What Cardio Burns The Most Calories? [Must Read]


It’s human nature to want things done quickly. With our busy schedules and the pressure to get in shape, we are always open to legitimate ways of losing weight fast.

Cardio is easily one of the best ways to do so. In this article, we will discuss the most efficient cardio activities.

What cardio burns the most calories?

First, let’s understand the basics. What’s the goal? To burn calories. What tissues in the body burn the most calories? Muscles. Where do muscles get their fuel? Carbohydrates and fats. To burn the most calories, the body must be in a mode where it needs the most energy per unit of time.

Again, what cardio burns the most calories? The answer is aerobic activities.

These are workouts that are repetitive, long and demanding enough to force the heart and lungs to use oxygen to sustain the body for the duration of the workout.

But, there’s a catch. The specific routine should engage the largest muscle groups in the body. These tissues require higher amounts of energy to keep in motion.

The science of burning calories through cardio

The body uses ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) as fuel to energize cells, and in this case, muscles. This substance can be obtained by either breaking down fat or glycogen in carbohydrates. 

Under aerobic activity, the body is in urgent need of energy. Fat is a denser source of energy at 9 calories per gram compared to carbohydrates at 4 calories per gram. During this type of cardio, the body prefers burning fat.

Moderate intensity cardio happens at 50-75% of the Maximum heart rate. The maximum heart rate is the fastest your heart can beat in a minute. It’s calculated by subtracting your age from 220.

High-intensity aerobics happen at 70-85% of the Maximum Heartrate.

Aerobics can be of low, medium, or high intensity. For maximum caloric expenditure, moderate-intensity cardio has been shown to burn the most fat. 

However, high-intensity cardio burns the highest number of calories from both fat and carbohydrates.

In the subsequent sections, we will discuss specific aerobic/cardio activities that burn the most calories at home or the gym.

 Cardio workouts-at home and at the gym

The following are the most efficient regimens to burn the most calories either at home or at the gym:

1. Machine-based cardio-Treadmill walking

Walking is a good workout for burning calories for people who have poor physical and health conditions.

This includes the elderly, injured, or obese people. It’s a low-impact activity can that can be sustained for a longer period. It serves as a perfect place to begin your fitness journey.  

Considering all factors, walking can burn about 300-400 calories in an hour.

Walking can be done at a low-speed setting on a treadmill. Intensity can be adjusted with progress.

2. Running

Running is an energy-demanding activity that burns a much higher number of calories on a treadmill. This is because it involves all the lower large muscles at a larger scale.

 To rip the most benefits out of running, maintain a heart rate of 65-85% of the MHR and do it for 20-30 minutes nonstop.

A higher number of calories is burned during and after training. Running can burn about 500-600 calories per hour.

You can run at home around the block or at the gym on a treadmill (4-6mph)

3. Cycling

Cycling is fun, more engaging and of much lower impact than running. The calorie-burning effects are the same though.

What’s more, the intensity of cycling can be adjusted for progressive overload. It also helps tone the lower body, especially the quad muscles.

At 65-85% of your MHR, cycling can burn about 600 calories in an hour. Stationary spin bikes like the Peloton or Keiser M3i can be used at the gym or home. 

The standard bicycle is also a perfect alternative. Let your sessions last 30-45 minutes for maximum benefits.

4. Jumping Rope

The benefits of jumping rope include increased coordination, stability, stamina, and better athletic performance.

But, did you know that it’s better than cycling and running in terms of burning calories? Being a high-intensity cardio activity, jumping rope can burn upwards of 1,000 calories in an hour.

That is why athletics like Floyd Mayweather jump rope.

You can do it at home or the gym.


High-intensity Interval Training

Regardless of the type of aerobic activity you bias, interval training is the magical key to burning more calories.

Get into short explosive bursts followed by a moderate “recovery” period, then repeat. Whether it’s cycling, running, swimming, rowing, or jumping rope!

This puts your body into a higher metabolic state to continue burning calories way after you are done with your workout.

Benefits of Aerobic Training

  •         Improves red blood cell count to deliver more oxygen
  •         Improves overall blood circulation
  •         Promotes better cardiac health
  •         Improved metabolism, leading to passive burning of calories after the workout.
  •         It helps prevent osteoporosis, a bone-wasting disorder.

Factors determining the number of calories you burn in cardio

1. Exercise Duration

Every minute you spend performing any kind of exercise equals burnt calories. The longer you do your cardio, the more calories you burn. More calories are burned per minute as you progress into your cardio.

 This is because you will have to spend more energy to perform the same moves as muscles get exhausted. For maximum results, continue pushing hard when you start feeling burned out.

2. Body Mass

The amount of weight you have to move around is directly proportional to your energy requirements. That is why heavier people tend to burn more calories. According to the Mayo Clinic, a 160-pound person can burn 423 calories swimming in an hour, while a 240-pound person would burn 632 calories.

3. Intensity

The more vigorous your moves get, the more energy you require. This means that your heart has to work harder to deliver more oxygen.

 This translated to more calories burned. For instance, the CDC states that two minutes of moderate-intensity exercise burns the same calories as a minute of high-intensity exercise.

4. Gender

In general, men have more muscles than women. To move, muscles require energy. The more the muscles, the higher the energy requirements and thus, burned calories.

5. Age

Muscles remain principal in burning calories as they are the body’s engines. As you get older, muscle deterioration and possible loss become prevalent. 

This significantly slows down the body’s metabolism and calories burning capacity. To counter this process, you must have regular strength training at least 3 times a week.

6. Type of Exercise

We may not measure the body’s energy expenditure accurately. However, it’s estimated that each move requires a certain amount of energy to complete. That is why, as you get exhausted after working out for some time, achieving the entire range of motion becomes a problem. 

The harder it is to move and sustain motion in a specific exercise, the more calories you can burn per unit of time. For example, walking for 30 minutes would burn fewer calories than running for the same period.

What exercises burn the most calories in 30 minutes?

  •         Sprint interval training-1,000 calories
  •         Jumping rope-500 calories
  •         Swimming-300 calories
  •         Running-300 calories
  •         Cycling-300 calories


#How can I burn 1000 calories in 1 hour?

Burning 1000 calories in an hour requires peak fitness levels and intense preparation. Once those two are clear, it’s time to engage in the strenuous sprint interval.

 According to the American Physiology Society, high-intensity interval training can burn up to 200 calories in 2.5 minutes. You can burn at least 1,000 calories if you interchange 30-second peak sprints with 5 –minute jogs for an hour.

Jumping rope can also burn 1,000 calories in an hour!

#Is 30 minutes of cardio enough?

Yes and No. It all depends on the choice and intensity of your workout. However, the intensity seems to be a stronger determinant of how many calories you can burn per unit of time. With moderate to high intensity, 30 minutes of cardio for 5 days a week should suffice. 

For instance, 30 minutes of high-intensity cardio for moderately overweight men has been shown to burn 8 pounds over three months compared to 60 minutes of light intensity cardio over the same period.

#How can I lose 1 pound in a day?

To lose 1 pound of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories. Note that this will require an insane amount of workouts if you are to do it within a day. High-intensity interval training is your best bet. Here’s why, take for example walking.

 Depending on your weight, you may need to walk between 27-70 miles to burn 3,500 calories. A four-hour sprint slash jog interval would burn at least 4,000 calories. Alternate 5-minute sprints at maximum speed followed by 10 minutes of jogging for an hour. 

You can divide your 4 hours into 4 blocks of 1-hour nonstop HIIT training separated by decent recovery periods, say 30 minutes.

#How many calories do I need to eat to lose weight?

An average woman needs 2,000 calories a day to maintain weight and bodily functions. A man needs 2,500 calories for the same. 

To lose a pound, you need a deficit of 3,500 calories. This equates to 500 fewer calories a day for a week to lose 1 pound. 

Therefore, a man needs to eat 2,000calories while a woman needs to eat 1,500 calories to burn a pound a week.

#How many calories do you burn sleeping?

All vital body functions must be maintained during sleep. The heavier you are, the more is your calorie expenditure during slumber.

 On average, a person burns 0.42 calories for every pound of body weight during an hour’s worth of deep sleep. For example, a 100-pound individual would burn 42 calories in an hour of sleep. 


How to Burn Calories Fast at Home Without Equipment

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