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Top Calorie Burning Workouts To Ramp Up Fat Burning


Ever wonder what workout sessions are most effective when it comes to fat loss progress? Sometimes it can feel like you’re a little like a hamster on a wheel, going around and around without much progress to show.

If you’ve been rather frustrated at your lack of results in the last while, it may be time to take a look at what, specifically you are doing and then consider making some adjustments.

After all, certain workouts will burn more calories than others, so by choosing those that ramp up your calorie burn, you can see the fastest total results possible.

Today, we’re going to look at how a number of common workouts (and some lesser common ones!) stack up against each other. They’re all going head to head so that you can determine the ‘winner’ so to speak.

Do keep in mind however that while we will look at the total calories burned during the time you spend doing the exercise session itself, certain forms of exercise will cause you to burn calories for hours after the workout is completed as well, so that also needs to be taken into account.

If a particular workout variety doesn’t give you a great calorie burn minute by minute while you perform it (or you simply can’t perform it long thus you can’t rack up many calories to begin with), but yet, it causes you to burn calories at a faster pace for the 48 hours that follow, this needs to be considered. We’ll be doing our best to ensure this is noted in the comments for each activity.

And finally, remember that any exercise is only as good as you doing it. If you fail to actually complete the workout session, it won’t really matter how great that workout is, you aren’t getting a calorie burn at all.

If you especially love one type of exercise and it ranks a little lower on the total calorie burn scale but you know that you’d do it daily, this very well may be the best exercise for you.

So all of this said, let’s show you the exercises.

*Please note that all of the stats are based on a 135 lb. individual exercising for 30 minutes. If you weigh more then you’ll likely burn more calories than as noted while if you weigh less, you’ll burn fewer. Likewise, the more intense you exercise, the greater the calorie burn will be so use your own best judgment. All intensities given are assumed to be the standard average intensity for the specific exercise described.

Uphill Running

Calorie burn: 380
The first activity to look at is the king of calorie burn – uphill jogging. Jogging – or running if you can – is already one of the top of the line calorie burning options so it should only make sense that if you now add a hill to the mix, it’s going to be that much more challenging.

The steeper the incline (like from an incline trainer) that you are jogging on, the more your calorie burn will be, so keep that point in mind. The great thing about this exercise mode is that in addition to burning a high number of calories, you’ll also be experiencing excellent strength gains in your lower body as well. The uphill nature will really strengthen the calves, glutes, quads, and hamstrings.

Best of all, if this activity is done with a very intense pace, you will see a very strong post-workout calorie burn, so in all reality, you could end up expending more like 600+ calories after an intense workout is completed.

Max Trainer
Calorie burn: 375

Now we come to another hybrid type of cardio workout, the max trainer. This trainer (well, there are now 3 max trainers) is another machine that attempts to combine the non-impact nature of the elliptical machine, this time with that of a stepper.

The stepper is a great machine that will really hit your glutes, hamstrings, and quads, giving you one of the best lower body workouts possible next to that of weight lifting.

Because it does require so much muscle activation from these large muscles in the lower body, this means you get a terrific calorie burn. This includes the calorie burn during the workout session, as well as the calories you will continue to burn after the workout is completed.

Then, your upper body won’t be getting a break while using this equipment either as you’ll have handles to hold on to that you will use just like you did when using an elliptical trainer.

The max trainer can be used by individuals of all levels and is one that you can progress on over time, with it providing a challenge to even the most fit of individuals out there.

If you aren’t a fan of the basic stepper as it is, the max trainer might just be the equipment to catch your eye and keep you committed to your fitness regime.

Calorie burn: 340

Swimming is another excellent cardiovascular workout to consider adding to your fitness regime. The nice thing about swimming is again, the non-impact nature, making it great for those with joint pain.

In terms of swimming, if you are going with vigorous effort, your calorie burn here can get quite high as well as every muscle group will be used as you pull yourself through the resistance of the water.

Swimming is one of the best weight loss activities to do for this reason, however do take note that some individuals may find that swimming does make them hungrier, so be mindful of how much you’re eating so you don’t eat back the calories that you’ve burned.

Be sure as you go about your swimming workouts that you also do your best to mix up the strokes you use, which will prevent overuse injuries from setting in while also making sure that you see strength gains in all areas of the body.

Elliptical Trainer
Calorie burn: 335

Now we come to the elliptical trainer, which is where the treadclimber originated from. One thing that the elliptical trainer has going for it that the treadclimber does not is that you will get your upper body into the movement pattern as well. Since the more muscle fibers you work, the greater your calorie burn will be, this will really help to promote that maximum level of fat burning.

The higher the resistance level you set this machine at, the more calories you will burn. This burn is based on a moderate level of resistance, but if you really push yourself, you could approach levels closer to that of 400 calories per 30 minute workouts session.

And, just like the options above, in addition to working your lower body muscles very well, it’ll also help strengthen the upper body at the same time. This is one thing that few machine-based cardio workouts have to offer, so a distinct advantage of this machine.

Calorie burn: 325

The next great exercise option to think about is the treadclimber. This one is a relatively new type of fitness equipment that’s hit the scene and aims to combine a few of the traditional modes of cardio in one. The treadclimber is designed to give you a calorie burn that is on par with running – or higher, all while giving you the low impact nature that the elliptical trainer has to offer. For those who suffer from joint injuries, this is a fantastic option.

The treadclimber, because it does offer that incline to provider resistance will help you bring up your total calorie burn closer to the levels of uphill running when done intensely enough.

At the same time, the added resistance will again serve to strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves, making for a great overall lower body training workout.

Flat-Ground Running
Calorie burn: 320

Now let’s talk about flat ground jogging. Jogging on the ground is going to be a great calorie burning choice as just noted and will also dramatically improve your cardiovascular fitness level.

This said, the drawback to flat ground jogging is the fact that since you aren’t acting against any form of resistance, you won’t be getting that muscle strengthening boost.

Now, if you do perform high intensity interval training where you perform flat ground running sprints and then take short, active rest periods between, that will produce some power development and just like above, will also ramp up the post-workout calorie burn that you experience as well. You will need to be in better shape to be able to perform at this intensity level however, so it’s not going to be for everyone.

Calorie Burn: 310

The stepper is a common cardio machine that you will find in most gyms and is relatively simple and easy to use. As such, many people do find they are quite comfortable using this machine as part of their overall fitness program.

The stepper will be a great option for hitting the glutes, hamstrings, and quads, and will also really get your heart rate up, seeing significant aerobic improvements.

One nice thing about the stepmill is that by changing the stride you use as you perform the exercise, you can target different areas of your lower body, giving you the ability to customize this session.

The only thing that you will want to remember if you plan on using the stepmill as your machine of choice is that you should never lean on the handrails as you use it. Too many people support some of their weight on the rails, which will dramatically increase the workout session, rendering you far fewer benefits than you thought you were getting.

Loosely hold on only for balance and you can be confident you are not short-changing yourself and your calorie burn.

Calorie burn: 305

Now we come to your next cardio option – rowing. Rowing is another classic cardio variety that you’ll mostly have access to in commercial gym facilities. The nice thing about rowing is that it’s completely non-impact in nature, making it great for those with joint pain.

And, unlike most other forms of cardio where the lower body is the primary mover, the upper body serves to really help propel you forward with this activity. Rowing will really help you gain strength in the upper body muscles including the shoulders, back, biceps, and triceps. Those who are engaging in a high amount of rowing will also want to be sure to focus on doing sufficient chest strengthening work as well however to avoid suffering from a muscular imbalance.

As you will still be pushing with the lower body as you go about the rowing activity, you will get some lower body strength gains as well, so don’t think that’s completely lost with this activity.

Cross Country Skiing
Calorie burn: 295

If you’re someone who tends to be more adventurous and wants to get out into nature from time to time, cross country skiing can be an excellent activity of choice while helping you lose weight quickly.

Cross country skiing has you working against the resistance of the snow, so much like swimming, you’ll be getting a high calorie burn. Skiing will also have you using the muscles in both the upper as well as the lower body as you go, which will help ensure that you are seeing evenly distributed strength development.

Cross country skiing will always burn more calories than downhill skiing will simply due to the fact it requires more propulsion from your end.

Do keep in mind that while this activity is lower impact in nature, many people with knee pain do find it aggravates their injuries, so if that’s you, you’ll want to tread carefully with it.

Calorie burn: 290

Biking is another popular cardio choice by many people and can be great for really developing strong powerful quads. You’ll typically have the choice between a recumbent bike, which will hit the hamstrings to a larger degree and then the upright bike, which will focus in more on the quads.

The bike is a great way to boost cardiovascular fitness if you are quite strong and powerful in the lower body as it can help ensure that your muscles get an intense enough workout that you are still getting your heart rate up.

The more resistance you use while using the bike and the faster your RPM (revs per minute) is, the more calories you will burn. Also keep in mind that spinning biking sessions, which have you standing up on the bike and also performing some upper body movements as well can increase your calorie burn from this even further.

Aerobics (general – step, etc.)
Calorie burn: 233

Now we come to one type of exercise that most people know about and have likely performed at some time or another – aerobics. Aerobic training, whether it’s step aerobics, dance class, or some other type of aerobics is typically done in group fashion, so if you like being social as you exercise, it can be an excellent option to consider.

Depending on the type of aerobics you’re doing, it may also increase muscular strength to some degree. Typically you won’t see as great of results as you would from some of the machines that provide resistance however as the intensity just won’t be there.

But, if you get bored on a machine very quickly, an aerobics class might just be the perfect fit for you.


Circuit Training
Calorie burn: 233

Circuit training is a fast and fun way to get fit that combines aerobic training with strength training. You’ll move from strength training movement to strength training movement quickly, without much rest in between.

The total calorie burn you get from this exercise will vary based on the nature of the exercise you are including and how much weight you’re lifting, however you can assume a calorie burn that’s in the moderate range of 200-250 calories.

Just do keep in mind that you will get a great post workout calorie burn from this type of exercise however as your muscles will have to work hard to repair any damage caused during the session.

Weight Lifting
Calorie burn: 200-300 (depending on muscle group being worked and amount of rest taken between sets)

Now we come to weight lifting. Your calorie burn here will vary considerably based on the actual exercises you are doing and the intensity that you are working with. The more weight you lift and the larger the muscle groups you train, the more total calories you will burn.

What’s more is that with this training, you’ll not only continue to burn calories for hours after it’s finished, but if you do manage to build more lean muscle mass, you may burn more calories permanently thanks to this new muscle.

As far as keeping your metabolic rate strong over time, weight lifting simply can’t be beat. Plus, as this is the ultimate in weight baring exercise, it’s also great for strengthening your joints.

Walking (brisk pace)
Calorie burn: 167

Finally, walking is a great go-to form of activity for those who are just starting their fitness routine or who may suffer from knee or back pain and can’t jog. The great thing about walking is that it’s free and you can do it just about anywhere.

If you walk at a brisk pace, you can accumulate a decent total calorie burn and since it isn’t quite as intense in nature, it’s easier to do for 60 or even 90 minutes at a time.

If you go for longer, your total calorie burn for that session can still total closer to what you would have gotten with the other activities.

So there you have a closer look at some of the commonly performed exercises and how they all stack up. As you can see, you have plenty of options that will get you in great shape, burning fat, and having fun all at the same time.

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