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How Long Should I Workout a Day to Lose Weight? 

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: August 2, 2022

When I develop a new weight loss program for clients, one of the first questions I usually get is how much exercise they will have to commit to for consistent results.

It’s a tricky question because there are so many factors that come into play. Your starting body weight, basal metabolic rate, age, gender, and underlying health conditions can all impact whether you lose a few pounds a month or a week.

But through years of research and experience, I’ve managed to come up with a good general starting point.

Here’s how to approach it.

Quick Summary

  • Regular weight loss exercise is crucial to any diet and fitness routine aimed at reducing overall body mass.
  • A good starting point is to exercise three times per week with a vigorous activity that significantly raises your heart rate.
  • Losing weight consistently will also involve some form of physical activity every day of the week, even if it’s not an aerobic activity.

How Much Exercise Do You Need To Lose Weight?

A couple doing exercises

Otherwise, healthy adults need to get about 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, ideally spread over three to five days a week.

That is a general guideline from the Department of Health and Human Services and one that has worked for most of my clients [1].

Now, the faster you want to lose weight, the more you’ll need to exercise or the tougher each workout needs to be in order to maximize the calories burned.

What I generally advise as a good starting point is to plan a tough workout for three days a week and then a more moderate exercise for another two days.

Then, at the weekend, make sure you stay active and go for some walks and hikes to keep burning more calories every day.

You can then monitor your progress and adjust your exercise routine if you notice regular weight regain.

Does The Type Of Exercise Matter?

Yes, the type of exercise matters when it comes to weight loss. Too many people end up frustrated because they do brisk walking every day and think that’s enough for their exercise goal.

But even if that adds up to 150 minutes of moderate training, it’s not going to burn enough calories to make a huge difference in your belly fat.

To maximize the number of calories you burn, you have to ramp up the exercise intensity [2].

That should involve both strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). They will strengthen your muscle mass and boost your fitness level, which will add up to a higher resting metabolic rate.

And that means you’ll burn even more calories and even help reduce blood pressure [3].

Related Article: Best Weight-Loss Training

Diet And Workout For Calorie Deficit

A healthy bowl of meal and measuring tape

So, the only way you’ll be able to get rid of unwanted body fat is by achieving a calorie deficit.

But it’s important to make sure that the remaining calories are from healthy sources, and the Centers for Disease Control recommends eating high-fiber foods that are also low in calories [4].

Once you’ve lowered your calorie intake, it’s time to track your physical activity and body weight.

Start with 75 minutes of vigorous training a week. You can break this into three sessions with 5-10 minutes of warm-up and then 25 minutes a day of aerobic exercise like a HIIT workout.

Doing shorter workouts like this allows you to raise the intensity level and burn more energy in less time.

You also want to make sure that you’re exercising all the major muscle groups and not just focusing on one area.

“When it comes to figuring out what to eat for weight loss, the most important factor is eating less. When you consume less calories than you spend you will lose weight and the diet that helps you lose weight best will be the one that allows you to consume less calories without causing much distress or lethargy.”

- Kamal Patel, Co-founder, and editor at Examine.com.

Tips For Staying Physically Active

You should be doing some form of daily exercise, but it doesn’t have to be resistance training.

If you want to maintain weight loss, then you can’t go to the gym three times a week and then sit on the couch for the remaining four days.

Get into a daily routine of walking and hiking. Or, if you enjoy swimming, then doing that as a form of light exercise is a great way to keep the body moving.

Staying active every day will help you maintain a higher metabolic rate, and this is recommended by the American College Of Sports Medicine [5].

My tip: get that pedometer out and set a daily target of 10,000 steps.

FAQs

Is 30 Minutes Of Exercise A Day Enough To Lose Weight?

Yes, 30 minutes of exercise a day is enough to lose weight if it’s some form of aerobic workout. You also need to make sure that you’re cutting calories from your diet to achieve an energy deficit.

Do You Have To Exercise Every Day To Lose Fat?

Yes, you need to exercise every day to lose fat consistently. Aim for some form of physical activity to avoid the yo-yo effect of weight loss and gain. You’ll also see general health benefits for your heart and immune system.

Plan The Right Amount Of Exercise To Drop Some Pounds

Weight loss is all about carefully balancing your diet and getting the right amount of exercise.

Start with the above recommendations and then increase your training time to one hour a day over the coming weeks and months. It’s going to make a big difference on the scales.

Most people will also benefit from adding the next fat burners into the mix.

They are not a magic pill, but the natural ingredients can boost your metabolic rate enough to burn off extra calories and fat and get you to your target weight noticeably faster.


References:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/exercise/art-20050999
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/what-exercise-burns-the-most-calories
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20045206
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/cutting_calories.html
  5. https://www.acsm.org/docs/default-source/publications-files/acsm-guidelines-download-10th-edabf32a97415a400e9b3be594a6cd7fbf.pdf?sfvrsn=aaa6d2b2_0

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