How to Burn Fat

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Want to know how to burn fat? The truth is, you’re already doing it. Your body pulls energy from both carbohydrate and fat stores at the same time, all the time. The ratio of fat to carbohydrates burned can vary, but in the end, it doesn’t matter whether you burn fat or carbohydrates. Here’s why.

Fuel Sources for Your Workout

The body tends to burn more carbohydrates when it needs quick energy. That’s because carbs take less energy to metabolize. Just as water takes the path of least resistance from the mountain to the sea, your body uses the fuel easiest to access.

However, carbohydrates are a limited resource. To conserve carbohydrates, the body switches to the next most difficult energy supply, glycogen. However, glycogen is also a limited resource. Once the glycogen gets low, the body pulls out the big guns and starts burning fat.

Burning Carbs or Burning Fat?

How to Burn Fat

How to Burn Fat

No one disputes the order in which the body burns these nutrients for fuel. However, there is debate about whether burning fat will help you lose weight faster than burning carbohydrates. Some argue that slow-paced exercise burns more fat because the body doesn’t focus on burning carbs to meet the high demand for energy in more vigorous exercise. Others argue that only 20 to 30 minutes of cardio can deplete carbohydrates enough to tap your fat stores, making intense cardio workouts necessary to lose weight.

In the strictest sense, both arguments are correct. Lower-intensity workouts do burn a higher percentage of fat. However, unless you perform the exercise for a longer time than a similar high-intensity workout, you won’t burn enough calories to make a difference. And 20 to 30 minutes of cardio will deplete carbohydrates and make you more likely to tap fat stores. However, that’s only part of the weight loss equation.

Calories In, Calories Out

When it comes right down to it, the best way to burn fat is to reduce the number of calories you consume and increase your level of physical activity. If you provide less quick energy for your body in the first place, fat becomes a more likely source of fuel. This provides fat burning around the clock, not just during your workout.

Take Control of Your Weight Loss

You can only reduce your caloric intake so much without becoming ill, so exercise becomes important to weight loss. The more calories you burn during your workout, the more weight you will lose. So, it stands to reason that the highest calorie burning exercises will burn the most fat. If that’s your goal, you should consider intense workouts such as cross-country skiing, biking, running, jumping rope, and boxing. If none of these exercises is your cup of tea, however, they are certainly not the right fat-burning exercises for you. If you don’t like the exercise enough to do it frequently, it won’t burn more calories for you.

The trick to burning the most fat possible is to find the highest calorie-burning workout you enjoy and stick to it regularly. If you get bored easily, it makes sense to switch between exercises or to try interval training. Whatever keeps you consistently physically active for the most time will burn the most fat for you. Based on information from the Mayo Clinic, the following is a list of common exercises listed from greatest calorie burn to least.

  • Jumping rope
  • Tae kwon do
  • Stair treadmill
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Jogging
  • Tennis
  • High impact aerobics
  • Backpacking
  • Ice-skating
  • Racquetball
  • Stationary rowing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Swimming laps
  • Hiking
  • Water skiing
  • Low impact aerobics
  • Downhill skiing
  • Softball or baseball
  • Golfing (including carrying clubs)
  • Water aerobics
  • Leisurely bicycling (under 10 mph)
  • Tai chi
  • Volleyball
  • Walking
  • Canoeing
  • Bowling
  • Ballroom dancing
  • Weightlifting
  • Leisurely Walking

Start at the top of the list and find the highest calorie burning exercises that work for you. Now that’s how to burn fat!

Personally, I prefer a stationary bike with a Wii in front of it during the colder months to keep me pedaling hard for about an hour every day. During the summer, I’m sweating up a storm with yard work. Which exercises burn the most fat for you?