The best exercises to burn fat fast

Which approach to burning fat delivers the best results? Should you stick to slow and steady exercises that keep you in the "fat burning zone" or mix things up with high intensity interval training (HIIT)? We asked our sports scientists to help us find the answers.

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We recently received a question from one of our customers. She wanted to find out which approach to burning fat delivers the best results: slow and steady exercise (to stay in the fat burning zone) or HIIT. That’s a very good question, so we turned to our team of sports scientists to find the answer.


What is the fastest way to burn fat?

The fastest way to burn fat is by combining a healthy balanced diet with the right training plan. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s much easier said than done. Every day we are bombarded with conflicting information about our health, diet and fitness. Today it’ll be the raw food diet that’s supposed to help you shed half your body weight, tomorrow it’ll be something else. The same goes for fitness fads. The internet is literally at the point of information overload. So, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and confused. 

We’re here to help you cut through the clutter and avoid falling prey to fitness fads that waste your time, money and energy.


The best exercises to burn fat

The best exercises to burn fat are cardio workouts (such as running or cycling). However, if you include weight training, you can achieve a state of metabolic conditioning, which helps you tone as well as burn more body fat, even after your workout. This is because your body continues to burn energy after your training session.

What is your fat burning zone?

Your fat burning zone is approximately 60 to 70% of your maximum heart rate. To calculate your maximum heart rate, you can use 220 minus your age. So, for example, your maximum heart rate as a 30 year old would be 190, therefore your fat burning zone would be around 114 to 133. You would need to partake in around 45 minutes of low-intensity, steady state training (such as jogging on a treadmill) to enjoy the benefits of your fat burning zone.


What is HIIT and how does it work?

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a workout session which consists of short bursts of intense exercise, followed by short rest periods (around 60 seconds) between exercises. You get low-volume and high-volume HIIT. Low-volume is approximately 20 to 30 minutes per session and high-volume is 45 to 60 minutes per session.

Read our article, Home-based HIIT Trainingfor simple examples of an HIIT workout that you can try at home.


HIIT vs. slow and steady exercises

This is very much person-specific. What works for one person may not work for another, this depends on your power/endurance profile. This is why understanding your genetic predispositions is so valuable. 


How your genes affect your weight loss efforts

Your genes directly affect your response to exercise and nutrition. In this instance, whether you respond better to steady state training or HIIT will depend on your power/endurance profile. If you have a high power profile (60% or higher power score), then you’ll see better results from HIIT training. If you have a high endurance profile (60% or higher endurance score) then steady state training will deliver better results. If you sit somewhere in between (a mixed power/endurance profile) then you’d need to include both HIIT and steady state training to see the best results.

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