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Workouts and Exercises that Don't Aid Fat Loss

Toned abs. A lifted derriere. Tight triceps. We all want them, but we work for them in different ways—which explains the wide range of physiques you see at the gym.

Though any fitness routine will get you closer to your dream bod faster than, say, channel surfing, not all workouts are created equal—especially when it comes to fat loss. While some exercise genres will get you that flat stomach in months, other routines might take years—yes, years—to be effective. Which would you rather do?

That's what we thought. To help you get the body you want sooner rather than later, we've enlisted the help of two of the fitness industry's leading experts to identify which exercises aren't worth your time. Read on to find out which fitness routines should get the boot and which ones can be tweaked to give you the results you crave.

Barre Classes

barre class

Barre classes promise to tone without adding bulk. But in reality, all you'll walk away with is a sore neck and an empty wallet. "​I like Barre classes, but there are many other types of exercise that will give fat-burning results more quickly," says top UK-based trainer, Dan Roberts. "Barre can be great for improving posture and the mind-body connection, but the claims of giving a lean, toned body are overstated and somewhat misleading," explains Roberts. "A barre class will not get your heart rate up enough or challenge the big muscle groups enough to make any significant change to body composition."

Eat This! Tip

If you don't want to part with your beloved barre routine, Roberts suggests working some weight training and cardio into your weekly routine. This will give your routine more balance, elevate your heart rate and work your major muscle groups—which are all non-negotiables when you're trying to shed flab.

Cardio Dance Classes


There's no denying that cardio dance classes like Zumba and 305 Fitness are a blast! Not to mention, they can improve mood, balance, stability and the health of the cardiovascular system. But when it comes to fat loss, they aren't very effective, explains Jay Cardiello, the fitness and nutrition expert behind 50 Cent and J.Lo's killer physiques.

Eat This! Tip

To boost the effects of your dance program, Cardiello suggests incorporating bi-weekly strength training sessions. "Strength training elevates the metabolism longer post-workout so it's a necessary tool in any fat loss plan," he says. Diet is also paramount to your success. Not sure what to nosh on? Start by adding some of these 29 Best-Ever Proteins for Weight Loss to your diet plan and be sure to steer clear of the 20 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet.

Mat Pilates & Yoga


Yoga and pilates have a lot of health benefits, ranging from improved brain function and immunity to deeper relaxation, but fast fat burn isn't one of them. "To maximize fat loss, you need to do heavy compound weightlifting on the big muscle groups along with cardio, says Roberts. "Neither yoga nor mat pilates incorporates either type of exercise. If you enjoy yoga or pilates and you stick with it consistently, the weight will eventually drop off, but it will be an extremely slow process," he adds.

Eat This! Tip

To turbo-charge your yoga-fueled fat loss, focus on eating these 8 Best Fat-Burning Foods and incorporate more cardio and weight lifting into your routine.

"Ab" Exercises


Want proof that sit up and crunches won't give you envy-worthy abs? Google a shirtless picture of rapper 50 Cent. "I'm not a fan of situps and even my clients like 50 Cent don't perform them," says Cardiello. "Instead, perform full-body exercises that reduce your overall percentage of body fat and engage the core," Cardiello suggests. You'll burn more calories and see better results following this approach.

Eat This! Tip

Medicine ball slams, chin-ups and squats all fit the bill—as do these 6 Moves for 6-Pack Abs.



"The elliptical is a great low impact exercise to strengthen the heart, but it likely won't increase your heart rate enough to burn fat," explains Cardiello.

Eat This! Tip

Switch to a higher impact form of cardio like interval running, spinning or HIIT. If giving up your beloved elliptical isn't an option Cardiello suggests incorporating a smart eating and strength training plan to burn off the excess flab. Though many different diets can be effective, be sure to include these Best Fruits for Fat Loss in your daily meal plan.


Dana Leigh Smith
Dana has written for Women's Health, Prevention, Reader's Digest, and countless other publications. Read more about Dana Leigh