Many people get into working out to burn body fat, and more specifically belly fat. Find out whether high knees can help with this and what kind of results you can expect.
One of the benefits of high knees is that they can help you lose weight in combination with the right habits in other lifestyle areas.
Whether the fat you burn comes from your belly, thighs, or any other area depends on things like how far you are in your weight loss journey and personal genetics.
The human body tends to “prefer” to store fat around its waist. In turn, people tend to lose the least amount of fat around their belly.
In short, high knees do ultimately help you burn belly and thigh fat as you lose more and more weight but whether you focus on these areas or others first is not something you can influence a lot.
How you gain belly fat
To get a better idea about whether high knees will help you burn belly fat, how fast, and to what extent, it is helpful to know how the human body gains fat.
Your body needs energy to function. Even when just sitting down or sleeping, there are a variety of processes going on to keep you alive.
When you eat (typical) food, your body extracts energy from it which is often measured in calories. However, it is also possible that you extract more energy from food than you use throughout a typical day.
In a situation like that, your body stores the excess energy in certain ways. Some of the main ones are glycogen and body fat. This body fat is distributed over different areas including your belly.
Where you gain fat first and where you gain more fat depends a lot on your genes (and to some extent what type of food you eat).
The problem is that excess body fat increases the risk of all kinds of diseases and is generally not considered visually appealing. That is why many people try to burn fat around their belly and other areas.
How you can burn belly fat
Luckily, this process of storing energy is not permanent. You can also reverse it and improve your health in the process.
When your body requires more energy to function than is coming in from food, it starts using up energy stores like body fat. There are a variety of things you can do to make this happen.
On the other hand, in what areas your body uses up the body fat and to what extent each area gets attention are generally not things you can influence in significant amounts.
It is somewhat common to feel a “burn” in certain areas when working out. In the case of high knees, this could happen in your leg muscles.
However, these “burns” are the result of muscle fatigue and not necessarily because you are using up fat from these areas.
In short, to burn belly fat you have to lose body fat overall until (at least part of) this area is next. Your choice of workout generally does not play a role in what order this happens.
Do high knees help you burn belly fat?
One way to make your body use up more energy, which in turn can lead to losing body and belly fat, is moving more intensely for longer. For example, by doing high knees instead of less intense activities.
A pound of body fat is around 3500 calories (one kg +-8000 calories). The number of calories burned with high knees varies from individual to individual but there are some rough estimations.
Someone who weighs 155 pounds (70 kg) will burn around 110 calories when doing high knees at a vigorous pace for 15 minutes.
That means if your other lifestyle habits would result in an energy balance, you would have to do vigorous high knees for about 18.18 hours = 1091 minutes to burn one pound (0.45 kg) of body fat.
Compared to other workouts this is decent but at the same time, there are many exercise options that can burn fat faster than high knees.
Whether and to what extent this fat-burning happens around your belly again depends on things like genetics, where you are in your weight loss journey etc.
If you take a quick look at any nutrition label you will notice that other lifestyle areas like nutrition still play a big role in fat loss.
You can do a lot of high knees and still gain fat if you don’t get these other lifestyle areas at least somewhat right.