Whether you prefer a walk in nature or a speedy 10-min HIIT session, here’s a breakdown of the energy you’ll burn via your workout of choice.
If weight loss is a goal of yours, we have some very good news. You don’t need to live in the gym or turn to extreme exercise to see results. In fact, according to some of the greatest minds in health and fitness, any movement will have an impact. But before we go on, a quick science lesson.
A calorie is burnt when the chemical energy in food is metabolised and turned into kinetic energy through movement. More calories can be easily burned with high-intensity activity in a shorter period of time, but – here’s the real game-changer – low-intensity, long duration exercise is actually a more desirable method for fat loss.
It’s a “marathon, not a race”, confirms personal trainer Dalton Wong, who’s worked with the likes of Hollywood mega-stars Jennifer Lawrence and Kit Harrington. His advice is to approach weight-loss goals with consistency in mind.
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“You’ll end up burning through quite a few calories if four-hour walks are your preferred weekend activity. Its low-impact nature means it’s easy on the joints, making weight loss more sustainable,” he says. “You don’t have to train like an MMA fighter to lose weight.”
Curious to know how many calories your workout of choice burns? We’ve done the sums for you…
Average burn: 149-184 cals in 10 minutes
Guaranteed to burn through an impressive number of calories in record time, skipping can torch nearly 200 calories in 10 minutes. Done in short bursts, it’s an efficient way of improving your stamina, meaning those longer runs will soon become more manageable. Added bonus? You’ll also boost your brain power, bone health, coordination and strength. Do it alongside longer and less intense physical activity to dial up the wellbeing benefits.
Average burn: 139-163 cals in 10 minutes
Lacing up the trainers is one of the best ways to lose weight sustainably. But first, some handy speed stats. Jogging pace is typically 6 to 10km per hour, while a run is anything faster. “If you think that energy is what’s required to produce force, the faster we’re running, the more force that we’re producing, the more energy we’re expending,” says Worthington.
So if you’re running for a sustained period of time, you’re guaranteed to burn a significant amount of calories. One word of advice? Before trying to up the intensity, be realistic, start small and build gradually to keep running stronger for longer.
Average burn: 120-141 cals in 10 minutes
If you are looking to push your body and challenge yourself in the areas of cardio, strength and agility, you might want to pull on the gloves and get fighting fit. According to Aussie boxer Viviana Ruiz, currently ranked no.2 flyweight by the World Boxing Association, the highest number of calories can be burnt in sparring sessions, which simulate a fight.
Not only does Ruiz herald boxing as a weight-loss tool, but emphasises that in taking up the sport, you’re also developing life skills.“Martial arts teaches you discipline and how to be present in the moment,” she adds. “It also gives you confidence, not just because you know you can defend yourself, but because you learn how to react calmly in stressful situations without being overly emotional.”
Average burn: 111-131 cals in 10 minutes
Never tried it? Then it could be time to get acquainted. Rock climbing is a low-intensity and low-impact sport which still works the whole body, burning ample calories
.Another big plus: It’s outrageously social. Indoor rock climbing can be done with friends and paced at a speed all fitness levels can easily manage. However, if you don’t feel like heading to the local climbing wall, one alternative is the long, stick-like piece of machinery in your gym. The VersaClimber, first popularised in the ’80s, has held its spot for top calorie burner amongst cardio machines.
The vertical machinery simulates a climbing motion, targeting the glutes, transverse abdominals, obliques, lats, delts, triceps, biceps, quads and calves. Think a full-body, calorie-shedding workout that’s gentle on your joints. What’s not to love?
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Average burn: 101-119 cals in 10 minutes
The time-efficient calorie burner, HIIT has long been a hero of the fitness world. Not familiar? It’s made up of short bursts of intense exercise designed to make you sweat. Hard.
According to Wong, the easiest way to start your weight-loss journey is at home, and with a wealth of HIIT exercises available for free online, HIIT is a great place to start. However, if weight loss is high on your list of priorities, know this: HIIT can’t be done over a long period of time, and won’t result in weight loss when done in isolation.
Average burn: 91-107 cals in 10 minutes
Think all bike rides are created equal? Then think again. The conditions we cycle in can actually have an effect on the amount of calories we burn. Cycling offloads around 80 per cent of body weight onto the saddle which means the sport is much more accessible to people who are completely new to exercise, or coming back from injury.
However, for the more experienced cyclist, this means that downhill and flat conditions will require little energy use and fail to challenge the body. If you’re all about the burn, consider a HIIT approach to cycling with a spin class or jump aboard Zwift, a digital platform that allows you to ride some of the world’s most scenic routes, without even leaving the country.
Average burn: 78-86 cals in 10 minutes
Though most of us focus on cardio for weight loss, weight training, or resistance training with body weight, is a surefire way to shape up and boost metabolism. Wong explains: “The more lean muscle we have, the more calories we burn at rest.”
What that means in reality? With increased muscle mass, you’ll burn more calories all day long, even when you’re not exercising. Feel a bit lost at the gym on your own? Try a class like CrossFit which incorporates strength training with functional movements including deadlifts and squats.
Average burn: 61-71 cals in 10 minutes
Good news for the exercise phobic. Getting your sweat on doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym. As Wong confirms: “If you put your favourite song on and dance to it for three minutes, that’s the equivalent of doing a hill incline at a spin class.”
And turns out, the rewards aren’t just physical. The cognition involved in learning the steps is an equally good workout for your brain, so sign up for a dance class and reap the mind benefits. Rather shake it in the privacy of your own lounge room? Apple Fitness+ has some fun, high energy options, with great soundtracks from Rihanna to Britney Spears, through their Artist Spotlight feature to get the vibes pumping.
Yoga or Pilates
Average burn: 53-58 cals in 10 minutes
Yes they’re relaxing and a brilliant way to boost flexibility, but Pilates and yoga are also a major win when it comes to strengthening the core and toning your abdominal muscles.
To up the intensity, with minimal impact to your joints, celebrity trainer and ambassador for our Health of the Nation campaign, Sam Wood, recommends reformer Pilates. “It’s low impact, supported by the machine and the soft resistance of the springs which facilitates a really great intensive workout. And with modern variations such as Pilates HIIT, adding just one reformer class to your weekly exercise schedule will seriously level up your calorie burn rate.”
Average burn: 38-45 cals in 10 minutes
Although the numbers may not look so impressive at first glance, this humble fitness hero is one of the simplest things you can do to lose weight, simply because you can keep going.
Turn your Sunday stroll into a brisk calorie burner by upping the pace. Try introducing short bursts of fast-paced walking – or “fartlek training”, as the Swedes call it – turning up the pace for 30 seconds so you’re walking out of your comfort zone, slowing down until you’ve almost recovered, then going again. See? Couldn’t be simpler.
Sam Wood’s low-impact, high-cal burners
If your joints shudder at the thought of more hardcore suggestions, trainer Sam Wood says it’s possible to bypass those and still get results. “Often people think high impact and high intensity are the same thing,” he explains. “The reality is, you can have a high intensity workout with low impact.” Try one of these joint-friendly, cal-burning exercises instead…
ROWER: 60 second max effort
“Rowing machines are fantastic because they incorporate your upper body as well as your legs for a full body workout that’s high intensity and low impact because your feet aren’t even touching the ground. A max effort of as little as 60 seconds will burn a lot of calories with minimal impact.”
TRX: Strength intervals
“Low impact interval training with exercises that avoid a lot of jumping and explosive movements can be just as effective as HIIT. TRX-based exercises are great because they’re supportive and versatile. TRX-resisted rows, chest presses, and single leg pistol squats are all great moves to add into your high intensity circuit training.”
SWIM: 50m sprints
“Swimming is an incredibly low impact workout because water takes the pressure off the body but the movement of pushing against the resistance of the water makes for a naturally high intensity workout. Interval training with short sprint efforts is the best way to get that heart rate firing.”