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Top 9 Exercises & Workouts That Burn The Most Calories

Written by Liz Brown

Burn more calories in less time with these top fat-burning workouts!

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If you’re reading this right now, you probably either have some pretty lofty weight loss goals, or looking to find the best way to optimize your time when you workout. Either way, knowing what workouts that burn the most calories not only helps you reach your goals faster, but will help you discover the exercises and activities you actually enjoy. Enjoying yourself is so important when it comes to exercise because it will motivate you to keep going! So, with that, here are top exercises that burn the most calories

workouts that burn the most calories

1. Running

It’s no surprise that running made our list of top workouts that burn the most calories. It’s reputation for improving cardiovascular endurance, building strong bones, and strengthening your muscles is unmatched—not to mention the calorie burn you can expect. In fact, running can burn around 300 calories (running an average 8-min mile) for a 125lb individual and up to 555 calories for people that weigh 185lbs in just 30 minutes. [1] What’s even better is that running doesn’t cost a thing! You can run just about anywhere and there are several types of running you can try. Be sure to check out this blog on running for beginners to learn about which running style is best for you and your goals. 

2. Bicycling 

Cycling is another one of the best exercises that burn the most calories because it keeps your heart rate steady for a long period of time without burning out. Outdoor cycling also has the added challenge of uneven surfaces. Have you ever tried to bike up a hill? Well, next time you feel like giving up, just remember that you’re burning even more calories! Cycling on a flat surface for 30 minutes at a steady pace of 15 mph can burn 300-450 calories, depending on your weight. [1]

3. Circuit Training

Circuit training is perhaps one of my favorite workouts that burn the most calories because it breaks up the monotony of doing the same movement over and over again and keeps things interesting. Circuit training is when you perform a variety of different exercises or movements back-to-back for a certain period of time, with little to no rest in between sets. Here’s an example of how to structure a circuit training workout with some common exercises:

Perform each exercise for 50 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and move onto the next exercise. Complete 5 rounds of each exercise for 30 minutes total

  • Pushups 
  • Air squats
  • Tricep dips
  • Sit ups
  • Lunges

Circuit training can also be done just about anywhere, especially if you’re using your own bodyweight. Check out some of these great circuit training workouts! Circuit training can be exhausting, so it’s always best to take a pre-workout supplement, like SkinnyFit Jump Start, 30 minutes before your workout. This will help give you the boost of energy you need to finish your workout, without feeling jittery and without a crash.

sports that burn the most calories

4. Jump Rope

Have you ever tried jumping rope? Not only does jumping rope burn an insane amount of calories, but it requires a ton of coordination which makes for a great workout! Just 30 minutes of jumping rope can burn 300-450 calories in just 30 minutes. 

5. Stationary Bike

If you prefer to stay put with your workouts, you’ll love the stationary bicycle. You can find them at most gyms or fitness centers and they are very low impact—perfect for people who may have mobility or knee problems. You can actually burn 210-310 calories at a moderate intensity and up to 315-460 calories with vigorous intensity. [1]

6. Aerobic Dance

Where are all my dancers at?! You know who you are! If you love to shake your groove thang, then aerobic dance will be one of the best exercises to burn the most calories for you! Aerobic dance keeps your heart rate up and is packed full of fun and sassy movements that can really take your mind off the, err, “fitness” part of the workout. Sure, aerobic dance might not be considered a “sport” that burns the most calories, but it certainly seems to be popular enough to give some of them a run of their money! Aerobic dance was first made popular in the 80s with Jane Fonda’s Workout Book and has since exploded across the nation. Now, you can find aerobic dance classes like Zumba, Jazzercise, and Hip Hop offered in almost every chain gym. 

7. Swimming

Calling all water-lovers! It’s your time to shine! Swimming is, hands down, one of the top sports that burn the most calories that is accessible to most anyone! Take it from Michael Phelps who has reported to have burned a whopping 3,000 calories per DAY during his Olympic training. In case you didn’t know, that’s almost one whole pound! Now, I know that 99.9% of you won’t be training at this level, but still, it just shows the potential of how many calories you can actually burn while swimming. Swimming laps can burn anywhere from 350-460 calories in just 30 minutes. [1]

8. Hiking

If you live in an area with amazing scenery, you’ve got to start hiking more if you’re looking for one of the best workouts to burn the most calories! Hiking improves your cardiovascular endurance and is a great workout for your legs and booty! Hiking (or even uphill walking) can even be done on the treadmill if the weather is poor or if you’re looking for a safer option.

9. Calisthenics 

The last, and perhaps most challenging, workouts that burn the most calories is calisthenics. If you’re not familiar with calisthenics, think of this as challenging bodyweight exercises. These types of exercises require immense strength and skill but can be extremely beneficial for burning calories, building muscle, and increasing overall strength. 

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About The Author

Liz Brown

Fitness & Nutrition Expert (CPT., FNS.)

Liz is a health & wellness expert, writer, and editor with over a decade of experience in the fitness & nutrition industry. She emphasizes research and simplifies complex topics to help make healthy living simple and sustainable. When she isn't researching and writing, she's sharing delicious recipes, easy DIYs, and home decor tips on her blog and social media.

More from Liz, visit: Personal Blog, TikTok, Instagram


  • NASM Certified Personal Trainer(since 2012)
  • NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist (since 2014)
  • Credentialed Coach Practitioner, Coach Training Academy
  • B.A. Liberal Studies (Health & Nutrition Sciences)
  • A.A. Liberal Arts (STEM)

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