Today I’d like to discuss what I believe is the best gym workout to burn fat.
This is a quick, but difficult, workout that I perform in the gym on a regular basis.
To be honest, I was inspired to write this article today because a fellow gym-goer spotted me doing this workout, and was intrigued as to what was going on.
It was something that they had never really seen anyone else perform, and so they wanted to know what the benefits were from working out in this way, plus what I was looking to achieve.
So, without further ado allow me to introduce you to what has been one of the greatest fat burning workouts I have ever performed in the gym.
Best Gym Workout To Burn Fat – Loaded Carries
Loaded carries are something that I really only introduced into my workout routines in recent years.
But the more I read and researched about them, the more impressed I became.
Loaded carries will actually build strength in many different parts of the body, as you complete one very basic exercise.
They will strengthen your core, develop fantastic hip stability, as well as strengthening and adding muscle to your upper back.
Loaded carries are amazing for building grip strength as well, which can actually help you to grow stronger on your other lifts.
You get stronger in a wide variety of “big lifts”, you can lift more weight.
You lift more weight, you become stronger and more muscular.
The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn, even while your body is at rest.
Additionally, grip strength is also associated with good health and longevity. In fact, researchers have said that your grip strength can act as a predictor for things like your risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The loaded carry is also as simple as it sounds.
Pick a heavy weight up off the floor, carry it in the desired position, and then walk.
You can choose an extremely heavy weight that you can literally only carry for about 10 seconds. This will help you build strength mainly (although there are many other benefits too).
You can use a weight that you can comfortably carry for around 30-60 seconds and move into the realms of building muscle.
And as we know, the more muscle the body has the more fat it is burning.
Finally, you could pick an extremely easy weight and carry it for a minute or two (or even longer) and you are now working on endurance, but in a far better way (in terms of body conditioning and appearance) than simply spending long periods of time on a treadmill or stationary bike, or any other form of long, boring, moderate-intensity cardio.
In fact, in my article about sandbag workout routines I discussed how I trained for the Spartan race last year by walking long distances while carrying a 25kg sandbag.
Basically, with a loaded carry you are giving your body a lot more to do than simply slowly jogging, cycling, or even just walking.
The Most Famous Loaded Carry
I guess the most famous of all the loaded carries is the Farmer’s Walk.
This simply involves picking up a weight in each hand and then walking.
As the name implies, this loaded carry can cast its origins back to some of the strongest and hardest workers there are, farmers.
Carrying bales of hay in each hand and then throwing them into a pile over-and-over again would certainly use up a lot of energy, as well as burning huge amounts of fat, while also making them stronger.
The Farmer’s Walk has now become an iconic event in the World’s Strongest Man annual contest.
It was first introduced in the 1983 event held in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The event was then known as the Fergus Walk and required competitors to carry wooden implements in each hand, each weighing 80kg.
It wasn’t so much the weight being carried that caused many of these strongmen a problem, but rather the thickness of the handles.
The main emphasis of this first ever event in 1983 was to carry the weights for as long a distance as possible.
Basically, whoever made it the furthest would be declared the winner of the event.
The original Fergus Walk has evolved over time, and is now known as the Farmer’s Walk.
The competitors now have to cover a set distance in the quickest time possible, while carrying, wait for it, 160KG IN EACH HAND.
The Loaded Carry Exercises I Use
The workout that I have created involves using the Farmer’s Walk, while completing another 2 loaded carry exercises, all in circuit fashion, and then repeated numerous times.
There are actually far more loaded carries than you could ever imagine, but in order to avoid confusion I’ll just introduce you to the 3 that I use in my gym workout, plus the various ways in which I use them.
There loaded carries involved in my fat-burning workout are the Farmer’s Walk, Overhead Carry, and the Goblet Carry completed in that order.
So, you have seen how the Farmer’s Walk is performed, so what about the other two?
The overhead carry is just as it sounds, you need to extend your arms over your head in the air while carrying a weight. Basically, the top position of the military/shoulder press exercise.
You can use just about anything for weight, dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, sandbags, or my preference, a barbell.
Finally, the goblet carry involves holding a weight in front of you at chest height in the goblet position.
I always use a dumbbell to perform this exercise, but again any weighted object will suffice.
As for the weight you should be carrying I would suggest that you start off a lot lower than I do and build up to heavier weights over a period of time.
I still look to add weight after ever 4 or 5 times I complete this workout.
Currently, for the Farmer’s Walk I carry a dumbbell equal to half my own weight in each hand (so my full bodyweight carried between two hands)
The overhead carry is approximately 80% of my own bodyweight, as is the goblet carry.
As I say, you will want to start at a lower weight and gradually increase over time.
A good starting point for each exercise would be to complete the Farmer’s Walk with approximately three-quarters of your own bodyweight between both hands.
40% of your bodyweight for the overhead carry and approximately one-third of your weight for the goblet carry.
The Goblet Carry
My Best Gym Workout To Burn Fat
Okay, so we now have the exercises, but what about the actual workout?
Admittedly, it is best to have some room in your gym to perform this workout, but as BJ Gaddour has pointed out in the goblet carry video above, if space is at a premium then simply walk a few steps forwards and backwards for a set amount of time.
To be honest, even just a space that allows you to walk no more than 4-5 steps is more than enough.
It’s also worth knowing that while carrying weights you won’t be taking long strides as you normally would when you’re walking.
In fact, if you are able to walk “completely normally” you’re not carrying enough weight.
You’ll have to excuse my potential crudeness, but it’s the best way I can think of describing it – walk as though you’re dying to go to the toilet (bathroom), so short and quick steps.
Luckily I have a suitable space available inside my local gym, in-between the cardio machines. It’s around a 20-metre walk and it’s wide enough that I’m not getting in anyone’s way when they dismount from the treadmill.
I will generally complete my Farmer’s Walk, so walk the 20m, turn round, and walk back to the start.
I place the dumbbells on the floor and then pick up the barbell and walk the 20m again with the weight hoisted above my head for the overhead carry. Turn round and walk back to the beginning.
Place the barbell on the floor, and immediately pick up the heavy dumbbell and walk with it in the goblet position, 20m, turn around, and then walk back again.
Please note I am always facing the direction that I am walking in throughout the workout.
That would be one set, which typically takes about 2 minutes to complete.
I would then rest for 60-90 seconds and go again.
I have often used this as a workout finisher and would therefore complete a maximum of 3-4 sets.
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However, I have also used this sequence as a complete fat-burning gym workout and completed a total of 10 sets.
Trust me, there’s a lot of effort going into those 10 sets and even though your workout is completed in 30-35 minutes I often feel more pooped afterwards than a heavy leg day.
If You Want To Take Your Fat-Burning Up a Notch
The workout I was completing when I was asked, “Hey, do you mind if I ask what type of workout you’re doing here?” added a little more to the above three moves and definitely moves your fat-burning capabilities into another dimension.
At both the halfway and end point of the Farmer’s Walk I would perform 3 reps of bent-over rows (so 6 reps in total “per walk”).
I would perform 3 reps each of military presses at the halfway and the end point of the overhead carry (6 reps in total)
And 6 reps again of goblet squats while completing the goblet carry.
A 10-set loaded carry workout like this would take approximately 40 minutes and also include 180 reps of different exercises (60 bent-over rows, 60 overhead presses, 60 goblet squats).
It would also include the major workout components that we typically aim for, i.e. push, pull, legs.
In terms of fat-burning, I can guarantee you would be hard-pushed to find ANY type of workout better.
The calories (and fat) you would burn from a workout like this over the next 48 hours would probably be the equivalent of jogging for 3 hours or doing a heavy leg workout for 90 minutes.
And you achieve all of this in about 40 minutes.
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Overhead Barbell Carry
This series of loaded carries is definitely the best gym workout to burn fat that I have ever completed.
The use of resistance while raising the heart rate definitely raises the metabolism and produces the after-burn effect (whereby you are still burning fat for many hours after you have stopped exercising).
Additionally, I found that the load carry workout definitely improved my strength and my grip, it was amazing for my core tone and development, and I noticed that my traps and my forearms packed on some serious muscle.
All-in-all I would say that adding loaded carries to your workouts, or even having a day (or two) a week when you complete an entire workout this way will do some fantastic things for your strength, muscularity and fat-burning capabilities.