Fat Burning Workouts

How To Exercise To Burn Fat

The best fat burning workouts don’t always have to be total beat downs.  It is fun when they are, no question.  But a steady, moderate workout can do the trick too.  If you know a little bit about how the body generates energy, you can build a strategy for burning fat.  The Fat Loss 101 page explains some of the basics of fat burning.  Armed with that knowledge, you can maximize your fat loss.

During exercise, your muscles mostly get their energy from consuming glycogen and burning fat.  During more moderate levels of exercise, the body will get a higher proportion of its energy from fat – which is what we want.  During more intense activity, particularly sprinting and weight lifting, the muscles will get a much higher proportion of their energy from glycogen.

So it seems like we have a paradox if your goal is a fat burning workout.  You hit it hard with an intense workout to burn fat.  But you actually burn a higher proportion of glycogen.  You do a more moderate workout, and you burn a higher proportion of fat.

To get the full picture, you need to think about the total number of calories burned during your workout as well as the share of those calories provided to the muscles by each source.  An intense workout will burn a lot more calories.  So even if the percentage of calories provided from fat is lower, the total amount of fat burned is higher.  

The table below is there to help illustrate what I am saying.  It is based on two hypothetical workouts done over the same amount of time.  One burns 400 calories and the other burns 150 calories.  Even though the percentage of calories provided from fat is much lower in the case of the intense workout, the total amount of fat burned is a lot higher. 

Intense Workout vs. Moderate Workout Comparison

Total Calories Burned

Percentage of Calories from Glygogen

Percentage of Calories from Fat

Total Calories Consumed from Glycogen

Total Calories Consumed from Fat

Intense Workout






Moderate Workout






From that comparison, you can see that the two big variables to consider when planning your workout to maximize fat loss are intensity and time.  If your time is limited, you really want to focus on keeping the pressure on yourself and keeping it moving. 

10 Minute Fat Burning Workouts: Really pressed for time?  Here are some quick, hard hitting 10 minute workouts that you can do almost anywhere and without any equipment.

20 Minute Fat Burning Workouts: If you have a little bit more time, these 20 minute workouts will burn lots of calories. 

String some of these exercise routines together if you have the time for a full workout.  They are made to be simple, easy to remember, and effective. 

Kettlebell Workouts are a great way to test your body in ways you have never done so before. Perfectly performed Kettlebell exercises can help you sculpt the physique you have always wanted.Read more at Intense Kettlebell Workouts

If you are just starting out or coming back from an injury, try something with a little less impact but still very effective at burning fat.  Just walk.  Preferably include some hills, keep it at a brisk pace, and keep it up for a while.

To get the maximum fat burning benefit, do your workout in the morning before breakfast. If you are inclined to use a treadmill, do this: don't consume any carbs after 7:30 the night before.  Get up in the morning, set your treadmill at a decent pace and at an incline.  Walk for an hour.  That will burn fat.

If you had something more in mind, you might like this workout.  It's actually coming in a day or two - and you're going to like it.  Here is a sample below, so stay tuned.

Four corners

  • Start at one corner of the field. 
  • Sprint from the starting corner to the next corner and do 10 reps of an exercise (to be named later), and immediately sprint to the next corner and do it again.
  • Continue around the field.  You are done when you finish the 10 reps of your exercise at the starting corner.
  • For example the exercise is pushups.  You start at corner 1.  Sprint to corner 2, do 10 pushups.  Sprint to corner 3, do 10 pushups.  Sprint to corner 4, do 10 pushups.  Sprint to corner 1, do 10 pushups.
  • See the beauty here?  You can put whatever exercises in you want - Mountain Climbers, Turkish Get Ups, Bicycles, anything!

The exercise is Four Corners times 4. 

  1. First lap - pushups:  As soon as you finish that last pushup, rest?  I don't think so.  Second lap.  Go.
  2. Second lap - squats
  3. Third lap - ab crunches
  4. Fourth lap - burpees

As you plan your fat burning workout routine, don't forget the obvious.  Yes, it is helpful to know how your body uses fat and carbs for energy, but never lose sight of the BIGGEST factor in losing fat:

You need to burn more calories than you take in.

You could easily undo all of the great work you did with an ill advised meal or snack.  A workout that burns 500 calories is a pretty substantial workout.  

Guess what.  That's about the same as 1 cupcake.  Don't pull that "I can eat whatever I want because I'm working out" stuff.  It just isn't true.  It takes a lot of work to burn 500 calories.  On the other hand, you can consume 500 calories in about 30 seconds without any effort at all.

If you are going to invest the time, energy, and effort into your fat burning workouts, don't undo it with a silly choice later in the day.

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