ladies, if chest strength is lacking, perform burpees without the push up. Lads, if you’re looking to go pro? Try burpee-pull ups.
5. Stair runs
When you change the angle you change the exercise. Hitting the stairs is a simple, angled jog on steroids. From single stairs to doubles and triples, you’re working every muscle from the waist down while increasing the heart rate and shredding kilograms.
Pro tip: Run 500 stairs at 100 per cent intensity, and time it – better your time every week.
6. Push ups
The common misconception is that push ups are solely an exercise that builds chest strength – oh how wrong. Push ups work the chest, back, shoulders, triceps, quads, and more. The more muscles used, the more calories burned. Push ups are a classic fat burner.
Pro tip: By changing your hand position or performing incline / decline push ups, there are hundreds of variations to work all over your chest – you’ll never use a bench press again.
7. Kettlebell swings
A simple swing with a kettlebell is an explosive movement that builds strength, improves posture, and elevates the heart rate. It’s a high intensity move that benefits the posterior chain and will build an athletic bum.
Pro tip: If kettlebells aren’t available, try a single arm, dumbbell clean and press. It mimics kettlebell swings in form and utilises similar muscles.
If you jog for 30 minutes I dare you to skip rope for 30 minutes and compare how you feel. According to Science Daily, 10 minutes of skipping rope is equivalent to an 8 minute mile (1.6 kilometres). Skipping rope burns serious calories, and is a high intensity exercise.
Pro tip: Buy a rope with weighted handles to burn more calories – you’ll feel the shoulder and forearm burn in no time.
9. The plank
An isometric hold may not burn the most calories or tone as much as other exercises, but without a solid core, you’ll have an imbalanced physique that’s just waiting for injury. You abdominals, back, core, hamstrings, and bum all work while planking, ultimately benefiting posture and balance.
Pro tip: Don’t forget side planks for the obliques.
10. Restraint in the kitchen
Choose your poison – healthy diet without exercise; exercise without a healthy diet. Both are bad for the waistline. Doing the right thing in the kitchen is as important an exercise as the nine listed above. Imagine dropping your portions by 25 per cent, binning the processed snacks and fizzy drinks, eating fresh protein, adding fruit and veggies while drinking less alcohol and more water. You’ll not only be fuelling your exercise program, you’ll systematically drop weight week after week.
If your exercise regime doesn’t include any of these 10, I’ve gotta wonder – what the hell are you doing? Sure, there are more complex exercises like Olympic movements, and some might argue swimming, biking, and deadlifts should be on this list. To me, it’s “six to one half a dozen to the other” as long as you bring energy and intensity to your exercise regime.
I won’t judge corporations trying to make another dollar on bigger portions. But I will judge you and your choices.