Health Scoop

How to Really Lose Weight: The Breakdown on Fancy Workouts

ARE YOU TRYING to figure out how to lose weight, but feel like you have to spend thousands of dollars on fancy gyms and high intensity classes to get there? Yea um, no thank you. (I promise this is not an obnoxious infomercial.)

Even as someone with a pretty intense background in medicine, and knowing it takes effort and time to get from point A to Z, I get a touch overly optimistic when I am promised the workout that will give me Jessica Alba’s abs in a week. But even if a class focuses on micro-exercises that are supposed to sculpt those muscles, that alone won’t really make magic happen.

Bottom line: You need intensity in your workouts.

Intensity is what gets you to burn calories and fat even after you stop moving. You can sculpt like you’re earning a Bachelor’s degree in it, but the intensity of your workouts is how you lose weight.

Researchers actually found that after a high intensity workout, your body continues to burn more calories (like literally an extra 50% of the calories that you just burned while you were doing the workout.) So to put this into human perspective, gym rats who burn around 450 calories on a treadmill, will continue to burn about 190 calories post-workout, bringing the grand total to a whooping 640 cals (that’s a meal).

But what about all those fancy classes? Going to a class once a week and calling it a day is a start, but if you really want to become an expert in how to lose weight, you gotta burn, baby, burn. Consistency is key, and keep in mind that some of the same types of classes are better than others. A barre class in one studio may be completely different at another.

Glamour has a fantastic rundown in comparing the different types of trendy workouts. While BariOne burns 360 calories (equivalent to a bagel), Core Fusion Barre burns about 200 (equivalent to a Luna Bar). (Kudos to the former’s unique cardio/weight combo workout ~ there is a trampoline involved…)


Core Fusion Cardio = 450 calories burned

Zumba = 420 calories burned

The Bar Method = 280 calories burned

Soul Cycle = 570 calories burned (winner!)

And, drumroll please….

Thirty minutes of running intervals (incline walking vs. sprinting) on the good old treadmill = 490 calories burned

Cycling and barre workout studios like SoulCycle or PureBarre promise a total body makeover and some of their regulars are borderline religious. It may seem like a cultish ‘tude to have, but that kind of a ‘tude is a good thing. The reality is that if you really want to figure how to lose weight signing up for a fancy class once a week is a start, but is not enough.

All-or-nothing is out. Balance is in. Alternating between treadmill time and low to moderate intensity muscle conditioning will give you the optimal boost in calorie burning, but you gotta do one or the other for at least 45 minutes three times a week, no joke. Let’s go, you got this. 

Ref: Knab, et al A. 45-minute vigorous exercise bout increases metabolic rate for 14 hours. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Sep;43(9):1643-8. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182118891

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  • Reply
    September 9, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Thinking about losing weight can become a burden. I’m inclined to the treadmill and walking, that’s what I find effective for me

  • Reply
    September 9, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Intensity is key, like you stated. I have been gaining weight this last year, which is not what I want, so a good set of workouts would be good for me

  • Reply
    Maury Cheskes
    September 9, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    Those are good tips on how to stay in shape. I find the plank exercise especially good to create muscles in your abdomens and strengthen your core.

  • Reply
    Scott Summers
    September 9, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    I am not really into work outs. However, doctors says that diet is just eating properly. Not starving yourself to loose weight.

  • Reply
    Alex Summers
    September 9, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    I agree with that bro. Starving yourself will only make you eat more thus more weight.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    Having a total body workout is the best. Also, it’s probably best to do exercise for strength and health and not focus too much on the scale.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    If I may add, complex kettlebell work outs help in weight loss. This is what I’ve been doing to keep the pounds off. I haven’t tried zumba – haha I feel so embarrassed to try it out. I hear it’s fun though. Can’t believe you can burn 420 calories.

  • Reply
    September 10, 2017 at 4:07 am

    just what ive been looking for. i am now on calorie counting process , which does help. and i guess intensity on my workout is something that i need practice. thanks!

  • Reply
    September 10, 2017 at 4:25 am

    I’ve been gaining weight since I turned 30. Your article is very helpful. I don’t have the time to go the gym. Not to mention, the amount of money you’d have to spend to go there. I’d rather to it at home. Running sounds doable to me.

  • Reply
    September 10, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Great insights you got here… but how do I know if my workout is intense enough? Is pain the ultimate indication that you’ve put in enough effort?

  • Reply
    September 10, 2017 at 10:05 am

    I realized a long time ago that getting a gym membership isn’t a guarantee for achieving weight loss. You really have to work your butts off every time if you wish to see results.

  • Reply
    Hari Priya
    September 10, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    It has been a long time since I visited the gym. I regret that I am not visiting the gym regularly because of my hectic work schedule. I always try to follow a healthy diet and regular running in the morning. But I am thinking of following a strict diet plan with calculating the calories. Thanks for the post. It’s really an eye opener.

  • Reply
    September 10, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Oh yeah consistency is the key. My weight yoyoed over the years. Losing weight can really be frustrating. But will definitely try some of your tips! Thanks for sharing this info.

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