The Fat Burning Process | How Does Exercise Burn Fat? What Happens To Fat When You Exercise?

The Fat Burning Process!

Seems like a million dollar question to many readers!

There is lot of confusion on this topic. Some even say that, fat gets converted to muscle when we exercise!!! Rubbish!

Let’s explore, how does exercise burn fat?

What happens to fat when you exercise? How does exercise burn fat?

What are the basic energy molecules in our body? How does metabolism affect them?

When you consume food, it gets broken down into basic molecules that provide energy to the body.

These molecules are – Glucose from sugars, Amino Acids from protein diet, and Fatty Acids from Fat we consume in our food.

Glucose is utilized to energize brain and muscles, fatty acids are required for heart metabolism and Amino Acids form peptide chains to act as body building blocks.

Now, excess of these energy molecules undergo various changes in our body. Excess of fat in diet gets converted to TRIGLYCERIDES and stored in the fat cells. Excess of glucose in diet gets converted to glycogen and stored in the liver and skeletal muscles for later use. However, if you’re consuming extremely high amounts of sugars in your diet, after saturating the glycogen reserves, this excess sugar gets converted into fat and stored under your skin. This is the main cause of obesity! Excess of proteins are not stored in the body. Excess of Amino Acids from protein diet gets converted into UREA, and thrown  out of your body through urine!


How fat cells build up in the body?

Fat cells / Adipose tissue is already present in your body. It is under your skin (subcutaneous fat), in the bone marrow (yellow bone marow), as a covering to many internal organs (visceral fat), and in breast. It’s already out there! The size of the fat cells is highly variable. It depends upon the type of diet and exercise you do.

Fat cells will stay the same size if the calories we consume equal the calories we utilize each day. If you consume too many excess calories, the size of your fat cells will increase. If you burn extra calories through exercise, the size of the fat cells will decrease.

How does exercise burn fat? Where does the fat go?

It goes out through our lungs!!!

Yes! We all know that during exercise, the breathing increases. This is because of the fact that, the exercising muscles need extra Oxygen to function.

When the body gets Oxygen, the fat cells undergo OXIDATION! This is a metabolic process (called LIPOLYSIS) where the fat cells are broken down to Glycerol and Free Fatty Acids. The Glycerol is composed of Carbon, Oxygen and Hydrogen atoms. Therefore, they are later broken down further, they gets converted to Water (H2O) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2).

The Carbon Dioxide is eliminated through breathing, while water is excreted through sweat, urine, stool and in the body secretions.



The researchers  found that when 10 kg of fat were oxidized, 8.4 kg were converted and excreted as carbon dioxide (CO2) via the lungs, and 1.6 kg became water (H20).

So, the fat is never converted into muscle. It gets metabolized into water and CO2, and is eliminated through lungs through breathing!

Which workouts burn the most calories?

One answer! HIIT Workouts!! The best way to burn higher amount of calories in shortest possible time is to do HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Exercises.

HIIT workout is a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time.


Though there are many HIIT workouts, a few have been mentioned below. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds followed by quick rest for 10 seconds. Repeat each exercise 3 to 4 times.





I hope you have found this post useful. Do let me know your views on how to burn body fat effectively in the comments below. Thanks for your patience! Have a good day ahead!


Dr Navneet Goyal

Dr Navneet Goyal is an Anesthesiologist Doctor, Internet Entreprenuer, Self-taught Marketer, SEO and a Growth Hacker! He has also learnt Web Designing, Lead Management, Digital Marketing & Financial Planning through various resources. His goal is to enhance the current Education model into a Motivational Driven Self Learning Platform.
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