Best exercise to lose weightEveryone wants that one secret exercise that can burn the most fat off their body in the least amount of time.

Since there are so many different opinions about what is the best exercise to lose weight, we decided it would be a good idea to consult our experts to hear their thoughts.

We didn’t come up with one consensus, but did find some great exercises that will definitely help to get you leaner and stronger, even if there is no single best exercise to lose weight.

Best Exercise to Lose Weight #1 | DB Clean & Press

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This is a really tough question because a combination of exercises would be ideal and nutrition is by far the most important part of the weight loss equation. If I had to imagine the best exercise to lose fat, it would (1) create an intense muscle burn and stimulation in most of your muscles (2) increase your heart rate and your body temperature and (3) burn calories after the workout, creating an afterburn effect.

Generally speaking, I believe the best exercises to lose weight are high intensity leg exercises, because your legs comprise the largest volume of muscle in your body and can create powerful hormonal changes. They also satisfy all the points I just listed.

I’m biting my lip as I write this because there are so many exercises with pros/cons to each, but I would say the Dumbbell Clean & Press. The wrinkle I would add is to do a squat in between the clean and the press, as if you are jumping the weight up. This is an exercise that requires some technical skill and also pretty good hip/calf mobility, so be careful (See: How To Increase Squat Depth).

The DB Clean & Press works just about every muscle in the body. Because it’s a power exercise that requires both upper and lower body strength and power, you can burn a ton of calories while helping retain your muscle mass as you lose only fat.

The downside is the DB Clean & Press only combines two movement patterns (squat and vertical press), but no single exercise can incorporate all movement patterns. Honorable mentions include The Prowler, Airdyne, Walking Lunges, Kettlebell Swings, Sprinting (and uphill sprinting especially).

Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT

Best Exercise to Lose Weight #2 | Sleep

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Sleep – This is my honest answer because if I don’t get enough sleep, it is that much harder to stick to my diet. If I get enough sleep, I can stick to my diet without an issue. It’s definitely my “favorite” exercise.

If that’s not what you were looking for, then I would say a Step up with Shoulder Press into a Reverse Lunge. Do these correctly and they’re brutal on both the leg muscles and your lungs. Just be sure to not have eaten anything heavy before doing them.

If someone can’t do those, then simple high step-ups with a good amount of weight (think bench height with 50’s in each hand).

John Levya, CSCS, CPT

Best Exercise to Lose Weight #3 | Total Body Circuit Training

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I think this is very individual. People can lose weight doing any exercise. The most important thing is finding activities you enjoy and that you know you can stick to. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, chances are you won’t continue. Consistent daily effort is the most important thing to losing weight.

However, if you insist on one exercise that will push you in the right direction, total body strength circuits give you an all-in-one workout. They challenge all your muscle groups, keep your heart rate up, and help build/maintain muscle while decreasing body fat. Definitely the most time-efficient and effective workout to change your body!

Kristin Rooke

Best Exercise to Lose Weight #4 | Table Push-Aways

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I actually get asked this question quite a bit as a personal trainer and my response is always the same, “table push-aways.” I’m serious. You can have the world’s greatest fat-loss exercise program ever written and not lose a pound. On the contrary, if you are eating at the right calorie level for your needs any exercise you do will help you lose weight: even bicep curls.

That said, I have found the most efficient exercise to aid in fat loss to be those that recruit the most amount of muscle. Full body, multi-joint exercises have been found to raise testosterone levels and help to build or maintain muscle mass while on a caloric-deficit diet which is absolutely essential for any fat-loss program.

I recommend starting your workout with exercises such as deadlifts, squats, bench press, pullups, or any variation when you are fresh and able to move more weight. Getting stronger will also aid in the battle as you will be able to lift heavier weights, which will yield more energy expenditure. Double win!

Stephen Bergeron, CSCS, CPT

Best Exercise to Lose Weight #5 | Burpees

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My answer is burpees! Full body exercises that require the use of large muscles groups such as your quads and chest tend to burn the most calories. Anytime you use major muscle groups to complete an exercise your smaller/stabilizer muscles are automatically activated creating an efficient and complete full body exercise.

Once a military specific exercise, burpees have become a widespread staple throughout the fitness community due to the fat burning potential while maintaining lean muscle mass. Full body exercises such as burpees can increase your lean body mass which can help to boost your metabolism which will create a greater post workout calorie burn also known as the “afterburn” affect. Personally, I think a burpee is a great exercise because it can help activate your fast twitch muscle fibers. The explosive squat involved with the exercise will help recruit those fast-twitch muscle fibers and force them to grow. Burpees can also increase muscle endurance if performed for an adequate duration such as one minute intervals. Personally, I was first exposed to burpees when I trained with a good friend who was attending West Point. I still believe that performing burpees until exhaustion is one of the hardest exercises in the fitness world. Burpees are also extremely versatile and can be performed in a small area with no need for exercise equipment or weights.

Kevin Deeth, CPT

What your best exercise to lose weight? Do you have a favorite on this list?



  1. profile avatar
    JerryG Nov 14, 2012 - 11:13 #

    HI, I was wondering about the issue of natural testosterone level increase and the exercises that burn fat to keep your lean and not bulky.
    You need to have a proper T level to build muscle and stay lean, right? So, if you do the heavy weight lifting to raise your T you will not (probably) do the high repetition low weight training at the same time. You will get bulky, build muscles but will you stay lean?.
    How to combine both: the T raising movements and exercising and the fat burning exercises? Especially for men over 45.
    Thanks for your input.

    1. profile avatar
      Matt Green Nov 15, 2012 - 23:24 #

      You can increase your testosterone by doing less reps and higher weight and if you want to just stay tone you can do more reps with less weight.

      1. profile avatar
        JerryG Nov 16, 2012 - 10:51 #

        Hi Matt, thanks for your answer, This is exactly my dilemma: should I do more reps with less weight to lose some fat and be more toned (that takes forever) or to increase my T level by doing less reps but with higher weights?
        How should I divide my weekly workout (I do it 5 times a week) to still lose my fat (especially chest and belly) but at the same time work on higher level of T?

    2. profile avatar
      Matt Green Nov 16, 2012 - 15:38 #

      Hi Jerry,

      What i do with my clients is have them switch back and fourth. 1 day we will do heavy weight and then the next day we will do lighter weights. Switching back and fourth gives yourself a good balance so your not constantly working on bulking up but you are keeping yourself level while doing great workouts.


      1. profile avatar
        JerryG Nov 18, 2012 - 13:00 #

        Hi Matt,
        Thanks for this very good advise. I really appreciate it.

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    Bryce Nov 15, 2012 - 12:39 #

    I agree with doing Burpees. Tough but great exercise. I’m always exausted after doing them, which is why I save them as my last exercise.

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    Bee Nov 16, 2012 - 05:13 #

    For doing exercises that focus on burning fat while still maintaining muscle, how about the tempo? Should we do it as fast as possible or longer as like building muscle ?

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    sonam Nov 16, 2012 - 12:38 #

    Hello…i m sonam of 19 years nd my wait is 82kg i have most of fat in my hipps nd thighs nd i wnt to loose wait quickly soo plz tel m a good diet plan nd tel m exercise so that i loose wait nd get a beautiful figure plzzz help i m vry tensed due to this fat issue

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    warren Nov 16, 2012 - 13:31 #

    I can testify that rest and sleep works, after 4 -5 days throughout the week of 40 min gym sessions I find that after resting for 2 days my weight drops.

    So I weigh in on Monday morning again on Friday morning but by Monday morning again my weight has dropped since the Friday!

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    Francis Nov 17, 2012 - 17:50 #

    Marc and team,
    I really appreciate your great input on this and all the information you share, The world needs people who can say, “we know there is no right or wrong answer but this is what we see brings results.”

    I have seen that the best way to loose weight, get tone, or build strength is persistence.

    Keep it going!!


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    Fatbee Nov 17, 2012 - 18:13 #

    Ok I started at 160lbs I am 5″0 tall and now I weigh 135lbs trying to get to 110lbs what is the difference between fat loss and weightloss? And what has better results?

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    Patrick Nov 17, 2012 - 23:46 #

    Burpees without a doubt. On days where I can’t find time for a work out i make sure i get 50 burpees done in less than 2 minutes. Its a serious work out and everyone has a spare 2 mins.
    Keep up the great stuff Marc & co

  9. profile avatar
    E.H. Dec 04, 2012 - 08:00 #

    Hey informative post. regular exercise is the important part of daily life. Dont concentrate on to lose fat of specific body part. The person needs to work all areas of your body to reduce the amount of fat.

  10. profile avatar
    Robert Dec 10, 2012 - 15:04 #

    I am a 24 year old male. 165 lbs, 5′ 9″.
    Generally, people recommended losing 1 lb a week. However, is this a reasonable goal if we are weight lifting and trying to gain muscle? What would be a better measurement method? BF%?

    When I do HIIT, my heart rate will skyrocket to 170-180 bpm. It’s below the max HR, but is this level safe?

  11. profile avatar
    Abel Garmen Dec 10, 2016 - 07:02 #

    You are amazing.

  12. profile avatar
    Lavona Orloff Dec 12, 2016 - 16:16 #

    Hello. This post was really motivating, particularly since I was searching for thoughts on this issue last Thursday.

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