Wondering what exercises burn the most calories?
The truth is that there’s no short answer to this question. This is because the amount of calories you burn depends on a number of factors, such as your height and weight and the duration, pace, and intensity of each workout.
What’s important is that you’re not cutting back on calories, as they are essential for building muscle and increasing your energy. A healthier mindset is to burn enough of the calories you consume to maintain an ideal body composition. And the best way to do that is through activity.
However, there’s still some confusion about which workouts burn the most calories. Some fitness enthusiasts would say that cardio-based exercises are the best option, while others claim that resistance or strength training is the way to go.
Before you begin….
A successful fitness journey starts with smart goals and a positive mindset. Here are a few reminders before you start hitting the gym:
Think beyond weight loss
The benefits of regular exercise go beyond shedding extra pounds. Working out also improves your body composition, blood circulation, and cholesterol and blood sugar levels. All these will translate in better mood and cognitive function and improved resilience against disease.
Nutrition and fitness go hand-in-hand
Though exercise is an effective way to burn calories, it’s also crucial that you pair it with enough rest and proper nutrition to get better results. Instead of cutting back on calories, make informed food choices by using precise portion control and calorie counting tools like SmartPlate. After a workout session, try to resist the temptation of rewarding yourself with unhealthy food. Instead, grab a banana or mixed nuts as a treat, and don’t forget to stay hydrated.
Know your limits
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to working out. In fact, the type and amount of exercise, as well as the pace at which you do them, depends on a variety of factors. These include your body mass index, current fitness level, lifestyle, and diet, and specific goals. Keep in mind that over-training can be counterproductive. To make sure you realize your fitness goals, start at a comfortable pace and increase intensity gradually. This is why it’s important to work with a personal trainer.
To help you make an informed choice, here are the best exercises proven to give your body a calorie-burning boost.
The Best Calorie-burning Workouts
Variety is important for fitness routines. For one, it keeps you from getting bored, and secondly, it helps ensure you’re working out different parts of your body. But if you want to maximize your calorie burn, try these exercise:
1. Jump Rope
Calories burned: 330 to 445 per 30 minutes
Have you ever thought that one of your childhood activities would turn out to be a very effective workout for calorie burning? Jumping rope is a great exercise that not only improves your body coordination, but also strengthens your upper and lower body while burning a lot of calories.
To perform this exercise, you should first practice your foot and arm movements separately. Begin by holding both rope handles in one hand, then try swinging the rope to familiarize the flick and have a feel of its rhythm. Then, practice jumping without the rope first to further improve your timing. Lastly, try to put the steps together and slowly develop consistency with your jumps.
Calories burned: 319.5 to 473 per 30 minutes
We all know that running is a great option to burn calories, but if you are facing a limited time to sweat out, then engaging in a higher intensity workout like sprinting is your next best option.
First, try to warm up your body by jogging or doing high knees. Then, form a steady starting position with your torso straight and vertical. Next, try bending your elbows at 90 degrees while maintaining a relaxed grip on your palms. And to start your sprint, try to do short but quick strides and lengthen it as you further increase speed and momentum.
Calories burned: 240 to 355 per 30 minutes
High knees is another great running-based cardio workout that might just suit you well. This exercise helps you increase your heart rate while strengthening your lower body at the same time. And just like sprints, this high-intensity movement is an effective way to burn calories in just a short period of time.
To perform this exercise, simply start by running in place while lifting your knees as high as you can do. You can further intensify your movement by adding up arm swings or simply pumping your arms up and down.
4. Butt kicks
Calories burned: 240 to 355 per 30 minutes
Butt kicks are another type of workout with the same intensity as high knees.
Start this exercise by standing with your feet within hip-distance apart, with your arms at your side. Then, slowly try to bring your right heel back to your buttocks by contracting your hamstring muscle. Once your heel touches your buttocks, place your right foot back on the ground and perform a similar step on the other side. Once you’ve already familiarized yourself with the motion, you can increase the intensity by speeding up your movement.
Calories burned: 291 to 432 per 30 minutes
If you’re looking for a more compound exercise, you should definitely try kickboxing. This exercise has been shown to significantly improve your fitness level. It’s also a well-rounded exercise that covers cardio, agility, strength, balance, coordination, upper and lower-body fitness. Aside from that, it’s also an effective stress-relieving activity.
If you want to try this workout, start with some basic movements such as jabs, crosses, uppercuts, and hooks, as well as proper kicking movements. You can then incorporate other lower-body exercises like squats and lunges as you progress.
Calories burned: 264 to 420 in 30 minutes
Cycling is great for no-impact cardio and for strengthening your knees and hamstrings. You can do this exercise by using an actual bicycle for an outdoor ride, or you can also use a stationary bike as an alternative.
Start by lifting up your right leg, reach it to the pedal and repeat on the other side. Once you gain balance, start gliding by pushing yourself off by foot. Tuck your feet upwards and onto the pedals. While in motion, maintain the bike’s balance as long as you can. Once you feel the bike beginning to tip, catch it by putting one foot to the ground, then push off again. You can increase your intensity as you go along.
Calories burned: 198 to 294 in 30 minutes
If you’re looking for something less intense, swimming is a great option.
Swimming is a low-impact type of workout that allows you to burn enough calories, while enjoying numerous health benefits like improved muscle strength, lung and heart capacity, and blood flow. Though it can burn the same amount of calories as running or jogging, swimming doesn’t put a lot of pressure on your joints and muscles. Thus, it’s a good choice for people with mobility or joint problems.
You can burn more calories by trying different swimming strokes and taking several laps in the pool.
8. Kettlebell/ Dumbbell circuits
Calories burned: 277 to 411 calories per 30 minutes
If cardio-based exercises don’t suit your interest, try doing weight exercises using kettlebells or dumbbells. Weight training significantly improves your strength and boosts your metabolism. It effectively decreases your body fat percentage since you’ll be lifting and moving weights in a way that keeps your heart rate going throughout the entire workout.
Since it will involve a combination of upper body and lower body exercises, you should learn different pushing and pulling movements, squats, lunges and other core-related movements.
Calories burned: 3.1 to 4.6 per minute
Last but not the least, walking is the simplest and easiest way to burn calories. Whether you are at home or outdoors, its convenience is unparalleled. Walking is a great way to keep yourself active, especially if you have mobility issues.
To maximize the calories you burn while walking, you can combine it with housework or do brisk walking when running errands.
Achieve Your Health & Fitness Goals with SmartPlate
To maximize results, complement these best calorie-burning exercises with proper nutrition. Explore the SmartPlate website to know more about effective and scientifically-proven calorie counting strategies.