Updated: Oct 19, 2020
There are many health benefits to exercising beyond just burning calories. But if your focus is on losing weight and burning calories, you likely want to know how to get the most calorie burn in the least amount of time.
First things first, the number of calories an individual burns during an activity differs based on personal characteristics like age and weight as well as the duration and intensity of the activity.
For example, a 125-pound person will burn about 270 calories in 30 minutes on an elliptical at moderate intensity while an 185-pound person will burn about 400 calories in the same amount of time.
Keep in mind that this variability exists as we review some of the top exercises for burning calories.
This one probably doesn't surprise you. Running is an easy way to burn significant calories. An hour of running burns about 650 calories for a 125-pound person and about 800 calories for a 155-pound person.
If you don't have a lot of time, you can also substitute a longer run for shorter sprints. Thirty minutes of short, high-intensity sprints can burn up to 350 calories.
2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT training burns a lot of calories in a short amount of time. But as the name suggests, these exercises are done at maximum intensity, so it is a very challenging workout. HIIT is performed in intervals (usually about 20 to 30 seconds of high intensity followed by 10 to 15 seconds of rest).
A 20-minute HIIT workout can burn up to 300 calories!
3. Jumping Rope
Jumping rope is a fun way to burn calories, and quickly! An hour of jumping rope burns about 560 calories for a 155-pound person and 670 calories for a 185-pound person.
You can choose to jump rope at a consistent pace or shorter, faster intervals.
4. Stationary Bike
Thirty minutes of moderate effort stationary bike can burn about 200 to 300 calories. High-intensity effort on a stationary bike can burn up to 450 calories in the same amount of time.
5. Weight Training
It's not just cardio activities that help you burn calories. Weight training helps you build lean muscle, and lean muscle helps you burn more calories even while at rest! So, while a single 30-minute cardio session might burn more calories, building muscle via weight training will burn more calories in the long run as you build more muscle mass.
Light to moderate weight training a few days a week along with some cardio will maximize your overall calorie burn over time.