The 4 best workouts for burning calories

Burn more fat fast with the best weight-loss exercises. We compare which workout routines burn the most calories and why.

By Lara Ceroni

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Cardio workouts


Cardiovascular exercise increases your heart rate and revs up your metabolism. But what type of workout will get you the best results? Should you clock steady miles on the treadmill or pedal your way through a spin class? We break down the best calorie-burning exercises.*

*(All recommendations based on an average 130-pound woman in 30-minute exercises at a moderate to vigorous intensity.)

Running vs. swimming

First off, regularly switching up your routine is important. "There has to be a lot of variety," says Joanna Zdrojewska, a personal trainer at Totum Life Science in Toronto. "There is room in each activity to maximize caloric burn."

Both running and swimming are two very effective ways to maintain fitness and promote weight loss. These workouts keep your muscles moving at a constant pace and give you a much-desired lean and toned figure. So, which workout reigns supreme?

According to Zdrojewska, it depends on the velocity at which you move. Naturally, if you are running at a faster clip, you will be burning more calories. The same goes for swimming: If you are doing a more aggressive stroke (think the butterfly), you will be using your muscles more rigorously, and this will increase the number of calories burned.

Zdrojewska suggests adding 30- to 60-second intervals of high-intensity sprints throughout your regular routine, leaving two to three minutes of recovery time in between. "For either exercise, this method will absolutely increase your overall caloric burn," she says.

Ultimate calorie cruncher: Numbers don't lie. Ultimately, running will burn the most calories. If you run for 30 minutes at an average speed of 15 kilometres per hour, you will burn 448 calories; swimming laps at a moderate speed will burn only 390.

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