Exercising for fat loss, or general weight loss, is one of the most popular health and fitness goals out there. It not only reduces the percentage of your body fat and aids weight loss, but it also helps build and increase muscle tone most of the time as a byproduct!

Reducing the amount of body fat you have can make you look leaner, more defined and a few pounds lighter if that's what you're looking for. Doing it however, isn't that black and white. After all, exercise and dieting are crucial and work in tandem.

(A quick side note: Avoid fad diets or the latest celebrity craze. These types of diets can harm your body in the long-term and are unsustainable in the long term. A healthy balanced diet and regular exercise will have greater benefits. Always.)

Typically, extra weight tends to gather around your thighs and stomach area. These are the more common areas in the human body where fat is stored. That's completely natural. Remember, your body stores fat for survival, but it’s how we maintain and manage unwanted and additional fat that’s important here.

Although exercising is an obvious way to do this, nutrition is also a key factor in achieving these goals. It's also vital to preventing unwanted fat from returning at a later date. This is mostly done by monitoring the intake of calories in your daily diet and your daily requirements.

fruits and vegetables

Fat Burning Exercises

Back to the matter at hand: effective ways to exercise for fat loss. There is a tonne of different ways you can do it. Here are some of the tried and tested most effective (with examples)

HIIT Training

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is an awesome way to burn calories in a short time. The downside? It takes a LOT of effort. They're seriously hard workouts, but even more rewarding. they burn a lot of calories both in and out of the workout through built muscle mass too.

You can use pretty much any cardio machine, as well as resistance bands, boxing or even weights or bodyweight! This would involve having around 8 different exercises, with 6-8 repetitions of each as a high pace for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds rest. Each set will last for 3-4 minutes. Here is an example routine;

Exercise Duration
Jumping Jacks 20 seconds
10 seconds rest
Jumping Jacks 20 seconds
10 seconds rest
Jumping Jacks 20 seconds
10 seconds rest
Jumping Jacks 20 seconds
10 seconds rest
Jumping Jacks 20 seconds
10 seconds rest
Jumping Jacks 20 seconds
10 seconds rest
Jumping Jacks 20 seconds
10 seconds rest
Jumping Jacks 20 seconds
10 seconds rest
Move on to the next exercise and follow the same format.

Other exercises that can be included in your bodyweight HIIT workout are:

  • Burpees
  • Jumping Squats
  • Push-Ups
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Skipping (with skipping rope)
  • Jumping Lunges

Don’t forget to warm-up for a few minutes before and cool-down after. Your warm-up could include a 3-minute run or jog on the. Stretch for your cool-down period.


Cardio is another great way to exercise for fat loss and doesn’t necessarily require exercise machines. Running, cycling, swimming and tennis, for example, are effective for fat loss and burning calories. They increase your heart rate, speed up your metabolism, and burn fat.

If you’re not confident exercising outside or there’s been some time since your last run, start slow and build up your pace. Once you feel confident, take it to the next level and introduce interval training into the workout. Similar to HIIT exercises, you’ll run (for example) at a high pace for 60 seconds and rest for 60 seconds or jog, before repeating. Aim to complete this workout over a 20 minute period.


Aside from these HIIT exercises, it can also be efficient to replace the intensity of a workout with a prolonged period of time. That's where LISS comes in to create an elevated heart rate for a longer duration. That's actually one of the best ways to exercise for fat loss per calorie burned. That takes a lot of pressure away from the difficulties that HIIT can produce.

The average maximum heart rate among humans is around 220, gradually lowering with age and other factors. The ideal rate for fat loss is around 55%-70% of this, meaning that if you are able to perform cardio to an extent that results in this rate for a prolonged period of time, you may well be burning fat as efficiently as possible.

(Incline walking is a great example of this)

Fat Loss Circuit Training

person measuring their hips with measuring tape

Similar to HIIT training but less intense, circuit workouts are also recommended for fat loss exercises. You can complete similar exercises to the ones mentioned earlier for HIIT training, but perform each exercise for slightly longer before moving onto the next one.

Circuit training provides you with a full-body workout. It helps build and tone muscle, whilst offering the benefits of a cardio workout. Plus, a circuit workout boosts your metabolism and increases fat burning.

A circuit workout should last around 20-30 minutes and have between 10-15 different exercise stations. Complete each exercise for 1 minute, move onto the next station until you have completed the circuit workout. Rest and repeat the full circuit.

Here's a circuit workout example you can do at home.

Circuit Exercise Time
Squats (with or without weights) 60 secs
Russian Twist (with or without weights) 60 secs
Push-Ups 60 secs
Mountain Climbers 60 secs
Burpees 60 secs
Crunches 60 secs
Leg Raises 60 secs
Reverse Crunches 60 secs
Jumping Jacks 60 secs
Step-Ups (aerobic box, fast paced) 60 secs
Triceps Dips 60 secs
Plank 30-60 secs
Skipping 60 secs
High Knees (running on the spot) 60 secs
Bicep Curls 60 secs
2-minute rest, repeat the circuit.

Don’t forget to warm-up and cool-down.

As with any fitness goal, you must be committed and dedicate time. Do your best to create a realistic exercise plan that works around your lifestyle so you’re not compromising or turning your workout into a chore.

Fat loss exercises require stamina and endurance so don’t give up and make sure you have a bottle of water at hand. You will feel and see the benefits in no time.

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Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.