15 Best Workouts for Weight Loss, According to Trainers—and Yes, Walking Counts!

You may have heard that to lose weight, you have to create a caloric deficit, and that 3,500 calories equal one pound. To cut calories, you can eat less, but working out also plays a big role. So, what are the best workouts to lose weight? We caught up with some trainers to bring you this guide to the 15 best workouts for weight loss. Whether you prefer working out outside or feel ready to take on the gym again, there's something here for everyone. 

And these workouts aren't just calorie-torchers—they're a lot of fun too! Get in the best shape of your life and get an awesome endorphin high with these 15 trainer-approved workouts.

Related: ‘I’m 57 and in the Best Shape of My Life—These Are the Exact Workouts That Transformed My Body'

15 Best Workouts for Weight Loss

1. Jumping Rope

This, says indoor spin instructor and personal trainer, Nicole Murray, is a full-body workout that gives you a great calorie burn. “When you’re short on time, 15 minutes with a jump rope will get the job done,” she says. “It improves coordination and cardiovascular health, and you can do it just about anywhere.” Murray aims for 10 sets of 100 jumps, with a short break in between each set, two times a week. “Beginners can start off with fewer sets and work their way up,” she says.

Related: Try These 11 Trainer-Approved Jump Rope Workouts Today 

2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT workouts are great for weight loss because you can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. “HIIT is super effective because it produces something called EPOC (excess post-oxygen consumption),” explains Jill Anzalone, group fitness and personal trainer in Massachusetts. “This means that you keep burning calories even after the workout is over."

Related: HIIT Workouts for Beginners 

3. Low-intensity Cardio

“This type of workout is safe and effective for all levels and can help you burn calories and lose weight,” says Jennifer Blackburn, a group fitness instructor, cycle coach and personal trainer. Low-intensity cardio workouts can include jogging, cycling, power walking, or a fun cardio dance class. “Once you get stronger, try adding light weights to a cycle class, power walking on a treadmill taking your incline all the way up or adding intense bursts of work for 30 seconds with a 30-second rest,” she says. Try to do these four to five days a week aiming for 45 to 60 minutes.

Related: 13 Reasons Why You Aren’t Losing Weight

4. Running

Running is great because you can do it anywhere with no equipment. All you need is a pair of shoes,” says Ashley Edwards, a personal trainer with Fit2DaBeat LLC. Running uses your glutes and legs, which are larger muscle groups, causing you to burn more calories from your workout. Edwards notes that in addition to helping you to lose weight, running is good for your heart and will help build endurance.

And bonus points if you can throw in some hill sprints. “Running up an incline will get your heart rate up higher, burn calories faster and help you build muscle in your legs,” says Joe Szadok, a GYMGUYZ certified personal trainer.

Related: Running Is a Great Way to Lose Weight—Here's How Trainers Recommend Going About It 

5. Mountain Climbers

“Mountain climbers are great because they work your entire body from a cardiovascular and muscular perspective,” says Edwards. Start with your hands underneath your shoulder, lift yourself up into a plank with your belly button drawn up and butt out of the air, then keep alternating driving your knees into your chest. 

Mountain climbers are great for fat loss, according to Edwards, in addition to increasing your stability and strength as you have to use your core to stay in the plank position. Edwards suggests aiming for 20 a day, five days out of the week for weight loss.



Related: Let's Get Physical! 10 Free Running Apps for Beginners, Pros and Every Runner in Between

6. Strength Workouts

“Cardio is great for burning calories in the moment, but strength is good to increase your metabolism and burn more calories over time,” says Jonathan Tylicki, a master trainer and director of education for AKT. He explains that a metabolic increase happens because you have added muscle tissue, which requires the body to use more energy, increasing caloric burn. “You truly want to feel the burn to burn more calories,” he proclaims. This, he says, can help you sustain fat loss over time. 

He suggests incorporating a low-impact strength workout that works large and small muscle groups into your weekly routine. “Strength workouts can be done a couple of times a week but just be cautious of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) that might make you feel extremely sore and not wanting to work out for a couple of days,” says Tylicki.

7. Yoga

While yoga isn't seen as a great fat-burning workout, it's a fantastic addition to anyone's workout regimen, says Chris Pabon, a trainer with FlexIt.Fit. “It teaches you how to control your body, your breathing, and really focus your mind on the task at hand,” he says. And all of these will carry over into any type of weight lifting, cardio-centric session, and everyday life, making those workouts more productive as well. This is also great for your recovery.

8. TRX Bodyweight Workout

“Another great workout that is great for weight loss is a TRX Bodyweight workout,” says Jessica Mazzucco, a New York City certified fitness trainer and CEO and founder of The Glute Recruit. She notes that the TRX Suspension System is a great low-impact workout that uses your body weight against gravity and challenges your muscles in a different way versus traditional bodyweight training. Many gyms have TRX stations and you can also order the bands online. They can be fastened to a ceiling, or wall, mounted in a doorway, or even tied around a tree.

Here is an example of a TRX workout that Mazzucco recommends:

  • Squat to row (3 sets of 12)

  • Push up (3 sets of 12)

  • Reverse lunge(3 set of 12, each leg)

  • Tricep press (3 sets of 12)

  • Hamstring curl (3 sets of 12)

  • Mountain climber (3 sets of 12)

  • Side Plank Dip (3 sets of 12, each side)

  • You can do workouts with the TRX 3 times a week.

Related: 51 Bodyweight Exercises That Require Zero Equipment 

9. Kettlebell Workout

“Kettlebell workouts are one of the best workouts for weight loss,” explains Mazzucco. “You burn a ton of calories while developing muscle which gives your metabolism a jolt.” This, she says, is a form of strength training that makes your body burn calories even post-workout, which is a definite plus for weight loss. To see the maximum benefit, she says to aim to do a kettlebell workout three to four times per week.

She recommends starting with the following routine:

  • KB Swing (3 sets of 20)

  • KB single arm row (3 sets of 12)

  • KB Goblet squat (3 sets of 12)

  • KB Shoulder Halo (3 sets of 12)

  • KB Single leg deadlift (3 sets of 12)

  • KB Standing single arm press (3 sets of 12)

Szadok notes that kettlebell swings when performed correctly, will burn calories and also promote some muscle activation. “A common error here is treating the swing like it's a squat,” he said. “Instead of using your legs to bend and get you low, hinge at your hips and bring the kettlebell forward by an explosive movement through your hips. This is a powerful movement that’s properly performed, not by using your arms, but with a squeeze of your butt as you come forward.”



10. Boxing

Boxing, says Tommy Dibernardo, a personal trainer and retired professional MMA fighter, is a great way to lose weight. “It’s one of the highest-burning calorie cardiovascular exercises,” he explains. “When trying to lose fat, burning the proper calories is a must.” And while it may seem like you need to pound away at the bag for hours, you can burn calories with even a short session of boxing. “And you can shadowbox using dumbbells for an even greater burn,” Dibernardo adds.

Related: 10 Real People Share the One Change That Finally Helped Them Lose Weight 

11. Walking

Walking may not seem like it does a lot but being consistent with it can really get the job done. “Walking is one of my absolute favorite forms of physical activity for weight loss,” says Harley Pasternak, a celebrity trainer and chief fitness advisor at FORME Life. It can be done anywhere, anytime, without any special equipment. “The majority of calories you burn when walking come from fat rather than carbohydrates,” Pasternak says. “It has a very low rate of perceived exertion, so people are more likely to do it more often and for longer periods of time.”

Related: How Many Calories You Actually Burn Walking A Mile

12. Stair Climbing

Another of Pasternak’s favorites is working out on stairs. “I find a challenging set of stairs in every city I visit, and use that as a low impact, moderate intensity form of cardio to burn calories,” he says. “I love this because it’s relatively easy on your joints, and you’re able to use your quads and glutes as you’re ascending.” You can find a set of stairs near you, walk up and down the bleachers at a neighborhood school or log some time on the stair master at the gym. Either way, you’ll feel the burn!

Related: 30 Best Weight Loss Smoothie Recipes

13. Swimming Laps

Swimming, says Pasternak, is a great way to burn calories. “It uses so many muscle groups without putting wear and tear on your joints.” If you want to increase your intensity, you can try using webbed gloves or flippers while you swim.

Related: 114+ Streaming Workouts You Can Do At Home

14. Dance

“Dance or dance fitness is one of the best workouts you can do because it gets the entire body moving in different planes of motion, which keeps you more flexible and able to move with more ease with daily simple activities,” says Ariel Hoffman, a NASM certified master trainer and founder of Ariel Hoffman Wellness. Dance workouts, she says, also tend to be more fun, and can get your heart rate going without you even realizing it, all of which contributes to weight loss goals.

Related: Get Your Sweat On With the Best Spinning Apps

15. Cycling

Calling all Peloton fans! “The high-intensity cardio that cycling can bring to your workout will help create the after-burn effect to continue burning calories long after your workout is complete,” says Lindsey Lauten, a certified personal trainer and WW D360 Coach. She notes that similar to running, a higher-intensity ride will burn more calories than a lower-intensity ride. “Think of your exertion level on a scale of 1-10. You should feel like you’re working at a level 7 where you are breathing deeply but not completely out of breath,” says Lauten.

Next, The Whole30 vs. Keto Face-Off: Which Low-Carb Diet Is Better for Losing Weight?


  • Nicole Murray, indoor spin instructor and personal trainer

  • Jill Anzalone, group fitness and personal trainer in Massachusetts

  • Jennifer Blackburn, a group fitness instructor, cycle coach, and personal trainer

  • Ashley Edwards, a personal trainer with Fit2DaBeat LLC

  • Joe Szadok, a GYMGUYZ-certified personal trainer

  • Jonathan Tylicki, a master trainer and director of education for AKT

  • Chris Pabon, a trainer with FlexIt.Fit

  • Jessica Mazzucco, a New York City are certified fitness trainer and CEO and founder of The Glute Recruit

  • Tommy Dibernardo, a personal trainer and retired professional MMA fighter

  • Harley Pasternak, a celebrity trainer and chief fitness advisor at FORME Life

  • Ariel Hoffman, a NASM-certified master trainer and founder of Ariel Hoffman Wellness

  • Lindsey Lauten, a certified personal trainer and WW D360 Coach