Difference Between Fat-Burning and Cardio

In today’s world, people are conscious of their health and have set targets for the type of body they want. They prefer to be in proper shape and maintain their health to prevent themselves from being sick and ill. People do both fat-burning and cardio under the guidance of a proper mentor.

Fat-Burning vs Cardio

The main difference between fat-burning and cardio lies in the method in which the calories are burnt during the tenure of exercise. In fat-burning, the active release of energy is due to the burning of the stored fat whereas in cardio the active release of energy is due to the stored carbohydrates and the number of calories burned is accounted based on carbohydrates as they actively help in weight loss. 

Fat Burning vs Cardio

Fat-burning is the exercise done by people for losing weight and have a good lifestyle. In this exercise, the people mostly do medium intensity workouts and the heart rate is maintained at 50-60 beats per minute and does not leave an after-effect or burning sensation. The overall burn of calories is generally low. 

Cardio is another set of activities done by people to maintain fitness and stay in shape. In this type of set, the exercises are of high intensity which helps in burning carbohydrates and also increases the number of calories burned during the workout. The heartbeat is more than 60 beats per minute.

Comparison Table Between Fat-Burning and Cardio

Parameters of ComparisonFat-Burning Cardio
IntensityThe intensity of the exercises done is moreover between low to medium and is less exhausting.The intensity of the exercises done varies from upper-middle to high and can be very exhausting.
Heart rate The heart rate is between 50-60 heartbeats per minute and has a minute differenceThe heart rate is comparatively more and regulates between 70-80 and is tiring.
Main energy burnedThe amount of energy burned is due to the stored fats and you can work afterwards.The amount of energy burned is usually due to the stored carbohydrates and glycogen which helps more in reducing weight.
The calories burnedIt is a misconception that it reduces more weight but the weight is lost due to the number of carbohydrates burned which is less.Cardio helps in reducing more weight because it burns more carbohydrates which levels up the number of calories which is lost.
Burning sensationDue to it being a low-intensity workout there is no burning sensation and a normal routine can be continued just after exercise is complete.Being a high-intensity workout, it leaves a burning sensation on the body and for some time you need to rest.
Common ExercisesSome of the common exercises which are done during the workout are chest press, lunges, shoulder press, etc.Some of the common exercises done during the workout sessions are jump squats, jump lunges, rope jumping, etc.

What is Fat-Burning?

Fat-burning is one of the most common sets of exercises done by people to stay fit. Most of the time they are done to reduce weight especially of the belly, hip region and also helps in maintaining proper stamina. 

The routine which can be followed with some of the tricks is as follows. You can start the training by doing some strength-building exercises which include pushups, presses, crunches for more than 30 minutes and then also reserved yourself for nutritious food and avoid junk and refined fats like vanaspati ghee. You can also work on meditation which helps in building focus. They usually focus on the belly, hip and other parts where fat needs to be lost.

The calories burned is not high as they are calculated by the number of carbohydrates burned during the exercise and they burn stored fats. The amount of calories burned is directly proportional to the amount of weight lost. They are also not proper for body-building and are usually used as warmups. They can also cause some other side effects like anxiety and sleep deprivation which is most common as well as mood swings.

The common exercises which are done under this are chest press, lunges, shoulder press, etc. 

What is Cardio?

Cardio is a set of exercises done to lose weight as well as used for body-building. They are very good exercises for enduring heart and lung capacities. They are also helpful for people who want to lose weight in a shorter period. It uses more than 70% of the total heart rate and overdoing these can cause some serious problems.

Some exercises which can be done at home in this category are jumping ropes, jumping jacks, burpees. The duration for each activity is also set and can be started from 10mins each day and vary to 30mins. After this, the workout may be followed by running on the treadmill and high-speed walks. The exercises leave a burning sensation after the workout which individually means that more energy is released even after the set is done. 

The energy release is accurately due to the burning of stored carbohydrates which directly affects the number of calories burned. Usually, the number of calories burned is high and the weight loss is more in comparison to fat-burning exercises.

The exercises which are included are rope jumping, jump squats, jump lunges, etc. and can be tiring along with burning sensation may affect the normal daily work for a short period after the set is done. The side effect is that there can be muscle loss, you are more prone to injuries if over-exercised, mood swings, etc.

Main Differences Between Fat-Burning and Cardio

  1. The intensity of both the workouts is the polar opposite. Fat-burning includes low-intensity exercises whereas cardio includes high-intensity exercises and can be tiring and exhausting.
  2. The workout session for fat-burning is around 30 mins in which exercises are done for cutting the fat of hips, belly whereas in cardio the warmup session is for 30mins and at the starting usually starts from 10 mins and continues with running.
  3. During fat-burning set the amount of calories burned is quite less because the carbohydrates burned are less whereas in cardio the number of calories burned is higher because it deals in loss of carbohydrates.
  4. The energy released generally comprises the fact that the work done is right. In fat-burning there is active burning of stored fats especially around the belly and hips whereas in cardio the energy released is due to the burning of carbohydrates and glycogen which are stored in access.
  5. The common exercises for fat-burning are lunges, chest press, shoulder press whereas cardio includes activities like pull-ups, rope jumps, jump squats, jump lunges, etc.


The kind of activity you do should be based on your decision and shouldn’t be taken due to any pressure or biased discussions. Both fat-burning and cardio have their advantage and disadvantages and can be useful for different kinds of purposes. Fat-burning can be useful for people who do not want to feel tired throughout the day and still want to stay fit. Cardio can be really helpful for people who want to increase their stamina as well as work on the capacity of their heart and lungs. Fat-burning can cause some side effects like mood swings, anxiety and sleeps deprivation whereas cardio can cause injuries if overdone, muscle loss as well as anxiety. 


  1. https://www.pharexmedics.com/studies/the-science-behind-ketogenic-diet


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