Use This Fat Loss Workout Plan To Burn Fat On Autopilot

By JC Deen



If you wanna lose fat, then you should be doing these fat loss workouts.

Why? Because they work.

However, don’t just take it from me. You can see the results for yourself.

You’ve probably read a lot on the internet about fat loss diets and workout plans that promise you’ll be ripped in 3 weeks.

But here’s the cold, hard truth.

Most of that stuff is nonsense. But not only that, most of the advice isn’t practical.

On this here internet… you’ll usually see a list of ‘15 fat burning exercises’ but how do you put them to use? How do you actually implement them into a practical workout when you go to the gym?

Most of the time, you can’t put them to use… and you hit the back button to find another article so you can finally figure it all out.

In this article, you’re going to learn the following:

  • How fat loss workouts actually work
  • What to focus on and what to ignore
  • How to maximize your time
  • How to implement the fat loss program in this article

Fat Loss Fundamentals

Before we get into the workouts, you need to understand one major fundamental piece of information…

A fat loss workout will never help you lose fat if your diet is not in order.

I’ve covered the topic of fat loss in-depth, but for now, there are only 2 things that matter:

  • A calorie deficit
  • A healthy diet of whole foods with balanced macronutrients

Many people online will often say one of two things:

“A calorie deficit isn’t what makes fat loss happen. It’s a combination of foods, or eating the right kinds of foods that produce fat loss.”

Translation and rationale: Carbs are bad. Sugar is bad. You need to eat fat to lose fat. Carbs make you store fat, no matter how much food you’re eating. (Note: this is a totally faulty and incorrect approach.)

“The types of foods don’t matter, as long as you create a caloric deficit.”

Translation and rationale: All you need is a calorie deficit bro. So hit your macros by eating ice cream and pop tarts and get ripped in the process. (Note: this is a common approach for those who follow IIFYM, and while it’s not wrong, it’s not the best way to go about losing fat.)

The Calorie Deficit

Here’s the rub. Your body uses energy in the form of food to function. If you’re not burning more energy than you’re taking in, you’ll gain weight. Conversely, if you are burning more energy than you consume, you’ll lose weight.

I’ve covered this in full in my fat loss article. Check the section on creating a caloric deficit.

From the article:

A consistent negative (-) energy balance, over time, is what makes you lose body fat.

Energy in (eating food), energy out (expenditure), and your unique maintenance-level intake are all factors in what actually makes you lose fat.

To put it simply, all you need to lose weight is a calorie deficit. Notice the word ‘weight’ here.

This means by the end of the day (or week, or month on a longer timeline), you’re in a negative energy balance by creating a caloric deficit, which simply means you’re burning more food energy than you’re ingesting.

Simple math: If you burn 2800 calories in a 24-hour period, and only consume 2300 calories, you’re in a 500 calorie deficit. So, that energy is going to come from somewhere. If you create the caloric deficit properly, your body will use its reserves (either stored glycogen or body fat).

fat loss workout

Now we need to discuss something equally as important as the calorie deficit…

Whole Foods, Protein, Carbs, & Fat

Lots of people will tell you the basics of fat loss… the calorie deficit is king and it’s all that matters. If you don’t eat less food, you won’t lose fat, yadda, yadda, yadda. I’ve covered all of that and more in my massive fat loss guide. Read that if you want an understanding of how to lose fat and keep it off

But where do whole foods fit into the mix?

If the calorie deficit is king, a balanced whole food diet with an optimized macronutrient ratio is queen. To be clear, this is a diet full of natural foods, such as fruits, vegetables, animal protein (vegan/vegetarian sources are cool too), and a variety of natural fat sources.

Ideally, you will aim to eat around 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight to help you maintain muscle on a diet. You’ll then get a variety of carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables, and fat from animal and plant sources.

I tend to follow the 85% rule, where I have my clients and inner circle members aim to fill 85% or more of their diet with whole foods and enjoy whatever else they like for the other 15%.

For instance, if you eat a diet all week long that is full of nutrient dense food and then decide to have a meal out of beer and wings over the weekend, you’ll still be able to reach your goals while being flexible with your diet.

This is a concept known as flexible dieting and it’s a strategy many people (myself included) use to maintain their sanity while building their bodies and maintaining good health.

If you aren’t sure about all this talk of protein, carbs, and fat, you need to check out my entire guide on counting macros for further understanding.

Fat Loss Workout Myths

Now that you know the fundamentals, you should know about the common fat loss myths so you can avoid the trap of worrying endlessly about these tiny, unimportant details.

The Fat Burning Zone

If you’ve ever looked up something like fat burning zone cardio to figure out how to burn the most fat during exercise, you’re not alone. When I got lean the first time in my life, I was a master at making sure I was in the fat burning zone during my cardio sessions.

You’ve probably seen the recommendation of taking 220 minus your age to find your maximum heart rate. And once you find that, you’ll aim to get your heart rate to about 60-70% of your max to maximize fat burning during your workouts.

If you’re 35, you’d do the following math:

220-35 = 185. So 185 beats per minute would be your max heart rate. Now you’d get the percentages from above (60-70%) to figure out your target heart rate.

As a result, you’d be aiming to keep your heart rate between 111 and 129 beats per minute to make sure you burn the most fat during exercise.

If that seems complicated and confusing, good. It’s hard to imagine trying to keep your heart rate is in that range during your workouts.

But here’s why the so-called fat burning zone doesn’t matter and why you shouldn’t worry about it.

You see, our bodies are burning fat all day long, especially when we sleep.

In general, your body is always burning energy from one of two sources:

  • Glucose (made from the carbs/sugar you eat, also known as blood glucose)
  • Lipids (which is made from the fat we eat as well as the fat on your body)

Exercise uses energy from glucose, while low-level activity like walking, light jogging burns energy from fat. In the next section, I explain how intense exercise doesn’t actually burn fat.

But here’s why the fat burning zone doesn’t matter.

You can do nothing but hours of cardio where you stick to your target heart rate at all times and never actually lose any fat. People do this all the time.

They start an intense cardio program where they run every day for hours on end and never lose any fat, even while being in the so-called fat-burning zone.


Because they don’t maintain a caloric deficit.

They continue to eat enough food to maintain their weight, or they overeat and end up gaining weight (in the form of fat), even though they’re doing lots of cardio in the recommended target heart rate zone to burn fat.

Case in point: If you’re not maintaining a caloric deficit, hours and hours of exercise in the fat burning zone won’t matter.

Intense Exercise Doesn’t Burn Fat

But it helps indirectly… here’s why.

To give you some perspective, during hard workouts, your body needs quick energy. So let’s say you’re doing some intense weight training or cardio that has you out of breath and sweating pretty quickly.

During these workouts, you’re utilizing stored carbohydrates in your muscles (and liver) known as glycogen. Imagine that… you’re not even close to burning fat as fuel during these intense training sessions!

And all this time you thought you’d be torching body fat with all the hard work and sweat. The truth is, you’re burning sugar. But don’t be alarmed, this is an amazing thing.

Intense training sessions are great because they help you:

  • Build muscle
  • Increase bone density
  • Make strength increases
  • Improve insulin sensitivity
  • Plus a bunch of other benefits

So when you’re in the gym, hitting it hard using a workout program like the one in this article below, you’re not burning fat directly, but you’re stimulating muscle tissue so when you lose body fat over time, you retain as much muscle as possible.

But when you’re doing everything else during the day—walking, biking, sitting at work, doing chores around the house, walking to the park, even sleeping—you’re burning body fat. Yes, burning fat is actually happening during all the easy stuff.

I’ll cover the best exercises for fat loss below.

Case in point: intense exercise actually relies on sugar as a fuel source, not fat, but intense exercise allows your body to build muscle mass, which makes you look more muscular and aesthetic the leaner you get.

Forget About Fat-Burning Foods

Look… fat-burning foods don’t exist. You cannot eat anything that actively burns fat.

You can eat foods that are lower in calories and make you feel fuller, which can help you control hunger. But you can’t eat anything that burns fat because you already know from the writing above… a calorie deficit is what makes fat loss happen. So eating more calories kind of goes against this idea altogether.

Spot Reduction Concepts Sell Fad Programs And That’s About It

Ever seen a program that promises to melt fat around your stomach and love handles? Ever seen those suggestions to do lots of sit-ups, or leg lifts to burn your lower belly fat?

Or what about those thigh programs that promise to make your butt and hips smaller all by targeting those areas when exercising?

Those are the typical spot reduction programs promising to make fat melt off a certain area merely by working that area out specifically.

But there’s just one minor issue we have to deal with here.

The body stores fat in a certain pattern. Most people will store fat easily on their hips, abs, thighs, and chest.

Body fat deposition will change slightly for men and women due to varying hormonal profiles, but as humans, we store most of the fat in our trunks, and as we get fatter, it goes to our limbs.

So if you look at someone who is 100 pounds overweight, they will have a majority of the fat stored on their stomach and hips, with additional fat on their lower arms, legs, and face.

But if you take someone who is only 10 pounds overweight, they will be very lean everywhere on their body, with the remaining fat being stored around their trunk—usually the hips, thighs, and lower abs for most people.

What’s the pattern here?

Where we deposit fat first is the last place to lose it when dieting.

This is why people get lean over time and struggle with the last little bit of fat around their waist, love handles, and hips.

It’s the first place to store it when you gain weight and the last place to lose it when you’re dieting to lose fat.

Case in point: avoid any of the programs claiming you can lose fat on your tummy and not your butt, or lose fat around your waist by doing only crunches and leg lifts.

The Best Exercise For Fat Loss

If you’ve ever wondered about the best exercise to lose weight, you need to know ONE thing before we go any further…

There is no single movement or group of exercises you can do that directly burn body fat.

But here’s what you need to know about using exercise for fat loss:

  • You cannot out-exercise a bad diet. It would take you 3-4 hours of exercise to burn off 1000 calories from the 5 pieces of pizza that took you 15 minutes to eat.
  • You’re not burning fat during intense exercise (weight lifting or high-intensity cardio). But the exercise serves other purposes, such as improved cardio health, muscle retention, improvements in bone density, and shouldn’t be neglected.
  • Low-intensity movements, like walking throughout the day, will increase your energy expenditure and help you burn more fat without becoming overly tired or increasing your hunger.

So you now know this… no exercises, in particular, are going to burn fat directly, other than casual walking, or light cardio. But even when these are burning fat, you have to maintain a caloric deficit to make the fat loss happen.

Let’s get into exercise-specific recommendations for fat loss.

Cardio For Fat Loss

Cardio shmardio. It’s a tool, but not entirely necessary if you want to lose fat.

In fact, I aim to have the majority of my fat loss clients avoiding traditional cardio (lots of running/biking, general aerobic activity) and focusing solely on weight training and casual walking may it be outside or on a budget treadmill.

Furthermore, I prefer walking for weight loss because it allows you to:

  • Get in some extra activity without negatively affecting your recovery from weight training
  • Increase calorie burn without increasing hunger levels
  • Improve insulin sensitivity, which means more controlled blood sugar

Outside of some extra calorie burn, I don’t really tell anyone to do cardio to lose fat. There are other methods of exercise that give you a better ROI (return on investment) for the time spent working out.

Instead, I prefer intense, short sessions of weight training.

Weight Training For Fat Loss

Alright, now it’s time for the meat and potatoes.

When you’re training with weights to lose fat, you must know three things:

  • You are limited in how much you can do because of the calorie deficit (hint: it’s a recovery issue)
  • Recovery is going to be limited from workout to workout
  • Your focus should be on strength maintenance and proper recovery

If you’re smart, and I know you are, you probably noticed that every point has something to do with recovery.

I mentioned it three times because it’s that important, plus when you’re dieting, your results HINGE on your ability to recover. So don’t mess this up, pumpkin.

Calories = Energy. Deficits = Less Energy

Look, when you’re trying to lose fat, you know you’re eating less than you burn.

We already covered this in the section about creating a calorie deficit. And when you’re eating less, you will notice, especially over time as you get into the diet, that your workouts might lack intensity.

And that’s because you aren’t refilling your energy stores with food every day (hence the deficit).

Recovery Is Limited From Workout To Workout

Now since you’re eating fewer calories, it may take you a little longer to recover from workout to workout than it would if you were eating a lot more food in maintenance mode or when you’re bulking.

This is why I almost always recommend my clients train with weights three to four days per week at a maximum, and sometimes I have them train as little as two days per week. One of my favorite ways to train is using an upper/lower split rotated over three workouts per week. This way, they’re getting a full three or four days to rest those muscle groups before hitting them again.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say you’re doing upper body on Monday and then lower body on Wednesday. This means you won’t be doing upper body again until Friday. And this means you have all of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for your body to recuperate before training the same muscle groups again on Friday.

Then you wouldn’t train the lower body again until Monday. As a result, you’d have all of Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before hitting the muscles of the lower body again.

This way, you’re able to maximize your recovery, gain strength and maintain muscle all that the same time while torching fat.

Strength Maintenance = Muscle Maintenance

Look here fancy pants… when you’re eating less to reveal that six pack underneath your belt buckle jelly rolls, your ability to constantly get stronger and make gains will be limited. Sure, you might make some strength gains in the first few weeks to a month, but those gains are bound to slow down quickly.

So while you should always shoot for the stars and make improvements at all costs, it’s okay to be fine with maintaining your strength when losing fat. And by focusing on strength maintenance, instead of pushing hard every session to make gains, you’ll do yourself a favor by allowing yourself to recover fully.

Remember, your ability to recover is everything when training to lose fat. If you’re pushing yourself too hard in the name of making gains at all costs, you’ll likely regress, lose strength, and maybe even lose muscle if you burn yourself out.

What’s the remedy? Follow the workout template below.

Use This Fat Loss Workout To Get Into Your Best Shape

Here’s a quick template you can easily use and modify to your liking or you can use it straight up as a fat loss program over the next 12 weeks.

There are two workouts and one is for lower body and the other is for the upper body.

Lower Body Fat Loss Workout

1. Squat (or leg press) // 3×5-8 reps // 3 minutes rest

2. Romanian deadlift // 3×8-10 reps // 2 minutes rest

3a. Walking dumbbell lunges // 3×8 reps per side
3b. Lying leg curls // 3×8-10 reps

Note: this is a superset, where you will do each movement back to back with minimal rest in between sets until you’re done with all 3 sets.

4. Standing calf raises // 3×12-15 reps // 2 minutes rest

Upper Body Fat Loss Workout

1. Bench press // 3×5-8 reps // 3 minutes rest

2. Weighted pull-up // 3×5-8 reps // 3 minutes rest

3a. Incline smith bench press // 3×8-10 reps
3b. Bent over dumbbell rows // 3×8-10 reps

Note: this is a superset, where you will do each movement back to back with minimal rest in between sets until you’re done with all 3 sets.

Here’s a video demonstration for this superset:

4. Dumbbell lateral raises // 3×12-15 reps // 2 minutes rest

5. Cable face pulls // 3×12-15 reps // 2 minutes rest

How To Burn Fat And Keep It Off

By now you know the following about burning fat:

  • Proper nutrition, a calorie deficit, and time is what makes fat loss happen (not magical workouts or special foods)
  • Eating whole foods 85% of the time is a good way to stay healthy, and feel full
  • Weight training is the ideal form of exercise, especially if you’re low on time

The way you keep body fat off is by maintaining the good habits that got you the fat loss in the first place. If you want to keep the fat off, you’ll need to continue eating healthy and exercising regularly.

And Now… For Some Common Questions

By the way, still have questions after reading this article, get in touch with me.

What exercise burns the most belly fat?

No exercises burn fat directly. No amount of crunches or sit-ups will make your belly fat go away. You’ll have to put yourself into a caloric deficit to lose belly fat.

What’s the best workout for fat loss?

The best workout is the one that has you strength training 3-4 days per week. In that workout, you’ll focus on building strength, improving your form, and building muscle. You can use an upper/lower split or a full body routine to lose the most fat.

What are the 10 best exercises to lose weight?

Here’s a list:

  1. Squats
  2. Deadlifts
  3. Hip thrusts
  4. Lunges
  5. Bench presses
  6. Barbell rows
  7. Shoulder presses
  8. Chin-ups
  9. Bicep curls
  10. Tricep extensions

How do you burn fat at the gym fast?

You must do these three things:

  • Work out using weights 3-4 days per week
  • Keep your gym sessions to 60 minutes or less
  • Maintain a caloric deficit throughout the day

Do crunches burn belly fat?

Not directly, they don’t. But they can be a part of a great belly fat burning program when used properly.  But they will not burn belly fat on their own.

Do sit-ups burn belly fat?

Not directly, they don’t. But they can be a part of a great belly fat burning program when used properly.  But they will not burn belly fat on their own.

How can I reduce my stomach fat?

Easy, you can reduce stomach fat in three easy steps:

  • First, put yourself into a caloric deficit by tracking your caloric intake daily
  • Train your body with weights at the gym 3 days per week
  • Eat foods high in protein to help you build muscle

How many sit-ups a day to get a flat stomach?

There are people getting a flat stomach by doing no direct abdominal work. It only takes a caloric deficit, regular workouts, and time.

How do I get rid of fat on my stomach? How can I lose body fat quickly?

Easy, you can reduce stomach fat in three easy steps:

  • First, put yourself into a caloric deficit by tracking your caloric intake daily
  • Train your body with weights at the gym 3 days per week
  • Eat foods high in protein to help you build muscle

How do u lose belly fat in 2 days?

Sorry, but u (it’s actually ‘you’) don’t. No one can lose enough belly fat in 2 days to notice a difference. If you’re searching this on the internet, you’ve been told something that ain’t true (that you can lose belly fat in 2 days).

JC Deen is a nationally published fitness coach and writer from Nashville, TN. Currently living in the blistering Northeast. Follow me on X/Twitter