Ask the Trainer: Which Exercise Burns the Most Calories?

posted: 07/12/16
by: Ashley Lauretta

When it comes to working out, you expect to keep your energy high and in turn, burn a lot of calories. That's the simple way to put it. It gets more complicated when you are on the hunt for that 'magic move' that will help you burn the most calories possible. The truth is, it doesn't have to be as complicated as it sounds.

"One workout that burns a lot of calories isn't going to make a difference unless you stick to a daily routine and maintain a diet conducive to weight management," explains Kyle Golden, a certified fitness trainer and founder of Work It Personal Training in Austin, Texas. "Picking a routine that you are likely to do consistently is most effective in the long term."

So then, instead of asking which exercise you should be doing, think of working to burn calories as part of a routine. Golden suggests the Tabata method for its high-energy reputation.

"Studies have shown that this method is one of the most effective routines for burning calories and achieving weight loss," he shares.

So what exactly is the Tabata method? Golden describes it as bursts of cardio at maximum effort, lasting for 20 seconds and followed by 10 seconds of rest. This cardio can be one of many options; for example, you can run, jump rope, box, do jumping jacks and more. As long as it keeps your heart rate up and you perform it as intensely as possible for the full 20 seconds, Golden notes you can't go wrong with one of those options.

You repeat this circuit seven or more times, on and off, for about four minutes. As your body acclimates to the workout and you get more comfortable completing one session, Golden notes you can add another session and so on, until you are performing about four, 4-minute Tabata routines at a time.

"As with any exercise routine, you should always warm up and cool down before beginning the Tabata workout," adds Golden.

Yes, you read that right. You'll be exercising between four and 16 minutes and still getting in a great workout! When it comes to the nutritional aspect of calories--such as calorie counting and deficits--it is good to visit with a trainer or nutritionist to make sure you are doing so in a healthy way.