How to Burn Fat (for Men): 12 Steps (with Pictures)

There are many products, programs, and fad diets that are advertised constantly as the fastest and easiest ways to get rid of unwanted fat. Some of these diets are indeed a fast path to weight loss, but in most cases, the effects are short-lived. At the end of the day, there is no healthier or more successful way to burn fat than to develop long-term habits of eating the right foods and getting plenty of the right kinds of exercise. Embarking on a diet and exercise regimen designed to burn fat takes time and commitment, but the results—a slimmer, healthier body and a longer life expectancy—are worth it.

Method 1 of 2:

Eating a Healthy Diet

  1. 1

    Determine how much you should be eating.

    Many people eat more calories than their bodies can use. When this happens, your body will store those calories for later as fat. An important first step in getting rid of unwanted fat, then, is to stop eating more than your body needs.

    • A simple way to figure out roughly how much you should be eating to reach your target weight is as follows: start with your desired weight in pounds, and multiply it by 12. Subtract 2 for every year older than 20 you are (most people’s metabolism begins to slow down around then). Add 10 percent to the amount your body needs to maintain daily life functions. The final number is roughly the number of calories you should eat per day.[1]
    • For example, if you are a 34-year-old man and want to get your weight down to 145, you’d do these calculations: 145 (desired weight) X12=1740. 2X14 (years older than 20)=28. 1740-28=1712. 1712X1.1 (for daily functions)=1883.2. You should be eating about 1883 calories per day.
    • Keep in mind that this is only a rough estimate. If you are an active person who exercises a lot, you may be able to eat more. If you live a fairly sedentary life, even this amount may be too much.[2]
  2. 2

    Eat less.

    Once you know how much you should be eating, you can start reading food labels and tracking your calories. You can reduce your caloric intake in two ways: eating less and eating better. Chances are, you’ll need to do both. Below are some strategies for decreasing your overall food intake.

    • Use smaller plates. You can’t put as much food on a smaller plate. When you’ve finished what’s on the plate, wait 20 minutes before going back for more–it takes roughly that long for your brain to realize you are actually full.
    • Use blue plates. Believe it or not, some people believe the color blue suppresses your appetite.
    • If you snack between meals, eat snacks that take longer to consume, like peanuts in the shell. Or, eat with your non-dominant hand. Research shows this slows down snacking and can promote weight loss.[3]
    • Many have argued that it is better to eat several small meals throughout the day, rather than three large ones, as this gives the body a chance to process calories in small doses. Recent scholarship suggests, however, that this approach may actually make it harder to burn fat. The “grazing” approach keeps your insulin levels high, and in doing so may actually make it harder for your body to burn up fat cells.[4][5]
  3. 3

    Reduce high-calorie foods.

    Steer clear of foods that are high in sugar, including high-fructose corn syrup. Sweet and starchy foods are loaded with calories.


    • Sprinkling some cinnamon in your coffee or morning oatmeal is a good way to stabilize your blood sugar, which may reduce sugar cravings.
    • Replace high-calorie snacks like potato chips with lower calorie alternatives. Dill pickles, for example, make a great alternative to chips if you are craving a salty snack. A slice of pickle only contains one calorie![7]
  4. 4

    Eat foods that facilitate weight loss.

    There are several foods that actually promote weight loss by helping your body process fats or fending off cravings for more fattening cuisine.

    • Eat spicy food. Recent research suggests that eating chili peppers can lead your body to create “brown” fat cells, which actually burn energy, rather than the “white” fat cells that store energy and are produced by eating carbohydrate-rich foods.[8]
    • Eat healthy fats. People trying to lose weight often feel that they need to cut all fat out of their diets. The truth is, your cells need fats to be healthy, and fats help your body know when you’ve had enough to eat.[9] So don’t avoid all fat. Instead, avoid saturated fat, and instead try to eat foods rich in healthy fats, like avocados, walnuts, and olive oil.[10]
    • Eat calcium. When your body gets low on calcium, it sends hormonal signals telling it to store fat. Eating foods that are high in calcium, like low-fat Greek yogurt, will help to prevent this. [11]
    • Eat more vitamin C. High levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress, also result in fat retention. Eating foods high in vitamin C, like oranges and kale, helps prevent cortisol spikes. It’s great for your immune system, too![12]
  5. 5

    Drink plenty of water.

    If you’re dehydrated, your body may feel more hunger, leading to more food cravings.

    • Water also takes up room in your stomach. Have a big glass with every meal, and you may not want to eat as much.

Method 2 of 2:

Exercising for Weight Loss

  1. 1

    Get active every day.

    To burn fat, it’s important to get as much exercise as you can. Most people, however, don’t have time to visit the gym every day. So, look for places in your daily routine where you can burn a few extra calories. Every little bit helps!

    • If your work allows it, walk around while you’re doing things in the office. Take a walk on your lunch break.Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Bike to the office. Look at yard work as an opportunity to get some extra exercise in. Whatever works for you is fine, as long as it gets you to spend less time sitting and more time moving.[13]
  2. 2

    Join a gym.

    The specialized equipment that gyms have will let you get more out of your workouts than you could just running around the block. Many gyms also offer classes or individual training programs to help you stay motivated.

    • Visit as often as you can, and try to get in a routine. Three days a week is a great goal if you have time.
  3. 3

    Do cardiovascular exercise.

    Core exercises like crunches are great for building up your abdominal muscles, but to burn up the fat underneath, you’ll need to cardiovascular workouts like running, bicycling, swimming, etc. Anything that gets your heart rate up is burning calories.


    • Keep up the pace. While any cardiovascular workout will burn calories, a high-intensity, fast paced workout will cause the release of growth hormones, which trigger the use of fat cells as fuel, and raise your metabolism for hours after the workout is over, extending the fat burn.[15]
  4. 4

    Train with weights.

    Lifting weights and similar strength training not only builds muscle and burns fat, it also improves your sensitivity to insulin, helping your body process glucose more efficiently and store less of it as fat.


    • Mix up which areas you are exercising, alternating between upper- and lower-body exercises. This will allow you to exercise all your muscles efficiently, without as much downtime in between sets.[17]
    • Try to target high intensity activity before low intensity activity and repeat a number of times during your workout. This will insure you maximize fat burn by following the biological sequence.
    • You can get the most out of your weight training and cardiovascular workouts if you mix them up as well. Some studies have suggested that doing some lifting a few minutes before a jog or bicycle ride will increase the calories you burn during the cardiovascular workout.[18] Some people suggest interspersing short bursts of cardiovascular exercise throughout a strength training workout. For example, you can set down the weights to do sprints after 15 minutes of lifting, then return to your weights for another 15 minutes, and so on.[19]
    • Don’t start too heavy. Lift weights that you can pick up comfortably, without straining yourself too much, and work your way up to larger weights. Otherwise, you may hurt yourself.
  5. 5

    Do intervals.

    Intervals are exercise routines that involve periods of intense exercise, followed by short rest periods. By keeping the level of intensity high, your body is forced to burn more oxygen than it takes in. To compensate, your metabolism will increase and remain high for a period after your workout is complete, so that your body can assimilate a greater amount of oxygen.


    • Like a high-speed cardiovascular workout, this helps keep the fat burning going after the workout ends.
    • The most effective interval activities are those that exercise the whole body in a single exercise, like jumping jacks, lunges, hitting a tire with sledgehammer, and jumping rope. All of these should be done as quickly as possible. After a few minutes of activity, take a one minute rest, then do another interval.[21]
  6. 6

    Target stubborn areas.

    Once you’ve been doing a general exercise routine for a few weeks, you’ll probably notice some areas of your body are shedding fat (or developing muscle) faster or more easily than others. At this point, it’s a good idea to develop specialized routines to focus on the areas where the fat is taking longer to burn away.


    • Some people find it’s even a good idea to dedicate different days of the week to exercising certain areas. For example: Monday, focus on your arms and chest, on Tuesday, focus on your core, and on Wednesday, focus on your back and legs.
  7. 7

    Stick with it. Keeping to regular exercise regimen takes a lot of willpower, but to burn the fat and keep it off, you have to keep exercising and keep eating right.


Community Q&A

Add New Question

  • Question

    Is there an exercise that will burn body fat in 5 minutes?


    Claudia Carberry is a Registered Dietitian specializing in kidney transplants and counseling patients for weight loss at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She is a member of the Arkansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Claudia received her MS in Nutrition from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 2010.


    Master’s Degree, Nutrition, University of Tennessee Knoxville

    Expert Answer

    Burning body fat is best done by cardio exercise. It is recommended that you walk, swim, bike, or dance for 150 minutes per week to burn fat.

  • Question

    Is drinking lemon water an effective way to burn fat?


    Claudia Carberry is a Registered Dietitian specializing in kidney transplants and counseling patients for weight loss at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She is a member of the Arkansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Claudia received her MS in Nutrition from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 2010.


    Master’s Degree, Nutrition, University of Tennessee Knoxville

    Expert Answer

    Actually, the best way to increase your fat burn is to have more muscle mass. Exercising will help burn fat and increase muscle so that you will burn more calories at rest.

  • Question

    My whole body is thin except my stomach. How can I lose belly fat?

    Start out with cardio exercises like running, biking, and swimming to drop some weight. Then start doing sit-ups, push-ups, and lifting weights. Try to eat healthy and limit your carbs.

  • Question

    Is there a limit to how much water I should drink in a day?

    Generally, you should avoid drinking more than a liter or so (27-33 ounces) of water per hour to avoid water intoxication.

  • Question

    What are the benefits of honey and how do I consume it?

    Honey helps prevent cancer and heart disease, reduces ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders, is an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, increases athletic performance, reduces cough and throat irritation, balances the 5 elements, helps regulate blood sugar, and heals wounds and burns. You can consume it straight or in hot water or tea.

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  • Don’t drink too much alcohol. Alcohol has an extremely high-calorie content and can cause fat to build up.
  • Be consistent with your diet, but don’t beat yourself up for the occasional slip. If you eat healthy 95 percent of the time, but once in a while have a dessert or a fattening meal, it doesn’t mean the whole endeavor has failed.


  • Get enough sleep. When you don’t sleep enough, your body produces more ghrelin, which triggers cravings for sweet or fatty foods.


  • Reduce your stress. Keeping your cortisol levels down will also reduce your cravings for unhealthy foods. Being aware of your breathing and trying to slow it down when you’re feeling tense can be very helpful.



  • Too much weight loss too quickly can be dangerous to your health.


    Set reasonable goals and don’t deprive yourself. Crash dieting can produce rapid weight loss, but most people gain the weight back quickly. Such diets often cause muscle mass to waste away rather than burning fat.

  • Overexertion during exercise can damage your muscles and even lead to permanent injuries. Work hard, but don’t hurt yourself.

About This Article

Article SummaryX

To burn fat as a guy, find ways to stay active during your daily routine, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or going for a walk on your lunch break. It can be tempting to focus on strength training, but to lose fat, you need to incorporate cardio like swimming, biking, or running into your exercise routine. Outside of exercise, eat fewer processed foods like potato chips, which are full of calories. For tips from our Dietary reviewer on how to choose foods that encourage weight loss, read on!

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