The 14 Most Effective Workouts For Weight Loss Ranked From Least To Most Beneficial
While exercise resolutions and goals are fantastic ideals, most people have trouble fitting them into their busy schedules without organization and prioritizing. When you’re dedicating yourself to fitness, you want to prioritize those biggest bangs for your dollar of time.
The problem is that some fitness gurus swear by the burn of cardio and others swear by the burn of weight training. So, what’s the real deal? It comes down to understanding EPOC.
Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, is the calorie burn that continues after a workout. Physical therapy doctorate-certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition expert Laura Miranda sets the record straight on EPOC. Running versus weight lifting, for example, does indeed expend more in-the-moment calories, says Miranda, but EPOC goes on for hours to days with anaerobic-type workouts like weight training.
Miranda explains that weight training has this prolonged calorie-burning ability because of how the body uses oxygen to repair and recover muscles post-exercise. The greater the intensity of the workout, the more oxygen is needed during recovery.
The most metabolically active tissue in the human body is muscle, meaning the more of it you have, the more effective your body will be at burning calories throughout the day. Over the long-term, you get more bang for your investment in choosing exercises that have a higher after-burn effect than those that burn more in-the-moment calories. There’s also the consideration in how you engage an exercise if you want the most EPOC bang.
14 Best EPOC Burner Exercises
Knowing the above helps, but the real question is knowing exactly what exercises you should be doing and exactly how you should do them to burn the most calories, right?
So, here’s your how-to guide on 14 of the best moves to get those calories moving out. One note is that all calorie-burn estimates to follow are for example only. They’re based on the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for body weights of 185 pounds and 125 pounds, not one-size-fits-all. Tasks burn more calories according to several factors, including how much you weigh.
1. Rope Jumping
It’s old school, but it’s good enough for the iconic legs of Carrie Underwood and Kate Hudson. At 120 skips per minute, you’ll burn around 650 to 1000 calories an hour. Your bonus burn is big, too. To even further engage your shoulders and arms in the action, try a weighted jump rope.
2. Up-Hill Running & Stair Sprints
At an hour pace, you’ll burn roughly 640 to 950 calories doing either sprints up a set of stairs or running up-hill. Use max effort on sprints for 20 seconds. Go into a recovery run at half-intensity for 40 seconds. Continue to alternate, and remember that EPOC increases with the harder you push yourself for that max effort.
For an hour kickboxing session, you’ll burn about 580 to 860 calories. Spar for 90 seconds of quick-succession jabs and kicks. Rest no more than 30 seconds before going in for another 90 seconds of high-intensity kicks and jabs. Continue alternating rest and max effort for the session.
Another oldie, but serious bonus burner is cycling. At an estimated 570 to 840 calorie burn per hour, riding out this exercise is certainly worth the time. Miranda says that you should opt for sustained high intensity rides over steady, low-intensity ride states because they offer greater EPOC. If you can’t manage the continual intensity, go for alternating as many high-intensity intervals into the session as you can tolerate. Push yourself for that max after-burn.
5. Stationary Cycling
At a consistently rapid pace, you’ll burn around 500 to 740 calories per hour on a stationary bike. To boost your metabolism and after-burn, go for this routine: 10 seconds of rapid speed pedaling of at least 100 RPMs, 50 seconds of rest time, 15 seconds of rapid, 45 seconds of rest, 20 seconds of rapid, 40 seconds of rest, and continue to progressively reduce the ratio until you start over. Get even more EPOC by turning up the resistance throughout the session.
6. The Run/Jog
Most people either hate or love running. There’s not a lot of room for ‘meh’ in running. Still, if you manage a 10-minute mile, you’ll burn 560 to 840 calories per hour. Steady pace running is a big bonus burner, too, since it will help you burn extra calories all through the day. Try mixing up a jog with bursts of running effort and runs with bursts of max effort sprinting. Keep your work-rest to a 2:1 ratio, meaning if you run for 30 seconds, then you’ll only jog or walk for 15 seconds.
An hour of kettlebell circuit will burn around 550 to 820 calories. NoamTamir C.S.C.S. and owner of TS Fitness in NYC, recommends a HIIT kettlebell circuit for a bonus after-burn that’ll last around 36 hours post-exercise. Keep the circuit moving fluidly, meaning minimal resting between moves. Alternate lower and upper body, such as a set of kettlebell push presses, a set of kettlebell squats, and then a set of kettlebell swings, to help minimize the breaks needed.
Once you’ve done three different moves, give yourself a 20-second break before moving on to three more.
A 150-watt rowing machine burns about 480 to 710 calories per hour. Try this fast-paced rowing routine that hits your whole body hard and quick. You’ll row at max speed for a minute and rest for no more than 60 seconds. For burn boosts, keep those rest periods active with planks, push-ups, and squats.
This exercise is a great combo of anaerobic and aerobic activity. At 75-80 steps per minute, you’ll burn around 450 to 680 calories in an hour of doing stairs. You can high-step it on a platform, use a set of actual stairs, use a machine, or use whatever gets those knees in the air. Add some hand weights to up the intensity and get some upper body action in, too. This one makes a great lunch break exercise since it can be done virtually anywhere.
10. Compound, Exhaustive Strength Training
Traditional strength training works in sets and reps, specifying 10 reps for three sets and so forth. Increase your strength training burn to around 340 to 504 calories per hour by removing the caveat of reps. Instead, focus on compound movements employing joint-based muscle groups. Work each muscle group until the point of exhaustion (no specified rep count.) Clean with squats and crunches.
11. Training Circuit Featuring Metabolic Resistance
An hour circuit burns about 340 to 500 calories. Traditional circuits go for max intensity followed by long rests. The metabolic resistance training circuit is a different beast. You’ll maintain sub-max (still high) intensity sets with minimal (10-second) rests between them. In bringing down the effort so that rest intervals are shortened, EPOC increases.
12. Elliptical Machine
At an eight on the resistance level, you’ll burn about 320 to 480 calories per hour on an elliptical machine. Try varying up the incline, resistance, and pace to get that bonus burn. Challenge yourself.
13. Weighted Ropes
An hour weighted rope session burns around 280 to 420 calories. Think of it as a battle between you and those ropes. Make it a routine of its own, or you can incorporate it into your circuit training. Try five overhead 30-second slam rounds between rope battle sets to set the burn level afire. When it comes to energy expenditure, a study actually showed that three sets of battle ropes for 30 seconds each had more energy expended than the same amount of moderate-load squats.
14. Yoga (Power)
Just one hour of a power yoga class, such as power vinyasa flow or weighted yoga flow, burns about 220 to 335 calories. Power yoga is a bit different than a regular yoga class in that it’s centered around strength-driven moves. You’re still matching the movement with the breath.
So, which EPOC exercise are you most excited to take for a spin? Are you already using some of these moves, or do you have a great EPOC exercise you’d like to share? Tell us about it in the comment section, and don’t forget to give a shoutout to anyone you think would find this article useful and helpful.
This content was originally published here.