Guest post by Evolve MMA, Asia’s premier championship brand for martial arts. It has the most number of World Champions on the planet. Named as the #1 ranked martial arts organization in Asia by CNN, Yahoo! Sports, FOX Sports, Evolve MMA is the top rated BJJ gym in Singapore.
Even if you attend multiple fitness classes weekly, getting rid of the excess fat on your body can be quite the challenge when you don’t know the most effective ways to go about it.
Losing weight and burning fat is a lot easier than most people think it is. Your body is a machine, and understanding how it works gets you closer to your fitness goals. Your body runs off chemical energy, which comes from the foods and beverages you consume. These foods are converted into glycogen that supplies cells with energy.
When you consume more food than your body needs daily, the excess calories are stored in the form of fat. Fat tissues serve as energy reserves your body can tap into on days you do not consume enough calories. This leads to a straightforward formula for weight loss and fat burn: you need to consume fewer calories than your body needs daily, forcing it to tap into the energy stored in your fat, melting them away.
There are two effective ways to ensure your body gets fewer calories than it needs daily consistently. These are:
- Dieting: An appropriate diet ensures your body ends up with a caloric deficit consistently. A low-carbohydrate diet is often recommended to those looking to lose weight since most of the calories we consume come from the starches and sugars in carbohydrates. Some people prefer to do intermittent fasting instead to limit their calorie consumption. There are countless dieting styles available, so find one that works for you.
- Exercise: Exercise also plays a significant role when it comes to getting rid of excess fat. Low-intensity aerobic exercises help to burn fat directly, and any form of exercise uses up calories. Exercising regularly allows you to be less restrictive with your diet since it gives you more room to meet a caloric deficit. For example, let’s say you need to consume no more than 2000 calories daily to meet a caloric deficit; burning off 600 calories when working out allows you to eat more since you can now consume up to 2,600 calories and still meet a deficit. Also, exercising can raise your metabolism, so your body continues to burn more calories even after you leave the gym.
Combining dieting and exercising typically leads to the best results when weight loss and fat burn are the goals.
Effective fat-burning exercises
Now that we’ve gone over what your body needs to get rid of excess fat deposits, let’s look at some fat-burning exercises that help you reach your fitness goals:
Learning martial art is a fun experience, and styles like Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, and Boxing give you an intense full-body workout. A single hour spent training any of these martial arts can burn up to 1,000 calories. That’s almost two meals you get to burn in an hour.
It isn’t uncommon for advanced students to spend up to two hours training at a time, burning up to 2,000 calories. Burning so many calories when exercising makes it virtually impossible not to meet a caloric deficit.
Many people who start training martial arts like BJJ become a lot leaner than they were when they started training without even making any modifications to their diets.
As a bonus, martial arts training is more fun than most conventional workouts. Most martial arts have countless techniques, so you always have something new to look forward to every time you go and train.
2) High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
HIIT classes give you a comparable caloric burn to activities like training Muay Thai or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It is a form of circuit training that involves exercise stations you go all out on. Once you’re done with one station, you move on to the next with little or no rest. You finally get to rest when you’ve completed all the stations.
Instructors typically show you how to perform the exercises on each station before you start working on the circuits, so you don’t have to worry about not being familiar with some of the exercises. You can create a HIIT circuit you can complete at home or sign up for group classes. Each station should work a different muscle from the next, so you get some active rest as you power through the stations.
Swimming is a low-impact activity that helps with fat loss. An hour spent swimming at a vigorous pace can burn up to 700 calories. That’s one full meal used up within an hour.
Running is another simple activity that will get you closer to your weight loss goals. You can burn up to 600 calories per hour when running at a pace of 9.5 kilometers per hour. Running puts stress on your knees, shins, and ankles, so make sure you wear appropriate running shoes and avoid running on hard surfaces like concrete if possible.
5) Battling ropes
Here’s a fun and intense fat-burning exercise you might have seen one of your favorite mixed martial arts fighters performing on a pre-fight video. It gives your core, shoulders, and arms an excellent workout while elevating your heart rate. It also happens to be an effective way to build ripped, muscular arms.
Here’s how to perform the exercise:
- Keep your body in a low position throughout the exercise.
- Grab the battling ropes and make even waves using only your arms.
- Aim to move the ropes simultaneously while using one arm for each rope.
- For starters, perform the exercise for 15 seconds and rest for 45 seconds for 5 to 10 sets.
6) Bicycle sprints
Bicycle sprints are a low-impact exercise that gets you excellent fat burn when you train intensely. It allows you to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. You should consider adding this exercise to your routine if you have issues with your knees, shoulders, or back.
Warm up on an exercise bike for about five minutes before starting bike sprints. Make sure the bike is set correctly for your height, and ride the pedals as fast as you can for 15 seconds. Take a 45-second break and repeat the process. Aim for five to ten rounds.
7) Running sprints
Running sprints are another effective way to burn lots of calories in a short amount of time. The exercise helps to build muscles in your lower body, making them stronger and more explosive. It provides more fat burn than distance running, and it raises your metabolism, so your body continues to burn fat at a higher rate long after you’re done with your sprints.
Sprinting also helps to preserve bone density, boosts growth hormone levels, and increases protein synthesis.
Start with 15-second sprints and 45-second rest periods and build from there. Aim to get five to ten sets of sprints when you work out.
Burpees are one of the most used fat-burning exercises around. They have been around for a while and are part of many professional training programs. If you’ve ever played competitive sports or trained martial arts, you’re probably done your fair share of burpees.
The one drawback of this exercise is you need to have decent mobility to perform it. If you’re struggling with getting into the push-up position to start the exercise, use a bench to shorten the range. Here’s what the exercise looks like:
- Start in a standing position with your feet about hip-width apart.
- Bend at the waist and place your hands on the floor as you get into a plank position.
- Once your hands are holding your weight, kick your legs back into the push-up position.
- Perform a push-up, and bring your legs back under your hips.
- Stand up and jump up as high as you can to complete a rep.
- Perform as many burpees as you can and rest for about a minute. Go for five to ten sets.
9) Rowing machine
Rowing machines provide you with a full-body workout that also burns a ton of calories. To perform the exercise:
- Start a seated position on the rower with your arms extended and your knees bent.
- Start the exercise by pushing through with your feet and driving your body back with your arms.
- Your arms should be pulled into your chest and your legs straight when fully extended. Try to do it with one smooth motion.
- Return to the starting position by bending your knees and extending your arms.
- Perform as many reps as you can in a minute and rest for the same amount of time. Aim for five to ten sets.
10) Sit outs
This drill is quite popular with martial artists, particularly grapplers. It burns lots of calories, and it helps to improve your mobility. Here’s what the exercise looks like:
- Start in a bear crawl position with your knees bent under your hips and your hands placed underneath your shoulders.
- Using your right hand to hold your weight, rotate your right leg underneath your body. Straighten it and drop your backside on the canvas. Your right toe should be pointing at the ceiling while your right leg is straight underneath your navel.
- Return to the starting position and perform the same motion with your left side to complete a rep.
- Crank out as many reps as you can to complete a set and rest for twice as long. Aim for four to eight sets.
11) Sandbag squat and clean
This exercise helps to improve your overall fitness, coordination, balance, and strength. It also allows you to burn significant calories in a short amount of time. Here’s what the exercise looks like:
- Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your toes should be slightly pointing outward.
- Place a sandbag in front of your feet and grab its handles.
- Bend at the knees and drive upwards, keeping your chest tall. Push through with your feet as you bring the sandbag to your shoulders.
- At the top, place the sandbag on your shoulders and perform a squat. Return to the starting position to complete a rep.
- Go as hard as you can for 20 seconds, then rest for 40. Try to get four to eight sets.
12) Kettlebell wide squats
Here’s a great way to strengthen muscles in your legs like your quads, glutes, and hamstrings while burning loads of calories. You don’t need to have a kettlebell to perform the exercise; your bodyweight works just fine, especially if you’re just starting out.
Here’s how you perform this exercise:
- Start standing tall with your feet together and your legs straight.
- While keeping your arms straight, pick up a kettlebell placed in front of you with an overhand grip.
- Widen your stance and drop into a low squat.
- Tap the kettlebell on the ground and return to the starting position.
- Perform as many reps as you can in 30 seconds and rest for about the same amount of time. Aim for four to eight sets.
13) Weight training
You should seriously consider weight training if your fitness goal is to lose weight and burn fat. Weight lifting doesn’t burn that many calories on its own, but it leads to increase calorie burn over the course of the day and long-term. An hour spent lifting weights burns about 250 calories.
However, weight training sculpts your body and promotes muscle growth. Adding more muscle to your frame raises your resting metabolic rate, which leads to greater calorie burn when rested.
Studies show that lifting weights for as little as 11 minutes three times a week can increase your metabolic rate by up to 7.4 percent. That’s about 125 extra calories being burned daily while you rest. You can incorporate circuit training into your weightlifting workouts to get more cardio out of them.
14) Sled pulls and pushes
This fun exercise helps to build strength, burn fat, and improve your cardiovascular endurance. Here’s what it looks like:
- Start in a low position with your chest high.
- Grab the sled with overhand grips and pull it towards you as you move towards a set point.
- Now, push the sled back to the starting position.
- Rest for a minute before starting the next set. Aim for four to six sets.
15) Kettlebell swings
This exercise gets your heart pumping and burns a ton of calories. It primarily targets muscles in your lower body like your glutes, hamstrings, quads. It also strengthens stabilizer muscles around your knees. Here’s what a kettlebell swing looks like:
- Stand tall and maintain good posture throughout the exercise.
- Grab a kettlebell placed before you and swing it upwards using your hips.
- Keep your legs straight and squeeze your glutes at the top of the position.
- Aim for 8 to 12 swings and rest for about a minute. Try to complete six to ten sets.
16) Sled sprints
Sprints, in general, are some of the most effective exercises for cardio and fat burn. You can turn up the intensity by adding a sled into the mix.
There is no better exercise than sprinting to get your heart rate up and burn fat. Here are some pointers you should keep in mind when performing the exercise:
- Gradually work your way up to a 100 percent sprint if you’re new to the exercise.
- Load lights weights on the sled. No more than 45 pounds to start.
- Keep your arm straight and your body leaning at a 45-degree angle when performing the exercise.
- Try sprinting for about 20 to 25 meters and rest for a minute before going at it again. Aim for four to eight sets.
17) Medicine ball slams
Med ball slams are a fun cardio workout, plus you get to unleash some of your pent-up frustration on the ground. Here’s how the exercise should look:
- Stand tall and try not to lean back when performing the exercise.
- Pick up a med ball, raise it overhead, and slam it down right in front of your feet.
- Get into a low squat position as you slam the ball.
- Catch the ball as it bounces off the floor and repeat the exercise. Perform as many reps as you can in 30 seconds and rest for the same period. Aim for six to ten sets.
18) Wall ball
This exercise is a lot similar to med ball slams. You just use a wall instead. This makes the exercise more challenging as you’re forced to use your arms, lower body, and core to get the ball as high as possible and catch it. Here are the critical points for this exercise:
- Start with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a medicine ball at chest level.
- Drop into a low squat while keeping your chest tall.
- Push up with your legs as you drive out of the squat and throw the ball as high as you can on the wall.
- Catch the ball and repeat the exercise. Perform as many reps as you can in 30 seconds and rest for a minute. Aim for six to ten sets.
19) Mountain climbers
This is a simple exercise you can perform virtually anywhere. It engages your hips, core, glutes, and legs while burning lots of calories. To perform the exercise:
- Get into a high plank position as if you were getting ready to perform push-ups.
- Keep your core tight and bring your right knee towards the center of your stomach, then switch to your left leg.
- Try to perform about eight to ten reps and rest for 30 seconds. Aim for about three sets.
That’s right; walking is one of the most effective fat-burning exercises. The average person burns about 300 calories for every hour spent walking. It’s also an easy exercise that does not require any instructions, and you can easily incorporate it into your daily routine.
Instead of taking an elevator, walk up a flight of stairs. Or walk to the gym instead of driving there if it’s a manageable distance. Walking is also a great way to destress at night and enjoy the scenery around you. Make it a point to walk as much as possible each day and watch the excess fat on your body start melting away.