fitness, strengthening, exercises

If you’re just starting out on your weight loss journey, it’s difficult to sift through all the conflicting information out there. We want to follow a healthy lifestyle and avoid excessive weight gain but where do we start?

We’re bombarded with tons of tactics focused on promoting weight loss. Some claim that you’ll lose 15 pounds of belly fat in 3 days, build muscle mass with minimal effort, or lose weight no matter how many calories you eat.

But losing weight and toning up doesn’t have to be difficult or confusing.

You can start building healthy habits by making tiny changes in your daily routine. Whether you’re looking for some of the energy you had in your 20s or you’re looking to start building muscle, these methods will set you down the right path.

What are the best ways to lose weight and tone up?

The best way to lose weight is the way that you know you’ll stick with! Connecting something you enjoy with getting fit helps you associate fitness with enjoyment.

If you know that you hate jogging, don’t bother. It doesn’t matter which fitness guru claims it to be the ultimate way to lose weight. If you despise strapping on your running shoes and hitting the pavement, you probably won’t do it for very long.

Find something you can see yourself doing for weeks, months, or even years.

woman hiking on a high mountain path

Small lifestyle changes are the best way to ensure that your weight loss efforts aren’t in vain. These small lifestyle changes will help take away the intimidation factor when it comes to a whole new way of living.

Weight training, upping your cardiovascular fitness, and eating healthy all while remaining in a calorie deficit can be tough! Pick your favorite ways off this list and get started with a plan.

Before you know it, you’ll be shedding body fat and crushing your health goals!

Stick to home cooking

Most of us tend to consume more calories when we eat at restaurants. After all, it’s pretty tough to order hard boiled eggs when everyone else is ordering burgers and fries.

We also tend to choose more nutrient dense foods while skipping processed food when we eat at home. You’ll feel fuller for longer without having to worry about how many calories you’re eating.

Join your local recreational sports club

If the thought of losing weight all on your own sounds intimidating, consider joining a sports club. You’ll burn calories while making your new lifestyle changes a fun part of your routine.

shakshuka in a pan next to vine tomatoes, basil, and pasta on a wooden table

Use a smaller plate

Being in a calorie deficit is essential to weight loss. But, if you’re anything like me, worrying about your calorie intake all day long can be stressful.

For sustainable weight loss that feels effortless, try using a smaller plate. This can trick your brain into thinking you’re eating more. That way you won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself.

Create a playlist for your workouts

Exercising can be way more fun when you’ve got your favorite songs to listen to. Pick songs that keep you energized and the weight loss will come in no time!

multiple kettlebells of different colors and weights lined up

Explore strength training

Strength training combined with a high enough protein intake will ensure no muscle loss is included in your weight loss journey.

You can start out slow with some body weight exercises such as push ups or lunges. If you’re really itching to start lifting weights, you can hire a certified personal trainer to make sure you don’t injure yourself.

If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to strength train, try the best streetlifting equipment to add to your home gym.

Strength training isn’t dangerous but injuries can happen down the line. You might want to get one of the best cold therapy machines to help speed up your recovery.

Get enough sleep

Reaching your health goals is about more than watching your calorie intake and having a flawless exercise plan. To improve your overall health and lose weight, it’s crucial that you get enough sleep.

Squeeze in a walk during your work day

Don’t have 2 hours to exercise in the gym? No problem.

There are plenty of other ways to get in some more exercise throughout your day. Try brisk walking during your lunch break. If you work from home, under-desk treadmills also come in handy.

Park far away

Get in some extra steps by parking farther away than you normally would. All that extra activity will lead to weight loss that feels effortless.

woman meditating on a lakeside dock overlooking the water

Practice deep breathing exercises

Deep breathing exercises can reduce stress.

Stress management=fewer calories consumed due to stress.

Even if you’re not a stress eater, there are numerous health benefits to being proactive in managing your day-to-day stressors.

Use a stability ball at your desk

If you work from home, try swapping out your chair for a stability ball. This can help strengthen your core without adding another exercise to your workout plan.

Try different forms of mindfulness

Trying to lose weight can be difficult if you’re constantly stressed. Mindfulness activities can help you relax and become more emotionally resilient.

You can try formal meditation, walking meditation, or anything else you think you’d enjoy.

Plan outdoor activities with your friends

While I’m a huge fan of brunch, if you’re trying to lose weight these sorts of outings might have to (temporarily) be put on the back burner.

Let’s face it: it’s difficult to stay in a calorie deficit when mimosas are calling your name. Instead, try organizing a day of exercise disguised as a fun activity such as a hike or swimming.

Losing weight doesn’t have to be boring!

Try a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout

Looking for a way to lose weight while working multiple muscle groups? High-intensity interval training is a great way to burn extra calories even when you’re short on time.

vegetables for a soup in front of pots

Try a healthy new recipe each week

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Switch it up by checking out new healthy recipes.

Don’t forget a few key principles: get in those healthy fats and whole grains, limit your added sugar, and keep your protein intake aligned with your goals. Bonus: These healthy habits can help stave off heart disease.

Use commercial breaks to your advantage

Use commercial breaks during your favorite TV show as an opportunity to burn more calories. Make things challenging by doing a compound exercise (such as a push-up).

Get some resistance bands

Resistance bands are a portable and inexpensive way to help build muscle mass and lose fat.

stairs leading up, modern architecture

Take the stairs

Skip the elevator and work on improving your cardiovascular fitness instead. When you slowly add more activity into your day, it makes your weight loss efforts feel not as grueling.

Start a new hobby that involves exercise

You don’t need to hunt for a hobby that burns the most calories.

Find something active that you enjoy (maybe Zumba). You’ll probably do it with enough vigor to burn more calories than you would dragging yourself through a boring workout routine.

Impromptu dance parties

Waiting for that pot of water for pasta to boil? Take a dance break and you’ll be burning fat while waiting for your dinner.

Get a good quality blender

Developing good eating habits is challenging but absolutely essential to weight loss. Smoothies are a great way to add healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables to your diet.

And if you’re still struggling to get all the nutrients you need, try some of the best biohacking supplements.

two women practicing yoga, silhouettes in the dusk

Practice yoga

While losing weight, it’s important to take care of your body as well as your mind. Yoga is great for relieving stress. Giving your body a more toned appearance is a bonus.

Host a healthy potluck

Invite your friends over to share all the delicious meals you’ve been eating while losing weight.

Explore your local park

Get some Vitamin D and lose weight at the same time.

many fruits and vegetables around a bowl of salad on a table

Keep healthy snacks on hand

You’re less likely to reach for potato chips if you’ve got carrot sticks ready.

Start a gratitude journal

Weight loss is as much a mental journey as it is a physical one.

Starting a gratitude journal can help you develop a more positive mindset. So when you’re going through those rough times you’ll be more likely to be kind to yourself.

Play active video games

Try out some games that require dancing or boxing to make weight loss fun.

woman running on a track

Use a fitness app

Your fitness app can remind you to take mini exercise breaks throughout the day so that you burn more calories.

Some fitness apps can even help you calculate your RMR (resting metabolic rate). Knowing your RMR can help accelerate fat loss.

Host a healthy cooking challenge

Do your friends and family have yet to witness your culinary skills? Show off a little by challenging them to a friendly cooking competition in your kitchen.

Practice mindful eating

Slowing down while you eat allows your body to register that you’re starting to feel full. This can make eating in a calorie deficit easier, especially if you avoid processed foods.

Sneak in balance exercises when you have some downtime

Sure, practicing your tree pose won’t burn as many calories as strength training but it will certainly help with your core stability.

Eat breakfast (and lunch and dinner)

If you’re watching your food intake, you might think that skipping meals will lead to more weight loss.

But if you go on an extreme calorie deficit (think crash diets), you’re more likely to overeat later. This will make losing fat even harder.

vietnamese woman cooking her national cuisine

Use healthier cooking methods

If you opt for steaming or grilling, you’ll be able to save yourself some extra calories.

Try out different exercise equipment

If you’re bored with plain old barbell exercises, try using kettlebells instead. Any sort of weight works great for building muscle.

Jumping rope instead of grinding away on cardio machines at the gym is another way you can spice up your exercise plan.

Sign up for a group fitness class

Working out in a group can push you to exercise longer and harder than if you were by yourself. If fat loss is your goal, surrounding yourself with like-minded people can give you a boost.

woman running a marathon

Run (or walk) for a cause

A great way to stay motivated to exercise is to sign up for a charity run.

There are no rules that say you have to run the whole time so don’t worry about your current fitness level. Plus, it feels good to contribute to a cause that’s meaningful to you.

Use a foam roller

Foam rollers are great for getting knots out of your muscles after an intense workout.

Invest in a home gym

If you find yourself struggling to get to the gym, it might be time for you to set up your own home gym.

Not sure what you should get for your home gym? Get a functional trainer. This one piece of equipment will give you a full body workout allowing you to lose weight quickly.

personal trainer helping woman with her form on an exercise

Find a workout partner

Sometimes, it’s way easier to get in that extra workout when someone is there holding you accountable. You can even look in online communities to find friends who are keen to join in on your weight loss success.

Try a new fruit or vegetable each week

I’m all about keeping it fresh and interesting when you’re trying to lose weight.

We all know we should eat our fruits and veggies. Challenge yourself to try a new one each time you do your grocery shopping. Or maybe revisit some fruits and veggies that you haven’t eaten in a while.

Or better yet, you can try a juice cleanse. Juicing is a great way to get in loads of fruits and vegetables without having to go through all the trouble of preparing them.

Get a standing desk

With so many of us working from home, it can be difficult to lose weight. Getting a standing desk will help you engage different muscle groups throughout the day. You might even be reminded to take other movement breaks on your downtime.

Try new spices

Scouring the internet for new recipes each week can be time-consuming.

Instead, you can work with what you’ve got in your pantry. Picking up a couple of new spices can make all the difference in a dish.

seedlings lined up in a greenhouse

Take up gardening

If you’ve got a backyard, a balcony, or even a sunny windowsill, try growing some vegetables and herbs. There are so many health benefits to gardening. For starters, you’ll have fresh produce, and don’t forget about all the calories burned while you were weeding!

Visit your local swimming pool

If you’re a fan of the water, swimming is a great exercise for weight loss.

Create a vision board

Sustainable weight loss is about more than building muscle and switching to healthy eating patterns. You need to have a clear vision of where you want to see yourself in terms of your overall health. Vision boards can help with this. Put it where you’ll see it every day.

Try a mind-body exercise

If traditional meditation isn’t your thing, you can try a mind-body exercise like tai chi. It’s gentle enough to do on your rest day. Plus, it can help you relax if you’re feeling stressed.

Add a healthy sauce to your meals

Sauces, dressings, and marinades can transform a boring dish into something you’ll actually want to eat. If you don’t have time to make your own, make sure to check the added sugar content of store-bought sauces.

Check out YouTube

YouTube has tons of free exercise videos. Whether you’re working on building muscle or improving your cardio, there’s definitely something there for you.

three pairs on Nike shoes lined up on a deck

Play with your kids

Weight loss can feel so much easier if you join your kids (or nieces or nephews) on the playground. You’re getting in some valuable bonding time while getting fitter.

Kids have endless energy so expect to use some muscles that you haven’t used in quite a while!

Volunteer for a physically challenging task

Volunteer to clean up your local park or beach. You’ll be losing weight and pitching in to help your community. It’s basically a win-win.

Partner with a weight loss coach

You don’t have to try to lose weight all on your own. There are certified professionals who can support you on your weight loss journey.

Use positive affirmations

When the going gets tough, positive affirmations are a gentle reminder that you can do hard things.

Positive affirmations can also come in the form of inspirational quotes. Find a quote that resonates with you and post it where you’ll see it everyday.

balanced rock statue overlooking mountain sunset

What does it mean to lose weight and tone up?

Many of us talk about wanting to lose weight and tone up but what do we mean really?

Most of the time when people say they want to tone up, they mean they want their muscles to look more defined. By losing weight, they typically mean they want to lose fat. So really what you want to do is gain muscle mass while losing fat. This sort of body recomposition can be achieved.

To lose weight and tone up healthily, be prepared to be in it for the long haul. You should aim to lose about 1-2 pounds a week. Even half a pound per week is good progress.

How losing weight and toning up can benefit you

Part of creating a healthy lifestyle may include losing weight and toning up. If this is part of your journey, it’s important to identify your “why.” Identifying your “why” will help you discover how losing weight can benefit you.

Why are you trying to lose weight? Do you want to feel more confident in your clothes? Is it because your doctor warned you about insulin sensitivity? Is it because you want to stave off heart disease?

We all want to be healthy and live well. For those who decide to lose weight as part of their health journey, only they can uncover their “why.”

bubble text with affirmations, appreciation, and positivity

Conclusion

We all want to be healthy and feel good in our bodies. The hard part is changing habits that you’ve had for years. Whether you want to focus on building muscle or simply start with brisk walking, small lifestyle changes are the key to success.

Your personal health journey is one of the most rewarding and the (sometimes) most frustrating thing that you’ll ever decide to do.

Sure there will be some days where you choose refined grains over whole grains. There will also be some days when you decide to sit on the couch instead of doing some body weight exercises in your living room.

But that’s okay. Life isn’t always going to be smooth sailing. When you’re feeling like you haven’t done enough, look back at your weight loss progress. As long as you haven’t given up on yourself, you’ll get there.

woman celebrating, leaping into air silhouetted by a sunset

And let’s not forget your health isn’t just about weight loss.

If you incorporate healthy habits like strength training and eating more whole grains, weight loss will follow. It’s also important to take time to reflect on the other things that come along with living a vibrant, fulfilling life.

You’ll notice that you have more energy so you can give more to the people you love. You’ll probably notice that you’re more resilient so you can deal with setbacks better.

Think about the “why” that started your weight loss journey. Then pick one thing off this list and do it. You don’t have to do it perfectly. Just start.

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