Best exercise equipment for quick weight loss

Dear Alice,

What is the best fitness equipment to buy for my home to lose fat fast? I had a treadmill and I used it but it was so big. I have a stepper, but it is a fold up and doesn't really work very well because it is so small. I would like to lose ten lbs. before the holidays. I am 5'6" and 135 lbs. Size 6. I am very good about faithfully going to the gym until now, because of my work schedule. Is there any new equipment to help me?

—Goldilocks looking for something "just right"

Dear Goldilocks looking for something "just right," 

Kudos to you for wanting to stay active, despite your busy schedule! Exercising is a great way to maintain strong muscles and bones, improve your overall mood, and boost your energy. Losing fat is influenced by multiple factors (e.g., height, weight, genetics, and previous fitness history) therefore, a weight loss journey often requires more than one specific, stand-alone piece of equipment. In addition, finding the right equipment is often accompanied by balancing the calories you consume and the energy you burn during physical exertion. 

Let’s explore your desire to lose weight before the holidays. It may be helpful to reflect on why you want to lose weight, and whether your target amount of weight loss is healthy, feasible, and sustainable. Consider asking yourself the following reflection questions: 

  • “Do I have the energy to do what I need and want to do?” 
  • “Is my weight keeping me from participating in other activities? 
  • “Why do I feel the need to lose ten pounds before the holidays? 

Research suggests that quick weight loss is usually not permanent, and unsustainable exercise regimens may eventually lead to abandoning your goals. Rather than turning to extreme workout routines or diets, consider making small changes that will encourage longer-term lifestyle changes. These small changes could be walking more; eating whole foods, including fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; and making movement a part of your routine. Small, healthy changes can lead to great outcomes over time. 

Finding time to go to the gym when you’re busy can be challenging. Fortunately, there are many at-home exercises that you might consider trying that don’t require expensive equipment. A few options to explore include: 

  • Investing in a jump rope. 
  • Using common household items like milk jugs, cases of water, books, or heavier canned goods as replacements for gym dumbbells. 
  • Incorporating more activity that doesn’t take up any extra time into your regular routine. For example, if you are able, consider climbing the stairs instead of using an elevator or escalator. 
  • If you enjoy running, maybe this means going for a walk, jog, or run first thing in the morning if you typically get too bogged down later in the day or vice versa. 
  • Checking out online platforms or mobile apps that feature workout videos on-demand (this can even be a fun dance video!). 

It can be helpful to remember that exercise doesn't have to be an "all or nothing" endeavor. Even a quick 20-minute exercise during the day can help you achieve your weight loss goals. Do your best during busy times and try not to let exercising itself become a source of stress. Personal trainers and dietitians are also a great resource for supporting your weight loss journey. If you’re a student, oftentimes, campuses have registered dietitians available to discuss dietary needs and provide guidance. If you are sure you want to embark on a losing weight, weight loss counseling is also another resource to consider. A mental health professional can also help you reflect on your habits and make positive changes to support your goals. 

Weight loss looks different from person to person and it’s important that one doesn’t compare their journey to someone else’s. If you feel happy with your progress, keep going until you reach your goals. Here's to moving in ways that make you feel good!

Last updated Jul 07, 2023
Originally published Dec 17, 1999

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