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It’s one of life’s… let’s say, quirks, that body fat is harder to burn than it is to accumulate. For some metabolisms, all it takes is one week of unhealthy eating to gain fat that feels like it takes double the time to shift.
For this reason, if your fitness goal is to burn fat, the chances are you’ll want to know which workouts will allow you to do it as quickly and effectively as possible. Not that sweating it out on the gym floor isn’t fun, it’s just motivating to see progress.
With that in mind, we decided to ask the experts – a group of personal trainers – what their ‘secret weapon’ is when it comes to the most effective fat-burning exercise. And the good news is, they all say different things – so if one doesn’t work as well for you personally, move on and try something different.
– Kelsey Wells, Sweat trainer and creator of the PWR Workout programs
“Weight training is a great way to gain muscle mass and burn calories, which in turn can lower your body fat. I love incorporating compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once – a great example of this is a weighted burpee.”
– Vero Walker, trainer at Orangetheory Fitness
“This is when you work with short, but high intensity speeds anywhere between 30 seconds to 3-4 minutes combined with short, less intense recoveries still aiming to keep your heart rate slightly raised. Keeping your heart rate above 84% of its max for a minimum of 12 minutes within an hour has been scientifically proven to create an after-burn effect which lasts up to 36 hours! Your body continues to burn body fat and calories post workout.”
– Alastair Crew, Master Trainer at David Lloyd Clubs
“There are so many options, but the most effective fat burner will be the activity you engage with the most or enjoy the most. This will encourage consistency and exercise compliance. Some options or examples would be total body movements like the assault bike or the rower, the versa climber or even combining conditioning drills via combat moves like boxing or MMA kicking and grappling moves.”
– Dr Thomas Falda, training specialist at fitness app Freeletics
“To make sure you’re effectively burning fat all over, the most effective exercises would recruit as many muscles as possible. Great fat-burning exercises include running, burpees, sprawls, squats, or lunges. As part of a HIIT circuit these moves have great fat-burning potential, alternated with short periods of rest to make sure you’re pushing yourself and letting your heart rate recover before pushing it back up again for maximum calorie and fat burn.”
– Marvin Burton, personal trainer at Anytime Fitness
“Weight training burns body fat for longer (including post-exercise) and develops strength within your ligaments, tendons, joint and muscle. Resistance training is the recommended method of training for athletes and the elderly, which demonstrates how important and effective it is for our health.”
– Anya Lahiri, Master Trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp
“Running and lifting – the combination of both! Running is amazing for cardiovascular fitness and also torches calories. Adding resistance work with weights or body weight to build muscle mass makes your body a fat-burning furnace. There is no combo like it!”
– Elliott Upton, Personal Trainer & Head of LiveUP Online Coaching at Ultimate Performance Fitness
“The exercises that are best for fat loss are the ones that expend the most calories per rep. The two that have the potential to be most effective are squats or deadlifts (and their variations). The caveat is that some people will be more suited to one than the other. People who can’t squat well won’t get the most out of the exercise because they won’t be able to load it. They may be better with the deadlift, or vice versa. The bottom line is, when going heavy, they will burn the most calories rep for rep and do the most muscle damage rep for rep, which will create a greater need for calorie burning for recovery after the session.”
– Krissy Cela, trainer and founder of Tone & Sculpt app
“Burpees has to be the best for me. They are tough, I know, but they work your entire body and you can literally do them from anywhere as they require no equipment at all, so there is no excuse not to do them.”
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