What is the best fat burn exercise? This is one of the most common questions personal trainers get.
I wish I could give you a straight answer, and give that one fat burn exercise that would answer your question. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. But I do have one thing that will aid your fat loss more than anything else if you keep reading.
Before we get to that one thing, I want to mention two types of training that I use for myself and my clients. When the goal is fat loss. Head’s up, it’s hard and sucks.
My two top fat burn exercises, MetCon and HIIT
You can use these as your main exercises for your training program. But I and many of my client use them to supplement our other training.
You can get great benefits from both and the only winner of the two is the one you prefer.
Fat burn exercise I: Metabolic Conditioning (MetCon)
Also known as MetCon, is a style of high-intensity workouts. They are challenging mentally and physically due to their nature.
They combine power, strength, cardio, in a way that will use both your body’s energy systems. This fat burn exercise uses your anaerobic and aerobic energy system.
Often structure in a circuit fashion doing different exercises one after the other. But can also consist of one exercise completed on repeat. The goal is to push your heart rate up high, maintain, then allow for short recovery before going again.
The effort is in the 60-80% of max effort range, and duration between 5-20 minutes. HIIT is a very time efficient fat burn exercise you can use.
Example workout that I use for myself and my clients:
- Thrusters 45lbs for 30 seconds
- Barbell Landmine Rotations for 30 seconds
- 200m row for time
- Battle ropes for 15 seconds (max effort)
- Rest 10-30 seconds
- Repeat 4-10 times depending on ability
This is hard, and if you haven’t done anything similar before, ease into it.
Your body can only recover so much between these exercises and the rounds. Which is what makes these workouts so hard but also so effective.
You push your body into levels it’s never been, which is why it’s hard. You’ll give your heart and muscles a good workout and the recovery from this style of workout. Which takes a lot of energy for your body which is great for fat burn.
The first few times you’ll feel like absolute shit after, but this gets easier with time. You’ll learn to love the endorphin rush after.
Fat burn exercise II: HIIT, High-Intensity Interval Training
Like MetCon in the sense that they are high-intensity, they are also hard and challenging.
A HIIT workout provides great ‘bang for the buck’ as a fat burn exercise. You can complete one in as little as four minutes and get great results.
Your effort here should be 80% or more, up to 100% of max effort.
The duration is usually 4-10 minutes but can be longer for elite performers.
Your HIIT workouts should be short super high effort intervals. Followed by even shorter recovery periods, repeated for a set time.
Example workout that I use for myself and my clients:
Duration: 5 minutes
Exercise: Rowing machine
On (All out 100% effort row): 20 seconds
Off (Complete stop, full rest): 10 seconds
So for 5 minutes, I row 20 seconds all out, rest for 10 seconds, then repeat that cycle for 5 minutes.
HIIT is a very effective way to train your heart, it won’t be as taxing and efficient for your muscles as MetCon.
But you can still get a crazy good workout in if even if you only have 5-10 minutes to spare.
Unkown fat loss secret, it’s not a fat burn exercise, it is…
“What? I’m so confused Marcus, what do you mean muscles will aid my fat loss? How can muscles help me burn fat?”
Allow me to explain. We’ve already covered more than one fat burn exercise, so let’s move on.
To explain in the easiest way, I will use two made up people, Patric and John. These two guys, are both 25 years old, 6’2″ and weigh 225lbs.
There is one important difference though, Patric, who is a former marine and avid gym-goer, has 8% body fat.
John, spends most of his days eating pizza and playing call of duty, and has 30% body fat.
Through science and research, we use their biometrics to calculate how much energy they both need to keep their bodies alive on a daily basis.
This we refer to as their maintenance calories. Or TDEE (total daily energy expenditure).
Patric has 207 lbs of lean body mass (LBM) and 18 lbs of fat body mass (FBM). His TDEE is around 2900 calories, on a sedentary day when he is not very active.
John has 157.5 lbs of lean body mass (LBM) and 67.5 lbs of fat body mass (FBM). His TDEE is at 2300 calories, on a sedentary day when he is not very active.
So, let’s assume that these two, on a Sunday do the exact same thing, they both watch tv all day, taking it easy and relaxing. Even though they have the EXACT same age, height, and weight, their TDEE is different. By a lot.
But there is only one thing that differs, their body fat percentage.
To make this clearer and to make you understand even deeper what I’m getting at I want to put it a different way.
This Sunday, when they are both having a relaxed day. What do you think will happen if both Patric and John eat 2900 calories that day?
Great news for Patric, because his TDEE is 2900 calories. Which means he has had enough food to fuel his body’s energy needs for the day. He is not on a surplus nor a deficit for that day.
For John, however, he has a TDEE of 2300 calories, which means that he has consumed a surplus of 600 calories. These 600 calories will now store in his body, in the form of fat cells.
So without even performing a fat burn exercise, Patric has burned more calories than John.
How is this possible?
Muscle cells are far more metabolically active than fat cells. This means muscle cells use more energy than fat cells, even if they’re not used.
It makes sense if you think about it, muscles when used move your body to perform activities. Energy stored as fat sitting there waiting to get used.
Your muscles need a steady stream of energy, nutrients, oxygen, and minerals. To keep working and stay healthy and those processes all need energy (calories).
Fat cells don’t need much more than blood supply to get stored and get taken out of storage from. There is more too it, but the energy required to store fat is minimal.
Why is this important for you?
When focusing too much on your weight on the scale, you might not see the results you expected.
But in reality, you’ve lost fat, and you’ve gained muscle. Not only is muscle more energy demanding than fat, but muscle also weighs more than fat by the measure of volume.
One handful of muscle tissue weighs more than one handful of fat tissue because it is denser. This means that a change in muscle tissue can be harder to notice than a change in fat tissue.
It means that if you can choose a training program that will allow you to build muscle mass. You will have a much easier time to burn fat.
Building muscle does not mean that you will turn into a bodybuilder.
It’s a lot harder than most people think. Worst case scenario, if you put on “too much”(not gonna happen), dial the training back. You’ll lose it even quicker than you gained it.
How you can take advantage of this
Well, first of all, my number one recommendation for all clients that want to lose body fat is to do less cardio. Swap that cardio for more resistance training.
Cardio training has got its definite place in a training program, and you should use it. If you want to do cardio, use the recommended fat burn exercise above.
As you’ve now learned, having more muscle tissue is the absolute best way to help you burn fat. Because it will help you even if you sit on the couch all day.
Now imagine how much many calories your body issues if you actually move around and exercise. But with more muscle tissue rather than fat.
You’ll have more calories that you can eat every day if you have more muscle. Which means a bigger capacity to also burn fat when that is the goal.
If you want to take action on this knowledge, start doing resistance training. If that is weights at the gym, or basic bodyweight movements, is less important.
Resistance training is great for your bone density and injury prevention. But also cardiovascular health and well-being. It does not have to mean heavy squats and countless of repetitions of the same exercise if you don’t want to.
Make it fun, enjoy it, build some muscle, and burn more fat.
Thank you so much for reading, please share the post if you enjoyed it and leave a comment if you have anything to say.
Remember guys, Be The Change.
If you want more, please check out this post:
How to be consistent and stay focused