Calories Burned During Exercise: Which Exercise is Best?

If you’re looking to lose weight, it helps to understand the number of calories burned when you exercise. To lose weight, you need to consistently burn more calories than you consume. Whether you do so through diet, exercise, or both, creating a calorie deficit is the only way to lose weight.

So, which exercises burn the most calories? Read on to discover calories burned during 30 minutes of exercise on a treadmill, rowing machine, cross trainer or exercise bike. We also explore calories burned during bodyweight and HIIT exercises.

Calories Burned on a Treadmill

Calories Burned on a Treadmill

Running is an effective way to burn calories. But how many calories does running on a treadmill burn? This will differ depending on how much you weigh and how fast you run.

Here’s an estimate of calories burned on a treadmill for three different weights. This is based on running for 30 minutes, at an average speed of 10 minutes per mile (6 minutes, 12 seconds per kilometre):

  • 70kg = 368 calories burned
  • 85kg = 446 calories burned
  • 100kg = 552 calories burned

Calories Burned on a Rowing Machine

Calories Burned on a Rower

Rowing gives you a great full body workout. It works your legs, back, arms and core, allowing you to achieve a high-intensity session, with little impact on your joints.

Let’s explore the calories burned when rowing using moderate effort for 30 minutes:

  • 70kg = 257 calories burned
  • 85kg = 312 calories burned
  • 100kg = 368 calories burned

Calories Burned on an Exercise Bike

Calories Burned on an Exercise Bike

Working out on an exercise bike strengthens your leg muscles and boosts your cardiovascular fitness. Using an exercise bike is also an effective way to burn calories and lose weight.

Here are the calories burned when cycling on an exercise bike using moderate effort for 30 minutes:

  • 70kg = 257 calories burned
  • 85kg = 312 calories burned
  • 100kg = 368 calories burned

Calories Burned Doing Bodyweight Exercises

Calories Burned Doing Bodyweight Exercises

Bodyweight exercises are a smart way to burn fat and build muscle, without the need for equipment. Read our post Workout Regime for Fitness Enthusiasts for some great examples of bodyweight exercises and how to perform them.

Here are the calories burned when doing bodyweight exercises using moderate effort for 30 minutes:

  • 70kg = 129 calories burned
  • 85kg = 156 calories burned
  • 100kg = 184 calories burned

Calories Burned Doing HIIT

Calories Burned Doing HIIT

HIIT (high intensity interval training) is an effective way to burn calories and lose weight. Because you take in more oxygen when you exercise vigorously in short spurts, you burn more calories. You also continue to burn calories after you finish exercising when you do HIIT.

It is hard to calculate exactly how many calories HIIT burns, as it depends on the intensity and interval length. However, one study suggests that HIIT burns 5% more calories than working out at a consistent pace.

On this basis, here’s what you could burn in 30 minute treadmill HIIT session:

  • 70kg = 386 calories burned
  • 85kg = 468 calories burned
  • 100kg = 580 calories burned

Which Exercise is Best?

Bodyweight exercises burn the fewest calories of the exercises we’ve explored. That said, they are a great option if you are not in a position to invest in fitness equipment.

Rowing and cycling burn an equivalent amount of calories. Both are good options if you’re working out to lose weight. But if you want to maximise your calories burned in a 30 minute session, your best option is running on a treadmill.

Running on a treadmill burns more calories than stationary rowing or cycling. To maximise calories burned on a treadmill, try doing HIIT which burns even more. If you aren’t a HIIT fan, you could try increasing your incline. Running uphill is harder and expends more calories.

Despite the fact that treadmill training burns the most calories, it is important to choose the machine that you will enjoy working out on most. When you enjoy exercise, you’re more likely to stick to it. Choosing a machine that you are motivated to use consistently will help you burn more calories in the long-term.

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We hope our guide to calories burned during exercise helps you with your weight loss goals. Interested in running and weight loss? Read our post Can I Lose Weight Running? to learn more.