Well, you’re either here because you have a lot to lose, want to shed off just a few more pounds, or are just overall curious about fat burning workouts. The short answer? All of them burn fat to some degree. The long answer? I suppose you’ll just have to keep reading for that.
Whether you’re new to exercising or have been on it for years, I hope to provide something of value in this article. I’ve done a lot of research over the past decade and really narrowed it down to this. What works best for one person, may not work as well for others, but the basic underlying principles are the same.
If you want to burn more fat, you have to move more.
Fat Burning Workouts
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT and I have a love hate relationship. It works great for burning high amounts of energy in short periods of time. However the intensity is so high that it’s not reasonable to hold that level of activity for extended periods of time. I typically prefer low impact exercises such as cycling or swimming due to the stress that running puts on my knees. I do like to switch things up though and run some sprints from time to time.
The way it works is by performing a lower intensity action such as jogging for 30 seconds followed by high intensity sprinting for 30 seconds. The length of intervals should vary depending on how conditioned you are. This repeats for 20 to 30 minutes. A typical result from a HIIT workout is around 8 to 12 calories per minute. This cycles of course due to the nature of the method with higher burn during intensity intervals and lower burn during low intensity intervals. Over a 30 minute workout you could expect to see 240 to 360 calories. I won’t go into the details of how these calories are burned, but Jeff Nippard made a great video on the difference between HIIT and LISS.
LISS is somewhat of a sister to high intensity interval training. It stands for Low Intensity Steady State. This type of workout is usually done for longer periods of time ranging from 30 to 60 minutes or more. Select an exercise such as cycling, brisk walking, swimming, or other activity you can do at a moderate pace for a long duration. For example cycling at a moderate pace will burn you around 470 to 750 calories in an hour. This almost directly correlates to the calories you burn during HIIT, but the mechanisms of energy expenditure are different. Again, I would refer you to Jeff’s video for more detail on their difference.
Tabata workouts are something I am not as familiar with when it comes to fat burning workouts. A buddy of mine introduced me to them and let me say, it killed! I’m more used to strength training so it was definitely a change up of my regular routine. I may get some strange comments for this one, but I feel like Tabata is sort of a mix between Crossfit and high intensity interval training. For a Tabata workout you do a high level of intensity of a certain exercise (such as push ups or jump squats) for 20 seconds without stopping followed by 10 seconds of rest. This is repeated a total of 8 times accounting for 4 minutes of workout. This is repeated with about 10 different exercises leaving you with a total body workout over a short 40 minute period.
Strength Training is my favorite go-to of all fat burning workouts. Depending on my goals at the time I will either lift weights 3 or 6 times each week. For the weeks I do 3 weight training days I will alternate them with cardio days. For the past few months my muscle group split has been Chest with Back, Biceps with Triceps, and Legs with Shoulders and Abs. I cycle through this either 1 or 2 times per week.
Depending on the amount of weight you are lifting and the number of sets or reps you do, you may see a wide variety of calorie burn. With larger muscle groups such as back or legs you may see higher calorie burn than, for example, when you work out biceps and triceps. I’m putting together an Exercise Video Library for Eternity Athletics on YouTube, and you can check out those videos here: Exercise Video Library Playlist. This way you can see what different exercises there are for strength training.