Best Fat Burning Workouts for Men and Women-Not a One-Sided Solution

Strength training with barbells

The best fat burning workouts for men or women don’t start with the workout. It begins with the food you eat, or don’t.

Been hitting the gym pretty hard but also hitting those pretzel chips and beer pretty hard too?

And maybe some fries and a slice of pizza here and there, or maybe just a few too many helpings of pasta or white rice?

If you have, you’ve probably been noticing your stomach is starting to talk back to you when you look in the mirror. Jiggle jiggle, wiggle wiggle.

But not to worry, starting with cutting out those extra carbs and simple sugars, there is a simple plan to get you back on track to that dream body you’ve been sculpting. Fat down, energy and muscle up!

Burn Fat with Cardio!

Yes it’s true! You can actually burn fat by running, swimming, walking and other so-called boring cardio. There are better ways to do cardio than the villainized long, boring cardio that gets smashed by YouTube trainers so often though. Plus, there are a lot of benefits to getting outside of the gym and disciplining your mind to push your body through a couple miles of constant motion.

Here are a couple of tips for making cardio one of your go to fat burning methods:

  • Get outdoors. Who wouldn’t be bored going nowhere on a machine inside of a building? Also, how is the air you’re breathing in there? Get outside, preferable not next to a freeway. Go to a trail, a park, the beach. Get out early before there are tons of cars on the road. There is a huge difference in how your brain reacts when you get outside, and you’re more likely to go farther and longer.
  • Go harder. You can’t always spend 90 minutes doing endurance training workouts, and it takes time to build up that kind of aerobic and muscular conditioning. You can go hard for 20 minutes however, or break up your 90 minutes into fast/slow intervals. Try doing a warm-up, followed by a pace that forces you to a speed that is fast enough to make you wonder if you can keep it up for an extended period of time. In longer sessions, include ‘all-out’ sprints for brief periods throughout the session.
  • Include cardio at the end or beginning of your resistance training workout. As a thorough general warm up or a finisher at the end, adding 20-30 minutes of biking, running or other cardiovascular activity (or a fast 15) sends your metabolism into overdrive and is a great way to burn off fat.

cardio benefits of sprinting

Aerobic exercise seems to have no shortage of benefits on longevity, especially in extreme aerobic athletes, according to Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Wael Jaber, M.D. (“Better cardiorespiratory fitness leads to longer life.”

Of course, that extreme endurance comes with the sacrifice of a lot of muscle and strength as well as fat. You are still improving bone strength, however, and may experience some initial muscle gains when starting out.

The key for non-endurance athletes is to balance strength training with cardio training, and perhaps one of the best living examples of this in a human being is Cameron Hanes. If you don’t know, check him out on Instagram @cameronhanes.

Build Muscle and Endurance with Complexes, Giant Sets, Circuits

Some of the best fat burning, muscle-building workouts you can do involve complexes, giant sets and circuits. Technical definitions aside, barbell or dumbbell complexes, giant sets and circuits all have the same idea behind them. Resistance training with little to no rest between exercises.

Circuits:  You can set up as many exercises as you like, but 6 is a good number to cap it off at. Have your equipment laid out before you start, in an easy to follow circuit if possible. This way you don’t forget what comes next when you start getting exhausted.

Make sure you are warm, or do a warm-up circuit. Then get started, going from exercise to exercise with no rest or as much as 30 seconds max. Do each exercise to failure. Complete the circuit. Rest a minute, and repeat 2-3 times. Try setting up 2 or 3 different circuits for 3 sets each and watch the fat fall away while your fitness levels skyrocket.

Sample Circuit

  1. Pushups or Bench Press
  2. Pullups or TRX rows
  3. Barbell or dumbbell cleans or overhead press
  4. Hanging leg raises
  5. Deadlifts

Giant Sets:  Giant sets originated in the bodybuilding world, and usually mean 4 exercises strung together for opposing muscle groups. These are done with no rest between exercises, so have your weights set up before you start. Example:

  • Deadlifts/Pullups/Dips/Presses (bench, overhead, etc.)

You could also structure this as:

  • Deadlifts
  • Presses
  • Pullups
  • Dips

The second sequence keeps the grip from getting too tired for pullups or the triceps from getting too tired to carry out the second pushing exercise.


Complexes are essentially the same type of workout. When people talk about complexes, they are usually referring to a circuit done with a barbell/s or dumbbells. Istvan Javorek popularized several barbell and dumbbell complexes many years ago, and are the basis for most of what you see on the internet today. These are also great done with kettlebells.

For a complex, choose 3-6 exercises which will work the whole body. Then choose a number of repetitions (hint: if you’re new to these, start with a low number!) and a number of sets. So for example:

  • Barbell deadlifts x 6 reps
  • Barbell bent over rows x 6 reps
  • Barbell hang snatch x 6 reps
  • Barbell back squat x 6 reps
  • Barbell behind-the-neck push press x 6 reps

Depending on your fitness level you may choose to do 1 set or 5. Keep the rest to 90-120 seconds between complex sets, and do not rest between exercises. In the example above, you should never have to put the bar down to move to the next exercise.

Muscle, Metabolism, Cardio and Diet

Diet plays a huge role in your body composition, so it’s important to develop a lifestyle around eating healthy and giving your body a scheduled day to allow anything. (See “How to Lose 100 Pounds on The Slow Carb Diet” on the Tim Ferriss blog.)

It’s also important to build muscle as this is the number one consumer of energy in our body while sleeping and awake. The effects of this tend to be exxagerated however. Building muscle alone won’t keep the weight off, especially if you are eating to satisfy the increased hunger from the greater metabolic burn. Nonetheless, a regular strength training routine is essential.

Cardiovascular health is one of the greatest indicators of good heart health and longevity. It’s also a great activity on light training days to help your body recover by delivering more oxygen to the muscles and flushing out CO2 and lactic acid ( balancing strength and cardio

As with most things, there is a simple solution that gets more complex the longer you look at it. Losing weight and getting fit are simple in one respect-just get started and keep working.

As you get into better condition, though, you run into things like boredom, soreness, plateaus and so on. However, by the time you get to this point you should have a good idea of what works for you and what doesn’t, and more important, you’ve developed the habit of being a healthy, fit. person.

So what are the best fat burning workouts for men and women? Ultimately, it’s the one you stick with for life, and keep improving and evolving as your body adapts. So get started, and don’t look back!

Cardiovascular Dumbbell and Barbell Workout Routines

Fitting in a muscle-crushing, heart pumping workout in a short amount of time is easy with dumbbell and barbell complexes. In the 10-20 minutes it takes you to complete these short workout routines (including warm-up) you will feel your muscles burning and your lungs gasping for air.

Dumbbell/Barbell Workout Routines

Do each routine without resting between exercises. Aim for 2-3 total rounds, resting between rounds for 60 seconds.

Dumbbell/Barbell Rollout:

Start from your knees, or if you already have a core of steel, from your feet. Slowly roll the weight/s out in front of you until your arms are extended, then roll back to the starting position. Keep your butt and abs tight to prevent your lower back from sagging. This exercise will build up core strength while working your lats as well. 
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Total Core Shredding Body Blasting Rocky Workout Routine!

In my last post about Rocky IV we glossed over Stallone’s training and showed a highlight reel of some raw training from the movie. This time we are going to talk about how we can get raw without having to catch the next plane to Moscow.

There are really only three things you need to do the work Rocky did in his remote Russian farmhouse. One is a barbell (but a pair of adjustable dumbbells will do,) the other is a pullup bar, and the last is a sandbag. In fact, two sandbags would be even better. Learn how to make a cheap sandbag here.

Here are the exercises you will be performing. You can do these with 1 to 2 minutes rest in between, or perform them as a circuit, resting after all the exercises are done. For circuits (interval training,) use a lighter weight and move at a faster pace.


Do slow, light repetitions of each exercise to warm up.

The Movements:

-Basic Pullup: This is the basic pullup, not a kipping pullup. You can use a chair or stool to assist you if a full pullup is not possible. Do as many as you are capable of, adding a dumbbell between your legs if you can do 15-20 with ease.

-Standing Russian Twist: Use a barbell, with one end empty and anchored to the corner of a wall or wedged between something heavy. The end you are holding has weight on it. Start light until you are comfortable with the exercise.

Standing Russian Twist at

Stand in front of the barbell, holding the end with both hands at arm’s length. Keeping the arms extended. twist the barbell all the way to one side, then back to center. Repeat on the opposite side. Lean forward slightly as the bar is lowered and get your legs and hips into the movement.

When you are comfortable, swing from one side all the way to the other.

-Sandbag Step-ups or Lunge:
With a sandbag on one or both shoulders, step up on a stool or step, alternating legs. Make sure the step is at least 12″ high, or high enough to engage the quadriceps and glutes.

You can also choose to perform lunges, either in place or walking. If you use one sandbag, switch the bag to the opposite shoulder halfway through your set.

-Standing Military Press:
You may not have a horsecart loaded with your training team to press, but a barbell works just fine. Clean it to the shoulders, then press up using minimal or no leg movement. Tighten the core and move the barbell in line with the shoulder plane.

-Barbell or Dumbbell Rollouts: 
This is a tough core exercise affecting the entire abdominal wall, and using the lats, triceps, obliques, serratus anterior and glutes to stabilize. But first learn how to do it.

Start from your knees if this is your first time. Place your hands on the barbell (or adjustable dumbbells,) and keep the body straight as you roll forward until the arms are extended in front of you (or as far as you can go and still roll back to the start.)

Now maintain that tightness making your body rigid and roll back the way you came.

Now imagine doing this with a barbell.

When you get strong enough, try doing this exercise starting from standing. Now that is a hardcore abdominal workout!

Do 2-4 sets of each exercise, depending on your fitness level. If you are doing intervals, do one set of each exercise one after the other, no rest between. That is one round. Do 2-4 rounds and rest 1-2 minutes between them.

This is not a comprehensive routine to replace a complete program, but add it to the schedule once or twice a week as a way to build a stronger, more functional body.

For more equipment and workout ideas, continue reading:

Pullup Bars for the Home Gym

The Kettlebell Dumbbell Relay Workout for Strength and Endurance

TRX Suspension Trainer vs. Pull-up Bars

Build Muscle and Burn Fat with these Simple Exercises