Q&A: What is the least time-consuming way to tone up and lose weight?

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Question by Ana: What is the least time-consuming way to tone up and lose weight?
I am 5’2″, and currently 123 Lbs, which is about 10 Lbs overweight. I am in school and working a full time job. I have been at my goal weight, but it required over an hour of exercise daily. Would you guys advise me on the most calorie-expending workout that fits in a 45 minute time slot? Thanks!

Best answer:

Answer by Charli
The best way to spend your 45 minutes is doing heavy resistance training. Try a full-body workout twice a week that works all your major muscle groups. Then on two of the other days, do 20-30 minutes of cardio. Other than that, try to move around as much as possible during the day.

Losing 1-2lbs a week is the best way to go (which means 10-20 weeks for your 20lbs). This way, you are losing mostly fat, rather than water and muscle. Faster weight loss is not better, nor is it sustainable.

Diet should be what you look at first for weight loss- this is what will enable you to drop fat. Try a balanced diet made up of mostly natural whole foods, with high protein, moderate carbs and moderate fats.

You need to know how many calories you burn- you can use an online calculator for a rough estimate. Aim for 10-20% calories fewer than you burn daily (too large a deficit will be counterproductive in the longer term).

Don’t worry about complicated diets or cutting things out. You can enjoy anything in moderation, as long as the majority of your diet is healthy. Here are some good foods to base your diet around:


Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
Tuna (water packed)
Fish (salmon, seabass, halibut)
Extra Lean Ground Beef or Ground Round (92-96%)
Protein Powder
Egg Whites or Whole Eggs
Ribeye Steaks or Roast
Top Round Steaks or Roast (aka Stew Meat, London Broil, Stir Fry)
Top Sirloin (aka Sirloin Top Butt)
Beef Tenderloin (aka Filet, Filet Mignon)
Top Loin (NY Strip Steak)
Flank Steak (Sir Fry, Fajita)
Eye of Round (Cube Meat, Stew Meat, Bottom Round , 96% LeandGround Round)
Ground turkey, Turkey Breast Slices or cutlets (fresh meat, not deli cuts)
Soy Burgers
Low-fat cottage cheese
Nonfat Greek Yogurt


Oatmeal (Old Fashioned or Quick Oats)
Sweet Potatoes (Yams)
Beans (pinto, black, kidney)
Oat Bran Cereal
Rye Cereal
Grape Nuts
Brown Rice
Farina (Cream of Wheat)
Multigrain Hot Cereal
Whole wheat or Spinach Pasta
100% Stoneground Whole Wheat Bread
Ezekiel Bread
Hi-Lo Cereal


Green Leafy Lettuce (Green Leaf, Red, Leaf, Romaine)
String Beans
Bell Peppers
Brussel Sprouts
Green or Red Pepper


Lemons or Limes


Natural Peanut Butter
Olive Oil or Safflower Oil
Nuts (peanuts, almonds)
Flaxseed Oil
Coconut Oil


Crystal Light
Green Tea
Other Tea (without sugar)
Coffee (without sugar)


Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
Reduced Sodium Teriyaki Sauce
Balsamic Vinegar
Hot Peppers and Hot Sauce
Chili powder
Mrs. Dash
Steak Sauce
Sugar Free Maple Syrup
Chili Paste
Extracts (vanilla, almond, etc )
Low Sodium beef or chicken broth
Plain or reduced sodium tomatoes sauce, puree, paste)
Stevia (natural sweetener)

Second in importance to that is heavy resistance training- this is what will allow you to preserve muscle so you look ‘toned’ and defined once you’ve dropped the fat (rather than just a smaller version of how you look now, with the same bits you’re unhappy with). More muscle also means a higher metabolism, so you definitely want to hold on to, or increase the muscle base you have for fat loss. You need to work ALL your major muscle groups- you can’t spot reduce. Have a look at:
This is an extensive exercise directory. There are many exercises for every muscle group and every ability level.

Then you can look at extras like cardio to help create a calorie deficit. But cardio is by far the least important of these three, and you can lose fat effectively without it.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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5 Responses to “Q&A: What is the least time-consuming way to tone up and lose weight?”

  1. Claudia O writes:

    Hi Nataigia,

    1) eat a bit healthier and a bit smaller portions (no extra time!)
    2) do resistance training or HIIT (high intensity interval training), you might be fine with 30 minutes or less doing that
    3) use fun activities to burn some extra calories

    Good luck with your weight loss!

  2. Philip writes:

    I’ve found it real hard to lose weight after I stopped playing sports. Then I discovered that you if you follow simple rules diligently it’s easy to do. Try it here http://www.theinfospoon.com/dietoptin.html

  3. Products writes:

    I found this on this website. There are more tips and info.

    1. If what you are eating has less than 1 carb, count it as 1 carb just to be sure.

    2. Totally avoid caffine at least for the first two weeks on the program.

    3. Drink a MINIMUM of 8 glasses of plain water or seltzer daily.

    4. Don’t weigh yourself more than once a week

    5. Take starting measurements as well as weight – sometimes you’ll lose inches before pounds

    6. Avoid any type of “low carb” sweetener for the first two weeks

    7. Don’t compare your loss to someone else’s – this is a YMMV thing (your milage may vary)

    8. Stalls are common around the third week so don’t panic

    9. If you follow your plan to the T and don’t lose, consider Candida as a possibility and avoid vinegar, cheese, mushrooms and any other fermented food

    10. Have bloodwork done before starting so you have a comparison

    11. Cholesterol can be elevated in the first few weeks til your body adjusts – make sure your doctor knows that you’re doing low carb and when you started

    12. Don’t blame the diet if you don’t read your plan book — blame the diet if you don’t read the labels — Don’t blame the diet if you don’t follow the diet

  4. JoinAssociates writes:

    No matter how you slice it, diet is a dirty word. It smacks of deprivation and hunger pangs. To overcome the pain, you need a plan.

    So WebMD asked the experts for advice, and put together their quick tips on how to get your weight lossgoing.

    1. Know Your Weight Loss Goals

    2. Understand Your Weight Loss Personality

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    4. Make a Firm Weight Loss Commitment

    Finally, be sure you’re committed to losing weight for yourself — not because someone else is pressuring you to do so.

    Then, take things slowly, keep these tips in mind, and you should be on the road to weight loss in no time.

  5. EditionbyHenry writes:

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