The Independent Pharmacy

10 Fat Loss Exercises For Women That Work

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 21 Jun 2024

Here’s the core concept: weight loss happens when you burn more calories through activity than you consume through food each day. To torch about 0.5 kg per week, aim for around a 500 daily calorie deficit. The best way to do this is by mixing up cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises. This multifaceted approach fires up your calorie burn AND builds metabolism-boosting lean muscle.

A healthy diet and strategic supplement use absolutely help. We know forming new habits, like regular exercise, can be tough, but it's a vital step towards your success. Not all workouts are created equal when it comes to weight loss, though. Some shed fat more efficiently than others.

In this guide, we’ll break down the ideal workout routines to help women maximise fat burning. Whether you're taking your first steps in fitness or you're already a gym enthusiast, our tips are designed to be inclusive and adaptable, helping you craft a plan that respects your unique abilities and lifestyle. By putting these exercises into practice, you’ll accelerate your metabolism, torch calories, and sculpt the strong, lean figure you want.

View Treatment

Let’s explore the most effective science-backed moves for ditching fat in a healthy, sustainable way. With a smart workout routine tailored to your needs, you’ll look and feel better than ever. Time to maximise results and rediscover your most confident self.

You’ve got this!

Key Takeaways:

  • Follow a structured, balanced workout routine tailored to your needs and schedule. Proper planning prevents overtraining or boredom.
  • Complement physical activity with a calorie-controlled, nutrient-rich diet to create a deficit for weight loss. Lean protein, fibre, and healthy fats keep you fueled.
  • Stay motivated by setting goals, tracking progress, finding accountability partners, and focusing on the mental/physical benefits. Consistency is key for long-term results.

1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

If you’re looking to ignite your metabolism and burn calories fast, HIIT is your new best friend. This effective training method alternates between bursts of all-out effort and periods of slower recovery.

Just 20-30 minutes of exercise 2-3 times per week is enough to see results. Always warm up first - maybe 5-10 minutes of moderate cardio to get your heart pumping. Then it’s go time! Give each high-intensity interval your max effort for 30 seconds - whether that’s sprinting, jumping rope, doing squats like your life depends on it, or whatever gets your heart racing. Follow that up with 60 seconds of slower movement to recover. Repeat this cycle for a total of 5-10 intervals and end with a 5-minute cooldown.

The great thing about HIIT is that you can tailor it to your own fitness level. Use any form of cardio you enjoy and mix up the exercises to target different muscle groups. Focus on pushing yourself hard during those intense 30-second bursts. Before you know it, you’ll be dripping in sweat and blasting calories! And because HIIT keeps your metabolism fired up long after your workout, you’ll fry fat even while you sleep.

2. Strength Training Exercises

Strength training is a must for maximising fat burn and sculpting a toned physique. When you lift weights, your muscles work hard, which speeds up your metabolism. This means you'll burn more calories, even when you're just sitting down and relaxing. Aim for at least two total body strength sessions per week.

Some excellent strength exercises for women include:

  • Dumbbell Squats - Squat deep and really engage those glutes! Aim for 3 sets of 12 reps to tone your legs.
  • Push-Ups - Drop and do 10...or as many as you can! Push-ups fry your arms, chest, shoulders and core muscles. Do as many reps as possible for 3 sets.
  • Planks - The simpler the exercise, the tougher it can be! Hold a plank position for 30-60 seconds, working up to longer durations. You’ll feel it in your core.
  • Bent-Over Rows - Time to work that back and biceps! Do 3 sets of 10-12 rows with dumbbells.
  • Shoulder Presses - With dumbbells, press overhead for 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Hello, toned shoulders!

The key is choosing weights that challenge you by the last rep while maintaining proper form. Lift slowly and with control. Combining strength workouts with cardio and a healthy diet means major fat loss and serious muscle definition.

3. Cardiovascular Exercises

Cardio exercise gets your heart pumping and is key for burning calories. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate cardio or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio per week. Great options include:

  • Running - Trade intervals of jogging and walking if going full speed feels tough. Even just 20-30 minutes is effective!
  • Cycling - Hop on a bike and ride at a challenging but steady pace for 30-60 minutes to tear up those quads.
  • Swimming - Do laps at a moderately hard pace for a full-body cardio blast.
  • HIIT Workouts - We know these get your heart racing! An excellent calorie-burning choice.
  • Stair Climbing - Briskly climb stairs for 15-20 minutes for a burn in your legs and lungs.
  • Jumping Rope - Jump at a moderate pace in intervals to mix it up.
  • Rowing Machine - Row hard for 20-30 minutes to work your arms and legs.

Even an everyday activity like walking can help you to lose the centimetres around your waistline.

Any activity that elevates your heart rate counts! Start slow and gradually increase duration and intensity. Cardio strengthens your heart, boosts endurance, and is key for fat loss.

4. Squats and Lower Body Workouts

Toning your legs and glutes helps burn belly fat, as these large muscle groups require lots of energy to move and strengthen. Squats are excellent compound exercises that work your entire lower body.

Aim to do 3 sets of dumbbell or bodyweight squats 2-3 times per week. Go for 12-15 reps per set. Other great moves include:

  • Lunges - Step forward and sink into a deep lunge, alternating legs. Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps to feel your legs burn.
  • Deadlifts - Keeping your back straight, lift weights off the floor by hinging at your hips and squeezing your glutes. Start with bodyweight and perfect your form.
  • Step-Ups - Step up onto a bench or platform and alternate legs for 3 sets of 12 reps. Drive through your heels!
  • Leg Presses - Use a machine or resistance bands to work your quads. Shoot for 12-15 reps with good form.

Focus on proper form and slowly increase the resistance. Squats, lunges, and lower body exercises challenge your muscles, fire up your metabolism, and reduce body fat.

5. Core Strengthening Exercises

A strong core is key for posture, balance, and injury prevention. Core exercises help pull in your waistline and burn belly fat.

Aim to do core workouts 2-3 times per week.

Great moves include:

  • Planks - Hold a high plank for 30-60 seconds. Increase time as you build strength.
  • Crunches - Do 2-3 sets of 12-15 crunches, keeping your core engaged.
  • Bicycle crunches - Lie on your back and bring opposite elbow to knee in a cycling motion.
  • Leg raises - Raise your legs up with control, keeping your lower back on the floor.
  • Russian twists - Hold weights or a medicine ball and rotate side to side.

Target your abs, but don’t forget your obliques, lower back, hips, and glutes too. A strong, toned core supports your workouts, posture, balance, and fat loss goals.

6. Aerobic Workouts

Aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular health while burning calories. Activities like walking, cycling, and swimming that raise your heart rate and breathing are aerobic. Shoot for at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week.

Great aerobic workout options include:

  • Walking - Aim for a brisk pace. Start with 30 minutes and work up from there.
  • Jogging - Alternate jogging and walking intervals if needed. Start with 20-30 minutes.
  • Cycling - Ride at a steady, challenging pace for 30-60 minutes.
  • Swimming - Swim laps using different strokes at a moderate pace.
  • Aerobics classes - Try high-energy Zumba, step aerobics, or kickboxing.
  • Dancing - Groove to workout playlists for a fun cardio option.

Any activity that safely elevates your breathing and heart rate counts. Aerobic exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system and burns belly fat fast.

7. Full-Body Circuit Training

Circuit training combines strength and cardio for an efficient, effective workout. Move through a sequence of exercises targeting all your major muscle groups with minimal rest between moves.

Tailor moves and volume to your fitness level. Circuits build muscle endurance, torch calories, and keep your heart rate up.

8. Yoga and Flexibility Workouts

Incorporating flexibility and balance exercises into your routine provides benefits beyond muscle toning and calorie burning. Yoga is an excellent option to build core strength, increase range of motion, and promote relaxation.

Aim to take beginner-level yoga classes 1-2 times per week or do 15-30 minutes of yoga at home several days per week. Start with basic poses and focus on proper alignment, breathing, and gentle stretching. Allow your body to open up naturally rather than forcing progress. Proper form prevents injury.

Over time, work toward more advanced yoga sequences under the guidance of an instructor. Yoga straddles the line between working out and moving meditation. It clears your mind, reduces stress, and improves posture, mobility, muscle tone, and more.

The flexibility gained from yoga helps complement strength training and cardio workouts. Yoga's holistic approach to combining physical activity with mindfulness provides unique benefits for overall well-being. Adding yoga to your routine gives your body and mind the rejuvenation it needs while keeping calories burning.

9. Pilates for Core and Flexibility

Pilates is a great way to build core strength, tone your body, and improve flexibility. Aim to take 1-2 Pilates classes per week or incorporate 15-20 minutes of Pilates into your workout routine several days per week.

And even though it might look like you need specific equipment for pilates, you can do most exercises from the comfort of your home.

Work on controlled movements, proper breathing, and engaging your core. Over time, progress to more advanced Pilates exercises using resistance bands or balls. Pilates complements your other workouts while honing core strength and flexibility.

10. Functional Training Exercises

Functional training prepares your body for real-world activities by improving balance, coordination, strength, and endurance. Exercises use multiple joints and muscles at once. Great beginner moves include:

  • Squat to overhead press - Hold weights and combine a squat into an overhead press.
  • Lunge with a bicep curl - Lunge forward while doing bicep curls with weights.
  • Plank row - Hold a plank while rowing one arm at a time.
  • Burpee to shoulder press - Do a burpee and add a shoulder press at the top.

Start with body weight and progress to weights or resistance bands. Train 2-3 days per week, focusing on proper form. Functional training boosts metabolism, burns calories and builds full body strength.

Supplementing Your Weight Loss Journey with Effective Products

While diet and exercise form the core of any weight loss strategy, quality supplements can provide an added advantage when used properly.

There are various types of supplements, each designed to help with weight loss in different ways. Some aim to boost metabolism, curb appetite, increase satiety, inhibit fat absorption, regulate cravings, and more. Popular options include Orlistat, Orlos, Xenical and Alli.

It’s important to note that supplements should complement, not replace, lifestyle efforts. Consult your doctor before trying any new supplement to ensure safety and compatibility with your health conditions and medications.

Do your research to understand the proposed benefits, proper usage guidelines, potential side effects, and risks of any supplement under consideration. Avoid products making unrealistic claims or marketed as “miracle cures”.

When selected carefully and taken as directed alongside your nutrition plan and exercise regimen, research-backed supplements may optimise your hard work and help overcome plateaus. They can enhance the calorie deficit created through diet and activity.

What Should You Do Next?

The next step is to develop a personalised exercise regimen that fits your needs and abilities. Feel free to contact The Independent Pharmacy's knowledgeable team with any questions on suitable supplements or general guidance on starting your fitness journey.

You can reach out to The Independent Pharmacy in a number of ways:

Our qualified staff can provide science-based recommendations on supplemental products that align with your health conditions, lifestyle and goals. All you need to get started is to get in touch and fill in your self-assessment.


What are the 5 foods that burn belly fat?

Some of the top belly fat-burning foods include leafy greens, eggs, lean protein like fish and chicken, whole grains like oatmeal, and healthy fats like avocados, nuts and olive oil. They provide nutrients and fibre to make you feel full while helping you burn calories.

Can I reduce belly fat in 2 weeks?

While significant fat loss takes time, you may see some progress in 2 weeks through diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes. Reduce calories, do targeted ab exercises, cut sodium, add HIIT and strength training, drink more water, and manage stress. Be patient, as results require consistency.

How do I get rid of my lower belly pooch?

Lower belly fat can be stubborn for women. Combine strength training, HIIT, and core moves like planks and crunches with a low-sugar diet and cardio to target this area. Reducing overall body fat percentage will also help slim your midsection.

Does walking burn belly fat?

Yes, walking is an effective aerobic exercise that burns calories and body fat, including around the belly area. Brisk walking for 30-60 minutes 3-5 days per week can help reduce belly fat over time when paired with a healthy diet.

How long does it take to lose belly fat?

While results vary based on consistency and efforts, most people can expect to see gradual reductions in belly fat over the course of 6-12 weeks through diet changes, targeted exercises, reducing stress, proper sleep and more. Be patient - losing fat in a healthy, sustainable way takes commitment.


Tips to help you lose weight - NHS (

Eating a balanced diet - NHS (

Physical activity guidelines for adults aged 19 to 64 - NHS (

Related Guides

Need something else?

We stock 1058 treatments for 90 conditions

Or browse all treatments or conditions

A customer at the pharmacist looking for medication