As registered dietitians and fitness trainers, everyone asks us how to lose body fat and for an easy fat burning workout routine. Our clients tell us that they’re looking for the most effective exercises that they can do that don’t require equipment, but will help them to lose weight, body fat, rev their metabolism and get a flat belly, and we don’t blame them. The good news? Any time you exercise, it can help to trigger weight loss. Yesssss! Another bonus? Any time you work your muscles and build lean muscle tissue, you actually rev your metabolism, which even helps you to burn more calories while you sleep! Now we’re talkin’! This easy, no-equipment-needed exercise is one of the many combinations that we show our clients to help to make getting fit and firm, fantastic and fun!
Click the image above to watch 40-second workout video.
What makes this workout efficient for burning body fat?
This workout routine focuses on 3 things that make a fat-burning workout successful:
- Working large muscle groups
- Challenging your cardiovascular fitness
- Intensity (some exercises are more intense than others in this routine and as you work harder/more intensely, you burn more calories, which means a higher rate of burning body fat).
What can you do to get the best results from this workout?
The key to making the most of this workout (i.e. making it most effective for getting fit, strong and toned) is to keep your abs engaged throughout the entire routine (squeeze them tight!). Keeping your abs tight and engaged will prevent your back from rounding and help you to maintain proper posture during the exercise. This will help to ensure proper form so you don’t injure yourself. Keeping your abs tight also will help your body to get more toned as it will force the body to use the muscles that you are trying to work in each movement rather than relying on assisting small muscles that distract from the main exercise. Plus, keeping your abs tight will also give your abs an extra bonus boost (and may even help you to get that 6-pack) by really making them work. Also, be sure to focus on squeezing each muscle as you use it. For example, when you are doing a pulsing lunge, concentrate on squeezing your butt and your quadriceps as you pulse.
If you want to switch up this fat-burning routine, feel free to mix up the order of any of the exercises. For example, feel free to start with the jog, rather than end with it, and try any other combination that you’d like.
Here’s the breakdown of how to do each of the exercises in this metabolism-boosting workout routine:
Standing Criss-Cross Crunches:
As girls who really enjoy cardio and unintentionally tend to do everything with a jump and bounce in it, this was originally an interesting move for us to get the hang of. We’ve learned to embrace our “bounce” these days (although being recognized a mile away by your bouncy walk isn’t something you necessarily brag about!) and with these standing criss-cross crunches it took everything in us not jump and use momentum to touch our elbows to our knees. Adding a bounce to this move would actually take away from using your stomach muscles as this move requires control and engaging your abs helps to make it happen. When you swing and use momentum, you can get away without using your stomach muscles. To make the most of this exercise, squeeze your abs tightly, and then in a controlled motion, lift your knee up and across your body as you move your opposite elbow towards your knee. As you move your elbow toward your opposite knee, contract your abs and torso even more tightly. Slowly lower your leg and return to the start position and switch legs. Continue and do 15 to each side for a total of 30. If you’re a beginner and can only do 10 to each side, that’s fine, work your way up to 15 to each side. If 15 to each side isn’t challenging enough, try 20 or 30 to each side.
This is a great exercise for isolating the quadriceps and the glutes without the distraction of having to keep your balance if you’re doing lunges or walking lunges in the grass or on uneven ground. As you perform the exercise, focus on squeezing your glutes and your quadriceps as you pulse up and down in a small, controlled motion, against the force of gravity. Don’t forget to engage your abs and squeeze them tight as you complete the exercise. Do 40 pulsing lunges with each leg.
This is a twist on the traditional plank that requires a little extra balance and recruits a few extra muscles. You don’t need a partner for this one, you can do it on your own! Start in the traditional plank position but on your hands rather than your forearms. Here’s how to do it: Start by laying down on your belly, then lifting up your upper body and supporting yourself with your tippy-toes and your hands, and keep your body in a straight line, like a board, from head to toe. Squeeze your abs and don’t let your hips sink down or your rear end sail high into the air. If you have a partner, make sure you’re close enough so that you can reach out and clap each other’s hand, but not too close so that you bang into each other’s heads. If you don’t have a partner, simply reach up and out as if you are clapping hands, alternating hands. Do 20 hand claps.
This exercise targets the main muscles of the front of your thighs, the quadriceps, as well as your butt and hips. As with all exercises, squeeze your abs tight, since they, along with your back, will act as stabilizers. Your hamstrings and calf muscles will be activated as well and also are stabilizers. To perform the exercise, stand about two to three feet in front of the bench and place your right foot on the bench. Keeping your left knee in a straight line behind your left toes, slowly lower into a lunge in a slow, controlled motion. Slowly return to the start position. Complete 20 reps with each leg. If it’s too many to start with 20 to each side, start with 10 on each leg, and then do a second set of 10 with each leg.
This exercise works the chest, as well as the triceps (back of the arm)— that area that we want to stop waving after we stop waving our arm! 😉 These are just like wall push-ups, but you place your hands on a tree, so you can do them outside when you don’t have a wall. Start by facing the tree and standing a little farther than your arm’s length away. Slowly lean forward with your body in a straight line, and place your palms flat against the tree, shoulders width apart. Your hands should be at about shoulder’s height. Make sure that your body is in a straight line and avoid sticking out your butt by keeping your pelvis tucked in. Slowly inhale and bend your elbows as you move your upper body closer to the tree in a slow, controlled motion; keep you body in a straight line, just as you would when doing a push-up. Then straighten your arms, slowly moving your body away from the tree. Complete 30 presses.
Bench Tricep Dip:
This too, is another exercise that strengthens the triceps, and it uses the shoulder muscles as well. Start by sitting on the bench and extending your legs in front of you and then sliding your butt of the front of the bench. With your hands on the bench, palms holding onto the bench with your finger tips pointing toward your toes, straighten your arms slowly, keeping a slight bend in your elbows so you don’t strain your joints. Then slowly bend your elbows and lower your body toward the ground until your elbows form a 90-degree angle. Repeat 30 times.
Reverse Plank with kicks:
This isometric exercise works the entire body, including your core, your legs, butt, lower back, arms and shoulders! It gives your hips, chest and shoulders a nice stretch as well. Start with your hands on the ground, fingertips pointing towards your toes and place your feet together. Contract your abs and core muscles and raise your body up and hold your body steady in a straight line. From this lifted position, squeeze your lower abs and lift your left leg off the ground, forming a 45-degree angle. Lower slowly and repeat with your right leg. Do 20 kicks.
If you’re like most of our clients (and us!), this was one of the first exercises you learned when you were a kid! Make the most of it by really engaging your abs, squeezing them tight and making every movement into a complete motion, no half efforts (sometimes when you know what an exercise is and you’re used to it, you kind of just go through the motions, but make every effort not to do that here!). You’ll get your heart pumping and the blood flowing throughout your entire body. Do 100 jumping jacks.
For your jog, start at a pace that feels good and natural, and then step it up a couple of notches as you keep going. Aim for ½ to 1 mile and since you’ll be doing this 3 times, maybe one time you’ll want to run one-half mile and the other two you’ll want to run a complete mile.
Repeat this circuit 3 times! You’ll feel it—so be proud of yourself when you’re finished!
Looking for more exercises that you can do at home that don’t require equipment?
Try this exercise to tone up your obliques! Tight abs go perfectly with a firm booty!
What’s your favorite exercise routine to burn fat?