Wellness & Fitness

Exercises for fat and weight loss


Avi Fitness Gym, Personal Trainer Trizah Mudengani demonstrates how to do a beginner side plank at the gym on June 9, 2022. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG

The reasons for working out differ from one person to the other. Some hit the gym to lose fat or weight while others want to build enough muscle.

However, there is a thin line between losing fat and weight as they are interconnected since burning calories both leads to fat and weight loss.

Nonetheless, having low body fat means building lean muscle mass by reducing total body fat mass while weight loss generally implies a decrease in overall body weight which comprises muscle, water, fat, and bone.

Fitness trainer Robinson Joel, commonly known as Robby-Piyo, says it can be difficult to know whether one is losing weight from fat or muscle.

Burning body fat leads to building lean muscle mass which also results in weight loss because the result is having less fat in one’s body.

He explains that an individual can track weight loss by using a simple weighing scale while for fat loss, one can use either body fat calipers or high accuracy electric smart scale.


To reduce weight or fat in the body, Robby-Piyo says that a healthy diet plays a critical role.

Following a nutrient-dense and calorie-deficient diet, says the trainer, is an effective way of fat loss. This is in addition to eating a protein-rich diet which helps with metabolism, regulates fluid balance in the body as well as maintains and supports new muscle growth.

For weight loss, he says, an individual must create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories, which entails more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein foods, low-fat dairy, fewer sugar-sweetened products and beverages, processed meats, and fried foods.

Fat loss exercises

Robby-Piyo explains that a mix of cardiovascular and strength training at moderate or higher intensity are ideal for fat burning.

Fat-burning workouts tend to focus on intensive or high-energy moves including burpees, slams, battle ropes, squats, and deadlifts.

This is because the exercises challenge multiple muscle groups, which in turn help in building more muscle while also burning fat by expending more energy.

“Any type of cardio that gets your heart rate up to roughly 60 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate will do the trick. A combination of resistance and aerobic training lead to fat reductions,” says the AV fitness trainer.

“High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has proven to be a fat blaster because it results in excess post-exercise oxygen consumption and the more muscles one has, the more calories they will burn at rest.”


This is a full-body exercise that works the entire body starting from the back, chest, arms, core and legs targeting abdominal, pectoral, and shoulder muscles while also working the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. It burns extra calories while also revving the heart rate to boost metabolism.

Medicine ball slams

Med ball slams do not just burn fat but also relieve stress. It involves using the entire body while raising the ball above the head, standing on toes then using the core, hips, and arms to slam the ball down.

Back squat

The compound exercise is also a fat burner, says Robby-Piyo, since a person is engaging multiple major muscle groups and expending lots of energy to move the weight.

“For maximum fat-burning potential, employ proper form by engaging your core, hitting an appropriate depth for your own mobility (to parallel or just below), and working slowly through each rep.”

Heavy lifting

Heavy lifting acts as a fat burner and deadlift is one such exercise, says the trainer. The exercise gets the whole body involved, particularly the posterior chain and lower body, and the effort it takes to move the weight off the floor kick-starts one’s metabolism.

“It engages an individual’s core helping stabilise the spine, glutes and hamstrings which are used to power the weight off the floor.”

Battle ropes

Battle ropes is a high-intensity workout which challenges the entire body as almost all muscles in the body are used to swing, slam, and shake the implements while squatting, lunging, and jumping. This ramps up the heart rate resulting in burning of fat.

Weight loss exercises


Walking is a lower-impact workout and one of the best exercises for weight loss, especially for beginners.

Walking for between 30 minutes and an hour three to four times a week at moderate pace can lead to burning 167 calories.

“One can gradually increase the duration and frequency of walking as they become fitter where an individual can now graduate to jogging or running.”


Cycling is a non-weight-bearing and low-impact workout that can be done both outdoors or indoors in the gym. Cycling is not only ideal for weight loss but also for better overall fitness helping a person keep away heart diseases.

The trainer points out that an individual can burn 260 calories on a stationary bike while cycling at a moderate pace.


Swimming is ideal for people with joint pain or struggling with injuries. A person can burn approximately 233 calories per 30 minutes of swimming depending on the swimming style, whether it is butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke.

“Swimming for an hour three times a week will help in reducing body fat, improving flexibility and reducing several heart-related disease risks,” says Robby-Piyo.

Interval training

Commonly known as HIIT, it incorporates short bursts of intense exercise to elevate one’s heart rate alternated with recovery periods of 15 seconds.

It is ideal for burning calories faster compared to other exercises shedding at least 25 more calories per minute than other workouts like weight training or cycling and running.


The workout is good for stabilising the core, building upper body strength, and increasing muscle mass in the arms.

For a beginner, 3 sets of 10 reps is recommended with a rest period of between 60 and seconds between each set. Then one can gradually increase the number of reps with improving strength and fitness.


Deadlift is good for building muscles in both the lower and upper body while reducing fat. To make it feel more like cardio than weight training, an individual can increase the reps while lightening the load to 50 to 70 percent of one’s maximum. A person can do between one and 3 sets of between 10 and 20 reps.

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