The Best Calorie Burning Exercises

Scheduling specific workout times throughout the week helps with time management and workout consistency. But managing your time effectively doesn’t stop with workout schedules: To maximize your exercise time focus on the most efficient exercises. While every exercise burns calories, not all exercises burn calories equally. To burn the most calories in your workout try these efficient calorie-burning activities.


People heading out for a run will burn more calories than other activities of the same duration and the same intensity. Like all exercise, the more effort put in, the more calories burned and the bigger the fitness gains. The American Council on exercise says a 160-pound person burns 584 calories running at 5 mph for one hour. This speed equals 12 minutes per mile. A 160-pound runner capable of running a mile in 7.5 minutes, or 8 miles per hour, burns 986 calories per hour. To convert these numbers to a more reasonable 30-minute run, divide by two and see how many calories you can still burn.


Cycling burns calories quickly if you work out with enough intensity. Whether on a road bike or on the stationary bike at the gym, it can be easy to go through the motions with this workout. Keep your speed up over 10 mph and this becomes one of the best calorie-burning exercises. An hour workout, cycling over 10 mph, burns almost 600 calories. Stationary bikes display cycling speed and calories burned so you can easily track your workout. Increasing the pace above 10 mph makes this an even better calorie burner.

Kettlebell Snatch Workout

While not a new training technique–kettlebell training dates to Russia in the 1700s–research in 2010 confirmed intense kettlebell workouts burn lots of calories very quickly. A study by the American Council on Exercise investigated the fitness gains in a 20-minute kettlebell snatch workout. Over the course of the workout exercisers burned an average of 20 calories per minute–400 calories in only 20 minutes of exercise. Researchers say this burns the same number of calories as running 6 minutes per mile for those 20 minutes.

About this Author

Aaron Jacobsen specializes in writing about health, fitness and mental performance topics for websites including LIVESTRONG. He holds a master’s degree in kinesiology and is a former faculty member at San Jose University.