To work out, I play Dance Dance Revolution and similar games. I think it counts as high-interval training, like repeatedly sprinting 400 meter laps: A typical level lasts 90 to 150 seconds, and a play session lasts three songs played within the span of about 10 minutes. Then, I take a 5-15 minute break before the next round. Each song I play typically has 500 to 800 steps in it.

I know that for endurance cardio, the best way to burn fat and lose weight is to workout for about 30-60 minutes, then stop before I begin burning muscle tissue. And it's best to do such exercises 3-5 times a week. For weightlifting, I understand that the best way to burn fat and build muscle is to perform low-rep, high-weight exercises. But I'm not sure what the best approach is to burn fat and lose weight with a high-intensity interval program.

How should I plan my workout sessions to lose weight and reduce my body fat percentage?

  • 6
    I think your understanding of fat burning is flawed. Eating correctly is the proper way to burn fat/lose weight. The exercise helps to “orient” your metabolism, but it’s only about 20% of the weight loss equation.
    – Frank
    May 9 '19 at 0:31
  • 2
    You should consider asking questions if those things you just said are correct. Some are so far off they aren't even incorrect but meaningless. There are many people trying to make money with people feeling or being overweight and that leads to a lot of confusion and alternative facts out there
    – Raditz_35
    May 9 '19 at 9:56
  • 1
    There's a lot wrong with this question. Your first paragraph functions as useful reference material, but within it and the next paragraph as a whole can be found incorrect assumptions on your part. As mentioned by Frank, your understanding of fat burning is clearly flawed. The question just feels distracted from both itself and the facts which show that exercise (despite all its benefits) isn't how you lose weight. It can help, but it ultimately boils down to a net energy balance. That energy balance is entirely determined by how much food you put in your mouth. May 9 '19 at 16:50
  • Wow, I guess I really do have a lot of misunderstandings. Thank you all for being frank with me. What I wrote in my second paragraph was advice given to me by a personal trainer my company hired for a weight loss competition... Given that he was already paid and wasn't pushing any products, I thought he would be reliable. But it sounds like I got some garbage advice, or really misunderstood what he was talking about.
    – Kevin
    May 9 '19 at 17:58

The amount of calories you burn in a given time depends on how much actual physical work you do in that time, not on what type of exercise you do or how fast you do it.

When on hypocaloric diet, you can lose some muscle mass during endurance training, but less likely during resistance exercise (Table 1, PubMed, 2017). High-protein diet can help you prevent muscle mass loss (see the same article).

I'm not sure if having breaks during endurance exercise can help you prevent muscle mass loss.

In conclusion, you lose body fat when you are on a hypocaloric diet and do endurance or resistance exercise or no exercise at all. The best plan is the one you can stick with long term; no need to overthink all the numbers.


You should run a calculation to determine your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). This calculation will estimate how many calories you need every day in order to maintain weight, and thus going over will result in your weight increasing while going under will result in your weight decreasing. A TDEE Calculation works by factoring in your activity level on top of other individual factors that constitute your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). While this is often quite accurate, it's important to remember that TDEE Calculations are estimates based on averages. The more accurately you provide information to the calculator, the more likely your calculation is to be accurate for you (bf% and activity level especially).

I would caution you against overestimating the value of dancing with regards to your overall fitness though. It certainly has benefits, but it is unlikely to build much if any muscle, and while you are in a caloric deficit it may not be enough stimulus to even maintain muscle mass. Muscle mass is important because it's a direct factor in your bodyfat percentage as well as being more metabolically active than fatty tissue (it burns more calories just by existing). Oh, and your comparison of DDR sessions being comparable to sprinting 400 meters multiple times seems incredibly wrong btw.

So how do you plan your workout sessions in order to lose weight and drop your bodyfat percentage? You factor them into your TDEE and eat a couple hundred fewer calories each day than the number it gives you. Here is one such calculator.

  • 1
    "Oh, and your comparison of DDR sessions being comparable to sprinting 400 meters multiple times seems incredibly wrong btw." I really do think this is a fair comparison. Obvious they're not exactly the same activities, but I'm moving quite fast when I play DDR. Here's a video showing the kinds of levels I play and the motions involved: youtube.com/watch?v=dLghtZqSJpE
    – Kevin
    May 9 '19 at 18:03
  • Everything else you've said sounds very reasonable, though. I think I do have a lot of misconceptions.
    – Kevin
    May 9 '19 at 18:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.