Fat Burning vs. Cardio: What’s Better for Weight Loss?

Exercise machines such as treadmills and elliptical machines can be a great way to get a powerful workout in a short amount of time, and offer numerous preset workout modes that allow you to add variety to your exercise routine. However, there’s often a lot of confusion as to which workout mode — fat burning, or cardio — is the most effective approach to take when trying to lose weight.

Fat burning mode would seem like the logical choice, based on the fact that the body actually burns a higher percentage of fat (compared to carbohydrates) at lower levels of exertion. This is because fat is more dense than carbohydrates, and therefore more oxygen is required to burn fat than to burn carbohydrates. When working out in fat burning mode, you are working out at a pace that allows lots of oxygen to be delivered to the muscles.

In cardio mode, you are working out at a higher intensity with less oxygen being delivered to muscles. Therefore, you are burning a lower percentage of fat when in this mode. However, if weight loss is your goal, the fact is that you will burn more calories and more total fat overall by working in the higher intensity cardio mode. When it comes shedding those pounds, it’s the amount of calories burned, not the percentage of body fat burned, that counts.

Additionally, cardio workouts also help to strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system, as well as lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels.

Always remember that before you begin any diet or exercise program you should consult your physician.


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