How Long Does It Take To Burn Fat and Maintain Weight?

Losing weight is a common goal shared by thousands of people across the globe. But many people don’t understand the science behind fat burning and weight loss, which makes it difficult to know how long it takes to burn fat.

So before your fat burning journey begins, you should understand how long it will take to lose fat and the factors that can affect the timeframe. This guide covers everything you need to know, so keep reading to find out.

How Long Does It Take To Burn Fat?

To understand precisely how long it may take you to burn fat, you need to know how to burn fat and how fast you can burn fat. 

According to, when it comes to weight loss, you have only two safe options, which include:

  1. A calorie deficit, which involves limiting your calorie intake to encourage your body to burn more fat for fuel. In a safe caloric deficit, you’ll eat 500 calories less than you usually eat in a day. And since a pound of fat contains about 3500 calories, it will take you seven days (one week) to burn 1 pound of fat on a 500-calorie deficit.
  2. Training to burn calories. Besides cardio, both resistance training and strength training exercises burn calories and are effective at helping you burn fat. For example, Jogging for 30 minutes can burn up to 200-500 calories. Also, lifting weights not only helps with building lean muscle mass, but a 30-minute weight lifting session can burn up to 200 calories.

So If you consume fewer calories and train consistently, you can burn about 1-2 pounds of fat weekly or 4-8 pounds monthly. 

However, you shouldn’t attempt to lose weight rapidly by overtraining or increasing the caloric deficit above safe levels. Burning calories too quickly can have adverse side effects like muscle loss, constant hunger, fatigue, and weakened immune systems.

Additionally, extreme fat loss methods are not sustainable, and you’ll find yourself gaining all the weight you lost and more.

Instead, burning 1-2 pounds of fat weekly is safe and sustainable in the long run, and going beyond that won’t be efficient and maintaining a healthy weight. 

So how long it takes you to burn fat and achieve your dream body mostly depends on how much fat you have to lose. For example, if you need to lose 20 pounds of fat, reaching your weight loss goal can take 10-20 weeks.

The difference between burning calories and burning fat

Burning calories is a bit different from burning fat. Every part of your body expends energy and burns calories to maintain itself, which means your muscle tissue and fat cells burn calories even when you’re not exercising. 

However, when there’s no food to provide calories, your body turns to its fat stores for calories. In fact, there are about 3500 calories in every pound of fat.

Tips to Lose Fat and Maintain Healthy Weight

Here are a few tips for burning fat and maintaining a healthy weight:

  • Lower your caloric intake. The most effective way to maintain a healthy weight is by limiting the number of calories you consume. By eating fewer calories, you’ll focus less on fat burning and more on maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Try intermittent fasting. Your body burns calories for fuel, but during long periods of fasting with no calories, your body starts burning fat as an alternative fuel source. So with intermittent fasting, your body will spend more time burning fat for more energy.
  • Follow a workout routine. Regular exercise is another effective way to burn fat, lose belly fat, maintain weight, and even build muscle mass. Additionally, exercising increases your basal metabolic rate, which helps to burn more calories even when you’re resting after training.
  • Do HIIT (High-intensity interval training). HIIT has been shown to be more effective at burning calories than low-intensity cardio workouts. But you don’t need to spend long hours training. Rather, exercising moderately will help you start burning fat for a leaner physique.
  • Lifts weights. Resistance training helps with building muscle, but it’s also effective at burning calories. So weightlifting is great for both fat loss and muscle gain.
  • Avoid processed foods. Diets that contain mainly processed foods have been linked to weight gain.
  • Avoid sugary foods. Eating sugary foods raises your blood sugar levels and makes it more difficult to burn fat. 
  • Use a fat burner.  A fat burner can help to burn calories by increasing your basal metabolic rate, which raises your heat generation and energy expenditure. According to Clarke, M., here are the best fat burners for 2023.

The Bottom Line

The time it takes to burn a certain amount of body fat will vary between different people. Factors like how many calories you consume, how much training you do, and your body’s metabolism determine how long it takes you.

Losing body fat isn’t something you should rush. As we mentioned earlier, trying to lose weight too quickly is dangerous. Instead, losing 1-2 pounds of fat weekly is both safe and sustainable in the long term.

Also, the best way to burn more fat and maintain a healthy weight is by limiting your calorie intake because the more calories you consume, the more weight you’ll gain, and the more fat you’ll have to burn. But don’t starve yourself to lose weight, especially when you’re preserving healthy muscle.

Weight loss has other benefits besides looking better with a lean body mass that reveals more muscle. In addition, burning fat can help to lower your chances of heart disease and high blood pressure.

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