In the TikTok era, it’s sometimes difficult to wade through the growing number of fitness fads you find online. Look up ‘fat burning exercises’ on your favourite search engine/social media black hole and you’ll find all manner of chiselled (ex-Made in Chelsea) individuals extolling the virtues of their latest discoveries. Some do the trick (the 12-3-30 Method, for instance, is a pretty effective low-impact fitness boost), but for every success story, there are a thousand discarded fitness gadgets. Sometimes, it’s best to stick to the basics.
There’s no objective, one-stop shop for the perfect body. Everyone has their own pace, shape and peak fitness. A rugby prop probably wouldn’t fare well in a marathon, but neither would Sir Mo Farah in the scrum. If you think you could do with shedding some extra flab, then we’re here to help you burn the fat – and keep it off.
The best way to burn fat
There are two main factors behind burning fat, and they both (unsurprisingly) concern calories. Slightly less obviously, a major component of this is happening while you’re doing absolutely nothing. The good news is that we burn calories even when we aren’t exercising, simply to stay alive and kicking. Even better, workouts with a big ‘afterburn’ effect – like those targeting your biggest muscle groups – can ramp this up.
“Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body burns simply to sustain life,” says Anthony Maritato, a physical therapist and personal trainer at choosept1st.com. “Your body requires energy to power your brain, pump your heart, and simply maintain normal resting posture. Several studies have shown that increasing muscle mass also increases BMR resulting in greater calorie burn over while you rest.” A 2012 study suggested that ten weeks of resistance training could increase lean weight by 1.4 kg, increase resting metabolic rate by seven per cent, and reduce fat weight by 1.8 kg. This means that “a person who gains 1.4 kg of lean body mass could burn an additional 150 to 300 calories per day at rest,” explains Maritato.
As is usually the case, ‘best’ and ‘quickest’ don’t go hand in hand. “The quickest way to burn belly fat is not also the most effective,” warns Rachel MacPherson, an ACE-certified trainer and nutrition coach at garagegymreviews.com. “If you want sustainable results, you need to pace yourself and take it slowly.”
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