Every personal trainer will likely have had this question asked of them:

What workout is the most effective for fat loss?

The demand for fat loss solutions worldwide is enormous and it continues to grow.

It is still the most common outcome that clients request of their personal trainers.

As fitness professionals we advise our clients that diet, nutrition and calorific intake are crucial inputs, but we also know that exercise plays a huge part in successful fat loss.

But exactly which is the best workout for fat loss remains a hot topic amongst PTs the world over.

We recently saw an interesting poll of personal trainers (PTDirect) where the trainers were asked to vote for one of the following as being the most effective at reducing fat levels:

The three options available were:

  1. 20 minute, high intensity workout with an average RPE (intensity level) of 9 out of 10
  2. 30 minute, moderate intensity workout with an average RPE (intensity level) of 6 out of 10
  3. 60 minute, low intensity workout with an average RPE (intensity level) of 3 out of 10


The poll was sent out to over four thousand personal trainers and fitness coaches:


The number of fitness professionals who took the poll was over five hundred: 512 to be exact (approximately one in eight).

Poll Results

The results were as follows:


As you can see, the personal trainers who responded were overwhelmingly in support of the shorter (20 minute), higher intensity workout as being the one which would most likely accomplish fat loss.

This is an interesting finding in itself, but the poll only scratches the surface of a complicated and vexatious subject.

The best workout to lose fat is way too complex to be simplified down to just three possible poll responses.

This was succinctly put in an email response from a personal trainer who declined to participate:

I abstain from voting. All three are correct but there is no option to vote for all three.

Trainers will debate this forever and ever because there is no right or wrong answer that will suit all clients all of the time.

Successful fat loss requires more than just exercise

As personal trainers we know that there is considerably more to achieving fat loss than simply the workout sessions themselves.

We don’t work in a vacuum and our clients go home after every session.

The unaddressed elephant in the room is, of course, diet, nutrition and calorific intake.

How much, what and when a client eats plays an enormous part in a successful any weight/fat loss program. And, as personal trainers, this is unfortunately out of our control.

We can only advise, but we cannot control what our clients put on their plates and in their mouths.

Other factors to consider in a fat loss program

Each client is individual and several factors must be considered:

What do you think?

If you’d like to contribute to the debate that we’ve been having in the SmartPlay WhatsApp group, please drop us a line with your thoughts.

Acknowledgements and thanks to the team at PT Direct for sharing the poll design and results


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