Will Run For Beer: Top 10 Calorie-Scorching Exercises

Intent on overindulging? Here's a rundown of the best options for burning excess calories.

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People seem to be more than willing to work overtime at the gym to make up for their poor eating habits at home.

Will they get stronger and fitter? Sure. Will they lose fat? That depends.

To be honest, we are all a little delusional when it comes to our perceived effort. We like to think we are near superhero status in the gym, sweating it out in full-on beast mode. But the reality is that just because we look like a beast in our Facebook posts doesn’t mean we truly are training like one.

Some of the same people who look like they are hardcore fitness fanatics on their social media pages mope along on the treadmill at the pace of a senior citizen with a double hip replacement. Or worse, I see people looking like they are really getting it on the elliptical, with their arms and feet going at warp speed only because they have the elliptical on the lowest resistance level available. Needless to say, while they are definitely increasing activity and improving their health, they are missing the real calorie-scorching benefit their body needs to erase their past food sins.

I’m a beast on Facebook

Just because you post your workout on Facebook doesn’t mean it’s worth posting. A more honest approach to fitness would be if people posted all the food they ate throughout the day too. Then everyone would understand why these Facebook fitness freaks live at the gym. They have to work off all the calories they consume when they’re not at the gym.

As a trainer, I work really hard to convince people to be as disciplined in the kitchen as they are in the gym. I personally prefer that people adopt a workout plan that is not too extreme. In my opinion it is better to manage your weight with a healthy low-calorie diet and moderate exercise plan than to work out like crazy because you are eating like crazy. No matter what I prefer, there will always be people out there who just want to burn as many calories as they can so they can drink and eat as much as they can.

Will run for beer

People will do anything to keep their favorite food or drink habit. Mud runs are a perfect example of how this mindset has changed the world of fitness. I guess the thought is if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Marathons and 5Ks have taken a backseat to more entertaining fitness events, like mud runs and obstacle courses that include rock bands, turkey legs, energy drinks, and beer. There is even a Great American Bacon Race that ends with three free bacon stations. Who would ever have thought of eating bacon after going for a run? At least beer is cold and refreshing.

The fact that many races have added high-calorie refreshments to the end of their events is just more proof people don’t mind the work as long as they can still have a tasty reward.

Beast mode vs feast mode

There are plenty of people who refuse to give up their favorite indulgence and opt instead to do double duty in the gym. They seek out the hardest workout possible to make up for their lack of strength in the kitchen and don’t bat an eye in the process. Personally, I’m too lazy for that and would prefer to just eat less.

However, if you can relate to what I’m talking about here, then it will be worth your while to continue reading along and make sure you are choosing the most effective workout possible.

Top 10 Calorie Killers

1. Calisthenics – You may be wondering what the heck calisthenics is. It’s just a fancy name for old school bodyweight exercises you did in grade school, like pushups, situps, squats, and jumping jacks. What I love about calisthenics is that it not only burns calories, but it requires no tools and shapes up the entire body. One hour of vigorous calisthenics burns approximately 500 calories. (Approximate calories for each exercise is based on a 150-pound person.)

2. Circuit Training – Circuit training is a fast-paced resistance workout using moderate weights at high repetitions. Circuit training typically uses weight machines or free weights and burns more calories than traditional weight training because there is less rest time. This style of resistance training also works the body aerobically, getting the heart pounding and muscles pumping all in one intense workout. One hour of vigorous circuit training also burns approximately 500 calories.

3. Jump Rope – I’ll never forget the time I grabbed a jump rope and thought I’d get a really good workout in, only to fall to the ground after five minutes. All of the times I saw Rocky jumping rope like it was nothing made me think that I could grab a rope and crank up “Eye of the Tiger” on my stereo for a workout to remember. I remember it all right. I remember dying of exhaustion and boredom too. Jumping rope was a big fat fail for me, but if you can sustain jumping rope for an hour, go for it! An hour of jumping rope will burn approximately 557 calories. Mix in a few double-unders, and I’m sure you’ll burn even more.

4. Running – Running is inexpensive, requires very little equipment, and burns a ton of calories too. Again, most people would not be able to keep a fast pace for a solid hour, but you’ll burn a ton of calories if you can. While running doesn’t strengthen and tone the entire body like calisthenics or circuit training, it does support weight loss and kill some fat for sure. One hour of running at six miles per hour (10-minute mile) burns approximately 629 calories.

5. HIIT – High-intensity interval training not only burns loads of calories during the workout, but it has been proven to increase your calorie burn for up to 48 hours after your workout. More moderate training only really increases calories burned during the workout, so HIIT training is definitely at the top of my list for best workouts, up there with calisthenics and circuit training.

Since HIIT workouts vary in intensity and style–ranging in work-to-rest ratios from 1:2, 1:3, 2:1, or 1:1–it is hard to calculate approximate calorie burn. However, you could burn an average of 9 to 13 calories per minute in a workout implementing HIIT training, and up to 12 to 16 calories a minute during the more intense segments of a HIIT workout. After doing a little research online, I found people were burning anywhere between 540 to 960 calories per hour depending on resistance, intensity, and rest time.

6. Kickboxing – Kickboxing is one of my favorite ways to burn calories. Maybe it’s because I like feeling tough and pretending to punch and kick things, but I definitely won’t kick myself when it’s over because this workout is well worth the investment. You can jab, cross, hook, and kick your calories to the curb with this fat-melting workout. Kickboxing burns approximately 579 calories per hour–and probably a little more if you go to a class like I do, which has a buttload of burpees, squats, and plyos mixed in too.

7. Cycling – When I talk about riding a bicycle, I’m not talking about taking your beach cruiser for a stroll around the block. No, I’m talking about getting on that bike and spinning those pedals as fast as you can for an hour. If you can manage to really pump out some rotations, then you will melt fat for sure. Cycling at 14 to 15.9 miles per hour burns approximately 643 calories per hour.

8. Step Aerobics – Not all step aerobics are created equal, so it’s a bit hard to guesstimate how many calories you burn in your favorite step class. Regardless, it’s probably not too shabby. Whether you are doing low-impact or super high-impact step aerobics, you will burn between 460 and 660 calories per hour. Throw on an extra riser and step things up to make the most of your step class.

9. Elliptical – The elliptical is another exercise for which it’s hard to predict calorie burn because there are so many variables. Most ellipticals have different resistance levels, ramp adjustments, and the option to use handles or go without. As a result, it’s hard to determine how many calories you may burn during your elliptical workout. I can, however, give you some examples.

According to the Lose It! app, a light elliptical workout may burn 429 calories per hour, versus 643 calories for a very vigorous elliptical workout. There are four different intensities to choose from in the Lose It! app: light, moderate, vigorous, and very vigorous. Each level adds about 70 calories each time you bump up the level. The bottom line is, don’t get on an elliptical at level one thinking you’re going to burn off those French fries. Pump up the resistance to pump up your results.

10. Swimming – Swimming is a great alternative to traditional cardio for people who have physical limitations or joint issues. It doesn’t burn as many calories as I expected, however. One hour of freestyle swimming at a moderate pace only burns 343 calories per hour. Of course, that’s better than nothing if you are limited and have to take the weight off your joints during your cardiovascular workout. Just don’t expect to burn a ton of calories despite how winded you get in the water. Weight-bearing exercises always tend to burn more calories than seated exercises or exercises in the water.

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