Best Ways to Burn Fat Fast

Burn fat fast

Distinguish the facts from the broscience with this backed-up and road-tested advice

First, it’s incredibly important to distinguish between eating to maintain your body weight and eating to lose fat.

If you’re fuelling healthy weight maintenance, the NHS recommends eating about 2,000 calories a day, with a proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. However, if you’re looking to lose fat, you’ll need to maintain a calorie deficit. In other words, use more energy than you consume.

If your goal is to lose fat, you might feel a little overwhelmed by the numerous diet plans circulating the Internet. The are various workouts for fat loss promoted online, plus a deluge of contrasting advice on which protein powders to use and when.

Don’t worry, and you’re not alone, so don’t panic.

According to a survey of more than 2,000 UK adults, 57 percent of women say they have attempted to lose fat in the last year. The word ‘attempted’ being the optimum word. But with contrasting fat loss tips and unrealistic and sometimes extreme strategies, it’s easy to see why so many struggle.

While every body is different, and it is vital to work out what works for you and your body, there are some universal and straightforward tips the experts all agree on. 

Turning Your Body Into a Fat-Burning Machine

If you believe the extra calories you eat, go straight to your midsection or thighs, you’re probably right. Those are the primary areas where your body stores fat because of your hormones, age, lifestyle, genes and other factors. 

Your body tends to store calories as fat to keep you safe and alive. The difficulty lies in learning how to get rid of that extra fat.

You hear many fat-burning tricks such as working out in the fat-burning zone, spot reduction, and foods or supplements that help burn more fat. But you’re better off learning how to burn fat through a variety of types of exercise.

Fat Burning Basics

If your goal is to lose weight, knowing how your body uses calories for fuel can make a difference in approaching your weight loss program. Your energy comes from carbohydrates, protein and fat.

The one your body uses depends on the type of activity you’re performing.

Most people would love to use fat for energy. That’s because the thought is the more fat you can utilize as fuel, the lower your body fat will be. But, utilizing more fat doesn’t necessarily lead to losing more fat. Learning the best way to burn fat starts with some basic facts about how your body gets its energy (1).

The body mainly uses fat and carbohydrates for fuel. A tiny amount of protein is used during exercise, but it’s primarily used to repair the muscles after a workout. The ratio of these fuels will shift depending on the type of activity you’re performing.

For higher-intensity activities, such as sprinting, the body will rely more on carbs than fat for fuel. That’s because the metabolic paths available to break down carbs for energy are more efficient than the paths available to breakdown fat. For lower intensity activities, fat is used more for energy than carbs.

In regards to weight loss, the type of fuel you use doesn’t matter what. What matters is the number of calories you burn as opposed to the number of calories you take in.

This is a basic look at energy with a solid take-home message. What matters is burning more calories, not whether you’re using more fat for energy when it comes to weight loss. The more work you do, the more calories you’ll burn overall.

Look at it this way—when you sleep or sit, you’re in your prime fat-burning mode. I bet you never thought that sleeping more contributes to weight loss. The bottom line is that using more fat as energy doesn’t mean you’re burning more calories. 

The Fat Burning Zone Myth

Exercising at lower intensities will utilize more fat for energy (2).

This basic premise started the theory of the fat-burning zone, which is the idea that working within a heart rate zone (around 55 to 65% of your maximum heart rate) will result in your body burning more fat.

Over the years, this theory has become such a part of our exercise experience that we see it talked about in books, websites, charts, magazines, and on cardio machines at the gym. The problem is that it’s misleading.

That doesn’t mean Working at lower intensities is a bad thing. However, it will not result in more fat being burned off your body unless you’re burning more calories than eating. One way to increase the burning of calories is to exercise at higher intensities.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should avoid low-intensity exercise if you want to burn more fat. You can do some specific things to burn more fat, and it all starts with how and how much you exercise.

The 14 Best Ways to Burn Fat Fast

If your goal is to improve your health or simply slim down for summer, burning off body fat can be quite challenging.

In addition to diet and exercise, other factors can influence fat and weight loss.

Fortunately, there are numerous simple steps you can take to increase fat burning fast and efficiently.

Here are 14 ways to burn fat fast and promote weight loss.

1. Start Strength Training

Strength training is the kind of exercise that requires you to contract your muscles against resistance. It builds muscle and increases strength.

Strength training primarily involves lifting weights to increase muscle mass over time.

Studies have found strength training to have numerous health benefits, especially when it comes to burning fat.

In one study, strength training lowered visceral fat in 78 people that had metabolic syndrome. Visceral fat is a type of fat that’s dangerous and surrounds the organs in the belly (1).

An additional study revealed that 12 weeks of strength training combined with aerobic exercise lowered body fat and belly fat more than aerobic exercise alone (2).

Resistance training helps preserve fat-free mass, increasing the number of calories your body burns at rest (3).

According to one review, ten weeks of resistance training increases calories burned at rest by 7% and can lower fat weight by 4 pounds (1.8 kg) (4).

Performing bodyweight exercises or lifting weights are easy ways to start strength training.

SUMMARY:

Strength training has been shown to elevate resting energy expenditure and lower belly fat, especially when paired with aerobic exercise.

2. Eat a High-Protein Diet

Eating more protein-rich foods in your diet effectively reduces your appetite and burns more fat.

Numerous studies have found that eating more high-quality protein has been associated with a reduced risk of belly fat (56).

One study also revealed that a high-protein diet helps preserve muscle and metabolism during weight loss (7).

Increasing your protein intake can increase feelings of fullness, decrease appetite and lower calorie intake to help in weight loss (89).

Incorporate a few servings of high-protein foods into your diet each day to help elevate fat burning.

Examples of protein-rich foods include meat, eggs, seafood, legumes and dairy products.

SUMMARY:

Eating more protein is associated with a reduced risk of belly fat. Upping your protein intake decreases appetite, reduces calorie intake and preserves muscle mass.

3. Get More Sleep

Getting to bed a little earlier or setting your alarm clock a bit later may boost fat burning and prevent weight gain.

Numerous studies have found an association between getting the right amount of sleep and weight loss.

A study of 68,183 women revealed that those who slept five or fewer hours per night over 16 years were more likely to gain weight than those who got more sleep than seven hours per night (10).

Another study showed that improving your sleep quality, and getting at least seven hours of sleep per night increased the chance of successful weight loss by 33% in 245 women. These women were enrolled in a six-month weight loss program (11).

Additional research shows that a lack of sleep may alter hunger hormones, increase appetite and risk of obesity (12).

Although everyone requires a different amount of sleep, most studies have found that getting at least seven hours of sleep is associated with the most benefits of body weight.

Maintain a regular sleep schedule, limit your caffeine intake, and limit your use of electronic devices before bed to support a healthy sleep cycle.

SUMMARY:

Getting enough sleep is associated with decreased appetite and hunger and a reduced risk of weight gain.

4. Include Vinegar in Your Diet

Vinegar has health-promoting properties.

In addition to its beneficial effects on heart health and blood sugar control, increasing your intake of vinegar can bump up fat burning, according to research (13).

One study found that taking 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) of vinegar daily lowered people’s body weight, belly fat and waist circumference over 12 weeks (14).

Consuming vinegar may enhance feelings of fullness and reduce appetite (15).

One small study of 11 people showed that including vinegar in their diet lowered daily calorie consumption by up to 275 calories (16).

It’s not that difficult to add vinegar to your diet. For example, lots of people dilute apple cider vinegar with water and drink it a couple of times per day with meals.

But, if drinking vinegar straight isn’t all that appealing, you can also use it to make dressings, marinades and sauces.

SUMMARY:

Vinegar can increase feelings of fullness, reduce calorie intake and lower body fat.

5. Consume Healthier Beverages

Trading sugar-sweetened beverages for a healthier selection is an easy way to increase fat burning.

For example, sugar-sweetened drinks like soda and juice are loaded with calories with little nutritional value.

Alcohol is also high in calories and makes you more likely to overeat (22).

Researchers have found that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages and alcohol is associated with an increased risk of belly fat (2324).

Reducing your intake of these beverages may help lower your calorie consumption and keep your waistline in check.

Instead, choose calorie-free beverages like water or green tea.

In a small, 12-week study, drinking 17 ounces (500 ml) of water before meals increased weight loss by 4.4 pounds (2 kg), compared to a control group (25).

Green tea is another excellent choice. It contains caffeine and is rich in antioxidants, which increases fat burning and enhances metabolism (2627).

For example, one study with 12 adults showed that green tea extract elevated fat burning by 12% compared to a placebo (28).

Swapping even just one or two servings of high-calorie beverages for a glass of water or a cup of green tea is a simple way to promote fat burning.

SUMMARY:

Sugar-sweetened drinks and alcoholic beverages may be associated with an increased risk of belly fat. Water and Green tea have been shown to increase weight loss and fat burning.

6. Fill up on fibre

Soluble fibre absorbs water and slowly moves through the digestive tract, helping you feel fuller for longer (29).

According to some studies, increasing your high-fibre foods intake may protect against weight gain and fat accumulation.

A study of 1,114 adults found that for each 10-gram increase in soluble fibre intake per day, participants lost 3.7% of their belly fat.  

This loss of belly fat was over five years, even without any other changes in diet or exercise (30).

Another review also found that increasing fibre intake promoted feelings of fullness and decreased hunger. An increase of 14 grams of fibre per day was associated 10% reduction in calorie intake. 

It was also linked to nearly 4.4 pounds (2 kg) of weight loss over four months (31).

Fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds are a few examples of high-fibre foods that can boost fat burning and weight loss.

SUMMARY:

Higher intake of fibre may be associated with fat loss, decreased calorie intake and more significant weight loss.

7. Limit Refined Carbs

Lowering your consumption of refined carbohydrates can help you lose extra fat.

During processing, refined grains are stripped of their fibre, resulting in a final product that’s low in nutrients.

Refined carbs usually have a higher glycemic index, causing elevations and crashes in blood sugar levels, which results in increased hunger (32).

Studies have revealed that a diet high in refined carbs is associated with more belly fat (3334).

Conversely, a diet high in whole grains has been associated with a reduced body mass index and body weight and a smaller waist circumference (35).

One study in 2,834 people also revealed that those with higher intakes of refined grains had higher disease-promoting belly fat. In contrast, those who consumed more whole grains had a lower amount (36).

For the best results, lower your intake of refined carbs from pastries, processed foods, pasta, white bread and breakfast cereals. Swap them with whole grains such as whole wheat, quinoa, buckwheat, barley and oats.

SUMMARY:

Refined carbs are low in fibre and nutrients. They can increase hunger and cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. Consuming refined carbs is also associated with increased belly fat.

8. Do More Your Cardio

Cardio, also known as aerobic exercise, is a common form of exercise and is defined as any exercise that explicitly trains the heart and lungs.

Including cardio into your routine may be an effective way to enhance fat burning.

For instance, one review of 16 studies found that the more aerobic exercise people performed, the more belly fat they lost (37).

Additional studies have found that aerobic exercise increases muscle mass and lowers belly fat, waist circumference and body fat (383940).

Most research suggests between 150–300 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise weekly, or about 20–40 minutes of cardio every day (41).

Running, walking, cycling, and swimming are examples of cardio exercises that can help burn fat and boost weight loss.

SUMMARY:

Research shows that the more aerobic exercise people perform, the more belly fat they lose. Cardio can help lower waist circumference, reduce body fat and increase muscle mass.

9. Drink Coffee

Caffeine is a primary ingredient in most fat-burning supplements.

The caffeine found in coffee acts as a central nervous system stimulant that boosts metabolism and elevates fatty acid breakdown (42).

Studies show that caffeine intake temporarily increases energy expenditure and elevates metabolism by 3–11% (4344).

A large study with over 58,000 people found that increased caffeine intake was associated with less weight gain over 12 years (45).

Another study found that a greater caffeine intake was linked to a higher success rate with weight loss maintenance among 2,623 people (46).

To get the most out of the health benefits of coffee, avoid the cream and sugar. Better yet, enjoy it black or with very little milk to prevent extra calories.

SUMMARY:

Coffee contains caffeine, which increases the breakdown of fat and raises metabolism. Research shows that higher caffeine intake may be associated with more significant weight loss.

10. Try High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of exercise that pairs fast bursts of activity with short rest periods to keep your heart rate raised.

Research shows that HIIT is incredibly effective at elevating fat burning and promoting weight loss.

Researchers found that young men performing HIIT for 20 minutes three times a week lost an average of 4.4 pounds (2 kg) of body fat over 12 weeks. Their body fat dropped even though there no changes to their diet or lifestyle.

Men also experienced a 17% reduction in belly fat and decreased waist circumference (47).

HIIT can help you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time than other types of cardio.

According to one study, doing HIIT helped people burn up to 30% more calories than other types of exercise, such as jogging or cycling, in the same amount of time (48).

An easy way to get started with HIIT is alternating between jogging or sprinting and walking for 30 seconds each.

 Cycling between exercises like burpees, push-ups or squats with a short rest period in between is another option.

SUMMARY:

HIIT increases fat burning and burns more calories in a shorter amount of time than other exercise forms.

11. Take Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria found in your digestive tract that has been shown to improve many health aspects.

The bacteria in your gut play a role in everything from immunity to mental health (49).

Increasing your consumption of probiotics through food or supplements can help elevate fat burning and keep your weight under control.

One review of 15 studies revealed that people who took probiotics experienced more significant reductions in body weight, fat percentage and body mass index than those who took a placebo (50).

Another tiny study showed that consuming probiotic supplements aided people in following a high-fat, high-calorie diet prevent weight and fat gain (51).

A probiotics strain in the genus Lactobacillus may be effective at helping weight and fat loss.

One study of 28 people revealed that eating yogurt containing Lactobacillus fermentum or Lactobacillus amylovorus bacteria lowered body fat by 3–4% (52).

Consuming supplements is a fast and straightforward way to get a concentrated dose of probiotics daily.

Alternatively, you can add some probiotic-rich foods to your diet, such as kefir, tempeh, natto, kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut.

SUMMARY:

Taking probiotic supplements or increasing your probiotics intake through food sources may reduce body weight and fat percentage.

12. Increase Your Iron Intake

Iron is an essential mineral that has numerous vital functions in the body.

As with other nutrients such as iodine, an iron deficiency can impact the health of your thyroid gland. This tiny gland in your neck secretes hormones that control your metabolism (53).

Numerous studies have found that low levels of iron in the body may be associated with impaired thyroid function and disruption in thyroid hormones (545556).

Common hypothyroidism symptoms, or lowered thyroid function, include weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and weight gain (57).

Similarly, an iron deficiency may cause headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath (58).

Treating iron deficiency may allow your metabolism to work more efficiently. It can fight off fatigue to help increase your activity level.

Researchers found that when 21 women were treated for iron deficiency, the reductions were experienced in body weight, waist circumference and body mass index (59).

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t get the right amount of iron in their diets.

Women, infants, children, vegans and vegetarians are at a higher risk of iron deficiency.

Be sure to add lots of iron-rich foods to your diet to aid you in meeting your iron requirements and maintaining your metabolism and energy levels.

Iron is found in meat, poultry, seafood, fortified grains and cereals, leafy green vegetables, dried fruits and beans.

SUMMARY:

Iron deficiency may be associated with impaired thyroid function. It may cause symptoms like fatigue and shortness of breath. Researchers found that treating iron deficiency helped in weight loss.

13. Try Intermittent Fasting 

Intermittent fasting is a diet pattern that cycles between periods of eating and fasting.

One study showed that intermittent fasting could help enhance both weight loss and fat loss.

One review analyzed the effects of intermittent fasting, including alternate-day fasting. This method involves alternating between days of fasting and eating normally.

They found that alternate-day fasting over 3–12 weeks lowered body weight by up to 7% and reduced body fat by up to 12 pounds (5.5 kg) (60).

Another small study showed that eating in an eight-hour window helped reduce body fat and maintain muscle when combined with resistance training (61).

There are several types of intermittent fasting. For example, eating only on certain days of the week or restricting eating is too specific hours of the day.

The most famous types of intermittent fasting include Eat Stop Eat, the Warrior Diet, the 5:2 diet and the 16/8 method.

Find a protocol that fits in with your lifestyle and schedule by experimenting to find what works best for you.

SUMMARY:

Intermittent fasting has been shown to lower body weight and body fat. It may help preserve muscle mass when combined with resistance training.

14. Track What You Eat and Your Workouts 

Keep a workout and food diary and track how you train and what you eat so you can see how well you’re doing.

One study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine showed that food journals could double a dieter’s fat loss efforts.

However, new research suggests that keeping track of what you eat might be the most significant part of any diet. 

Write it If you bite.

A study published in the journal Obesity took a look at how 142 people self-monitored their diets through an online behavioural weight control program over 6 months.

Over 24 weeks, they participated in a weekly online group session led by a dietitian. The participants logged their daily food intake in the program.

The study participants with the most success ended up losing 10 percent of their body weight. The participants were spending an average of 23.2 minutes daily on self-monitoring in the study period for the first month.

By the end of the study at the 6-month mark, that average time had dropped down to 14.6 minutes.

Taking the time and thinking about what you’re going to eat and why you intend to eat it means you’re not acting on impulse, but controlled thought and positive intentions.

The bottom line

One new study in the journal Obesity suggests that self-monitoring what you eat is the most effective way to lose weight.

Participants who lost the most weight in the 6-month study spent under 15 minutes a day recording what they drank and ate.

Researchers recommend self-monitoring in your day-to-day routine will help you hit your weight loss goals.

15. Keep stress levels down

Before you scroll past, this one’s important. When was the last time you grabbed a cake or sugar-full snack to counter your rising cortisol levels or dug into a tub of Ben & Jerry’s because you were feeling a little low?

Stress and emotional eating are relatively common and nothing to worry about if you’re maintaining your weight. However, if you’re looking to lose fat, it’s worth identifying and pin-pointing your triggers.

High levels of cortisol, aka the stress hormone, causes higher levels of insulin in the body. Which, in turn, makes you crave sugary and fatty foods, making it more challenging to lose fat.

You were warned.

You may not realize it at first, but stress can affect your body.

For example, it causes tight muscles and headaches to feeling irritated, overwhelmed, and out of control. Stress affects your physical, mental, and emotional health.

In some cases, you’ll feel the effects of stress immediately. But there are other ways your body responds to stress, such as weight gain, that can take time for you to notice.

 your body responds to stress by increasing cortisol levels, which gets the body ready to “fight or flee.”

Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands; it is increased in response to a threat. When you no longer feel threatened, cortisol levels return to normal.

But if you’re always stressed, you can experience overexposure to cortisol, which is a problem because cortisol is also an appetite stimulant.

Cortisol may be the reason so many people respond to stress by going for comfort food.

And to make matters worse, excess calories consumed in the setting of high cortisol appear to be deposited around the midsection.

What’s more, a 2015 study  showed that under stress, our bodies metabolize slower. 

The study found that the women who reported one or multiple stressors during the previous 24 hours burned 104 fewer calories than non-stressed women.

Researchers interviewed the women about stressful events before giving them a high-fat meal to eat to arrive at this figure. After the meal was finishing, the women wore masks that measured their metabolism.

Not only did it show a slow down in their metabolism, but the results also demonstrated that there were higher levels of insulin in the stressed women.

The researchers concluded that the 104 fewer calories burned could add almost 11 pounds per year.

The takeaway

Chronic stress may lead to weight gain. The good news is there are easy and effective ways to lower daily stressors, and consequently, manage your weight.

By exercising regularly, making healthy food choices, mindfulness meditation, and minimizing your to-do list, you can begin to reduce stress and manage weight.

16. Hit your step count

You read that right—yes, walking can be one of the easiest ways to lose fat.

Walking more often to get more exercise can help you burn more calories and reduce these risks (9).

Walking a mile (1.6 km) burns about 100 calories, depending on your sex and weight (10).

 Various studies have found that enhancing your daily non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) or the number of calories you burn without actually working out—can be vital to dropping fat the easy way.

Aim for between 10,000 and 12,000 steps a day.

SUMMARY: 

Walking burns calories, which can help you lose weight and keep it off. Walking only one mile burns about 100 calories.

The Bottom Line

There are tons of options available to aid you in shedding excess fat and improving your health.

Adding some healthy habits into your routine and improving your diet can make a big difference. Even tiny changes to your lifestyle can have powerful effects on fat burning.

Be sure to combine these simple tips with a nutritious, well-rounded diet and active lifestyle to boost fat breakdown and simultaneously improve your overall health.

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