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3 Types of Exercise for Maximum Calorie Burn

These exercises burn the most calories for permanent weight loss; they’re from a fitness article I recently wrote for a health magazine. I interviewed personal trainers and fitness experts, and learned the best ways to set and achieve weight loss goals.

Here’s what one fitness trainer said about losing weight:

“Mixing up your exercise routine is a great way to lose weight and increase your fitness level,” says LA-based certified trainer Angela Parker. “Change surprises your body, makes it work harder, and burns more calories.”

One way to mix up your exercise routine and keep your body guessing is to do different exercise DVDs. I do yoga, Pilates, strength training, and ballet – all at home. If you’re looking for the best weight loss DVD, check out Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred — it’s one of the best, most popular home workout routines.

And, here are exercises to lose weight permanently…

3 Types of Exercise for Maximum Calorie Burn

If you already know that exercise isn’t your problem, read Why You Never Feel Full and Can’t Stop Eating.

1. Boot camp

Based on military-style training, boot camps combine the instructor’s expertise with the support (or peer pressure) of other participants. The drills range from power skipping to reverse flys, all to increase cardio, strength, and core fitness. “Because the exercises are infinitely combinable, each workout is new,” says Karen Rooff, a certified personal trainer in Austin, Texas. “Novelty is great for keeping both muscles and minds engaged. Plus, classes with small numbers offer a trainer’s personal attention at a fraction of the usual cost.

The downside of boot camp exercises: “Participants may overestimate their fitness level, overdo it, and stop working out,” says NYC-based certified personal trainer Ariane Hundt. “And, high intensity workouts can cause injuries if the instruction isn’t personalized.” Boot camps may burn the most calories for permanent weight loss; to avoid injury, listen to your body and inform your instructor of preexisting conditions.

2. Interval training

This well-researched exercise alternates bouts of high and low intensity exercise (eg, intervals of sprinting and jogging). “Intervals increase calorie expenditure and afterburn – so calories are burned after the exercise is over,” says Brad Schoenfeld, certified strength and conditioning specialist and author of 28 Day Body Shapeover. Research from the University of Guelph shows that intervals burn more fat and improve fitness faster than constant, moderate exercise. Intervals can help with achieving permanent weight loss goals.

The downside of interval training to burn calories: Schoenfeld says that high intensity intervals can be difficult or even harmful for people with certain injuries and disorders (always check with your doctor first!). “Interval training requires focus, intensity and determination,” adds Chicago-based certified trainer Cathy Lang. “There’s no social aspect to motivate you; you have to tap into the competitor inside.”

3. Crossfit / Cross Training for permanent weight loss

Types of Exercise for Maximum Calorie BurnThis “bare bones” exercise philosophy focuses on short, high-intensity workouts. The multi-jointed and functional moves are simple but hard: pull-ups, squats, gymnastics drills, and kettleball exercises – often just using your own body weight as resistance. Crossfit offers a new workout every day and displays hundreds of comments from fellow fanatics. “This exercise requires little or no equipment, and you really feel like you’re getting a workout,” says Pilates instructor Fawn Gill. “Plus, there’s a real feeling of belonging to a special group – almost a cult.” The workouts are free, and it’s a well-rounded approach to fitness that exercises your whole body.

The downside of cross training for weight loss: “Crossfit can be challenging for the unfit or beginner crowd,” says Gill. “Thus, there’s a greater chance of injury due to the intensity of the workouts.” Without professional instruction, participants may do the exercises wrong – and strain muscles or pull ligaments.

Exercises That I Love

These exercise are extremely effective for permanent weight loss, even if they don’t burn as many calories as interval training or cross fit…


Originally used by dancers and called “contrology” by Joseph Pilates, this discipline involves core stabilization and simultaneous hip and shoulder movements. Breathing and spine alignment are emphasized. “Pilates is slow and controlled, so you’re getting a workout without too much sweat,” says certified trainer Christi Masi of Seattle, WA. “It’s low impact for those with bad knees and previous injuries.” BC-based Pilates instructor Fawn Gill adds, “Pilates focuses on posture, core strength, joint mobility and muscle strength. People at all fitness levels can do it.” Bonus: you don’t need special equipment for an effective workout.

The downside of Pilates for burning calories: “Pilates is anaerobic exercise, so you don’t burn as many calories as you would running,” says Pilates instructor Alana Reed, from NYC. “But you do build muscle – and the more muscle your body has, the more efficiently it burns calories.” Reed adds that 50% of her Pilates clients are men.

My favorite Pilates DVD is 10 Minute Solution: Slim & Sculpt Pilates.

Yoga and Anti-Gravity Yoga

Traditional yoga, such as Hatha, Bikram, Kundalini or Ashtanga, improves flexibility, muscle tone, and the mind-body connection – it’s been practiced for thousands of years, and is probably here to stay. Anti-Gravity Yoga is the newest rage: yogis practice their poses in hammocks suspended from the ceiling. The air-borne downward dogs and flying pigeons relieve tension in the spine and allow for deep stretches without muscle strain. “Being suspended in the air offers greater flexibility, and it feels like you’re flying,” says Hundt. “Hanging upside down is enormously relaxing, releases tension in the body, and makes you feel weightless.”

The downside of yoga for weight loss: Holding poses while suspended from the ceiling requires coordination, and isn’t for newbies or obese people.

Speaking of yoga, you might like to read How Christian Yoga and Spiritual Exercises Make You Strong.


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1 thought on “3 Types of Exercise for Maximum Calorie Burn”

  1. Boot camp style of traing really does work; I know, since I wnet thru both Army Basic Training and Special Forces camp.

    I still incorporate some of the things I learned there; but I focus now more on interval trainingg.

    It’s an age thing… And I am really trying to work on ideas to burn body fat fast.