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9 most common exercise types for women. Which ones are best for weight loss?

All the suggested below exercises are ranked from least effective (in terms of weight loss) to most effective. I have assigned them points from 1 to 5 accordingly.

Summer is coming closer. Yey! ☀️🌴 Now is the perfect time to start working towards your perfect beach body. Healthy weight loss is 0.5 kg / week, so being mid-March, that leaves you 12 weeks to get in shape, so you can lose 6 kg safely if you start today. 💪

Correct and clean diet is 60% of your weight loss success, 40% is your activity level.

My clients often are confused which type of activity they should engage in weight loss, so in this article I want to cover the most common ones and explain how it contributes to your weight loss journey.

The most important goal during the weight loss period for my clients, is to ensure they lose fat and keep/build muscles (now here I am not referring to becoming a body builder!). Low body fat % and high muscle mass is a magic formula to a perfect body and efficient metabolism. In order to achieve this, besides having a good diet, you will need to aim to combine the right cardio intensity (70% Max HR) with strength. Only in this case you will be on a sweet part of fat burn and muscle gain.

Now, what can you chose to do...

1. Walking Weight loss effectiveness: 1 out of 5.

If you have never done sports, just the idea of it might be scary, so many people opt for walking 10,000 steps a day. While this is a good way to stay active through your day and a general healthy recommended number of steps, this won't help you lose weight. In order to burn fat, you heart rate must be at 70% of max HR. How to calculate your Heart Rate? Take 220 - your age x 70%. This will be a top range of your fat burning zone. For those who use fitness watches like Garmin, you need to be in the Green zone.

Recommendation: if you still prefer walking, ensure your heart rate is at 70% of its max by increasing intensity or adding elevation.

2. Yoga Weight loss effectiveness: 1 out of 5.

I, personally, do yoga 4 times a week (in addition to 3 times gym, running, pole fitness & stretching). Yoga is an amazing way of keeping your mind calm and stay mobile, but it will not be the sport to contribute to weight loss. The reason is - your heart rate is not high enough to burn fat.

Note: more strenuous types of yoga, like Ashtanga yoga, will be a great way to build arm strength - which you might consider after you lost those extra kilos.

3. Zumba, cardio boxing & similar body weight aerobic classes Weight loss effectiveness: 3 out of 5.

Many women prefer Zumba classes because they find it fun and enjoyable way to do fitness. It is a great aerobic activity indeed. But focusing only on cardio activity you might melt some kilos, but you will also lose muscle mass, which means you might be losing the wrong kilos - think of this scenario: it is possible to make fire with dollar bills, but it is not best way is it? Same with losing muscles and not fat. So just Zumba by itself is not enough for a solid weight loss.

4. Fitness with light weight Weight loss effectiveness: 3 out of 5.

While fitness is great, using light weight will not get you far. Yes, if you are a complete beginner, using light weight first 3 months is a great start, but you need to work it up later. If you are for many years in the gym, using light weights, and wondering why the weight loss is slow or stopped, this is the reason. You will definitely need to consult a personal trainer to change your exercise routine.

5. Dance Weight loss effectiveness: 3 out of 5.

Great and fun way to spend time and get great body coordination. It is an aerobic activity type. Same as with Zumba and aerobic exercises, this won't be quite enough to get you into a full weight loss mode, you will need to add extra strength and cardio training to complement it.

6. RPM / Spinning / Biking classes Weight loss effectiveness: 3 out of 5.

Spinning / biking if a great cardio workout, much more gentle than running. It can get your heart rate well into the fat burn zone and even past beyond, if you use string resistance levels. I give it 3 out of 5 points because you would still need to add strength training to keep your muscles.

7. Running Weight loss effectiveness: 4 out of 5.

Many people head outside in a beautiful weather and start running. Depending on the amount of extra kilos you have, this might be or not a good way. If you have more than 5 extra kilos, running will be hard on your joints and potentially a dangerous way of starting or restarting sports. Many people also run with a bad body form, that can be hurting you more than doing good. Running is a great complement in your training when you are in your correct weight and looking to improve your cardiovascular performance. So for now, don't torture keep it for later.

8. In Gym Training Weight loss effectiveness: 5 out of 5.

Yes yes and yes. Though! Going to the gym 5 times a week is not a guarantee of your successful weight loss. It is incredibly important to have a correctly build exercise program that will match your body type, your current fitness level and abilities. If you have the resources to hire a personal coach it is even better, as he will always be there guiding you in the best form to target correct zones and avoid injuries, motivating, pushing and slowing you down where needed.

The best type of gym training is when you correctly combine cardio and strength for 45-60 min. There is no need to train for 2 hours in a row. If one is spending this amount of time, it means there is a lot of wasted time between exercises and Training is not efficient.

9. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Tabata Weight loss effectiveness: 5 out of 5.

Efficient, time saving, and quick to bring your heart rate up will be a great alternative to gym training and running. Can be done at home and you can find many follow along videos online. Great way to break a sweat and burn fat.

Remember, as with any type of training, discipline and consistency is most important. I would recommend to exercise not less than 3 times a week, stay active other days (do yoga or dance) and follow correct diet.

If you have comments, questions or would like my professional help , feel free to contact me. I wish you all success if your weight journey! Olga Davidian, Nutritionist and fitness coach.

route des Eaux Vives 15
1207 Genève

076 544 52 95 (Olivier) 
079 324 12 47 (Olga) 

rue de Lausanne 147
1202 Genève

076 544 52 95 (Olivier)
079 324 12 47 (Olga)

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