The Workouts That Burn the Most Calories, Ranked

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It's no secret that adopting a healthy and fit lifestyle is totally on trend, so when it comes to burning major calories, there's a glorious array of options. Still, with so many different workouts on the table, pinpointing which one is right for you and your fitness level can be tough.

Things would be simple if calories burned during exercise was the same across the board, but that's not the case. "The number of calories burned in any workout depends on several things, but the most important factors are duration and intensity," says certified personal trainer, Jodi Cagle. "For a given pace, the longer you workout the more you'll burn. But also, for a given duration, the more intensely you workout, the more you'll burn." There are other factors that you have no control over which will also impact total calories burned. "The older a person is, the fewer calories burned per day," adds Kiara Horwitz, a certified Baptiste Power Yoga instructor. "Those who move more burn more calories, and those with more muscle burn more calories than those who have less muscle."

There is no right or wrong amount of calories to burn per exercise either. It depends on what your end goal is. "The most important things to remember for any effective workout program is to find things you enjoy doing," says Cagle. "Do it consistently and do a variety of things to maximize effectiveness." If it's weight loss you're seeking, Mayo Clinic recommends aiming to burn 500 to 1000 calories a day to see a potential one pound loss each week.

With that in mind, we did some research on 17 of the most popular workout classes in order to see which exercise burns the most calories. (Just note, of course, that this will always vary slightly according to body weight, intensity, and fitness level). Keep scrolling to see how many calories you can torch in SoulCycle, Zumba, yoga, and more, ranked from highest to lowest.

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Barry's Bootcamp: Up to 1000 calories

An A-list fave, this intense, military-style workout burns a lot of calories: up to 1000 per class. "Barry's is very aggressive," says Horwitz. "It's not my personal favorite, but definitely works for those who like a blend of running and weight training."

Cost can vary depending on where you live. One class in NYC is going to set you back $38 and Los Angeles is $30 for a single class.

Tabata: Up to 900 calories after an hour

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Consider this HITT/Interval hybrid workout a go-to if you lose interest in a typical class. "Tabata works for those who like an aggressive workout in increments," says Horwitz. "It's a great interval structure for increasing your conditioning." In theory, it's structured to follow a pattern of 20 seconds of intense burn followed by a 10 second rest, which burns up to 900 calories in an hour.

Orangetheory: 500 to 1000 calories for a 60 minute workout

This workout has skyrocketed to cult status in the short time it's been around thanks to the effectiveness of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). But while you can burn anywhere from 500 to 1000 calories during the 60-minute workout, you'll still be burning mega calories even while you fill up on post-workout Chipotle.

Interval training revs up your metabolism like nothing else. It can be done at home, outdoors, or at a gym and is a great option when you're in a crunch for time.

CrossFit: Approximately 800 calories in 1 hour

The Workouts That Burn the Most Calories
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You power through your WOD (workout of the day) like a beast, so it's not so shocking that you'll slash some major calories while sprinting, lifting, and rope-throwing your way through it. "An effective workout for losing weight, building strength, agility, and flexibility," mentions Horwitz. To be quite precise, a 2014 study found that a Crossfit exercise called the "Cindy" averaged a burn of 13 calories per minute—so just under 800 for an hour-long workout.

Boxing: 500 to 800 calories per hour

The Workouts That Burn the Most Calories
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This model-beloved fitness trend won't just earn you the toned arms of your dreams but also a fierce burn to the tune of 500 to 800 calories per hour. Along with the calories burned, boxing can help to improve your balance, endurance, and even posture. Plus, you'll be the last person anyone would want to pick a fight with.

SoulCycle: Minimum of 500 to 700 calories

SoulCycle HQ reports that while it depends on the person, you can expect to burn 500 to 700 calories per class—minimum.

No surprises here: 45 minutes of tap-backs, positive affirmations, and Spin-dancing your heart out makes for a major burn. "SoulCycle is where I found my fitness. SoulCycle changed my life and builds strength as well as burns calories fast," states Horwitz. "In SoulCycle, you move to the rhythm of the music—it's like dancing on a bike."

Body By Simone: Around 600 calories

The Workouts That Burn the Most Calories
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Fitness guru Simone De La Rue's dance cardio workout has earned an A-list following that includes the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Naomi Watts. The basis of this class is high-impact dance cardio, combined with resistance and toning work. A 10-pack of Body by Simone virtual classes cost $150.

The celeb following are proof enough that this fun workout also happens to be quite effective. Exhibit B? The hourly burn, which runs in the ballpark of 600 calories.

Swimming: 30 minute of vigorous laps will burn around 450 calories

Swimming exercise

Dive right in and get those calories burning when you go swimming. There are different styles of swimming, which changes the total calories burned. "Different strokes will emphasize different muscles and add variety," says Cagle. "It's hard to beat the completeness of benefits."

Harvard Health lists general swimming eliminating anywhere from 180 to almost 300 calories per half hour. If you plan to do vigorous laps for 30 minutes, it increases to about 450 calories gone.

Zumba: 400 to 600 calories

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If you commit to going full tilt, you can burn between 400 and 600 calories during this Latin dance sesh. Then again, you'll be having so much fun you probably won't even notice. "A great way to move and dance," says Horwitz. "Targets lots of different muscle groups at once for total body toning."

Calisthenics: Up to 350 calories per 30 minutes depending on intensity

How to do a handstand
Jessica Skye, Fat Buddha Yoga

Another type of exercise where no fancy equipment, all you need is your own body weight. "Calisthenics are basically body weight exercises that are very effective at building muscle and improving fitness with little to no equipment," mentions Cagle. "It's perfect for at-home workouts." Common exercises that are considered part of the calisthenic world include squats, push-ups, lunges, crunches, and jumping jacks.

Moderate-intense calisthenics can burn anywhere from 135 to 200 calories. Picking up the intensity will boost that number to a little over 350 calories every 30 minutes.

Hot Yoga: 350 calories after 90 minutes

woman taking hot yoga class

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Consider this myth busted: Getting your flow on in scorching temps doesn't burn way more calories than your typical Vinyasa class. But it'll still earn you about 350 calories for a 90-minute session, which is nothing to sneeze at—and sweating things out is a benefit in itself.

Vinyasa Yoga: Around 300 calories for an hour-long class

The Workouts That Burn the Most Calories
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Yogis should note that calorie burn can vary a lot depending on the style of practice you prefer. But try Vinyasa flow for a heart-pumping workout that will still keep you zen. Research shows that an hour-long class will burn about 300 calories. "Yoga is best for strengthening the body, de-stressing, as well as mindfulness," says Horwitz.

Barre: Up to 300 calories per hour

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Take off your shoes and channel your inner ballerina. Barre is inspired by moves coming from ballet as well as pilates, yoga, and strength training.

If you love hitting the barre, you know that those tiny movements are deceptively tough. A class like Physique 57 can burn up to 300 calories for the hour. Doing a cardio-specific class? Stamp on another 200 calories.

Stair Climbing: Just under 300 calories per 30 minutes

Person wearing gym sneakers climbing stairs

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Chances are you have stairs right in your home, making it an easily accessible exercise. "Stair climbing is an excellent lower body workout that includes cardiovascular work," says Cagle. "You can use a machine or find an actual flight of stairs, indoors or out."

Moderate-intense stair stepping can burn anywhere from 180 to under 300 calories for every 30 minutes. Picking up the pace can increase that number.

Bodyweight Exercise: 200 to 400 calories every 30 minutes

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Bodyweight exercises are one of this year's top fitness trends thanks in part to their cost-effectiveness as well as the well-documented evidence that they work. A workout similar to those found in Kayla Itsines's Bikini Body Guide will typically run you about 200 to 400 calories per half-hour session, but if you're doing it interval-style, you can also enjoy some afterburn.

Amp up the calorie burn and intensity by running up hill when outdoors, or increase the incline on a treadmill.

Rowing: 200 to 300 calories every half hour

Woman in pink sports bra exercises on a rowing machine.

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If you add rowing to your exercise routine, you will be getting a low-impact but full body exercise. The American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA) states that rowing is comprised of 65 to 75 percent leg work and 25 to 35 percent upper body. "It's low impact, so generally safe from injuries," states Cagle. "However, it's not weight bearing, so not as beneficial for bone and joint strength."

If you're rowing at a moderate pace you're looking at burning around 200 to 300 calories every 30 minutes. Up the intensity by rowing faster with higher resistance and you're looking at upwards of 400 calories per 30 minutes.

Running: Around 100 calories per mile

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Sometimes nothing beats pounding the pavement. Rack up your burn by mileage: Your rule of thumb is that a mile costs roughly 100 calories—and that's not to mention the afterburn, which accelerates depending on how many miles you log.

"Running is an all-time favorite due to its simplicity and ease," says Cagle. "It doesn't require equipment besides good running shoes."

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Journal of Sport and Human Performance. "Metabolic and cardiovascular response to the CrossFit workout 'Cindy'." 2014.

  2. Fritz ML, Grossman AM, Mukherjee A, Hunter SD, Tracy BL. Acute metabolic, cardiovascular, and thermal responses to a single session of Bikram yoga (593 Board #8 May 28, 330 PM - 500 PM). Med Sci Sport Exer. 2014;46(5S):146-147. doi:10.1249/01.mss.0000493613.83031.88

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