How often do you see people on a fat loss journey complaining about doing exercise they don’t enjoy in order to burn fat?

This is a common misconception about fat loss - that you have to do rigorous, regular exercise you don’t enjoy to see results.

The fact is, any movement or activity burns fat, it’s just about finding exercises and activities you enjoy doing. This results in a more consistent and sustainable approach to fat loss, as it’s much easier to adhere to a plan you enjoy rather than one you don’t enjoy.

With that being said, there are certain exercises that typically burn more fat than others. Though the number of calories you burn doing a particular activity depends on numerous factors, such as fitness levels, age, and sex.

We will explore some of the best physical activities for burning fat later in this article. Firstly, a quick lesson on calories and energy balance!

A Quick Lesson on Calories

Our body uses chemical energy to move, think, grow, and survive. This energy is measured in calories, which we get from consuming food.

To put it simply, we eat food that provides us with energy (which is measured in calories), and then we burn this energy to live, function, and move normally.

The number of calories we consume and burn each day is unique to us all as it is determined by many factors such as age, weight, height, sex, muscle mass, and physical activity.

So, how does this influence fat loss and fat gain?

Calories In Vs Calories Out

Calories in vs calories out is another way of saying “eat less, move more” to someone wanting to lose fat.

This is the grossly simplified version of the fundamental concept of body weight regulation:

When you take in more energy (calories) than you burn, you gain weight.
When you take in less energy (calories) than you burn, you lose weight.

Factors that influence energy in:

  • Appetite
  • Food consumed
  • Calories absorbed
  • Psychological factors

Factors that influence energy out:

  • Energy burned at rest (our bodies need energy to simply survive)
  • Energy burned through exercise
  • Energy burned through non-exercise activities
  • Energy burned through metabolizing food

So, it goes without saying that the way to lose fat is to reduce your calorie intake and increase your physical activity!

Obviously, it is often more complex than this, and some people need more guidance than others, but this is the key concept.

Want to learn more about “How Many Calories Should You Eat to Burn Fat?”, check out our linked guide!

Let’s look closer at the best exercises for burning fat!

Exercises That Burn the Most Fat

As we have established, the key to fat loss is energy in vs energy out. So, reducing your food intake and increasing your overall physical activity (through exercise and other day-to-day movement) is key!

Also, the number of calories burned doing a certain activity or exercise is different for everyone, as it largely depends on weight, fitness levels, age, and sex.

Usually, the more intense the exercise, the more calories it burns. So, the more challenging the workout, the more elevated your heart rate, thus helping you shed more fat.

However, there are definitely some exercises that are typically more energy-demanding than others.

There has been some research that suggests high intensity interval training (HIIT) burns more calories than traditional exercises, such as running.

Here are some of the best exercises that burn the most fat:

  • Cycling

Cycling can be incorporated into most people’s daily routines, whether that be for commuting or for general exercise.

Cycling works to ramp up your heart rate while working the biggest muscles in your body - your legs - which in turn promotes fat burn!

  • HIIT

High-intensity interval training is becoming more and more popular in recent times. It’s the perfect exercise if you’re short on time, but want to burn a lot of calories in a short burst.

HIIT-style workouts are thought to turn your body into a fat burning furnace for a while after your workout is complete, so it’s no wonder why programs such as CrossFit are on the rise!

  • Running

You can’t go wrong with traditional running. While it’s not something some people enjoy, nobody can deny it burns a lot of calories. Running with a partner or group can sometimes make it more fun!

  • Rowing

If you’re not a big fan of running, rowing may be a better option for you, particularly if you suffer from certain injuries that don’t allow you to run.

Rowing can burn many calories, as does any form of cardiovascular exercise, and is versatile enough for you to go at your own pace yet challenge yourself personally.

Take-Home Message

You don’t always have to do exercise you don’t enjoy in order to lose fat. It’s key to find forms of physical activity you enjoy, as you would then be more likely to adhere to your program and be consistent, which will thus give you the results you are seeking!

As a general rule of thumb, the more intense and challenging the exercise, the more fat you will burn. However, there are certain exercises that are more energy-demanding than others, with cycling, running, HIIT and rowing being typically the most energy-demanding (fat burning).

Remember, when starting out on a fat loss plan, consider your nutritional intake, exercise program, and your general daily activity as factors that influence your energy in vs energy out - the fundamental concept of body weight management!