The formula that most people commonly use is low calorie diet, cardio and maybe weight training. Good one, but I say weight training, high nutrition diet and not a lot of cardio, for a few reasons.
1. Lifting weights puts on muscle and muscle burns fat faster than cardio. When you gain muscle, your metabolism gets a boost and you burn more calories all day long. The benefit of that workout keeps on giving even after you're done.
Ever go on a strict diet and when you come off of it feel like everything you eat makes you gain weight? Thank your lowered metabolism for that. Starving yourself burns off muscle. Burning off muscle lowers your metabolism. Lower metabolism means a "fatter" you.
2. Lifting weights reshapes your body. So if you do cardio and you're a fat pear shape, when you lose weight you will be a skinny pear. I prefer my body to be balanced and have the shape I want. (For me that is an hourglass).
When you lift weights, you can control your shape and sculpt the body you want.
3. Muscle weighs more than fat but takes up way less space. Muscle may make the scale show a higher number than you would like, but excess body fat is what sticks out of your belt, sits on your butt and makes your jeans too tight. Fat is light but has a heavy impact on clothing size.
(Thanks Scottyhendo for this pin)
4. Men and women lose muscle as they age. Weight lifting is the best way to keep the fountain of youth on your side. Less joint pain, sleeker physique and a younger looking body and face are all benefits of lifting weights on a regular basis.
5. The exception to this rule is high volume cardio. If you do cardio and sweat like nobody's business for an hour or more, then you will lose fat. (The pace I want you to think of is chasing someone to get your wallet back not strolling through a meadow....I mean - HARD CARDIO..).
Do hard, high volume cardio and you will lose fat. But it takes a lot of time out of your day and is a difficult routine to maintain. High volume cardio like running ten miles or elliptical for an hour at level 12 also puts you at risk for injury and joint pain. But if you like working out like that, go for it. I personally don't.
Am I saying don't go for that run today? NO! What I am saying is, if you want to lose weight, pick up a dumbbell and lift it many many times. Your fat butt and fat belly will thank you by going away. :-)