Exercise is a vital part of living a healthy life – helping to boost fitness, ward off disease and keep your waistline in check.
A study by scientists at the London School of Economics, this week, claimed a brisk 30-minute walk each day is a more effective way to lose weight than running or going to the gym.
But, how much exercise do personal trainers, whose jobs depend on their getting results, say we need to do to shed pounds?
Dr Grace Lordan, a specialist in health economics led the research at LSE.
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A study by London scientists, this week, revealed a brisk 30-minute walk each day is a more effective way to lose weight than running or going to the gym. Here, Vicky Hadley, writing for Healthista, asks five personal trainers what they think is the optimum amount of exercise, to help you shed pounds
Her team compared the measurements of people who performed half-an-hour of fast-paced walking compared to those who did the same amount of heavy housework, manual labour and sports, including rugby.
The waistline and BMI measurements showed that men and women who regularly walked briskly for more than 30 minutes had lower BMIs and smaller waists than those who engaged in regular exercise.
These findings were based on physical activity levels from the annual Health Survey for England between 1999 and 2012.
So what do personal trainers – who get paid to help people lose weight through exercise – think?
We asked fove of Britain’s best just how much exercise do we actually need to do to lose weight.
JUSTIN MAGUIRE, founder of FE Gym
3 hours a week
‘To lose weight you need to think of it on a weekly scale rather than a daily scale,’ Justin told Healthista.
‘To truly optimise fat loss, it’s three hours work a week.
‘This does not just mean three hours in the gym it means three hours of actual work time.’
He said ‘people can spend an hour and a half in the gym but actually only be doing 40 minutes work’.’
He has seen numerous case studies lose weight and said: ‘You need to make your ratio of active to rest time in the gym 2:1.
‘This would mean if you are spending forty seconds working you should only be spending 20 seconds resting.’
‘To lose weight, you need to think of it on a weekly scale, rather than a daily scale,’ Justin Macguire, founder of FE Gym told Healthista
Justin says that a moderate to high intensity workout should never last longer than 30 minutes at a maximum.
‘Anything longer than 35 minutes is more detrimental to your lean tissue than beneficial for fat loss,’ he added.
In 2001 a study was released by the American College of Sports Medicine stating that two and half hours of steady exercise might not actually be enough.
A later study by the American College of Sports Medicine which was published in the journal, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, showed that between 150 and 250 minutes of moderate intensity steady exercise per week would prevent weight gain but would only discreetly effect weight loss.
If we were doing 30 minutes of walking a day at a moderate intensity this would total at 210 minutes, meaning it would prevent weight gain but only discreetly effect weight loss.
MATT HODGES, at The MPH Method
18 minutes of high intensity interval training, three times a week
Transformation coach, Matt, advises three sessions of HIIT a week.
He said: ‘You can’t say to someone there is a set amount of time to lose weight.
‘Everybody is different, you want to maintain muscle and therefore lose fat not weight.’
He says that faster cardio tends to burn body fat faster; ‘however the bigger you are the more work you have to put in’.
Matt reveals that the best time to do cardio is in the morning because of hormone fluctuations, he says, ‘it is best to do it within half an hour of waking up’.
Everyone is different, so there isn’t an exact set amount of time exercising that is optimum, says Matt Hodges at The MPH Method (picture posed by models)
With almost 11 years of experience under his belt, he said: ‘I’ve found that 18 minutes is the optimal amount of time to perform HIIT.
‘Thirty seconds should be pure intense work, like you are running the 100m sprint, and 30 seconds of rest.
‘This actually means you are only doing nine minutes of active intense exercise.
‘If you do any more than 18 minutes your body will more than likely start to slip into a catabolic state and anything under 18 minutes is simply not optimal.’
LLOYD BRIDGER, personal trainer at LDN Muscle
25 minutes of HIIT, up to four times a week
Two to four sessions of HIIT, each week is the optimum to lose weight, Lloyd said, agreeing with Matt Hodges.
‘To lose fat, high intensity interval training is the best way, you should be opting for 10-20 second intervals for eight reps with one minute rest,’ he said.
Lloyd suggests the ideal length of time for a HIIT workout session is 25 minutes for anywhere between two-four times a week.
He said: ‘One pound per week is a steady and sustainable amount of weight to lose.’
And if you’re looking to achieve fat loss, he recommends a small calorie deficit of 300 – 400 calories from your typical calorie intake.
ANYA LAHIRI, head trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp
Cardio and resistance training, three times a week
‘Combine half an hour of cardio and half an hour of resistance training three times a week minimum,’ Anya Lahiri, head trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp and Nike Elite Trainer said.
She said: ‘It is important not to fixate on weight when you are trying to lose fat and lose inches, muscle ultimately weighs more than fat and the more muscle you are carrying the more fat you will burn.
‘It is more accurate to follow your results by charting your muscle mass and fat percentage than watching your weight.’
Past studies have shown shorter, high-intensity workouts result in greater fat loss over time
Anya believes in shocking the body with new exercises and routines, and adds: ‘High intensity interval training is an excellent way to improve fitness, combining HIIT with resistance work and bodyweight is a great way to burn fat.
‘Ideally I would recommend trying to combine half an hour of cardio and half an hour of resistance training three times a week minimum.’
So is high intensity interval training really the best possible way to burn fat?
A study conducted by East Tennessee State University, Baylor College of Medicine and the University of New South Wales, have shown that shorter, high-intensity cardio sessions result in greater fat loss over time than longer, low intensity sessions.
CHRIS HALL, founder of Hall Training Systems
30 minutes of HIIT, one to three times a week
A healthy amount of weight to lose each week is between one and two pounds of body fat, Chris advises.
He said: ‘One pound of body fat is equal to 3,500 calories, which is a lot of energy but when it is combined with a healthy diet, good sleeping pattern and daily exercise it is a realistic target.’
Chris bases his own training on a 30 minute HIIT workout.
‘I strongly believe in the benefits of shorter workouts, to keep motivation levels up and consistency within your training,’ he said.
‘I’ve seen tremendous results in getting my clients fit, lean and strong with 30 minute training sessions.’
Studies are one thing but for the guys and girls who get paid to make people lose weight, it looks like a high intensity class or session for at least 25 minutes for a minimum of three days a week is what you need to do
He added it best to start with one HIIT session a week and move up to three sessions.
Chris said as little as four minutes of HIIT has been shown to be enough of a workout to make a difference.
‘HIIT training gets the heart rate up high in the session, therefore burning more calories per minute than the old steady state cardio methods of the past,’ he said.
The reason you will burn the most fat with HIIT is because your body will continue burning calories for several hours after your workout.
Studies are one thing but for the guys and girls who get paid to make people lose weight, it looks like a high intensity class or session for at least 25 minutes for a minimum of three days a week is what you need to do.
This length of time will build strength, preserve muscle mass and effect a healthy weight loss of 1Ib a week when combined with a healthy balanced diet.
This article originally appeared in and is reproduced here with the permission of Healthista.