Updated: Jun 8, 2022
It may seem like a no-brainer that regular exercise can help you burn fat and lose weight. But it's not just about the calories you're burning. It's also about the adaptations your body makes when you exercise on a regular basis. Many of those adaptations lead directly to your ability to burn more fat without even trying.
Regular exercise will also help you manage your weight. The more activity you engage in, the more calories you'll burn, and the easier it is to create the calorie deficit needed to lose weight.
Become more efficient. Your body becomes more efficient at delivering and extracting oxygen. Simply put, this helps your cells burn fat more efficiently.
Have better circulation. This allows fatty acids to move more efficiently through the blood and into the muscle. That means fat is more readily available for fueling the body.
Increase the number and size of mitochondria.These are the cellular power plants that provide energy inside each cell of your body.
Tips for Consistent Exercise
If you want to become more consistent with your exercise regimen, use these tips to ensure you are regularly incorporating exercise into your life.
Change daily routines: Park at the edge of the parking lot at work to add more walking time, or add an extra lap at the mall when shopping. Integrating more activity into your usual routines will help you stay active, even if you don't have time for a structured workout.
Make exercise your focus: Schedule the rest of your day around it instead of trying to squeeze it in when you can. If it's not a priority, you won't do it.
Schedule exercise: Plan exercise time every day, even if it's just a few minutes.
Split up your workouts: You can get the same benefit from short workouts spread throughout the day as do with continuous workouts.
To keep it even simpler, just choose an accessible activity like walking and do it every day at the same time. It doesn't matter how long you walk, just that you show up at the same time. It's creating the habit that's always the hardest part.
Lift Weights to Burn Fat
Adding more muscle by lifting weights and doing other resistance exercises can also help with burning fat, especially if you're also dieting.6 While many people focus more on cardio for weight loss, there's no doubt that strength training is a key component in any weight loss routine. Here are some benefits of weight training.
If you lift weights at a higher intensity, you can actually increase your afterburn, or the calories you burn after your workout. That means that you burn calories during your workouts, but your body continues to burn calories even after your workout to allow your body to get back to its pre-existing state.
Keep Metabolism Going
A diet-only approach to weight loss could lower a person's resting metabolic rate by up to 20% a day. Lifting weights and maintaining muscle helps keep the metabolism up, even if you're cutting your calories.
Preserve Muscle Mass
If you diet to lose weight, you actually risk losing muscle as well as fat. Muscle is metabolically active, so when you lose it, you also lose the extra calorie-burn muscles can provide.
To start, choose a basic total body workout and do that about twice a week, with at least one day in between. As you get stronger, you can do more exercises, lift more weight, or add more days of strength training.
It may take a few weeks but you'll eventually see and feel a difference in your body. To burn more fat when strength training, here are some strategies that you can utilize.
Incorporate circuit training: Circuit training is a great way to burn more calories by combining high-intensity cardio along with strength training exercises. You keep your heart rate elevated by moving from one exercise to another with little or no rest while focusing on both cardio and strength in the same workout.
Lift heavy weights: If you're a beginner, you should work your way up to heavy weights over time. Once your body is ready for more, lifting heavy forces your body to adapt by building more lean muscle tissue to handle that extra load.
Use compound movements: Movements that involve more than one muscle group (e.g., squats, lunges, deadlifts, and triceps dips) help you lift more weight and burn more calories while training the body in a functional way.