What exercise burns the most fat?

What exercise burns the most fat?

There is no doubt that exercising is great for the mind and our insides. However it is no surprise that people want to see quick results too. The big question is which exercise burns the most fat?

Cardio or strength training?

There are certainly some types of exercise that raise the heart rate and burn fat quicker than others. However, it is important to ensure you incorporate both cardio (running, incline walking) and strength training into your workout regime, in order to reach optimum heart function.

There have been a number of conflicting studies on whether to incorporate both cardio and strength training into the same session, or to do them separately in order to burn the most fat. Similarly, it is unclear whether it is better to start with cardio or strength.  Some find it best to start with strength, in order to ensure you have the most energy to lift the heaviest weights and perform at your best. On the other side, some researches show that strength training exhausts the body’s carbohydrate stores. It could theoretically force the body to burn more fat when doing cardio afterwards. Finally, others prefer to use cardio as a warm-up to their strength training. It is really up to you to find the right balance.

Metabolic conditioning

Metabolic strength training is a style of exercise that is definitely worth considering if you want to burn optimal fat. “Metabolic conditioning” involves high-intensity interval training, as well as strength. As a result, the body burns the most calories in less time.

An example of a metabolic conditioning session could look like:

Kettlebell swings
Burpees and bent over dumbbell rows for 40 seconds
20 seconds of rest

And repeat these exercises for 15-20 minutes.

This is also a customisable and more entertaining way to burn the fat than running on a treadmill for half an hour. You can also target different body areas with the exercises you choose. Metabolic conditioning is a great way to keep your body guessing as you can constantly switch up the rest time, exercises and reps. This allows you to keep your body in fat burning mode.


High intensity interval training (HIIT) is fantastic for torching body fat quickly and efficiently. It is very time-friendly as does not take long. It could therefore be potentially seen as the best way to burn fat and get the most bang for your buck. Furthermore, it provides a fat burning effect which can last for up to 24 hours after the workout is completed!

HIIT can be performed on a treadmill or a cycling machine, or equipment-free with exercises such as burpees and mountain climbers. A great example of a HIIT workout on a bike would be:

Cycling as fast as possible for 40 seconds
Resting for 20 seconds
Repeating this for around 10 minutes.

It should not be easy and you should be completely exhausted afterwards!

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise (running, jogging, rowing) is also important and an effective exercise to burn fat, with running burning around 600 calories an hour. It strengthens muscles, increases the number of red blood cells in the body, reduces stress and increases circulation. However, it is higher impact so it may not be suitable for people suffering from injuries or obesity. Rowing is also an exercise that should not be overlooked. It burns around 800 calories per hour and is a total body workout, demanding all the main muscles of the body to fire up. Similarly, swimming burns up to 600 calories per hour and is a great low impact total body workout, due to the body being suspended in water.

Low intensity exercise

Lower intensity aerobic activity also has its place. It places less impact on the joints, making it a less demanding exercise on the body, while remaining effective. It is perfect to implement on active recovery days. On average, walking burns 300-400 calories per hour. However, it is not as effective as higher-intensity exercise, which will burn the same number of calories in a shorter time. It is best to incorporate both into your routine.

Parting words of advice

As with any training program, it is important to start slowly and incorporate new exercises and training styles into your regime gradually, so as not to injure yourself or burn out. Furthermore, it is important not to overdo cardio. Indeed cardio will elevate stress hormones and make your body hold onto fat instead of burning it! Keep HIIT short and sweet, and ensure you have full rest days. As a final word, remember that it is also incredibly important to stay hydrated during cardio workouts.

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