15 Very& 15 less effective sports to burn calories

Do you want to burn a lot of calories in a short time and lose weight successfully in this way?? Great, because then you will discover in this article the best sports with which you can burn calories to the maximum.

But I will also discuss here the least suitable sports with which you can burn calories. Then you know right away which sports have the least effect.

We start with some common questions about calories.

Content of this article

What to know about calories

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What is a calorie?

There’s a lot of confusion on the internet about what exactly a calorie actually is. This here is the exact definition:

1 (kilo)calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 (kilo)gram of pure water by 1 °C.

Notice: When talking about calories, kilocalories are usually meant (kcal).

How many calories are one kilo of fat?

A frequently asked question. The short answer is: about 7700 calories (kcal).

How many calories can you eat a day if you want to lose weight??

This depends on one’s weight, body length, age and gender. With the help of a BMR calculator, you can calculate the amount of calories you are allowed to eat per day to lose weight.

Would you like an example of a weekly menu for losing weight, incl. Recipes and shopping list?

Click here and I will send it to you for free.

Do you have to count your calories?

Counting calories is only part of the exercise. There are several reasons why the calories can also lead you astray. Here you can learn more about why counting calories is nonsense.

How did the calorie burn calculations come about?

  • A weight of 70 kilograms has been assumed
  • It was assumed 30 minutes of training / sports / exercise
  • The calorie information comes from this Harvard site, a trusted source
  • The number of calories was rounded off for simplification
  • Some sports burn exactly the same amount of calories as others, which is why they actually share a spot

So let’s get started!

15 of the most effective sports for burning calories

#1. HIIT – 500 kcal ± 100 kcal afterburn

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. This type of exercise alternates high intensity exercises with rest periods.

If you only count calories during exercise, you will come up with fewer calories burned than if you ride a bike at high speed (>32 km/h) or jog (>16 km/h), but then you don’t take into account the afterburn-effect.

The afterburn effect, officially called EPOC, means that you still burn calories even after exercising. This effect is many times greater with high intensity exercise such as HIIT than with lower intensity exercise such as cycling or jogging (source).

It has also been shown that over a period of 12 weeks you burn up to 7 times more fat burned, if you do 20 minutes of HIIT 3 times a week instead of 30 minutes of cardio 3 times a week (source). So a very good argument for not just blindly staring at calorie burn, but rather keeping an eye on fat burn, because that’s what it’s really all about.

Here is an example of a HIIT workout that you can easily do at home:

#2. Cycling (32 km/h) or jogging (16 km/h) – 615 kcal

As mentioned above, cycling and jogging cannot compete with HIIT. With cardio you will probably always burn a bit more calories than with HIIT, but you should not only look at these numbers.

It has also been shown that over a 12 week period you burn up to 7 times more fat burned, If you do 20 minutes of HIIT 3 times a week instead of 30 minutes of cardio 3 times a week (source).

The same study also shows that the HIIT participants had gained 1 kilo of muscle mass, while the cardio group had actually lost 0.5 kilo of muscle mass. This is important information because with more muscle mass you also get a more attractive sexy figure.

And don’t worry, as a woman you don’t immediately become a masculine muscleman when you exercise with HIIT. Quite the opposite, you just get a nice toned body from it!

But there are more arguments against jogging if you want to lose weight. In the article Lose weight with jogging you will find 7 reasons why jogging is useless for losing weight.

#3. Handball – 445 kcal

Although you might not have expected it, according to Harvard, handball is the most intense ball sport. And then again, it’s not that unexpected, because:

  • You throw the ball to each other often and at high speed.
  • The field is small, but that doesn’t mean you don’t run much. You run permanently from one side to the other.
  • In order to hurl the ball at the goal, it is thrown with all one’s strength, usually involving a big jump.

So if you want to burn calories optimally with a team sport, handball is the best choice.

#4. Swimming (crawl or butterfly) – 410 kcal

One of the disadvantages of jogging is that you can hurt yourself quickly because you have to absorb a small blow with each step.

Fortunately, there are also other sports like z.B. swimming (and, of course, cycling), where these problems do not occur.

Especially if you swim very intensively, with crawl or butterfly, you burn more than 400 kcal (per 30 minutes, at a weight of 70 kilo).

#5. Climbing – 410 kcal

This is my favorite sport in this listing. Although I do not practice climbing on the climbing wall, which are often 17 meters high or more, but I climb on a wall that is only up to 4.5 meters high, but then without tools. This is also called bouldering.

I know it sounds a bit daunting when I write ‘without tools’. But there are thick mats on the floor, that’s why there are almost no accidents when bouldering.

Here you can see a video in which I am bouldering:

#6. Water polo – 370 kcal

Water polo actually shares space with rope skipping, squash and martial arts.

Since you practice the sport in the water, it is of course a very strenuous sport.

#7. Jumping rope – 370 kcal

This is also an effective way to lose kilos.

#8. Squash – 370 kcal

This is another sport that is often underestimated by people.

The room where you play squash is not very big, but you need explosive power to reach the ball and hit it back.

#9. Martial arts – 370 kcal

Here you should think about martial arts like judo, karate and (kick)boxing.

#10. Field hockey – 300 kcal

There’s a reason why the field hockey ladies are such eye candy…

#11. Skiing – 300 kcal

You burn calories not only with the sport itself, but also with the cold you are exposed to.

#12. basketball – 300 kcal

Basketball is often underestimated by people. Many think that you burn more calories playing soccer. But not true!

#13. tennis – 260 kcal

Although you always have breaks in between, a lot of calories are still burned here.

#14. Soccer – 260 kcal

Even the world champions stay slim with it!

#15. Inline skating – 260 kcal

Inline skating can be done at any age, and if you have a dog, you can walk it on skates as well.

Another tip!

No matter why you do sports, it is very important that you enjoy it. Because with fun in the thing one will remain also motivated and do it simply gladly.

If you play an individual sport, you can make it a little more attractive by playing it in a pleasant place and with z.B. practicing with pleasant background music.

And if you are receptive to this, then you can also reward yourself from time to time, z.B. with a new outfit when you have reached a set goal. These are all little things, of course, but if they help make it more fun, then they are more than worth it!

15 of the least effective sports for burning calories

#1. Pool billiards – 95 kcal

Lifting the cue every now and then and going to bump a ball is not going to burn a lot of calories.

#2. Bowling – 110 kcal

Very nice activity with friends or family, but not really worth the effort if you want to burn calories.

#3. frisbee – 110 kcal

A nice thing in the park when z.B. the dog runs after the disc, but that’s about it.

#4. Curling – 150 kcal

Also not really the bringer. The person scrubbing the ice like crazy before the curl certainly burns more calories than the person who set it off.

#5. Horse riding – 150 kcal

Actually surprising that this sport ends up so low on the list, because horseback riding may seem to many like just sitting on a horse for a bit, but when the gait speeds up, it’s harder than you suspect.

#6. Tai Chi – 150 kcal

There are many different variations of Tai Chi, but the basic idea is that you perform martial arts movements at a slow pace.

#7. Volleyball – 150 kcal

I had also estimated this sport higher, but probably it is because you have quite a lot of breaks and also you don’t get to the ball too often.

#8. Walking 5,5 km/h – 150 kcal

This is the healthiest sport. It’s not as far ahead in terms of calories burned, but it’s easy to keep up with.

#9. Badminton – 170 kcal

Again, a sport that I would have expected to burn far more calories.

#10. Canoeing – 190 kcal

If you just want to burn some calories while being out in nature nicely, this is certainly a good option.

#11. Skateboarding – 190 kcal

So skateboarding burns fewer calories than skating, which of course is due to the fact that when you skateboard you take breaks more often.

#12. Snorkeling – 190 kcal

Also a suitable sport if you like to be out in nature. Unfortunately, in local waters, snorkeling fun is rather limited…

#13. Softball – 190 kcal

Still quite a lot of calories when I consider that in my school days I sometimes stood around idly on the playing field for 10 minutes at a time.

#14. Dancing (in the bar or disco) – 190 kcal

If I have to choose between softball or dancing in the disco or bar, the choice is not hard for me. With the latter, you can at least still flirt on the side!

#15. Fencing – 220 kcal

Not the most popular sport in Germany, but still quite effective.

What is more effective than losing weight with sports and burning calories?

Imagine eating a piece of cake, such a nice piece of cream cake of 100 grams. In this way you have directly eaten 300 kcal!

You have to go through 15 minutes of HIIT or 15 minutes of high tempo cycling or jogging. And at that, a piece of 100 grams is still quite small.

This is exactly where the problem lies..

A Harvard study shows that exercising has very little effect on weight loss unless the person also adjusts their eating habits (source).

Another study (already from 1997) showed that all the studies of the previous 25 years had concluded that diet is 2 to 3 times more important than exercise (source).

Based on this data and the experience from my own practice, we can conclude that losing weight has to do 80% with a healthy diet and only 20% with exercise and sports.

Therefore: if you want to lose weight, focus on your diet!

Influence of diet versus exercise in losing weight

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About Richard Hartmann MSc

2 comments op "15 very& 15 Less Effective Sports to Burn Calories"

I use the app fddb extender. But the kcal data there are already different from theirs. I am missing the unit of time per sport in which their kcal are burned. Besides I see a difference between hobby sport and intensive sport. In badminton we have hobbyists who play 2h with breaks and others who play intensive 2-3h similar to competition. Also, I would still intensively distinguish hobby from league here. Similar with martial arts. Karate consists of 3 parts: Basic school/fitness/stretching, kata with explanations from the instructor and kumite (duel). With other sports this will be similar. For nutrition I always find great suggestions, but too few alternatives if someone does not like some of the suggestions. Z.b they can chase me with smoothies, fish, sweet potato and some other products&. For working people with long distances or sales people it is very difficult to do this. I z.b. need breakfast (1 wholemeal bread is enough), but can easily go without eating until the evening. 19 o’clock then main meal. my activities per week, 2-3x 2-2,5h intensive badminton without breaks, 2-3x ca 30min. Karate fitness ( warm up, then intensive fighting techniques 50ger repetition of fist and leg technique. Before+After Situps, pushups and cycling lying on my back) Weight: 79-80kg, 186cm 53years Male. Nevertheless easy belly ring&. And yes, I don’t want to give up sweets or chips permanently. Eat rarely of it, but must be also.

Hiking with 5,5 kmh is running for me. Hiking is 4,5 kmh for me.
That is why I can not join any group. Running or jogging is murder for me.

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