Which Cardio Burns The Most Calories?

Which Cardio Burns The Most Calories?

Cardio is a calorie killer, it’s what shreds down those pounds and gets you nice and lean.

It can help you cut if you’ve bulked up too much, and it keeps your heart healthy as can be.

Including cardio workouts in your daily regimen isn’t just a good idea: it’s a staple of good health, which also allows you to progress in strength training much easier.

There’s a lot of reasons to love cardio, but if you’re looking for cardio that burns most calories (compared to hybrid training methods), this is what you need to know.

Which Cardio Workout Burns the Most Calories?

Contact Sports

boxing workout

Contact sports are one of the best ways to lose weight, because they’re cardio that you don’t even have to think about. It’s like losing calories by proxy.

This category has a lot of variables to account for, so I want to break it down in the best possible way.

Contact sports include football, basketball, soccer, baseball, rugby, and other sports that have a similar setting and intensity level. Nobody is burning 500 calories an hour by playing golf.

I would say that’s a mild intensity sport where you might burn 100 calories an hour, if you’re actually walking the green.

When you engage in contact sports, you’re taking all of the “chore” out of cardio workouts.

It’s very common for people to dislike cardio simply because it isn’t considered fun or interesting, and there are fewer barriers to breach.

Weightlifters want to tack on another 5 lbs to their weights, or do extra reps, adn things of that nature.

For the most part, doing cardio just means you focus on distance and time and that’s about it.

Apart from contact sports being extremely good for cardio, they’re also fairly healthy in terms of muscle growth.

No two sports are the same, and no two games/rounds will be the same as the one before it.

You’re doing dynamic movements that depend on how the other team/person is playing, so you’ll always be switching up your routine and doing different things.

  • Average Calories Burned by the Hour: Anywhere from 550 to 900
  • Average Calories Burned by Your Weight: Average BMR indicates a 490 to 855 calorie loss

Gym Workouts

fit young woman with kettle bell at the gym

Now, speaking of weightlifting, there are plenty of calories to burn in the gym as well.

Weightlifting affects your body differently from straight up cardio, but thankfully, there are plenty of hybrid machines that you could use to burn calories.

Essentially, you’re going to learn to rely on rowing machines a lot.

The reason for this is that they combine dynamic movements with a wide range of motion, which helps you stretch out some muscles that you might not be using on a daily basis.

This all contributes to calorie loss.

Now, when you’re doing gym workouts, they’re in a controlled state.

You might have noticed the wide range in how many calories you can burn by the hour with contact sports.

That’s because there are so many variables that you can’t account for.

With gym workouts, you can basically predict what every machine is going to offer you.

Right now, we’re talking about exercise bikes, rowing machines, treadmills, smith machines, ellipticals, and things of that sort.

They all have a base amount of benefits and impact different muscle groups, all of which will get your heart rate pounding.

It’s not as traditional as cycling or running for cardio, but it gets the job done.

If you’re customizing your own workout regimen, try to keep VIIT in mind so that the intensity is there, and it will keep your heart rate elevated.

This ensures caloric burn, and keeps your body all ramped-up to put in that extra work and focus to really make it a great workout session.

  • Average Calories Burned by the Hour: Anywhere from 450 to 600
  • Average Calories Burned by Your Weight: Average BMR indicates a 430 to 580 calorie loss


workout on exercise bike

This one is my personal favorite. I started cycling before I even knew how good cardio really was for you, and I’ve just kept with it since.

Cycling can be an excellent way to burn calories strictly through endurance training, because apart from your legs, you’re not really working out too many muscle groups.

In fact, that’s one of the reasons that it’s not considered to be the most efficient way to exercise or put in those cardio hours.

However, thirty minutes of moderate intensity cycling can burn off about 330 calories, and sixty minutes of high intensity cycling can burn up to 750. It’s a gradual process that you have to work up to, but for some context, a pound of body fat is 3,500 calories.

Five days of high intensity cycling equals one pound lost, or the equivalent amount of calories burned.

Cycling is great for weight loss and weight management, and since you’re not stuck in a gym staring at the same walls, you can switch up your route while still getting in a great workout.

It’s more engaging and fun than being stuck on one machine for a half-hour every single day of the week.

Now, cycling does come with some added risks if you live in a metropolitan area, so before you look at this as a viable way to burn calories, be sure to check out different local routes that you could take.

Distance is one of the ways you factor weight loss, so having a few one-mile and some three-mile trails already saved on a map app would definitely be a good idea.

You can just pick and choose where you want to go that day without worry.

  • Average Calories Burned by the Hour: Anywhere from 450 to 750
  • Average Calories Burned by Your Weight: Average BMR indicates a 420 to 730 calorie loss

Running / Jogging

Running is most common way of cardio exercise

Perhaps one of the most common ways of performing cardio exercise is through running and jogging.

You might be surprised to learn that it’s on-par with contact sports in terms of caloric burn, and exceeds using  gym equipment, excluding exclusive treadmill use.

Running is a high-impact sport, but it also comes with a high level of reward.

You do put a considerable amount of stress on your joints, but at the gain of burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time.

Running is basically the most efficient way of burning calories, so if you’re short on time, this is the way to go.

When I said high-impact, I also meant that it’s very taxing on your body.

These are both types of aerobic exercise, which actually work out a lot of muscles and areas of your body at the same time.

If you’re thinking of running as a form of constant exercise, consider your current position and where you stand in accordance with the risks.

If you’re currently overweight, you might endure a bit of physical strain on your joints and tendons while running until you get down to a healthy BMI range.

In some instances, it might be better to graduate to running once you use other forms of cardiovascular exercise to get the most out of it.

An exercise profile that includes running also comes with a few stipulations.

You should be aware of your diet and optimize it to help you replace burned calories with core nutrition, which will help repair muscles and reward your cardiovascular and respiratory system while you’re expunging energy from them.

It’s a slippery slope, but if you’re able to focus solely on running, it’s a good daily form of burning calories.

Consider the fact that if you can run for sixty minutes at a moderate intensity level, and you can do this five days per week, you will burn approximately one pound of fat in five days.

Take the necessary time to rest, and burn 3,500 calories on a week-by-week basis for gradual weight loss.

  • Average Calories Burned by the Hour: Anywhere from 600 to 875
  • Average Calories Burned by Your Weight: Average BMR indicates a 525 to 850 calorie loss

It’s Time to Step up Your Cardio Game

At the end of the day, you just need to get started with some kind of cardio exercise.

The positive health effects are undeniable, and the ways that you can train cardio don’t have to be boring.

While a lot of people wish to skip cardio because it doesn’t provide the aesthetics that today’s Instagram-obsessed culture seeks out, it’s a part of your aesthetic build, and most of your long-term health.

Get to it.

Which Cardio Burns The Most Calories? 1

Trond Nyland

Trond Nyland started weightlifting in high school, where he went to the wrestling team. In college, it was all about cycling and signing up for marathons. Nowadays, he continues to keep his health in tip-top shape with advanced cardio moves, and uses Weston Fit as a method to teach you about the best at-home gym equipment that you can possibly get. From a lifetime of fitness and healthy living, Stanley is here to show you a thing or two.

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