The reality that we have to face when we want to burn calories and decide on what exercise regimen we want to do is that what ever it is it will be hard work. The tendency in this time and age is to attempt to discover a secret exercise or formula that will be a shortcut to success. Now, there are a few different schools of thought on what is the most effective.
The old school way is that you need to get thirty or more minutes of solid exercise, whether it be in the form of running, swimming or cycling. This is a long and tedious road to where you want to get because it is time consuming, but it is effective. You need to consider that our bodies are amazing and they will adapt to meet the stresses that you put on it. If you run the same distance at the same pace in the same amount of time, before long your body will have figured out what it needs to do to become more efficient at that. So, initially you may shed lots of pounds but then hit a plateau. This is key! You have to push your body by either increasing the distance you run, or the pace that you go at.
For those of you that would rather work harder but also be done in a shorter period of time then, HIIT is for you. HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. This is probably one of the most efficient ways to burn calories. This requires of you that you push yourself hard for a short period of time and then slow down, followed by another intense burst, and so on and so forth. Examples of this are running at a hard, intense pace for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds to one minute of a slow jog. Or you could do sprints. The reason that this is effective is because you are able to make your body work very hard, creating an oxygen deficit and it also takes your body longer to recover, burning more calories as it stabilizes. If you ran as hard as you could, it would probably only last a few minutes. The beauty of HIIT is that you can push yourself for much longer.
Another kind of exercise is somewhere between HIIT and lifting weights, called the Tabata protocol. This requires of you to do an exercise for twenty seconds and rest for ten seconds and then back to the exercise until you have completed a four minute cycle. Then you move on to a different exercise. Here you want to pick exercises that require multiple muscle groups including pushups, squats, pullups, lunges, dips, shoulder raises. These exercises are more efficient overall. Surprisingly, you will find that this not only burns your muscles but also ends up being a cardio work out! This kind of exercise is exhausting so do not set yourself up for failure by trying to do too much. You should eventually aim to do 20 minutes of exercise in total. The good thing about it is that you will burn calories after your work out as your muscles are recovering and need nutrients to rebuild the “damage” done.
This overview covers exercise of different levels of intensity. When choosing what kinds of exercise you want to engage in, decide what level of intensity you are prepared for and can handle. Start small and build your way up because aiming too high can lead to discouragement and then quitting which is worse than taking it slow.