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"I Can’t Do Higher Intensity Exercise, So How Do I Lose Weight and Fat?"

"I can’t do higher intensity exercise, so how do I lose weight and fat?"

You still hear a lot about HIIT (high intensity interval training) classes and how that’s the best way to lose weight and fat. But, it’s not the only way.

Quick Pros & Cons List on HIIT:

  • Pros: It’s a shorter workout (20-35 minutes usually), it targets everything (cardio, weights, all muscle groups), it does burn calories in the moment and gives you the nice afterburn effect (burning more calories for the next 24-36 hours).
  • Cons: It’s meant to be hard, it gets your heartrate up high and keeps it up, you really shouldn’t do it every day because it should be that intense on the days you do it, the risk of injury (especially if you haven’t done much exercise before) is high.

All right. Yes, HIIT is a great way to burn calories, train your heart, work your muscles, and lose weight and fat. But if you actually do HIIT the right way, you should only be doing 2-3 sessions per week. Contrary to what the popular boutique fitness places make you think, HIIT is meant to be so intense that your muscles can only do it 2-3 times a week because it needs the other days to actively recover. Think of it like trying to set a PR in the mile—you wouldn’t do that every day, five days a week, for months on end, would you? No.

The best ways to lose weight and fat are three-fold: You have to eat and hydrate better, you have to mix up your exercise, and you have to make sure you’re sleeping.

Now, if you can’t do HIIT or any kind of intense workouts, that’s okay—you can still lose weight and fat! But it may take a little longer and you’ll have to work harder on the nutrition side as well.

I’m going to just focus on the exercise side of losing weight and fat here today. If you cannot do higher intensity exercise of any kind, you need to do what you can instead and add in weights. You will want to find a form of cardio that you can do for a sustained period of time (at least 20 minutes), whether it’s walking, biking, the elliptical, or rowing. And you will want to have a variety of weights, from small to whatever you consider to be lift-able but heavy.

The best way to lose weight and fat is to do both cardio and weight lifting and to work toward heavier weights and more intense cardio. I suggest doing at least 30-minute workout sessions five days per week with at least 20 minutes of that time as cardio and the rest weight lifting.

Sample workout ideas:

• Walk/Bike/Row/Stride for 20 minutes, increasing the speed by 0.1 or incline by 0.5 every 3-5 minutes. You should be working hard by the end of the 20 minutes.

• Split each day into muscle groups or areas, whether it’s upper body on Monday and Wednesday and lower body on Tuesday and Thursday and both on Saturday, or chest on Monday, back on Tuesday, etc.

• When you weight lift, start with 12-15 reps of a lighter weight for your first set. For your second set, lift the next weight up and aim for 10-12 reps. For your third set, lift the next weight up and aim for 8-10 reps.

My goal for you, if you want to lose weight and fat, is to slowly increase your cardio exercise intensity and/or time as well as to slowly increase the amount of weight you’re able to lift. The cardio exercise will help burn calories and train your heart and the weight lifting will help build muscle, burn fat, and burn more calories while you’re at rest.