Fat burning exercises are the key to a solid fitness routine. After all, nothing motivates people to work out more than the desire to shed a few pounds. If you’ve just started working out or going to the gym, you’re probably looking for the exercises that will help you burn off calories as quickly as possible.
But which exercises burn the most fat in the shortest amount of time? What can you do in (and outside) the gym to start shedding calories today?
We’ve compiled a handful of the best fat burning exercises to help you get started.
Cardio vs Weight Training for Fat Loss
Before we make any recommendations, it’s important to discuss cardio versus weight training. Which one is better for fat loss?
This question has been debated by experts for years. Strength-trainers will tell you that a weight regiment is necessary to burn calories. Aerobics people will say that cardio is the best fat burning exercise.
In reality, however, both are somewhat necessary to lose weight. Cardio will increase your blood flow and help you work off those extra calories. Weight-training, on the other hand, will turn those fat cells into healthy muscle. Generally, people who focus on strength-training do so in order to gain muscle, so they actually end up weighing more as time goes on. Resistance exercises, however, can expedite the weight loss process.
In short, you can lose weight simply by doing cardio. However, some strength-training is helpful, as well. It may take some extra time, but a fast fat burning workout routine will include both cardio exercise and a bit of heavy lifting, as well.
The Best Fat-Burning Exercises
Running is the oldest form of exercise practiced by humans and one of the easiest fat burning exercises you can do. Running gives you a great cardio workout, builds your endurance and reduces stress in the process.
If you’re looking to burn off calories but don’t know where to start, go for a run. The average person will be able to run a mile every ten minutes, burning off around nine calories per minute. The faster you run, the quicker you’ll burn fat. The more you run, the higher your endurance will become and the easier it will be to start shedding those leftover calories.
Burpees are an exercise where you move from a standing position to a pushup position as quickly as possible. The average person burns between 1.25 and 1.5 calories with each rep, making them a fast fat burning workout. If you can do ten of them in a minute, you can burn up to fifteen calories within sixty seconds.
Burpees are a much more intense exercise than running, but offer way more cardio benefits for fat loss. They may be painful, but you’re unlikely to find a better fat burner than burpees.
Jumping rope is a simple and easy way to get a solid cardio workout. Whereas running requires mostly just lower-body strength, rope jumping will get you flexing your upper body muscles as well. It’s a fantastic cardio exercise for fat loss, helping you burn up to fifteen calories per minute.
Once you get good, you’ll find that your coordination and balance is much stronger. After some practice, you should be able to raise your rope jumping rate to around 125 skips each minute, increasing the amount of fat that you burn off as you jump.
Walking with dumbbells
It’s not the safest practice to run with dumbbells (don’t want to throw out that back), but walking with additional weights is a great way to turn the simplest exercise into a full-body, fat burning workout. This one is great because anybody can do it, and you can add weight gradually when you want a more intense exercise routine.
Walking is a fantastic cardio exercise for fat loss, so carrying some light weight (don’t go crazy with it) will help you burn off those upper-body calories as you move around. You can alternate reps between each arm or lift both dumbbells simultaneously if you’re up for it. This is a popular cardiovascular exercise because you can do it well into old age.
Swinging kettlebells (or smaller dumbbells) works your core directly, making it a popular fat burning exercise. In fact, it’s one of the best stomach exercises you can do at home. The best part, though, is that kettlebell swings build muscle in your back and upper legs at the same time that they burn fat in your abs. Unlike running (or even walking), swings don’t stress your knees or ankles, giving you a workout that’s friendlier on the joints.
When doing kettlebell swings, alternate between hands. As one arm gets exhausted, you can switch to the other hand. Do swings for thirty seconds on each arm and then rest for ten minutes. Add some total-body exercises in between to incorporate some cardio workout into your kettlebell routine.
Everyone knows that squats are a great way to build muscle on your backside, but adding an additional jump into the exercise can turn squats into a full-body cardio workout. Starting in front of a jump box, keep your feet spaced apart by your shoulder-width and stand in a slight crouch before jumping up onto the platform. Complete your squat and hop down backwards for as many reps as you can handle to enjoy a fantastic cardio fat loss exercise.
When starting out, it may be helpful to sit down between reps. Your legs are going to get tired fast and taking a quick seat will help ease your knee joints before you return to jumping.
Another jump box-based cardio exercise, step-ups are one of the best fat burners for your legs. These are particularly useful for people who sit in an office chair all day. They’re a fast weight loss workout that will help you burn off all of those excess calories heading to your lower body. Many gyms have adjustable jump boxes so you can make this exercise as difficult as you want it to be.
Bear-crawling is when you crawl back and forth without letting your knees touch the ground. If you’re able to stay on your toes and keep your back as level as possible, you can get a fat burning workout that’s hard to beat. Crawling forward by moving your hand, then your opposite foot, then your opposite hand, etc, and then repeating the process by moving backwards will burn calories in both your legs and upper body.
Bear crawls go perfectly with burpees. If you can alternate between the two exercises for a twenty-minute routine, you’ll have be burning off dozens of calories in no time.
Pushups are great, but blast-offs provide a whole new level of cardio exercise. Described by Men’s Health as the “ultimate total-body pushup”, blast-offs combine the benefits of leg presses with the strength workout of pushups. When doing blast-offs, you’ll start in a squat position with your hands touching the ground and lunge forward into a downward pushup position. Once you’re in the pushup position, you’ll have to push yourself backward into the original, squatting stance.
These are tough, but are a great fat burning workout if you do them right. The faster you can repeat each blast-off rep, the quicker your metabolism will go into hyper speed.
The fat-burning benefits of battle rope waves come from the increased need for oxygen they produce. In other words, battle ropes are a great cardio workout but you’re going to be doing some heavy breathing. On average, people burn around 10 calories for each minute of swinging the battle rope.
Rope swings are awesome because they require very little lower-body strength. This means that you can get a great, fat burning gym workout even if your legs are exhausted from doing box jumps and squats the day before. You won’t feel too much pain after using battle ropes for twenty minutes, but it’s still a great form of cardio for weight loss.
Walking lunges are the perfect way to end any cardio workout. They’ll add some strength training to a fat burning exercise routine. They’ll also top off your gym workout, helping you build muscle and shed calories at the same time.
The nice thing about walking lunges is that they strengthen your leg joints while simultaneously giving you a cardio workout. They take some discipline (especially if you’re doing them after an intense training session) but quickly start to show benefits. You’ll find that lunges make your running, jumping and squatting routines a lot easier.
You’ll never meet a rower with much fat on their body. Rowing is a full-body workout that gives you the benefits of both cardio exercises and strength training. Many gyms have at least one rowing machine, so you should utilize it if fat burning is one of your main priorities. A half-hour on the rowing machine will burn at least ten calories each minute if you’re working hard enough.
Certain rowing machines enable you to adjust the resistance levels, meaning you can increase the difficulty each time and burn more fat as you go. For an amazing weight loss workout, try rowing for one to three minutes straight and taking a quick break before doing it over again.
Resistance bike sprints
The most intense bike sprinters are able to burn nearly 90 calories in one minute, simply by jacking up the resistance on their machine. It will take a while to get there (we don’t recommend jumping right in) but using an exercise bike can be one of the best fat burners. In order to optimize your gym workout, hop on the bike and go full-speed for one minute straight. Take a minute-long break and see if you can do the same thing over again.
Chances are, you won’t find a fat burning exercise like resistance biking anywhere else.
Step Your Exercise Game Up and Burn the Most Fat
Burning fat fast isn’t easy. It requires a bit of time, some serious discipline and a commitment to weight loss. However, with some focus and energy, you can trim off that excess fat in no time. If you add some strength-training into your gym workout, you can even transform some of those extra pounds into healthy muscle.
Whether you’re hitting the gym for a workout everyday or simply trying to walk more and exercise around the house, there are plenty of things you can do to work off unwanted weight. Depending on your fitness level, there are a variety of fat burning exercises you can choose from. Don’t worry about being the strongest person in the gym. Just get yourself a nice dose of cardio, increase your reps with each workout and look forward to enjoying a stronger, healthier body.