How to burn more fat while exercising

by Kelly Forness on August 8, 2012 · 0 comments

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Have you ever sat down on your couch while watching TV and ate an entire pizza by yourself?  Or a whole bag of chips?  Or a half gallon of ice cream?  Maybe you were having a bad day or maybe your were just really hungry and had a craving for something that tasted really good.  No matter what the reason was, all of the extra servings of food will end up turning into fat if they aren’t burned off.  Any time you consume an extra 3500 calories, and don’t burn it off, it turns into one pound of fat.  It is so easy to gain fat, but once it is there, it can be very difficult to get rid of it.

How to lose weight after you have gained it

So, how do you get rid of it?  Aside from liposuction, the only real way to get rid of fat is by exercising.  And depending on how many pounds you want to lose, it may take a while.  You will have to be consistent and really dedicate yourself to working out and eating well.

A combination of diet and exercise is most effective way to lose weight.  In order to lose weight, the energy consumed needs to be less than the energy output.  To lose weight and keep it off, it is recommended to only lose about 1-2 pounds per week.

Fat burning zone

You have probably heard that in order to get the best results, you should work out in the fat burning zone, which is about 60-70% of your max heart rate (220-your age).  When exercising, you use both fat and carbohydrates as fuel.  Exercising at a lower intensity has been shown to produce greater fat loss because as exercise intensity increases, a greater amount of carbohydrates are used for energy.

As you increase your exercise intensity, you will be using more carbohydrates as fuel.  Since you use more fat as fuel when working out at a lower intensity, you are more likely to burn more fat at that intensity, but you would have to work out for a much longer period of time.

You don’t actually have to use fat as fuel in order to burn it off of your body.  The most important thing is burning more calories than you are taking in.

Time of day

The time of day that you exercise also may have an effect on fat burning.  An article from the Journal of Human Sport and Exercise looked at the fat oxidation of obese and normal weight men in the morning and evening.  The study found that fat oxidation rates for both groups at all intensities were greater in the evening. See also Best time to work out for weight loss

After burn

You have probably heard the term after burn, which is also called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).  A study that was published in the Journal of Sports Science looked at what effect exercise intensity and duration have on EPOC.  The study found that as exercise intensity increased, EPOC also increased.

And although EPOC does not contribute very much to the total kcal burned, this study stated that the amount of additional kcal burned over a period of time, does make a difference.  So, working out at a higher intensity will cause your body to burn more calories after you are done working out.

Interval training

Interval training can burn a lot of calories in a shorter amount of time.   Interval training alternates bursts of high intensity activity with low to moderate activity.  For example, if you are on a walk, you can alternate the walking with intervals of jogging or running.

Doing this keeps your heart rate higher during the entire workout rather than if you were exercising at a stable intensity.  This results in a higher amount of calories burned, which will lead to greater weight loss.

An article that was published in Research in Sports Medicine looked at how efficient interval training was on cardiovascular fitness, fat mass and blood lipids in overweight and obese people.  It found that interval training did show a decline in android fat mass, indicating that interval training may be more effective than continuous exercise for promoting weight loss.

Incorporate strength training into your workout

You have probably heard that muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does.  Muscle burns about 7-10 calories per pound per day and fat burns about 2-3 calories per pound per day.

Although it isn’t a significant amount, it will add up over time.  By adding strength training to your workout, you will be able to build muscle, and end up burning more calories.

What is the recommendation?

Based on all of this information, in order to burn more fat when exercising, you should do a low to moderate intensity workout for a long duration.  But, working out at a higher intensity or intervals is going to result in more calories burned.  So, the recommendation would be:

Interval training as it will burn a lot more calories in a shorter amount of time and result in a higher after burn, meaning you will burn more calories after you are done working out.

Add strength training as part of your workout program in order to build muscle, which will also lead to a greater amount of calories burned.

You can also do circuit training, which alternates between strength training and aerobic exercise, which will keep your heart rate higher during the entire workout, and burn more calories.

Also, if you do compound movements, upper and lower body at the same time, it will also burn more calories as your heart rate will be higher since you are using more muscle groups.

Work out in the evening if possible as it has been shown to burn more fat.

References used in this article

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Kelly Forness
About the author

Kelly is a registered Dietetic Technician. She has a Master’s degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion and she is also a NASM certified personal trainer. You can connect with her on Google+

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