You don’t need to lift heavy weights to build muscle, burn fat and lose weight. So, that takes away the reasoning, “I don’t want to get too bulky by lifting weights!” Rest assured, you must do more than cardio exercise to lean and tone your body.
Bodyweight strength workouts burn fat and allow you to use natural body motions. You don't need exercise machines. Machines limit your natural range of motion. Try doing a squat on the Smith Machine and see how natural that feels to your body.
To be fair, machine workouts can be beneficial for beginners. But even beginners should not stay with the machines for too long. Why? Because machines also stabilize your body for you. You need to develop strength that allows your body to stabilize itself. Also, no two people have the same exact motions.
Enter in bodyweight strength exercises. These types of exercises allow you to train in all three planes of motion (machines usually limit you to training in one plane of motion--sagittal).
I don't even recommend doing cardio exercise on machines. Cardio machines do too much of the work for you. Personally, running on cardio machines bores me to tears! Try doing sprint cardio intervals outside on grass and see how tough it is to fight against gravity, ground forces and the elements! You are forced to generate all the momentum and force. But, you will be rewarded with a leaner body in less time!
Doing bodyweight strength exercises will give you more calorie burn, more fat burn and will tone your body faster than doing the same exercises on machines!
Another benefit of doing bodyweight strength exercises is---you don't need a gym membership. Save your money and still lose weight! You can do these types of workouts at home, at the park or at the schoolyard. This saves you travel time to and from the gym. So, that takes away the excuse, “I don’t have time to workout!”
So, what type of bodyweight strength exercises are best for helping you burn fat and lose weight? Burn more fat by working large muscle groups, not by working out longer.