Is Working Out 30 Minutes a Day Enough to Lose Weight?

Reviewed on 6/4/2021
working out to lose weight
The amount of time you need to spend working out depends on your fitness goals and current weight

Losing weight requires a combination of the right diet (reducing calorie intake) and physical activity. But there is no one answer as to how much exercise is enough for a person, since the amount of time you need to spend working out depends on your fitness goals and current weight.

Thirty minutes of exercise a day may be enough, but it depends on your:

To lose weight at a healthy and realistic rate of 1-2 pounds per week, you need to burn, on average, 500-1000 more calories than you consume each day. Moderately working out 30 minutes a day can help keep you healthy and help with weight loss in a sustainable way. But to shed more pounds in a shorter time period, you may need to upgrade the intensity and duration of your workouts. 

In general, however, researchers have found that moderately overweight men who exercised hard enough to sweat for 30 minutes a day lost an average of 8 pounds over 3 months. 

It’s important to keep in mind that you should never try to rush the process. Crash diets and crazy exercise programs rarely provide long-lasting results and can be unhealthy.

What is Tabata training?

Tabata training is a short, high-intensity workout that is supposed to reduce weight more quickly and increase metabolism. According to research from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), Tabata can help you burn up to 15 calories per minute.

Tabata, in essence, is a build-your-own-adventure fitness regimen that can produce a heady burn and afterglow. It consists of strength and aerobic exercises that work the entire body as opposed to just one set of muscles. Exercises include warm-ups, side shuffles, shoulder rotations, etc. to start, then gradually move on to cardio exercises (such as skater plyo) and then into strength exercises (such as push-ups). You can also use a combination of exercises where you complete sets of various workouts, such as burpees, lunges, kettlebell squats.

All of the moves in a Tabata workout need to be carried out for only 4 minutes. During those 4 minutes, you need to push yourself extremely hard for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds (20:10 rule). This completes one set. You then complete 8 such sets for each exercise. While this can be tiring, pushing yourself this way helps you reap the maximum benefits of this exercise.

Here’s an example of a 20-minute session:

Round 1

  • High knees
  • Plank punches
  • Jumping jacks
  • Side skaters

Round 2

  • Jump rope
  • High or low boat
  • Line jumps
  • Push-ups

Round 3

  • Burpees
  • Russian twists
  • Squats
  • Lunges

Round 4

  • Mountain climbers
  • Push-ups
  • Split squats
  • Box jumps

What to keep in mind about Tabata training

Although a Tabata workout is great for some, it can be too physically demanding for certain people and age groups. If that’s the case for you, you can try other HIIT workouts that are more practical for you that have high-intensity intervals that match your fitness level.

Many people think that they can just jump into a Tabata session, but the truth is, you need to work up to this sort of high-intensity training. Try to find a range of beginner Tabata workout routines to start with and take it slow. Your body will have to get accustomed to the more intense demands of this type of workout so you can avoid injury.

Tabata is cost-effective, fun, super challenging and, when adhering to the 20:10 principle, can produce remarkable results. 

Since intense workouts carry a greater risk of dehydration, make sure to keep water handy and refuel with a post-workout snack if needed.

SLIDESHOW

Pictures of the 7 Most Effective Exercises to Do at the Gym or Home (and Tips to Improve Form) See Slideshow

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References
Obadike O. The 4-Minute Fat-Loss Workout. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/the-4-minute-fat-loss-workout#

Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/physical_activity/index.html

Harvard Health Publishing. Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights. April 06, 2021. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/calories-burned-in-30-minutes-of-leisure-and-routine-activities

Emberts T, Porcari JP, Steffen J, Doberstein S, Foster C. Is Tabata All It's Cracked Up To Be? American Council on Exercise. https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/prosource/october-2013/3497/is-tabata-all-it-s-cracked-up-to-be

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