I am 43 years old and I want to get the most out of my workout sessions. I have done everything from swimming to body pump to step aerobics and nothing seems to be shocking my body enough for me to lose weight. What method of cardiovascular exercise do you rank as the most effective for fat loss?

— Nicole J., Camarillo

Let me first say that there is no one specific method of exercise that works the same for everyone who wants to lose weight. The reason for this is that there are too many variables to consider and exercising for weight loss doesn’t fall under the category “one size fits all.”

What does pertain to everyone is the philosophy that, if you continue to do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got. How this relates to weight loss is that if you continue to remain in a comfort zone — performing the same exercise day in and day out, you will quickly plateau and find yourself falling short on your weight loss goals.

Unfortunately, what happens for most gym-goers is that he or she becomes comfortable with certain exercises, machines, routines and group classes and instructors, and does not even consider experiencing new or different exercise methods. The oxymoron, however, is that these same people continue to say they want weight loss, but fall prey to the notion that “familiarity breeds contempt.”

Pound for pound

In the world of cardiovascular exercise, my recommendation is for you to first discover something new and do it. Avoid going from one exercise method to another. The goal is to cross train, performing two, three and maybe four different methods of cardiovascular exercise. Nonetheless, if you are not currently boxing for exercise, you will see the biggest impact on your body once you lace up and begin throwing punches.

I recommend you take up boxing for many reasons. First of all, boxing is a weight-bearing exercise. Secondly, each and every time you hit the bag or punch a focus mitt, you are generating electrical impulses which stimulate the drawing of calcium into your bones. Who would have thought boxing may prove to be a great method of exercise for building bone strength?

Boxing is also great for reducing, or shall I say releasing, stress. Each time you perform a strike, you are letting off steam. As shared by many baby boomers who enjoy boxing as a main source of exercise, “I wish I knew about boxing when I was in my 20s.”

Burn, baby, burn

When it comes to burning calories, boxing burns. You can literally burn up to 1,200 calories in one hour when boxing.

The primary negative that may result when you take up boxing, however, is establishing poor technique. Secondly, if your nutrition habits aren’t aligned with the outcome you desire, even boxing for exercise may fall short. Let’s face it: We’ve all seen overweight boxers.