This article originally appeared on InStyle.
When it comes to workouts, many types out there claim to be the most efficient, but you may be wasting your time with complicated boutique classes. As it turns out, the most efficient workout when it comes to burning calories is good ‘ole running, according to former athlete and running coach Ryan Hall.
“Running is without a doubt a great way to trim down if you're trying to take off a couple of pounds. Doing a lot of running may help melt away a little bit of belly fat but you want to do it progressively and coupled with weight training if you don’t want to lose a lot of muscle along with fat,” says Hall. “To maximize weight loss I’d recommend doing interval or high-intensity training. For example, instead of going out and jogging and easy 30 minutes, spend the same amount of time but run a 10-minute warmup then 30 seconds sprint with a 1-minute jog for the remainder of the run. Doing this type of training will elicit a much greater calorie burn and it is much more entertaining than just going for an easy 30-minute run.”
If your goal is to preserve muscle then Hall recommends a different approach. “I’d recommend alternating your run days with weight training. So three days a week of interval training and three days a week of weight training is what I’d consider ideal to burn as much fat as possible while preserving muscle mass.”
But the workout you choose isn’t the only factor in the success of your workout, it’s also the realization of how hard you’re pushing yourself. “It's one thing to think you are burning more calories by doing a higher intensity workout, and it's another to be able to track the actual data and know you are burning more calories,” says Hall, who is also a Fitbit ambassador. “So, if I am looking to shave off a couple pounds I like to use my Fitbit app to track how many calories I burn in a given workout. It also provides me interesting feedback to compare which workouts burn more calories than others.”