Exercise for Fat Loss

Learn how much exercise you'll need for fat loss, and which types of exercise.


High intensity cardio will allow you to burn calories both during the activity and for the next 24 hours.
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Weightlifting is an essential part of your exercise routine as it helps you keep your muscle.
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I recommend 2 sessions of high intensity cardio per week, 20-30 minutes per session. These can be done after weightlifting provided weightlifting and cardio together are no longer than 90 minutes. High intensity cardio is especially beneficial as it increases your basal metabolic rate (calories burned at rest) for the 24 hours after you do it.

Examples of high intensity cardio are:

  • Race walking, jogging, or running
  • Plyometric cardio
  • Couch to 5k
  • Swimming laps
  • Tennis (singles)
  • Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster
  • Jumping rope
  • Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing)
  • Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack
  • Cardio Kickboxing or Zumba

Additionally, I recommend 1-2 hours per week of low to moderate intensity cardio to increase caloric expenditure. This can be split up into sessions as short as 20 minutes. Some non-machine based options are walking, hiking, swimming, and jogging.

Examples of low intensity cardio are:

  • Walking briskly (3 miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking)
  • Bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour
  • Tennis (doubles)
  • Ballroom dancing
  • General gardening
  • Low impact aerobics

If you have children, incorporate them into your physical fitness pursuits. Go for a run, ride bikes, play frisbee, etc. Increase your daily activity level by doing simple things like parking at the far end of the parking lot, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.


Weightlifting is an essential part of any fat loss program as it will help you retain the muscle you currently have.

While many weightlifting programs are as useful for fat loss or muscle gain, there are some features that make a program more suitable for fat loss. You want to have a program that allows you time to recover between workouts despite your caloric deficit (although, if you are new to lifting, you might have to work out through some soreness in the beginning). This means either a low frequency or a low volume routine.

A sample routine suitable for the beginning weightlifter looking to lose fat is: Upper/Lower Dumbbell Workout

Otherwise, if you are beyond beginner stages, you may continue with your current routine, or find a new workout routine.