Exercising Right for Effective Weight Loss: From Flab To Fab

I haven’t been going to the gym for two weeks now just so I can rest and recover from my recent bout of flu. And even though I’ve been eating normally (probably more as I tend to eat a lot when I’m sick, weird I know lol), my weight has more or less remained the same which is a good sign as I do not want to put on weight during this non-active period. And I’m very sure this level of calorie burning wouldn’t have been possible if not for the prior strength training I have done that has greatly boosted my metabolic rate so I could sustain it for a longer period of time. *big relief*

Since the last time I blogged about my weight loss journey in July (click to read How To Get Started and My Top 10 Tips), I’ve lost a further 3kg so that makes me 69kg now. Only 9 more kilos to go before I reach my goal!


As mentioned in my last post, I just want to share my standard training routine in the gym and also the types of exercises I do so for those of you who plan to lose weight by joining a gym, you can have a better idea on where to start off especially if you haven’t been to a gym before.

For cardio workouts, I prefer to work on the elliptical cross trainer and treadmill at every gym session. For sessions on ‘rest days’ between strength training days, I’d drop weight training totally and do a variety of cardio on the cross trainer, treadmill, exercise bike, stepper and/or rowing machine.

As for strength training, I do most if not all of the following for overall strength and muscle building:

  • Bicep curls (or use free weights)
  • Rotary lat pulldown
  • Chest press
  • Rotary chest press
  • Rotary upper back
  • Leg extension
  • Leg press
  • Lat pulldown
  • Standing leg curls
  • Seated cable row

If you have difficulty with any of the above machines, please seek help from the fitness instructor in the gym or from the veteran gym-goers whom I’m sure will be most happy to help you do it right.

Basically, try to aim for at least 3 sets of 10 repetitions at every station and make sure the weight is heavy enough to make it challenging but still do-able. By the 7th or 8th count, you’d probably be experiencing some ‘vibrations’ and it’d be tough to finish your 9th or 10th. When that happens, the weight is probably about right for you to do. Do rest in between sets for about a minute. And with every few weeks of weight training, your muscles should get stronger so it’s also advisable to increase the weight to the next level so you keep improving your strength and prevent yourself from hitting a plateau. Remember, it’s about lifting heavy weights! And you grow stronger and leaner only when your muscle tissues tear and repair over time!

Here’s an overview of my exercise routine in my first 15 weeks in the gym:

Weeks 1-3

I was literally monkeying around the gym, trying out equipments and learning the right way to use the various machines. I didn’t have a clue or plan in mind what I wanted to do or achieve but once I identified the stations that could challenge my fitness at a do-able level, I was very much focused on my training.

I would run & walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes followed by the weight machines for 1 1/4 hours. No significant weight loss was recorded during this period but it helped get things started for me as my stamina was non-existent and I couldn’t run for long without huffing and puffing.

Weeks 4-6

Elliptical training for 20 minutes
Running & walking on treadmill for 20 minutes
Weight machines for 1 1/4 hours
I began to drop the kilos much to my delight and went to the library to read up more on fitness and exercising. I came up with a workout plan on what exercises to do and how much I should achieve per gym session and stuck with it religiously.

Weeks 7-9

Elliptical training for 40 minutes
Running & walking on treadmill for 20 minutes
Weight machines for 1 1/4 hours
By then, my stamina had improved tremendously so I started increasing the time and intensity to my cardio workout.

Weeks 10-12

Elliptical training for 70 minutes (split into 2 separate sessions)
Weight machines for 1 1/2 hours

Weeks 13-15

Elliptical training for 70 minutes (split into 2 separate sessions)
Inclined walking on treadmill for 20 minutes
Weight machines for 1 1/2 hours

I did this last routine for another 8 more weeks and I lost a further 7kg to be what I am now.

With every 3 weeks of routine in the first 15 weeks, I’d start increasing the intensity of my cardio as well as the weights for my strength training so not only I was burning existing fats in my body, I was building up endurance and strength. And that is also an effective way to prevent weight loss from reaching a plateau because as you exercise and become fitter, whatever you have done one month ago might be too easy now as the body gets too used to the workout so in order to improve continuously, we have to keep challenging the body to adapt to new intensities, faster speeds and/or heavier weights.

By the end of Week 15, I lost 15kg, dropped 2 dress sizes and my body was leaner and less flabby. Best of all, I was feeling strong and fit, both physically and mentally. Climbing the staircase to my home on the 10th floor isn’t an issue anymore when previously I had to slow down to catch my breath when climbing up steps of an overhead bridge.

Do note, different people will have different results in weight loss even if all are doing the same thing. In fact, the more fats you have in your body, the easier it is to lose weight i.e. a 100kg person will lose more within the same time span as compared to a 60kg person. No matter how big or heavy you are, just know in whatever we do in the gym, it’s about exercising some sensibility – start small and do what you can. A weight loss of not more than 1kg per week will be ideal. And do not over-train yourself by thinking the more you do, the more you will lose as this will actually backfire and probably make you give up even before you hit your goal.

Right now, I’m 69kg. It just means I no longer lose as much weight as before when I was 91kg when I first started out in February this year. So now, I’m trying to redesign my exercise routine to reduce my cardio workouts and increase more substantial weight training (in fact, more intense ones that focus on major muscle groups as well as core training) so I can focus on losing the inches rather than the weight. My main goal now is to reduce the flab on my tummy, hip and thighs. Let’s see how things go for me in a month’s time!

In my next post, I shall finally touch on food and nutrition so you can have an idea how they go hand in hand with exercising. I’ll be sharing with you what I’ve been eating (I’m not on diet and I don’t believe in dieting!), how I’ve been eating to create a daily calorie deficit and how to count calories. Stay tuned! And continue to work that butt off! NEVER GIVE UP! 🙂


Leave a Comment