What Exercises Burn the Most Calories?
If you don’t have a ton of time to dedicate to the gym, you definitely want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your precious workout minutes. Luckily, there are plenty of types of exercise that burn hundreds of calories in under an hour. We compiled some of the most effective types of workouts for you here.
The calorie estimates beneath each type of workout are based on 30 minutes of work for a 150-pound person, retrieved from the calorie and activity calculator from the American Council on Exercise (ACE). You can find calorie estimates for your exact weight by using the calculator.
High-Intensity Interval Training
Calories burned in 30 minutes: varies
The exact number of calories you burn doing HIIT workouts depends on a lot of factors, such as the movements you’re performing, how long your rest intervals are, and your heart rate during work intervals. However, the science doesn’t lie: Studies show that HIIT burns more calories in less time than most other types of training.
Calories burned in 30 minutes: 204 calories
Research has continually shown that high-volume weight training is the best way to maximize muscle growth. It may be one of the best ways to maximize fat loss, too. Lifting with weights you can move for eight to 15 reps is a surefire way to jack up your heart rate and ignite a burn in your muscles.
Cycling (moderate to vigorous)
Calories burned in 30 minutes: 272 calories
Cycling outdoors or on a stationary bike is one way to burn a lot of calories without taxing your joints. This is a great option for people who need lower impact activities to spare their hips, knees, and ankles. In addition to calorie burn, cycling offers at least 10 other benefits.
Running (8 to 9-minute miles)
Calories burned in 30 minutes: 391 calories
We’re not at all surprised that running is one of the top activities on this list of exercises that burn the most calories. Running is hard — even advanced runners can agree with that. Hit the pavement or the treadmill for a jaunt that’ll leave you feeling breathless and accomplished.
Dancing (moderate intensity)
Calories burned in 30 minutes: 221 calories
Let go of your inhibitions and try a group dance fitness class to burn calories in a new, fun way. Not only does dancing burn calories quickly, but it’s also a great way to boost your mood and energy, make friends, and learn new skills.
Swimming (vigorous intensity)
Calories burned in 30 minutes: 340 calories
If your World Gym has a pool, you’re in luck. Swimming is a low-impact yet high-intensity activity that can torch calories in a matter of minutes. Swimming also improves endurance, strength and cardiovascular health.
Jumping Rope (fast pace)
Calories burned in 30 minutes: 408 calories
Well, would you look at that. You can have fun pretending to be a kid again while also burning more calories than you can with any other activity on this list. Lace up your tennis shoes and prepare your calves, because we’re practicing our speed rope skills today.
How to Choose the Most Effective Workouts
It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t always choose workouts based on calorie burn. While burning calories to lose weight is a great goal, you’ll find the most success if you choose workouts you actually enjoy. When you enjoy exercising, you’ll stick with it for the long haul, which is the only way to lose weight and keep it off.
Additionally, evaluate your other fitness goals to choose the best type of workout for you. If you’re trying to build muscle, for example, burning the most calories possible may not be in your favor. There are a number of caveats when it comes to choosing the “best exercises.” A personal trainer can help you determine which workouts will best help you reach your fitness goals.
- ACE Fit | Physical Activity Calorie Counter (acefitness.org)
- Caloric expenditure of aerobic, resistance, or combined high-intensity interval training using a hydraulic resistance system in healthy men