Wait! Don't just skim down to see which exercise I've labeled as the best, get the whole story...
I'm often approached and asked to pin down a single exercise as the one that will help lose the most fat and sculpt the quickest. That's not an easy question to answer.
You see, I'm very aware of the fact that though an exercise may be perfect for Client A, it may not be the best choice for Client B—hence my hesitation to label any exercise as the universal best.
That being said, some exercises are definitely better than others. And, yes, there are even a few that I would call the best.
What makes an exercise the best?
When you decide which exercises to include in your routine, it is important to consider the type of movement involved. The simpler the movement, the fewer calories you'll burn and the fewer muscles you will strengthen. On the other hand, the more complex the movement, the more calories you will burn and the more muscles you will strengthen.
To put it simply, exercises that use complex movements will deliver better results than exercises that use only simple movements. Complex movements recruit multiple muscles, some to stabilize and others to perform the movement. This process keeps your heart rate higher than a simple exercise would, giving you a more intense workout.
What is a complex movement?
A complex movement is a multi-joint movement that recruits large portions of the body to complete the exercise. Let's compare a simple movement leg exercise with a complex movement leg exercise:
The leg extension machine uses a simple, isolated movement to work the quadriceps. You're in a seated position moving only your knee joint. There isn't much involvement, if any, from other muscles and it doesn't burn very many calories.
Now let's look at a free weight walking lunge. You start by standing with your feet together and a dumbbell in each hand at your sides (or a barbell across your shoulders, or a medicine ball held at your chest, or even with no weight at all). You take a large step forward and lower your back knee, keeping your front knee at a 90 degree angle. Now you push off your front foot and pull your back leg forward, repeating the movement.
How many muscles did you utilize while performing the lunge? Probably too many to count.
You certainly worked your quadriceps, gluteus, hamstrings, calves, abdominals, supporting muscles in your shoulders, arms and back- just to name a few. You also raised your heart rate and really kicked your metabolism into high gear. That's what I call a great exercise.
Other ways to increase intensity
Using complex movements are just one of many ways to kick your workout intensity up a notch. Try incorporating a Super Set into your routine. To do so simply perform two or more exercises in a row and then take a short rest.
Or how about a Compound Set? Perform one exercise, rest, then perform an exercise with opposing body parts. To find exercises that compliment one another, choose ones that have similar but opposite motions such as a chest press and a row.
The key to finding the best exercise is to find the ones that bring your workout intensity to a whole new level.
I'd be shortchanging you if I named any exercise as the best. The fact of the matter is that it is a combination of changing your workouts up, using interval training, and even some good old cardio that will ultimately see you to your goal.
These methods will help you to burn more calories, increase your metabolic rate, and will stimulate the production of more fat burning and muscle toning hormones. Of course, there is more involved to achieving your fitness goals. You need to incorporate fat burning into your routine. You need to consistently challenge yourself during workouts. You need to take control of your eating habits and to get your diet dialed in.
Far too often fitness is presented as complicated and confusing.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Being fit comes from living the following simple everyday practices:
It’s holiday fat gain season, a time when nearly everyone packs on a few pounds. Rather than joining the masses and loosening your belt another notch, use these 5 Holiday Fat Loss Hacks and avoid putting on a single pound. These hacks could even result in a few pounds lost before New Year’s…
Holiday Fat Loss Hack #1: Eat a sensible meal before the party.
You should always arrive at parties with a full stomach. I realize that this goes against the popular trend of starving yourself before a party, and that’s exactly why most people gain weight.
Since your stomach will be full, you’ll have the clarity to pick and choose the treats that you really want, rather than stuffing yourself with everything in sight.
Holiday Fat Loss Hack #2: Bring a healthy dish to share.
Don’t worry if the party that you’re going to isn’t a potluck—the hostess will love you for being so thoughtful, and you’ll have a healthy option to enjoy.
A roasted veggie salad, a hummus platter, or an arrangement of fresh fruit are all delicious, healthy dishes that are filled with fiber and would be a welcome addition to any holiday menu.
Holiday Fat Loss Hack #3: Never drink calories.
Do you realize how quickly calories add up when you’re slurping them out of a cup? Alcoholic beverages and sweet holiday drinks are simply packed with calories. These calories don’t take up much room in your stomach so you’re left wide open for even more calories.
Your best strategy is to avoid these beverages altogether, and stick with water. Aim to drink 2-3 glasses of water at the party.
Holiday Fat Loss Hack #4: Fill your plate, but only once.
I’m certainly not going to tell you that you shouldn’t eat anything at the party. By all means, go and fill up your plate. But only once.
That’s right, you heard me. No going back for seconds. Since you’ve already eaten a sensible meal before arriving, this rule is going to be easier to keep than you think.
Holiday Fat Loss Hack #5: Taste dessert, just a taste.
The holidays are all about sweet treats, so go ahead and partake. But just a taste. Look at desserts as something to savor, not something to fill up on.
And since you ate a sensible meal before you came, then you filled up your dinner plate once you’re probably going to be pretty full at this point anyway.
That’s it—all you need to know to not gain a single pound at holiday parties.
But what about the rest of the year?
Wouldn’t you love to make 2015 the year that you transform your body?
Wouldn’t it feel great to throw out all of your fat clothes? To look forward to bathing suit season? To be given a clean bill of health from your doctor? And to be showered with compliments by family, friends and that special someone?
It’s all more possible than you think.
But you’ll need to take massive action.