Effective Training Techniques
for Weight Management

See also: The Importance of Exercise

In this busy day and age we often get caught up in a whirlwind and put things of importance to one side, and exercise is often one of these things.

Here are some effective training techniques to reduce the time needed for weight management by making the time you spend in the gym (or kitchen) more effective.

Training Techniques


Intervals are a common technique used to reduce fat and improve cardiovascular health and endurance. Intervals are essentially “High intensity exercises for short periods of time (10 - 40 seconds) followed by a low intensity period; then repeating several rounds of this”. This approach to exercise is far more effective than the very common “steady pace” fitness training where, for example, people walk on a treadmill for an hour or jog at a steady pace until they get tired. The steady pace concept comes from the angle of “You have to put in the hours” when, in reality, “You have to put in the effort”.

For example, if you complete a 20 second sprint on a bike, followed by 40 seconds of steady pace cycling, and repeat this 10 times, this will only take 10 minutes, and you will burn far more calories compared to if you just cycled at a steady pace for 20 minutes. You can burn more calories in a shorter period of time. This is the basic concept of intervals: effort over time.

Strength Training Compound Exercises

Strength training is an effective way to burn calories and strengthen your major muscle groups to help reduce the risk of injury, ensuring your normal daily tasks are easier. Also, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body burns each day, making it easier to burn fat and more likely that your body will keep the fat off. Strength training should be a part of your programme even if your goal is not to build too much muscle. Strength training will still provide many benefits to your health and fitness, as well as burn a lot of calories.

The Top 5 Exercises I Would Recommend

  1. Deadlift (this sounds quite intimidating but it's simply a squat whilst picking up weight from the floor.)
  2. Squat
  3. Chest Press
  4. Seated Row
  5. Overhead Press

These five exercises will help you strengthen most of the main muscles in the body:

  • Legs, which will reduce the risk of knee injuries.
  • Arms
  • Back, which can help prevent lower back issues later on in life.
  • Chest and shoulders, shoulders being one of the most injured set of joints and muscles.
  • The first 2 exercises also involve a lot of core muscle work.

If you are unsure how to do some of these exercises, I would recommend booking an induction at your gym and asking the fitness instructors, or booking a few personal training sessions.

When doing these exercises, aim to do 4 sets of 12 repetitions, with around 90 seconds rest between each set. This means each exercise will have a total of 48 repetitions.

These five exercises are recommended regardless of your gender. Strengthening these muscle groups will create a more well-rounded body.

Have a Plan or Routine

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

Having a goal without a plan is never advisable: you wouldn't start a business, build a house, or even drive somewhere you've never been to before without having a plan (or map!) When a building is constructed, a solid plan is created behind the scenes before the first material is ever touched, and there is good reason for this.

Having a plan will break down your journey into sizeable portions, small enough for you to follow yet not feel overwhelmed. Everyone needs a slightly different plan depending on their starting position, time constraints, motivation and knowledge of health and fitness.

Create a personalised programme for you to follow yourself, or hire a coach / online coach to do it for you. Generally speaking a plan should be replaced every 4 to 10 weeks to keep things fresh, make improvements and changes to the plan, and keep motivation levels high.

For general fat loss and fitness training, a typical hour long session could look something like this:

  • 5 minutes of warming up
  • 15 minutes of interval training
  • 35 minutes of strength training
  • 5 minutes of stretching

Find an Activity You Enjoy

Enjoying the process of training is one of the most important factors for long term weight management.

Nobody wants to do something they do not enjoy, so make sure you have an enjoyable routine. Maybe not every minute of it will be fun, but you don’t want to dread going to the gym every day, especially if it means that you end up skipping more days than you make, and you don’t put in as much effort when you are there.

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Nutritional Notes

“A bad diet cannot be out-worked.”

Although this article is Effecting Training Techniques for Weight Management, I feel I must mention that what you eat is well over 60% of managing your weight, and to keep the eating advice simple I would recommend you just stick to the basics:

  • Don’t try to follow any crazy diets: these aren’t maintainable and many of them completely cut out certain foods that are healthy for you. Furthermore, as soon as the extreme diet is finished and the person has lost some weight, people often put the weight back on because they revert to the same eating habits they had prior to starting the diet.
  • Aim for 3 - 4 meals a day.
  • Do not skip any meals in the hope you will lose weight faster, especially breakfast. Eating early will boost the metabolic process and 'kickstart' the body for the day.
  • To manage your weight on the scales, everything has to be functioning perfectly inside of your body. Under-eating can cause hormone imbalances, which can alter the rate at which you burn fat and build muscle. Under-eating can also reduce muscle mass, which will weaken your body and put more pressure on the surrounding joints and make injuries more likely.
  • On days you aren't as active, try to eat smaller portion sizes. On days you are quite active, increase portion sizes during your earlier meals of the day.
  • Say goodbye to sugar.
  • Load up on fruit in-between meals and vegetables during each meal to increase vitamin and mineral consumption as this will improve the efficiency of your body's mechanics.

Bringing It All Together

  • Find an activity you enjoy and focus on high intensity exercise to burn more calories in a shorter time frame.
  • Have a routine and change it every 4 – 10 weeks
  • . Include strength training in your plan, especially the compound exercises such as Deadlifts and Squats.
  • Training big muscle groups will burn more calories than training small muscle groups.
  • The number on the scales ultimately comes down to your eating habits. Assess your eating habits, identify the biggest problem (sugar consumption, big meal portions, skipping breakfast, eating out too often, or alcohol consumption?) and tackle this issue first, then gradually move down the list.

About the Author

Zayd Cox is a health and fitness blogger and personal trainer based in London. He provides online coaching for people wanting guidance on how to improve their health, weight and fitness.