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The best exercise for fat loss

by | Mar 29, 2021 | Fitness Tips

People are always looking for the best exercise and the best diet for them to lose fat. Different articles will each tell you that their form of training is the best. Here, we explore the ‘fat burning zone’, ‘HIIT’ training, and resistance training to highlight which one is the best for you.



‘Fat-burning zone’


This is an intensity that you could comfortably maintain for an hour upwards. Think: somewhere between a fast walk and a slow jog. An intensity which would allow you to hold a conversation albeit with a slight shortness of breath.


Benefits: The main fuel source being broken down for this intensity is fat.


Therefore, if your main focus is to burn unnecessary fat stores, then working here will ultimately achieve this. In addition, the levels of subsequent fatigue and muscle soreness at this intensity is reasonably low.


But consider: To effectively burn your fat stores at this intensity would take a huge amount of time as the calorie and fat burn per minute ratio is low.





High intensity interval training is a fast-paced mix of cardio and resistance work combining short maximal periods of effort followed by short rest intervals. It is a quick-fire style of training which challenges the heart and lungs and can leave you shattered but exhilarated at the end.


Benefits: Calorie burn within such a timeframe is fantastic. Therefore, if you are short on time, it’s a magnificent way to ensure that you are utilising the food you eat and not letting it convert into fat stores. This type of training will also be great for improving your fitness – by that I mean the efficiency of your heart and lungs to pump oxygenated blood to your muscles and the resilience of your muscles to withstand additional loading.


But consider: The main source of energy burned is carbohydrates rather than fat as the energy is needed immediately. This doesn’t mean you won’t be helping to reduce your fat stores, and this will be discussed in the diet explanation below. This type of training is also challenging to the muscles and may leave you more likely to experience delayed onset of muscles soreness (DOMS).



Resistance training


Resistance training can involve using anything to provide additional resistance to movement. This can be bodyweight being used, bands, dumbbells, barbells and machines.


Benefits: This can help you to build muscle and to develop a better shape and structure to your body. It will also increase your calorie burn both during the session (albeit less than HIIT and likely less than ‘fat-burning zone’) but will increase it post-session as your body needs to rebuild the muscles to be stronger during your rest time.


But consider: Effective resistance training can leave your body feeling sore and can increase the risk to injury. Performed at the correct intensity, it can transfer over to having a benefit for your heart and lungs but would usually need to be integrated into a mixed programme with specific cardio work to guarantee this.





The reality is that if time allows, the perfect combination for developing the body that you see on the front of magazines is a mix of all three. An effective resistance training programme interspersed with HIIT and active periods of lower intensity movement. At Dynamic Fitness Training, we try to make this as easy as possible by incorporating HIIT and resistance work into our sessions – but with an expectation that you are performing subsequent movement across the week to not detract from your sessional efforts.



A word about diet….


But the bottom line about all of these types of exercise – if you aren’t eating the correct things – none of it matters.


  • Fat burning zone: Main fuel used – Fats
  • HIIT: Main fuel used – Carbohydrates
  • Resistance training: Main fuel used – Carbohydrates and subsequently proteins.


But note, if you look at this and say, ‘I only want to burn fat therefore I should only exercise in the fat-burning zone’ you’re missing a bigger point.


It all depends on what you eat.


For instance, if you eat loads and loads of carbs, and never burn them, they’ll turn into fat! If you’re only exercising in the fat-burning zone you’ll then be losing this battle as whatever you are burning is not winning the battle with what you are eating. However, if you did HIIT, fewer calories would be converted from carbs to fats as you are using them up in your workouts.


On top of that, resistance training allows you to be burning more calories as you sleep! If that is the case, when you wake up and consume your oats or cereal, your carb stores allow for that food to be absorbed into the muscles. If you’re waking up and your carb stores were already full, your oats will ultimately be converted into fat.


Sound confusing? It is a bit!So, stick with these principles, and I guarantee that you’ll notice enormous changes in your body:


  • Perform resistance and HIIT style training – ideally at least 3 times per week
  • Undertake lower intensity movements including walking, cycling, jogging etc. This could be as simple as getting 10k steps in every day
  • Create a calorie deficit each day of approx. 200-500 calories.
  • Ensure you are consuming a mix of proteins and fats with carbs making up the remainder of your calories
  • Aim to drink 3L of water per day




Personal trainer, and fitness writer, editor and author. Darren is the founder of Dynamic Fitness Training, a personal training company based in north London.