Fat loss is on people’s minds at this time of the year. Listen, I’m no expert on fat loss, but I know a few things that can make it easier for you. Like your focus should be on nutrition and then exercising to support your fat loss.

Retaining muscle while trying to build muscle should be your focus, but none of this works if you’re not in a caloric deficit. Training for fat loss sucks, but I’m here to make it a little easier for you because that’s the kind of guy I am.

All exercises are good for fat loss, but some factors make exercise more effective.   

What Makes An Exercise Fat Loss Friendly?

You need strength training exercises that meet one or more of the following criteria to be more effective when training for fat loss.

Compound Exercise

Compound exercises train more than one muscle group. Exercise examples include squats (quads, glutes, hamstrings, core) and push-ups ( chest, shoulders, and triceps). The more muscles you train, the better for your fat loss potentail.   

Up/Down/ Down/Up

One of our hardest physical things is getting up and down to the ground. Up/down/down up exercises are great for fat loss because they are compound, self-limiting movements that increase your heart rate. Some examples are squats and push-ups.


Self-limiting exercises have a starting and stopping point because your body will scream enough is enough. These movements are not like going for a walk but demand your total attention. They are great for burning fat because they’re compound moves that will have you sucking in the air. Examples include squats and farmers’ carries.

Stand Up

Sitting too much is bad for your health. This study by Carrie Schmitz claims that if a person stood instead of sitting for an extra 3 hours a day, they could burn over 30,000 calories (around 8 pounds of fat) over a year. Standing while exercising trains your balance, core stability, and more muscle than sitting.

5 Best Fat Loss Exercises

With many exercises to choose from, the five exercises below meet two or more of the above criteria so that you will get more for your fat loss buck.

Kettlebell Swings

Once used as counterweights in Russian markets in the 1700s, it was soon discovered that moving the kettlebells around is challenging work and a better way to get your heart rate up. Plus, it made their glutes pop because the swing works your backside muscles in a powerful joint-friendly fashion.  

Muscles trained: Most but primarily the forearms, wrists, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.

Fat loss friendly because: Compound, self-limiting exercise performed standing up. 

Suitcase Carries

Carrying weights in your hand for time or distance to lose fat seems too good to be true but believe it. The suitcase carries almost every muscle from head to toe and will strengthen your grip and shoulders, improving your posture, balance, and cardiovascular conditioning. Your body is subjected to much time under tension for better calorie and fat-burning potential.

Muscles trained: Again, it’s a lot, but mainly the forearms, shoulders, upper back, oblique lower back, and glutes.

Fat loss friendly because: it’s a compound, self-limiting exercise performed standing up.

Turkish Get-Ups

I have no idea how this exercise got its name, but getting up and down to the ground is hard. Turkish get-up trains strength and mobility and burns fat. Getting up and down from the ground using multiple upper and lower body muscles drives your heart rate and burns many calories.  

Muscles trained: Starting to sense a theme here? Every muscle from head to toe is trained, but the main ones are the forearms, shoulders, abdominals, obliques, upper back, glutes, quads, and hamstrings.

Fat loss friendly because: it covers all four of the criteria above.


Push-ups are often overlooked because they either seem too easy or uninteresting. But with tons of variations and the ability to do many reps for more volume, muscle growth, and fat-burning potential, push-ups should be noticed. Push-ups are the real deal, but the magic happens when you pair them with exercises like swings and carries. 

Muscles trained: Triceps, shoulders, chest, core, and glutes.

Fat loss friendly because: It’s a compound self-limiting exercise that involves going up and down from the ground.

Goblet Squats

Holding a weight in front of you makes performing the squat simple for beginners to experienced exercisers alike, but that doesn’t make it easy. Everything from your core, grip, quads, and glutes is trained for higher reps for great muscle-building and fat-loss potential.

Muscles trained: Grip, biceps, anterior core, glutes, and quads.

Fat loss friendly because: It’s a compound exercise that’s standing up, going up, and down and has a starting and stopping point. It’s one with the lot. 

Note: Contact me here if you need some advice on programming these.

Wrapping Up

When fat loss is your goal so you can like what you see in the mirror,  performing two or more of these exercises in your workout is a must. Because training for fat loss is not fun and kind sucks, to be honest. Therefore, you need your exercise to be effective, and these five exercises fit the bill.

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