What is the Best exercise for burning Fat?

20 July 2018

One of the most common questions that we get asked is "what is the best exercise for burning fat?"  This is a really great question as everyone wants to burn fat quickly and effectively. To answer this question you first have to understand what FAT is and how you gain it. Spare fat that you have on your body is simply stored energy from over consumption.  This energy can be burned in 2 ways. The first way is by moving/exercising and the second is calorie restriction. If you restrict your calorie intake so that your body is burning more energy than what you are putting in – you will burn your energy stores (fat) and lose weight. Having too much fat on your body can make you sluggish, tired, hot, breathless, unattractive, depressed, and predisposed to many chronic illnesses.

Fat on your body is simply the result of eating/drinking more calories (energy) in a day than what you burn. Say if you eat 2400 calories in a day but move very little and only burn 1400 calories. The extra 1000 calories is stored on your body as fat until you use it. Following such a lifestyle consistently over months and even years will lead to you being very overweight. But you have to understand that this is your choice and choices can be changed. The difficulty is that such a lifestyle easily becomes addictive/habitual. WHY? Because it is easy and enjoyable but isn’t without consequences - both physical and psychological.

So what really is the best exercise to tackle this? I often hear people say that walking  is the best exercise for burning body fat. People get this idea because walking chooses to burn mainly body fat as its preferred fuel rather than other fuels present in your body such as carbohydrates and ATP. The only problem is that you would have to be out walking for ages and ages to notice a any change.

However, more intense exercise burns those other fuels as well as your fat stores together but at different ratios depending on the exercise and how hard it is to YOU. Even though more intense exercise burns different fuels together, the amount of fat burnt at those high intensities will be considerably more than low intensity exercises such as walking. Therefore the exercise that will burn the most body fat is the one that places the biggest demand or the most stress on your body.
You see people in gyms doing the same program week in week out on treadmills watching the TV screens. Their bodies get so used to doing the same thing each week they will not progress as fast as they think they will. Simply just going to the gym and jumping on the machine may not give you the results you are looking for.

If you are a good runner then you should choose some other form of high intensity workout other than running. If you are a good cyclist choose high intensity circuits or interval running. Do the exercises that your body doesn't like or is not used to so that you place a massive energy demand on it. When you do a workout that you are not conditioned to do it will shock your body and demand lots of energy. When you do the same workouts keeping within your comfort zone you’re not going to progress.
If you're a beginner most exercises will be demanding to begin with. Be consistent until you build up your endurance levels then start adding variety. Keep your intensity high (heart rate above 70% Max) and you will burn body fat effectively. Remember the most effective exercise for you to burn fat are the ones that you are not conditioned to do. Once you become conditioned change them or increase the intensity so that your body keeps progressing.

Paul Sebo M.Sc

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