Preteen Weight Loss: How to Burn the Most Fat

If you’re a preteen or adolescent trying to lose weight, don’t despair: There are ways you can lose weight and burn fat without spending hours and hours exercising, and without starving yourself and being hungry all the time. I’m a certified personal trainer.

First of all, preteens should think of food as fuel, rather than as gratification or reward. As long as preteens keep thinking of food as something rewarding and gratifying, they will expect every meal to be full of sugar and fat. They will expect snacks to be candy, soda, ice cream bars and cookies. But what about burning fat?

Do you have a bike? Find some hills and start pedaling. Pedal as hard as you can up a hill, then coast back down. Then pedal back up, huffing and puffing, then coast back down. Do this six to eight times, then go home and eat something healthy like fruit, tuna fish, yogurt, nuts or a chicken salad. Or if it’s dinner time, eat dinner.

The fat-burning workout I just described is called interval training. It is far more effective at burning fat than if you simply pedal your bike on flat roads for an hour. Yes, that’s right: six to eight, highly intense “work intervals” up that nasty hill, then coasting down it in between, will create a ripple effect of fat-burning that will last for hours.

Simply pedaling nonstop on flat roads will not create this after-burn effect. Preteens can use this plan for other kinds of exercise, like jogging. Do you jog for, say, 30 minutes nonstop? Try something different for greater fat-burning.

Sprint as fast as you can down your street until you are so out of breath and tired that you must stop. By this time you’re breathing so hard you can’t speak. That’s how fast you must run. When you reach this complete exhaustion point, don’t stop outright and stand still. Instead, keep moving: walk, walk, walk, while you catch your breath.

After you’ve caught your breath, sprint again as hard as possible until you are totally winded. Then walk several minutes. Do six to eight sprints. This is high intensity interval training and is the most powerful way to burn fat.

Whether you’d rather use a bike only, or don’t have a bike, do these kinds of workouts on three days of the week, but never two days in a row, to accelerate the ability to burn fat. Interval training will raise resting metabolism and cause you to burn more body fat than ever before.

If you’d rather exercise indoors and just happen to have a stationary bike or treadmill, then do highly intense intervals on these machines. Pedal fast and furiously on the stationary bike for 30 seconds, as fast as you can. If this is easy, then increase the pedal tension. With a treadmill, don’t hold on while you’re running. Cheating like this will interfere with burning fat.

However, don’t set the machine at its fastest speed until you find out just how fast you can handle. Progress in small increments: 6 mph, 6.5 mph, 7 mph, 7.5 mph, etc. If you normally run at around 5 mph, don’t just jump to 10 mph. For ultimate fat-burning, alternate back and forth between 3 mph and the fastest speed you can run without losing control or having to hold on.

If you feel like doing cardio a fourth day of the week, that’s fine, but make it your usual cardio: long, fixed-pace easier cardio – no hard work intervals. To lose weight or prevent weight gain, and to burn maximal fat, a preteen does not need to spend huge amounts of time jogging, pedaling or walking. For more information on how to do high intensity interval training, read my HIIT guide.