How to lose weight in 20 mins a day

It sounds too easy — but it is possible to lose weight with just 20 minutes of exercise a day. Here’s how.

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This article initially appeared on and has been republished here with permission.

If you had just 20 minutes a day to burn as much fat as possible, what would you do? Run? Squat? Burpee like there’s no tomorrow? Or stare blankly at the treadmill, trying to work out how to get the most out of your weight loss workout?

Us too. So we asked three fitness experts to explain weight loss 101 — just in time for your summer shred. Here’s how they do it — and how you can too.


So as much as we would like to think that 20 minutes a day could change our lives, the sad fact of weight loss is that it’s 70 per cent about what you eat. Good nutrition is the key to losing weight, says Vision Willoughby director and personal trainer Nick Conroy.

“I wish I could say there was a magic silver bullet — but it really all starts with nutrition,” he said.

“Yes 20 minutes is great and the more you train the better.“To lose weight you have to be energy deficient, and because a lot of people aren’t sure how much food — even healthy food — they are meant to be eating, they are often in surplus and so end up breaking even, even after they have trained.

There’s no way you can out-train bad eating — you have to work out what your body needs every day and fuel it so you have enough energy to get through the day and think clearly.

“And if you cut carbs at night, that can be a good way to get easy fat burn while we are asleep.”

On the back of healthy eating, Mr Conroy says weight training is a great way to get good results.

You need at least two structured weights training a week, lifting some heavy stuff and about eight to 12 reps,” he said.

“Pick compound exercises of big muscle groups — something like a lat pull-down that will get bicep and your back as well so you’re targeting more muscle groups in a shorter time and getting more bang for your buck.

“The weight will be different for everyone, but to get a result you have to push. “Push to the point where you’re fatigued at eight reps, and then do a few more.“And get a PT because its not something you want to just jump into and you don’t want to get an injury.”


A combination of exercises in the form of interval training is best for weight loss — and changing it up is key to continued results.

“You get a higher average for fat loss if you’re going up, recovering and going up again,” Mr Conroy continued.

“That also burns more energy after you train — and to keep maximising that you would want to do a longer or slower session as well to get your endurance up as well.

“Also, change your program regularly so your body keeps progressing and reacting — you have to keep your body guessing.

“You will find diminishing returns if you keep doing the same things.

“So maybe start with one minute intervals and work your way up — and your time should match your intensity, so the shorter the time, the harder the intensity should be.

“Then you can work your way up to three minute intervals — and you have to go as hard as you can go to get through those three minutes, and have a rest period in between.

“It’s about the intensity and the recovery, you have to keep engaged.”


Sydney personal trainer Louise Roche, who lost 25 kilos on her own weight loss journey, said weight loss training involved a combination of factors for best results — including weights.

“I like to recommend cardio training and weight resistance training for my clients as building lean muscle mass which has a positive effect on body fat loss,” Ms Roche said.

“Research suggests that High Intensity Interval Training is most effective as a weight loss training technique.

“It’s important that regardless of what training you undertake, you seek professional medical advice prior to starting.”

For a gym workout, she recommends a mix of cardio and resistance, including three minutes on the exercise bike at a moderate resistance, cycling 30 seconds slow, followed by 30 seconds fast.

“For resistance, try two sets of 10 leg presses and lat rows,” she said.

“Then cardio — three minutes on the cross trainer at moderate resistance, 30 seconds slow, 30 seconds fast.

“Follow that with two sets of 10 leg curls and chest presses, then back to cardio with three minutes on the rower at 30 seconds slow, and 30 fast.“For your last resistance exercises, do two sets of 10 leg extensions and wide pulldowns.

“If you’re at home or travelling, try 30 seconds of alternating lunges, tricep dips, side lunges, squats, plank, bridges and push ups.

“Complete each item in the routine, and repeat three times.

“Both programs involve major muscle groups in the body which will have a greater effect on metabolic rate and body fat loss.


Personal trainer Georgia Welsman said if you’re starved for time, the best 20-minute approach to weight loss is right there in your local park.

“We all get time poor but there’s no excuse for not fitting in training, when it has such immense benefits to our mental and physical health, especially if you are trying to lose weight,” she said.

“The best approach is to workout with intensity and add some body weight movements.

“In this session we are using a high intensity interval training approach as research shows this type of session although short can burn more calories over a longer period of time than simply going for a jog.

“The higher you get your heart rate in a short amount of time, the more calories you will burn sitting on the couch that night eating your healthy dinner.

“A combination of weight bearing and cardio based training has better results for weight loss than just cardio alone, so doing body weight based exercises are a great place to start.

“Weight bearing exercise helps in the production of gaining lean muscle, therefore helping the fat burning process.”

Ms Welsman, who is the head trainer at F45 Crows Nest and also has her own AllG PT business, says all you need to lose weight is a timer, and a park bench, and the determination to keep going.

“Do four times four minutes on — with a one minute rest — of a 100 metre run, 10 push ups with hands on the bench, 10 bench squats, 10 bench jump step ups, and 10 superman back extensions,” she said.

“Try to move with intensity for four minutes and then rest for one.

How fit are you?

“You should be breathing hard and sweating pretty quickly.”

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