How to Burn More Calories with Exercise

A new study demonstrates that going harder and faster during a workout can help you burn more calories. Find out more about this new finding. 

Ben Greenfield
1-minute read

Go harder and faster during a workout to burn more calories.

Two years ago, I answered the question of whether walking or running burns more calories – even if you cover the identical distance.

But just this week a new study was published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise – and one of the parameters looked at in the study was what happens when you speed up during exercise. By measuring something called the "respiratory exchange ratio" or RER, scientists are able to look at the ratio of carbohydrate to fat being burned for energy.

The study showed that as you speed up, you burn more carbohydrates. For any given breath of air you take, you get more energy (ATP) when that oxygen is used to burn carbohydrates than when it is used to burn fat. So the faster you go, the more calories you burn. When you actually finish exercising hard, you have to repay your oxygen debt, making you consume more oxygen and burn more calories long after you’re finished exercising.

So what’s the takeaway message?

When you have a choice, and it’s safe to do so without injury or overtraining, then go harder and faster. Even if you spend less time in your exercise session with this strategy, you ultimately burn more calories and get fitter.

Do you have questions about how to burn more calories with exercise? Leave your thoughts over at Facebook.com/GetFitGuy.

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own health provider. Please consult a licensed health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.