For some of us, the thought of slogging away on a treadmill at the gym has long ago lost its luster. Sure you want to burn off that morning pastry or splurge after work on a lager, but there must be some alternatives. “I personally don’t have a lot of time or patience and I want to burn as many calories as I can very quickly,” said Sunny Schultz, certified Russian Kettlebell Challenge instructor and owner of Move Fit & Performance in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. “There are plenty of ways to do this without the go-to cardio machines.”
One caveat, according to Erica Roselius, certified personal trainer and owner of Driven Fitness in Orange County, California, is that total calorie burn will vary for each individual. “The number of calories a person burns for each activity depends on multiple factors, including sex, metabolism, body composition and physical fitness,” Roselius said.
The activities outlined in this article are estimates based on a 150-pound person. Calculations can be found at HealthStatus.com or ProHealth.com.
One general rule that applies regardless of a person’s weight comes from Mike Visscher, certified trainer and owner of Ignition Fitness in Rancho Cucamonga, California: “The more dynamic the movement, the more muscles you use, and the greater the capacity to burn calories.” Our panel of experts point to 19 fun fitness challenges that will have you gleefully sweating away calories.
1. Climb, Climb, Climb: Stair climbing torches calories and is great for toning the glutes, thighs and calves. Run stairs for 12 minutes straight or try to incorporate it into your weight-training workout by doing 1- to 3-minute stair climbs between exercise sets.
2. Jump Rope: Jumping rope was so easy and fun when you were a kid. It is also an awesome cardiovascular workout that can burn up to 11 calories per minute. Just 18 minutes added to your existing routine will help you shed an extra 200 calories!
3. Snatch that Kettlebell: Research on the kettlebell snatch is staggering. You can burn up to 20 calories per minute with this dynamic, explosive lift. Not only are you using your aerobic system, but you are loading your body with weight, thereby working the anaerobic system as well, which increases the caloric burn. Find your nearest certified kettlebell instructor and get schooled on the kettlebell snatch.
4. Go Sledding: The weighted sled isn’t just for burly football players anymore. Sleds are becoming more and more popular in fitness centers across America. To really sizzle calories (and get a killer workout), push a weighted sled up and down the length of the gym (or about 10 yards), then pull it back to start. Repeat 10 times. Or, push the sled for 10-second on/off intervals for 10 minutes.
5. Rock Out: During a rock-climbing ascent, you can burn almost 12.5 calories per minute. Not only does this work your entire body, it challenges coordination and builds your mental stamina. Don’t have a place to climb nearby? Check your local climbing gym where you can also take lessons from a qualified professional.
6. Hill Sprints: Find a hill about the length of a city block and after a good warm up, sprint to the top and then walk back down. Repeat this 10 times.
7. Hit the Pool: It’s refreshing. And, swimming is an effective, low-impact exercise that works the entire body. Try 22 minutes of freestyle at a moderate pace to help you lose weight and strengthen your shoulders and core.
8. Wash the Car: Washing and waxing your car burns about 204 calories in 40 minutes. Clean up the inside of your car, too, and you’ll sizzle those calories even faster.
9. Use What You Have: Body-weight exercises such as pushups, lunges and squats can be performed at intervals for 15 minutes to gain strength and incinerate calories. Download the Swing Timer app to your smart-phone and get moving.
10. Go Skating: Roller-skating counts for almost 6 calories per minute. Strap on your skates and take along your kids or your dog. In only 33 minutes, you can burn 200 calories and build strong buns and thighs, too.
11. Room Redo: Give a room in your house a fresh new hue. Rolling on a new coat of paint burns 204 calories an hour.
12. Clean it Up: Even household chores count toward your daily calorie burn. A little more than an hour of moderate housework can burn about 200 calories. Blast the stereo with your favorite songs and add a little dancing while you vacuum and you’ll burn even more.
13. Get Down and Dirty: Snuggle up to your partner and get frisky. You can burn 5 calories per minute sweating between the sheets.
14. Hike It: Communing with Mother Nature is good for the body and soul. Head to your local mountains or favorite scenic spot for a 30-minute hike to work your muscles and calm your mind.
15. Run: Lace up your sneakers and take a trip around town. Keep a pace of 5 miles per hour for 30 minutes to blast 200 calories.
16. Do Some Heavy Lifting: Weight lifting at a relaxed pace for an hour – or rigorously for 30 minutes – not only builds lean muscle mass (which helps burn more calories even when you’re at rest), but will help you expend pesky calories, too, for the ultimate lean-down.
17. Set a Sequence: Grab that timer and set it for 40 seconds (30 seconds work, 10 seconds transition). Repeat the following sequence at maximum effort for 15 minutes: Jump rope, mountain climbers, burpees and bicycle crunches.
18. Try Kayaking: Kayaking is a great workout for your shoulders, back and core. You can burn about 5.5 calories per minute while enjoying some time on the open water.
19. Mark it 8: Get your pals together at the bowling alley for some wacky fun that’s also a workout. An hour of bowling – not to mention the calories you burn laughing and cheering – is all it takes.
20. Tag, You’re It: Call your kids outside for a rousing game of tag. You can burn up to 90 calories for every 15 minutes of play while making happy memories with your dearest ones.
By Jessica Wyland