Well, it's always the right time to get in shape. And it doesn't really matter where you exercise, as excellent fat-burning workouts can be done at home. In this article, we will explain how to perform the best exercises to lose weight and how many calories you can burn.
Two different people won't burn the same number of calories while doing the same exercise. Such factors as your age, weight, lean muscle mass, and fitness level define how much energy you need. In addition, consumed calories, sleeping hours, and hormonal balance also influence how much fat you can burn1Tamaki Mitsuno, Yuko Shinohara. (2018, June 23). Most Effective Enforced Exercise Time for Aerobic Exercise to Burn Body Fat. International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-94373-2.
When your body gets used to a certain type of physical activity, it also spends fewer calories1Tamaki Mitsuno, Yuko Shinohara. (2018, June 23). Most Effective Enforced Exercise Time for Aerobic Exercise to Burn Body Fat. International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-94373-2. That is why it is important to change your activities from time to time. If you are already quite lean, it will be harder for you to lose weight2Melin, A. K., Heikura, I. A., Tenforde, A., & Mountjoy, M. (2019, February 26). Energy Availability in Athletics: Health, Performance, and Physique. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. DOI:10.1123/ijsnem.2018-0201. As your body prioritizes maintaining a healthy amount of fat, burning a lot of calories might lead to losing muscle mass. That is why we recommend combining strength training with fat-burning workouts.
Running is among the most popular cardio exercises. It is affordable and easy to perform. Run at a comfortable pace up to 5 miles a day to see the first results in a week.
However, running is not the best exercise for overweight people as it creates extra load on one's heart, lungs, and joints3Marcin Maciejczyk, Magdalena Więcek, Jadwiga Szymura, Zbigniew Szyguła, Szczepan Wiecha, Jerzy Cempla. (2014, April 2021). The Influence of Increased Body Fat or Lean Body Mass on Aerobic Performance. PLOS ONE. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0095797. To make running a healthier exercise, start with jogging at a moderate pace. When you lose some weight, it will be easier for you to adapt to running faster4Chen, YY., Kao, TW., Fang, WH. et al. (2019, June 20). Body Fat Percentage in Relation to Lung Function in Individuals with Normal Weight Obesity. Sci Rep 9. DOI:10.1038/s41598-019-38804-3.
How to do: Lean forward a little bit and start running. You should regulate your speed with your body incline - the more you lean, the faster you go. Engage your core and use a midfoot strike (land on the middle part of your feet). Your hands should be a part of the movement, but don't flex your shoulders. Exhale when your left foot touches the ground to avoid pain or tension in your stomach5ACE. (20187, October 10). WHAT IS CORRECT RUNNING FORM?. ACE Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Institute. Retrieved from https://www.ace-pt.org/ace-physical-therapy-and-sports-medicine-institute-what-is-correct-running-form/.
Calories burned in 30 minutes: 240-360
Doing CrossFit usually requires more equipment and a higher fitness level. You need to know how to perform at least basic exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and push-ups. As Crossfit is so versatile, you can exercise at home, outdoors, and in the gym. The number of calories you burn depends on the intensity and focus of the workout.
How to do: If you exercise alone, prepare or find a workout plan, there are also plenty of free WODs (workout of the day) available online. It is much easier to get used to Crossfit during group sessions. So try to find a local gym with a Crossfit certification.
Calories burned in 30 minutes: 350-450
A cycling session can be an intensive workout (especially if you go to a cycling studio) or a light physical activity almost similar to walking. Of course, the first type is going to be more energy-consuming. However, you can last longer if you choose a moderate load. You can even rent a bike and go sightseeing in your city or while you travel.
How to do: Choose a safe outdoor route or cycling track. Prepare or rent a bike for a ride. Your workout can last from 40 to 120 minutes, depending on your goals. If you visit a cycling studio, just listen to your trainer. Cycling group sessions are fun and effective as they motivate you to catch up with others.
Calories burned in 30 minutes: 130-400
Swimming is also a very versatile activity. It can become your everyday hobby if you live near a public pool, sea, or ocean. Outdoor swimming can be more fun and healthy, but a good pool is a better solution for weight loss for beginners. But once you learn how to concentrate and maintain a steady pace, you can swim anywhere.
How to do: Choose the swimming style that is most appealing to you and the direction. Swim in this direction and then return to point A. Don't try to swim too fast - your training session should last not less than 30 minutes.
Calories burned in 30 minutes: 200-300
HIIT is a high-intensity interval training that incorporates various exercises and cardio training. Despite being so intense, HIIT improves your cardiovascular health6Fergal Grace, Peter Herbert, Adrian D. Elliott, Jo Richards, Alexander Beaumont, Nicholas F. Sculthorpe. (2018, August). High intensity interval training (HIIT) improves resting blood pressure, metabolic (MET) capacity and heart rate reserve without compromising cardiac function in sedentary aging men. Experimental Gerontology. DOI:10.1016/j.exger.2017.05.010 and is more beneficial to your endurance than classical cardio sessions, even if you are an experienced athelete7Niamh J. Ní Chéilleachair, Andrew J. Harrison & Giles D. Warrington. (2017). HIIT enhances endurance performance and aerobic characteristics more than high-volume training in trained rowers. Journal of Sports Sciences. DOI:10.1080/02640414.2016.1209539. You continue burning calories even for several hours after working out8Børsheim, E., & Bahr, R. (2003). Effect of exercise intensity, duration and mode on post-exercise oxygen consumption. Sports medicine. DOI:10.2165/00007256-200333140-00002!
How to do: Choose a YouTube video, training program, or group training session to join. Repeat the actions and the exercise form. Rest as recommended if you can maintain the training pace, but feel free to add extra 30 seconds when you need it.
Calories burned in 30 minutes: 370-600
Learning how to do martial arts is beneficial not only for your body but also for your brain. You can see it something between dancing in a particular style and studying a new language. Some martial arts are more energy-consuming: boxing, mixed martial arts, and kickboxing. Such types as carate and tai chi tend to be less intense.
How to do: Choose a special gym or classes to attend. You can practice some basic movements at home, but it is necessary to have a fighting partner and a supervisor.
Calories burned in 30 minutes: 200-400
Water polo activates most of your muscles and includes aerobic and anaerobic exercise (cardio and strength). Water polo is also a good socializing tool as it is a team sport.
How to do: As it is a team sport, you cannot play water polo on your own. Join a water polo class at the nearest venue. You can try several places to decide which one you like most before you choose your gym membership.
Calories burned in 30 minutes: 200-400
Squash was once given the status of the most calorie-burning sport. Of course, the intensity of the game and your professionalism affect how many calories you burn. However, it is only slightly more calorie-consuming than tennis and racquetball9Richard R. Montpetit, Louise Beauchamp & Luc Léger. (1987). Energy Requirements of Squash and Racquetball. The Physician and Sportsmedicine. DOI:10.1080/00913847.1987.11702059.
How to do: The main goal of a tennis player is to make a shot that your opponent can't return. Squash and racquetball are somehow similar to tennis, but you need to hit a rubber ball against a wall in front of you. You can play practice these sports alone or with a partner.
Calories burned in 30 minutes: 350-500
Strength training might not be so fat-burning while you exercise. The magic happens during the recovery phase. Your body spends energy building new muscle tissue. Moreover, lean muscle burns calories even while you rest10Wang Z, Ying Z, Bosy-Westphal A, Zhang J, Heller M, Later W, Heymsfield SB, Müller MJ. (2011, May-June). Evaluation of Specific Metabolic Rates of Major Organs and Tissues: Comparison Between Men and Women. Am J Hum Biol. DOI:10.1002/ajhb.21137.
How to do: Carefully examine the form of each exercise you need to perform. Look in the mirror while performing exercise if possible. Ask a trainer for help if you are not sure that you do everything right. Use progressive overload to achieve results: add a little more weight or reps each time you work out.
Calories burned in 30 minutes: 90-250
Jumping rope can drastically improve your cardiovascular system in addition to burning 15-20 calories a minute11Sadi Partavi. (2013, January). Effects of 7 weeks of rope-jump training on cardiovascular endurance, speed, and agility in middle school student boys. Sport Science. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/287337889_Effects_of_7_weeks_of_rope-jump_training_on_cardiovascular_endurance_speed_and_agility_in_middle_school_student_boys#:~:text=The%207%2Dwk%20rope%20jump,group%20(p%3E0.05).. This activity can seem rather challenging, that's why it is better to combine it with other exercises. Normally, you will need to make 2-3 minute jumping sessions and rest between sets or rounds.
How to do: Jump low, so the rope can go under your feet. High jumps are less efficient unless you do double unders. Jump as long as you can (aim for 1 minute if you are a beginner) and rest till your heart rate turns back to normal.
Calories burned in 30 minutes: 300-500 (with rest)
Remember that doing only high-intensity workouts with a fast heart rate might be too exhausting to repeat every day. In the long run, incorporating low-intensity exercise and more activity in your daily routine will be more effective. For example, simple walking is not so tiring, but you can burn extra 500 calories walking 5 miles a day.
Losing weight is not a linear process with one variable. You need to consider your diet and recovery as equally important factors. Don't forget to warm up. It will help you avoid traumatizing your muscles and joints.
Make sport your hobby. Better pick the activity you like the most than the one that burns more calories. Using this strategy, you will always be fit and spend your time with pleasure. Choosing exhausting workouts, on the contrary, might lead to a lack of motivation and giving up sports as soon as you reach your target weight. Of course, the first strategy works much better in the long run.
Last but not least: create a challenge. Losing weight can be more fun if you do it with your friends or colleagues. Set your goals and decide what prizes you get after you succeed.
Eat tasty food and lose weight with Unimeal app!
Take a Quiz – Get personal meal plan – Achieve your weight goals!Start Quiz
Unimeal does not diagnose or suggest treatments. Any description of the diet, training plan or supplement should be discussed with your current physician or nutritionist. This article does not address specific conditions and is simply meant to provide general information on healthcare topics. Following any advice is at your own initiative and does not impose any responsibility on the blog authors for your health and safety.
By choosing high-quality sources, we make sure that all articles on the Unimeal blog are reliable and trustworthy. Learn more about our editorial processes.