Blink and summer will be here. Depending on where you live, it may already have come (or perhaps it never leaves!). Whatever the temperature is, if you want to shed the extra weight and really tone your body up for bathing suit season, you will need to burn more calories than you bring in. No matter what kind of diet you’re on or how many food recommendations you’ve received, it all boils down to burning more than you bring in.
Of course, you only have so much time to workout during the day, so you want to maximize the amount of time you spend burning those calories.
Don’t worry, we have some suggestions. Here are a few of our favorite fat burning exercises and how to maximize your calorie burn.
The Top Fat Burning Exercises List
Short for “High Intensity Interval Training,” if you’ve spent time at the gym before you’ve probably heard people talk about HIIT in the past. The basic principle is you perform a move as hard as you can for a short period of time (such as 20 to 45 seconds), and then you have a short period of rest. You then repeat this process.
There are a few reasons as to why this is effective. Your body has fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. Fast twitch, as you’d guess, move quickly.
These kinds of muscles are used for explosive moves, such as jumping, pushing up that heavy bench press, driving to the hoop and dunking. Stuff like that.
However, fast twitch muscles use up its energy source faster. It’s why someone who sprints for 100 meters can’t maintain that for a mile.
By performing intervals, it gives your body time to build the fast twitch energy back up, so you can explode through the next set (in a way, it’s like lifting weights. You go hard, rest for a minute between a set, then return).
HIIT also forces your heart rate to rapidly change. It goes from fast, to slowing it back down, to reving back up again.
This constant change in your heart rate will confuse certain elements of your body and it will attempt to compensate, which in turn allows your body to burn more calories.
It’s possible to do just about any kind of cardio workout as a HIIT workout. Let’s say you like the exercise bike at the gym. It’s low impact, works your legs and it doesn’t have the weight time as the elliptical machines do. Well you can turn this into a HIIT workout.
All you need to do is go as hard as you can for 45 seconds, then slow to a crawl for 15, then repeat until you hit 10 minutes. If you need more time when you first start out, not a problem. Go 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy. You can then add a few seconds every week or so as your body becomes accustomed to this kind of workout.
You don’t need to make every cardio workout a HIIT workout, and we recommend mixing it up (you can always do HIIT workouts with swimming, shadow boxing or anything else you might like), but it’s a great way to burn calories and really elevate your heart rate.
Boosting Your Metabolic Rate
To maximize your effort, you want to maximize your metabolic rate. This will help you burn more calories during your workout, which means the fat burning exercises are that much more impactful.
But how do you boost your metabolism?
Working out is already a good start. That increases your heart rate and pumps more blood and oxygen throughout your body.
Beyond working out, make sure to stay hydrated. Hydration is a must for boosting your metabolism. You’ll also want to look for certain ingredients you can add to your diet that won’t bring on massive calories additions yet will boost your metabolic burn.
Thankfully, there are different seasonings you can add to nearly every meal that will boost your metabolism.
Cinnamon is a must. The next time you consider adding sugar to a cup of coffee, opt out and add cinnamon. You can even add cinnamon into your protein drinks. If you want to take it a step further, add in ginger as well. Ginger is great for your stomach and supercharges your metabolism as well.
For your meals where cinnamon isn’t an option, add some spice, like red pepper flakes. These can help with your metabolism as well. Other foods to add into your diet include egg whites, green tea, coffee and lean meats.
Should You Take a Fat Burner?
So you’re picking up your jug of whey and that container of fat burners is looking right back at you. Everything you need to know is right in the title.
You want fat burning exercises, which means fat burners will only help more so, right?
There’s nothing wrong with fat burners.
In fact, these can help aid your goal in burning more calories. It’s not a magic pill though. It’s a supplement, there to supplement your workout. These fat burners usually come with some ingredients designed to increase your metabolism, reduce your food cravings while packed with caffeine.
Some may also block your absorption of fats, depending on the compound. If you’re already downing several cups of coffee or energy drinks (you really should ditch those for unsweetened coffee) a day and your body tends to hit the wall with caffeine crashes, you might want to think twice about the fat burners, as it may be too much caffeine for your heart to take.
If you don’t drink much in way of caffeine currently though, go ahead and try out the fat burners. Just make sure to follow the instructions of the product. More than likely you’ll start on a slower dose and work your way up.
Weight training is more than just increasing muscle size or boosting strength. Nothing burns fat like weight training.
Because your body continues to burn calories after you have finished the workout.
With any other cardio workout, you workout for a set period of time, you’ll burn through calories, and, at the end, your body is done burning calories.
At least its done burning calories in connection with the workout. Weight training, on the other hand, tears down your muscle tissue. Your body must then recover and rebuild the damaged tissue. It takes calories to rebuild muscle. So even after you’ve finished your workout your body will burn more calories.
So while an hour of intense cardio will burn more calories than an hour of intense weight training, there’s a good chance you might end up burning more calories weight training over the course of time.
Plus, if you increase your muscle size your larger muscles will burn more calories, which helps with fat burning. So intense weight training is a must if you want to maximize your fat burning exercises.
Sometimes you’re at the gym and there really isn’t any room to break into your own specially tailored HIIT workout. That’s totally fine. There are probably some great pieces of cardio equipment you can use (without just going with the default treadmill or elliptical machine).
One of possibly the most underrated pieces of gym cardio is the rowing machine.
This is a great device as it forces your entire body to work. With most cardio devices you’re using primarily your lower body (although some do have you at least pumping your arms).
With the rowing machine you use your legs as you push off for the row, your upper body as you pull back on the resistant band, and you use a surprisingly amount of your lower back and abdominal muscles as well. We’re guessing you probably don’t just have a row boat available to go out on the water and row with (if you do, what are you waiting for!).
But head for this when at the gym. It’s almost always available, lets you really burn the calories (the average, 185 pound guy can burn nearly 750 calories an hour on this device) and it is low impact, so it doesn’t matter if you have injured knees or shoulders.
If there’s anything you learned from your dad on those old summer road trips and him rocking out to bands you had never heard of at the time, there’s just nothing like the classics. In terms of fat burning exercises, it’s tough to beat jumping rope. It’s direct, right to the point, and is easy enough to figure out. There’s a reason why Rocky trained with a jumping rope.
Again it works both your lower and upper body, plus it helps work on your coordination as well. If you’re someone who likes to jog but has been wanting a way to increase the calorie burn, jumping rope is exactly that. It’s basically jogging in place with balance and coordination drills built into it.
Plus, according to Compendium of Physical Activities, if you jump around 110 skips a minute (which is a moderate number of jumps, so it is something you can maintain), you’ll burn 13 calories per minute.
Whenever you’re burning more than 100 calories every 10 minutes, you’re onto something (after an hour you’ve basically burned off all the calories of a single, healthy meal).
If you’ve ever used battle ropes before, you know how much of a burn these things can really bring on. If you want to finish off your arms and shoulder day with an incredible burn, add battle ropes to your workout.
However, these ropes are more than just to help tone your arms (you’re using all sorts of different smaller muscles in your arms and shoulders you normally do not use, which is why it not only burns so much, but why it’s a great toning option as well).
A single minute of battle ropes is going to burn just over 10 calories.
Being able to burn that kind of calorie amount just by using mostly your upper body is pretty impressive. It also helps boost oxygen flow to the rest of your body. So with this added exercise, you’re basically adding both a resistance and a cardio element into the final portion of the workout, which helps supercharge your fat burning potential.
Word of the Wise: Can’t Target Fat
Just a little tidbit we want to throw out at you (and you may already know). You can’t specifically target the area of your body you want to burn weight from. Your body draws from the fat storage differently from how other bodies work. That’s just how it is. It’s why you can’t have killer abs but be overweight everywhere else.
So if you happen to be checking out cardio workouts on YouTube or have a class at the local gym, if someone says you’ll target fat loss in a certain area by doing a certain move, that’s not how it works. The move may be great for burning calories, but just keep in mind you won’t know where the fat source is coming from. Which is perfectly fine! You want a fully toned body anyway.
When it comes to looking great, it’s all about effort. Some people will tell you it’s necessary to spend hours at the gym to obtain that killer body. It’s not. As long as you burn more calories than you bring in, you’ll eventually have the body you want.
So intertwine these exercises into your weekly routine and also make sure to do what you can and eat right. The combination of eating right and exercising will go a long way in prepping your body for the summer and all your weight loss needs.
If you have additional questions about dieting, additional supplements ways to boost your metabolism and so on, make sure to keep it right here, as we’ve got you covered on your fitness journey!