Exercises that burn the most calories

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Hi, Can someone give me a list of exercises which burn the most calories in the least number of repetitions? Thanks!

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  • Retroguy2000
    Retroguy2000 Posts: 1,502 Member
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    Reps? As in, lifting weights? Don't waste your time trying to calculate calories for sets or reps. Just pick a number for the whole session. And it won't be as high as cardio exercise can get you for the same time.
  • Corina1143
    Corina1143 Posts: 2,896 Member
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  • zebasschick
    zebasschick Posts: 910 Member
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    how many calories you burn depends on how much speed/intensity you bring to the exercise. you can burn 120 calories in an hour on a stationary bike if you go slow on a low resistance, but you can also burn 400 calories or more going fast against a good amount of resistance. and if you walk for exercise, walking slowly on a level surface won't use nearly as many calories as walking briskly up and down hills.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,051 Member
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    Repetitions? That suggests you're thinking of some kind of strength exercise, seems like.

    Strength exercise is worth doing for many reasons, but it's not a world-beater for calorie burn. The highest calorie burn per time interval isn't going to come from strength exercise, it's going to come from some kind of cardio.

    The Compendium of Physical Activities suggests that the most calories per minute are burned by running (fast), running stairs, riding bicycles very fast (ideally up a mountain), stationary biking or machine rowing over 200 watts, rope jumping (over 100 jumps per minute), jai alai, roller blading over 24.0 km/h (15.0 mph), chopping wood very fast with a heavy axe, canoeing or kayaking faster than 6mph, swimming butterfly stroke at competition pace, speed skating, cross-country skiing faster than 8mph . . . .

    If you're wanting to lose weight, the most intense exercises aren't ideal. If we get overly fatigued, we drag through the rest of our day(s), rest more, do less, and bleed calorie burn out of our daily life activity. For most of us, our daily life activity - job, chores, non-exercise hobbies - burns more calories than our exercise. Wiping out some of that calorie burn by doing intense exercise is counter productive for weight loss.

    On top of that, super intense exercise isn't the best way to build fitness, and improved fitness is a way to burn more calories later. (When we're fitter, we can go harder without getting exhausted. Super intense exercise done routinely doesn't allow recovery, and recovery is where the magic - our body rebuilding - happens.)

    I'd strongly suggest that a person pick an exercise they enjoy, and a time budget for exercise that will fit into their life while maintaining good overall life balance, i.e., enough time and energy for job, family, home chores, and any other thing important for success or happiness. Spend that time budget doing the enjoyable exercise at the maximum intensity that isn't exhausting (except for a few minutes of "whew" right after the exercise), allowing for a short warm-up at the start and cool-down at the finish. That will tend to burn the most calories without bleeding calorie burn out of daily life.

    Exercise we enjoy (or at least find tolerable/practical) is more likely to actually happen regularly, whereas something extremely intense (punitive) is likely to be procrastinated or skipped at the slightest excuse.

    Someone is going to come along and say HIIT burns the most calories. Betcha they're wrong.
  • Retroguy2000
    Retroguy2000 Posts: 1,502 Member
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    csplatt wrote: »
    this is misleading. is that per hour? at what intensity level?
    I wouldn't call it misleading. It's an estimate, a starting point. I think we can safely assume an hour, rather than say 47 minutes or 64 minutes.

    Some of them don't really assume different intensity levels. Others might, but even if that table had several entries for stationary bike based on low, medium or high intensity, what do those terms mean to the average user anyway? They probably won't mean the same thing to everyone.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,051 Member
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    The Compendium of Physical Activities (https://sites.google.com/site/compendiumofphysicalactivities/home?authuser=0) includes objective intensities (like wattages for stationary bike) or speeds (for running). Those are still estimates, some better than others, but a bit more anchored in reality (i.e., based on scientific research, generally).

    The exercise impact is listed there in METS, not calories. Higher METS implies higher estimated calorie burn per time unit. Calories can be estimated with a METS calculator, such as:

    https://ergo.human.cornell.edu/MetsCaloriesCalculator/MetsCaloriesCalculator.htm

    "Most calorie burn" is still not a great way to select an exercise to do, IMO.
  • 8syr4pfpcx
    8syr4pfpcx Posts: 6 Member
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    You shouldn’t really focus on exercise for calorie numbers. Exercise should be for enjoyment, adrenaline, motivation etc. I would focus on nutrition when it comes to weight loss as this is the driver, exercise is only the passenger.
    Walking is very under rated for fat loss.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 9,389 Member
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    Yeah, do exercise because you enjoy it and for health, not because you think it gives you a big calorie burn. I ran 6.5km last night, and I got just over 300 calories out of it. I had a chocolate bar yesterday which was about 260 calories. Go figure.

    Besides, MFP is set up such that you're supposed to eat back your exercise calories. Thus doing an exercise that burns the most calories doesn't do anything if you use this website properly.
  • stegeem
    stegeem Posts: 142 Member
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    I don't know if this burns many calories, but I saw a video today of someone jumping rope and she lost a lot of weight. You could also do hiking (while carrying a heavy bag), push a stroller or jump on a trampoline.
  • Kiwi2mfp
    Kiwi2mfp Posts: 166 Member
    edited January 19
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    I don't know what your current fitness level is but as a former military person I would suggest you stay away from running or jogging...even tread mill or elliptical if you are heavily overweight or in the obese range. It's seriously not good for the joints...I would venture to say it's not good for your heart either at that level of fitness. Walking, swimming, biking are all fairly easy on the joints. I didn't exercise much at all other than walking and gardening until I was close to normal BMI. Diet is the biggest part of losing weight. The old saying, " a penny saved is a penny earned" can also apply to weight loss really. Truly, though, a penny saved is more than a penny earned (because you pay taxes on that penny earned!). Same goes for calories in and calories out. Saving the calories from going in in the first place might save you the wear and tear PLUS energy to get them back out. My joints are SHOT now and I'm only 38. That was with military fitness training at acceptable military BMI standards! I was told at the age of 23 that I would need both my knees replaced by the time I'm 70. I can hear my knees! It's not cool. There is definitely benefits from physical activity but please don't hurt yourself if the benefits don't out weigh the cost. I would suggest taking up gardening. You can grow healthy food, get that vitamin D, get a good tan, and put your whole body to work routinely. That is, IMO, the best work out for burning calories in my opinion.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,051 Member
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    Kiwi2mfp wrote: »
    I don't know what your current fitness level is but as a former military person I would suggest you stay away from running or jogging...even tread mill or elliptical if you are heavily overweight or in the obese range. It's seriously not good for the joints...I would venture to say it's not good for your heart either at that level of fitness. Walking, swimming, biking are all fairly easy on the joints. I didn't exercise much at all other than walking and gardening until I was close to normal BMI. Diet is the biggest part of losing weight. The old saying, " a penny saved is a penny earned" can also apply to weight loss really. Truly, though, a penny saved is more than a penny earned (because you pay taxes on that penny earned!). Same goes for calories in and calories out. Saving the calories from going in in the first place might save you the wear and tear PLUS energy to get them back out. My joints are SHOT now and I'm only 38. That was with military fitness training at acceptable military BMI standards! I was told at the age of 23 that I would need both my knees replaced by the time I'm 70. I can hear my knees! It's not cool. There is definitely benefits from physical activity but please don't hurt yourself if the benefits don't out weigh the cost. I would suggest taking up gardening. You can grow healthy food, get that vitamin D, get a good tan, and put your whole body to work routinely. That is, IMO, the best work out for burning calories in my opinion.

    FWIW, from another thread, OP seems to be nowhere near obese or overweight. If there are worries, they might be in the other direction.

    If she's new to exercise, then absolutely it's a good plan to start with something that's a manageable (and safe) challenge to current fitness level. That's great advice for anyone!
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 27,897 Member
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    Snowshoeing is the highest calorie burning exercise I do. I can’t do it for long, and it still wipes me out. it’s really not an advantage for burning calories when I’m a couch potato the rest of the day. 😆

    I can only do it rarely because the weather doesn’t cooperate, and I do it because I like it, not because of the calorie burn.

    On the other hand, I am now walking 3 to 4.5 miles per day at work, and standing more, and this has really made a difference for me.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 27,897 Member
    edited January 19
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    Kiwi2mfp wrote: »
    I don't know what your current fitness level is but as a former military person I would suggest you stay away from running or jogging...even tread mill or elliptical if you are heavily overweight or in the obese range. It's seriously not good for the joints...I would venture to say it's not good for your heart either at that level of fitness. Walking, swimming, biking are all fairly easy on the joints. I didn't exercise much at all other than walking and gardening until I was close to normal BMI. Diet is the biggest part of losing weight. The old saying, " a penny saved is a penny earned" can also apply to weight loss really. Truly, though, a penny saved is more than a penny earned (because you pay taxes on that penny earned!). Same goes for calories in and calories out. Saving the calories from going in in the first place might save you the wear and tear PLUS energy to get them back out. My joints are SHOT now and I'm only 38. That was with military fitness training at acceptable military BMI standards! I was told at the age of 23 that I would need both my knees replaced by the time I'm 70. I can hear my knees! It's not cool. There is definitely benefits from physical activity but please don't hurt yourself if the benefits don't out weigh the cost. I would suggest taking up gardening. You can grow healthy food, get that vitamin D, get a good tan, and put your whole body to work routinely. That is, IMO, the best work out for burning calories in my opinion.

    I agree that the overweight and those new to exercise should be careful with their joints. For example, if you look at the reviews for programs such as “30 Day Shred” many of the one star reviews mention joint issues.

    Fellow veteran here. I hope you’re maximizing your VA healthcare benefits. I’ve recently been to PT, Podiatry, prosthetics and finally getting somewhere with my ankle. Now I have to move on to the hip on my other leg 😱
  • Zachor717
    Zachor717 Posts: 9 Member
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    Perhaps your aggregate activity level may impact your ability to progress. To be clear, if you, for example, exercise an hour a day and sit on your butt the rest of the day - you probably will not make progress. If you, however, keep moving throughout the day you may be more successful. Much success to you.
  • mtaratoot
    mtaratoot Posts: 13,175 Member
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    @Zachor717

    I am assuming that the original poster is looking for creating a calorie deficit and is looking to find exercises that help increase that deficit. If that is how they define "progress," then it doesn't matter about sitting on their butt if they choose to. It's not healthy, that's for sure. But if they can create a calorie deficit even without ANY exercise, and if their goal is to be in a deficit to lose fat, then it really doesn't matter what activities they do.

    The think that the original poster may come to realize, and that most people should also, is that intentional exercise for sure expends some calories, but you can't outrun the fork.