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I hate exercise, I find it excruciatingly boring. But I am overweight and need to lose fat fast. The main reason why I find it boring is because it takes too long and I don't like doing a a variety of exercises. It seems like you have to run on a treadmill for half an hour to lose the calories you get from eating one apple. And following exercise dvds with it's myriad of exercises is just painfully annoying.

I want to get my daily exercise session over with as fast as possible while getting the most out of it. So I am looking to do some intense high straining cardio exercises to the point where my heart is beating really fast and I am burning a lot of calories and fat.

The exercises I found so far that does this for me are:

Mountain Climbers
Suicide Sprints

I can't do the latter because I work out in my room and well there is no room for sprints. I like mountain climbers but it doesn't exhaust me as much as Burpees do so I rather just stick to that as it is the most exhausting.

So I just want to do Burpees. How many do I have to do and how many reps of each and how much rest in between reps in order to burn an insane amount of calories (and then fat) per day?


Age: 23
Sex: male
Weight: 180lbs
Height: 5'8
Body Type: overweight 

Please don't hesitate to recomend something super intense.

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You hate exercise because you find it boring and annoying but want to lose fat fast yet you also ask for something super intense? To be honest, I think your first real step is changing your attitude about exercise. –  Matt Chan Aug 3 '12 at 11:17
@MattChan I know a lot of people who hate long, slow, plodding exercise, and one good alternative in that situation is short, intense exercise. Sprints (or parkour) instead of distance running can do a lot to keep many people's attention and motivation. –  Dave Liepmann Aug 3 '12 at 14:35
Losing weight is all about motivation. Once you start feeling even a little bit healthier you'll really want to get into other exercises. Get yourself some kettlebells or dumbbells and increase your muscle mass. Some good music will also help. –  Salsero69 Aug 6 '12 at 20:42
Jump rope. Boxers do this. It is a full body workout, and low impact when you know how to use it properly. –  user5458 Mar 19 '13 at 19:06
What about 5-10 burpees in between weight lifting sets? –  user7725 Feb 2 at 14:45
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5 Answers 5

up vote 3 down vote accepted

One work-out routine for high-intensity is "Tabata", see this search on this site: Search:tabata and this question: What is tabata? How effective is it?

Answering your question, you would do 20 seconds of burpees, rest for 10 seconds and repeat this for e.g. 8 times. That would take you about 4 minutes. The more fit you are, you can add more sets.

However, since you are overweight (BMI ca 27), you should take it easy initially, burpees are very hard if you do them correctly. So:

  • Do a medical checkup first since you will have a very high pulse rate doing burpees in a tabata context.
  • Do some light warm-up before the burpees, e.g. see this question: Morning stretch
  • Work on the technique initially (e.g. don't do a maximum jump or step backwards instead of jumping)

Whether this will help you to loose fat depends also on diet, see this weight-loss tag

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A close friend of mine asked for an intense workout today. It was raining so running was not an option. Since I had this answer in my mind, I suggested "Tabata[Burpees, 2 sets, 4 min]". She could do about three strict burpees in 20 seconds. The perceived effort level was very high –  FredrikD Aug 3 '12 at 18:46
just tried my first session and stopped after 3 sets. Will shoot for 4 tommorow and so on until I can get up to 8. Insane lol –  JakeRow123 Aug 4 '12 at 1:51
how is the work out progressing? –  FredrikD Sep 29 '12 at 11:31
It might also be a good idea to track progress, so something like: 6/6/6/6/5/5/3/4 = 41. Helps with the motivation to see that you've actually improved in time (since the effort should always be perceived as maximal). –  VPeric Jul 20 '13 at 14:37
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The bottom line is that you need to burn Calories, and have a way of measuring the Calories you are burning. If you have a heart rate monitor that is calibrated to where you are right now, you'll have a pretty decent indicator of the progress you are making.

That said, the most amount of Calories I've burned in one session was about 1,400 Calories over 1.5 hours. The activities involved included heavy lifting with compound lifts, and following it with performing my katas for conditioning. This is not something I can do every day, but I can do it about 3-4 times a week.

I can't tell you how many burpees you have to do per day. I can tell you that your heart rate has to be up for an extended period of time to burn a lot of Calories.

In general, a pound of fat is ~3500 Calories. If you do not change what you are eating, and you are burning 1,000 Calories a day through exercise, you can lose a pound every 3-4 days. However, to keep it off, you will have to either adjust what you are eating or keep doing the grueling workout from now till eternity.

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If you don't like spending a lot of time doing exercise, bodyweight is the wrong way to go about it. To make gains you need progressive overload, and the only way to get progressive overload with bodyweight exercises is to increase your reps or sets, and that's going to draw your exercise out.

To get things done quickly, you need to lift heavy weights, as you can get progressive overload by increasing the weight you lift while keeping the same number of reps and sets, so you don't end up spending any more time.

If you really want to do burpees you can, but as you start losing weight you're actually doing less work with your burpees so you'll have to do more just to maintain any progress you've made, and further jack it up to continue making inroads.

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I would reiterate what some people have said about addressing your diet first before going gungho on exclusively burpees. I know for myself I used to run a couple miles every day (not super regularly but often enough I thought should have made a difference). Nothing really changed for me until I made dietary changes.

In my experience the following holds true: (Whatever amount of exercise you normally do) + (However much you normally eat) = (Your body weight equilibrium).

The dietary changes that worked for me was cutting out (most) sugar and carbohydrates (wheat, rice, potatoes, etc.) Sugar and carbohydrates have a high Glycemic index which basically means they turn to glucose readily which turns into fat if it isn't used right away. By not taking in these foods in the first place, you force your body to burn the fat. Don't starve yourself, just don't eat sugar and carbs, you still have meat, fruit and veg, and dairy. You don't have to be psychotic about it but the more you stick to it the more successful you'll be.

Basically, if you don't make any dietary changes and you are currently eating a lot of sugar and carbohydrates, you won't be able to outrun your intake by doing burpees and like other contributors have mentioned, as you become more fit you will have to do more burpees to get the same effect. You'll become more fit but you won't lose the fat.

As for finding exercise boring, maybe you just haven't found the one that isn't boring for you. I starting cycling more consistently lately and I've found it to be great exercise. I try to keep up with the cars, so I am essentially sprinting between stop lights. I lost a few pounds just by cycling back and forth commuting. Keep trying till you find something you enjoy doing and then it won't be so loathsome.

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If you don't like exercise, you can focus on improving your diet. Cut down on sugar and flour. Cut out fried foods. Eat more vegetables, especially green leafy ones. Consult your doctor or a nutritionist about supplements.

You can also incorporate more "stealth" exercise into your daily routine rather than setting aside explicit exercise time. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. At work, if you are just reading or on the telephone rather than actively typing at the computer, try standing rather than sitting.

These changes won't produce fast results—nothing except for maybe lipo-suction will—but they will produce results. Safely. Good luck!

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