What Exercises Burn The Most Calories?

One of the common questions any fitness professional is asked is “What is the best way to burn the most fat?”.

There are a few ways to look at this question:

  • Which individual exercises burn the most calories while they are being performed?
  • What type of training (i.e. Strength Training, Running, Boxing, Circuit Training etc) burns the most calories in a session?
  • Which type of training will achieve the greatest overall fat loss?

Individual Exercises

When it comes to individual exercises, I believe there are key traits that you should be looking for:

  • It should recruit the largest number of muscles possible (so compound movements over isolation ones)
  • It should require you to overcome (lift, pull, push) some level of resistance or weight.
  • It should be a movement that you can repeat for at least 20sec without rest.
  • It should be ballistic, powerful or explosive.

A couple of my favourite examples of these are:

  • Barbell Thrusters
  • Sandbag Hang Cleans
  • 8-Point Push-ups (aka 8-Point Body Builders), and my personal favourite …
  • Ballistic Trap-bar Deadlifts (Feet should leave the floor at the top of the movement)

Type Of Workout

When it comes to choosing the type of exercise, again there are a number of factors that will ensure its effectiveness:

  • Intensity – Just how hard does the activity push you?
  • Duration – It′s no good doing an activity that is so intense that you can only maintain it for a few minutes
  • Does it involve some sort of resistance?
  • Does it utilise multiple muscle groups

If you implement each of these elements into any type of training you can burn a bucket load of calories. For example, rather than going for a long, medium intensity run, change it up by hitting the track for a HIIRT™ session (High Intensity Interval Run Training):

  • 2 x 1600m (400m walk recovery in between)
  • 4 x 800m (200m walk recovery)
  • 6 x 400m (100m walk recovery)

Overall Fat Loss

As most MH readers would know, a lot of the transformation coaching I do is focussed on achieving extreme levels of fat loss for our celebrity clients in just eight weeks. It′s for that exact reason that I created the DARC protocol.

DARC (Dynamic Aerobic Resisted Conditioning) is a hybrid training method that takes into account all of the elements I′ve listed above, to ensure that every session burns as many calories as possible. In addition, it has also been designed to ensure that your metabolism is raised for hours after the workout is over by achieving high levels of EPOC (Excessive Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) or Afterburn.

The other important factor that the DARC protocol takes into account is the fact that by increasing the body′s lean muscle mass, you are ensuring that you are burning more calories just living.

Here′s an example of a DARC session that has been designed to increase lean muscle, and strength in the Shoulders, Biceps & Triceps, while burning serious fat:

CIRCUIT ONE: Repeat the circuit 4 times in total

  • Dumbbell Arnold Press: 8 – 12reps
  • Lateral Raises: 8 – 12reps
  • Dumbbell Curls: 8 – 12reps
  • Ballistic Trap-bar Deadlifts: Max reps in 20sec, then 10sec recovery. Repeat for 6 sets.

CIRCUIT TWO: Repeat the circuit 4 times in total

  • Barbell Upright Row: 8 – 12reps
  • Front Raises: 8 – 12reps
  • Tricep Push-downs: 8 – 12reps
  • Jumping Jacks: Max reps in 20sec, then 10sec recovery. Repeat for 4 sets.