I'm trying to lose 15 pounds before my wedding this Summer. I don't have a lot of time to work out each day, only about 30 minutes, so I was trying to think of ways to burn more calories per workout. What do you think about running with dumbbells? I figured I could burn more calories and tone my arms at the same time. Is this the best way to slim down before the Big Day?
First of all, congrats on your engagement. How exciting! A woman wants to look her best on her wedding day, and you're not alone in trying to lose weight and tone up. I'm very against running while holding hand weights, though. To find out why and learn ways to maximize your gym time read more.
Running or walking with dumbbells seems like a brilliant way to kill two birds with one stone — burn calories while toning your upper body — but it's a bad idea. Swinging that extra weight will most likely cause you to tear a muscle or injure your shoulder joint. The same goes for ankle weights. If you wear them while walking or running, you might as well sign yourself up for a knee injury. Besides, for every 10 pounds you add to your body while moving, you only burn about five to eight extra calories per mile.
If you want to get the most out of your cardio workouts, instead of picking up weights, pick up the pace. Moving even a little faster will burn more calories. So even though you only have 30 minutes, running at a pace of 6 mph (10-minute miles) will burn 292 calories. If you run a little faster at a pace of 6.5 mph (9:14 minutes per mile), you'll burn 309 calories. While that may not seem like a huge difference, after five days of running, you'll end up burning 85 extra calories. Intervals offer more caloric burning bang for your cardio buck. Play with speed and try this interval running workout to start.
Find other times to strength train. Either use the 30 minutes you have each day to do weights a couple times a week, or fit in exercises here and there. Do triceps dips on your chair at work, do bicep curls while chatting on the phone, or do 20 push-ups before bed.
Since working out alone won't help you lose weight, also make sure you're eating a balanced diet that includes lean protein, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and veggies. Watch your portions by measuring out your serving sizes and keeping a food journal. Remember that slow and steady wins the race, and if you continue with regular exercise and a healthy diet, you'll gradually melt the pounds and will more likely be able to keep them off after you say "I do."