Most people who join a gym aren’t looking to become a bodybuilder. They join a gym because they want to lose weight, get in better shape and maybe just feel better.

But it can become overwhelming when you step into a gym and see all the different exercise machines and shiny gadgets.

In one area, there are rows and rows of things like treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical machines.

Another area has lots of shiny machines, all designed to work different areas of the body, whether it’s the biceps, shoulders, chest, hamstrings or any other body part you can think of. Some of them look like crazy acrobatic contraptions and you’re too embarrassed to try and figure them out!

Then, if it’s a decent gym, there are also lots of barbells, dumbbells, and benches you can use as well.  We’d recommend one of the great machines over at

Where does one even get started?

Here are some tips regarding the best gym equipment for burning fat.

For starters, there are two important aspects of burning fat and keeping it off. You need to build some strength and muscle, as both of these help to raise your metabolism and burn more fat even when you’re not working out.

This is why you can’t just use the cardio equipment like the treadmill or stationary bike. If you do, you’ll lose muscle as well as fat and that will slow down your metabolism, which makes it really hard to keep the weight off for the long term.

The best gym equipment for burning fat is mostly barbells and dumbbells. Obviously, you can build muscle and strength with barbells and dumbbells. However, most exercises with barbells and dumbbells do a better job of burning fat as well.

You see, it takes more effort, which means more fat burning, to perform a standing barbell curl than it does to sit down at some comfortable machine to work the biceps.

While there are some good machines. most of them are designed to isolate a specific muscle to train. With a barbell or dumbbell, you can work a specific muscle but there are also other muscles that help out.

With free weights, even when working a specific muscle, most exercises bring the rest of the body into play, even if it’s just for balancing the weight, such as during a bench press or standing press.

When more of the body is brought into play, the intensity of the exercise goes up and you burn more calories, which means you burn more fat.

There are exceptions. The barbell squat is a great exercise, not just to build muscle but to burn fat, but many people can’t perform the squat correctly. Or they have injuries or they just don’t feel comfortable doing such an exercise.

So the leg press, while not quite as effective, is still a very good exercise for burning fat. By working the legs on the leg press machine, you’ll burn a lot of a calories.

Another good example is the lat pulldown machine. The chin up is a better exercise but not many people have the strength to do enough repetitions to make it worthwhile. With a lat pulldown machine you can simulate a chin up while using less weight so you can perform enough repetitions.

Just because you should be using mostly free weights, it does not mean you train like some massive bodybuilder. But it does mean that the best gym equipment for burning fat is actually the free weights, not the machines, with a few exceptions.

When training to burn fat, you can perform more cardio style workouts, even with free weights. Most bodybuilding workouts have you using heavy weight and doing only 5 to 8 repetitions per set, with long rest periods between sets.

When trying to burn fat, you can keep the repetitions per set in the 10 to 15 range and you can also use much shorter rest periods between sets. Or, no rest at all, but instead perform a different exercise.

Here’s a sample workout you can do. Complete each exercise and rest only 20 to 30 seconds between exercises. Perform 12 repetitions on each exercise, but use a weight that would allow you to complete 20.

Once you’ve completed them all, rest two minutes and repeat three more times for four total rounds.

  • Barbell Squat (or Leg Press)
  • Barbell Bench Press (use Dumbbells if you don’t have a spotter)
  • Dumbbell Pullover
  • Dumbbell Rows (one arm at a time, no rest between arms)
  • Standind Dumbbell Shoulder Press
  • Standing Barbell or Dumbbell Curls
  • Standing Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extensions

While there have been lots of new exercise machines with advancing technology, the bottom line is that the best gym equipment for burning fat is still old fashioned free weights.

If you want to add some cardio work on a treadmill or stationary bike to burn some more calories, that’s fine. Just be sure to focus more on the free weights in your workout. You’d be surprised how tough a free weight workout can be when you use big exercises like the bench press or deadlift, along with high repetition sets and little rest.

You may find you’re breathing a lot heavier from that workout than you would be from the treadmill.