For some people, running to stay fit is a lifestyle. Its multitude of health benefits keep it as a frontrunner (so to speak) on the fitness scene, and there are so many fun ways to run these days that half the time it doesn’t even feel like working out. But for others, hitting the pavement is flat-out dreadful. And although it can burn up to 10 calories per minute, it can be difficult to bring ourselves to do it three or four times a week.
1. Kettlebell Swing: This explosive exercise works the big, powerful muscles around your glutes and quads and sends your heart into overdrive, according to research from the University of Wisconsin. In the study, participants burned 20.2 calories a minute and their average heart was 93% of its max for the course of a 20-minute workout. “The kettlebell swing works you so hard because it’s not a movement you’re used to,” says Dan John, a strength coach in Salt Lake City and the author of Intervention. “You’re not super efficient at it, which taxes your body.”
3. Burpees: A 180-pound person burns about 1.43 calories per burpee, says exercise scientist and Spartan Coach Jeff Godin. So if you can hammer out at least seven a minute you’re in the double digits. But you should shoot to average at least 10 every 60 seconds, or a rate of 14.3 calories per minute. Why? Performing just 10 reps at a fast pace can rev your metabolism as much as a 30-second, all-out bike sprint, according to a study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting.
The key: Give everything you have in that 60 seconds. Note: This was by no means a scientific experiment and relies on the accuracy of the built-in AirDyne monitor, which calculates calories by converting revolutions of the fan into physical work.
5. Jumping rope: Moderate-intensity rope jumping — about 100 to 120 skips per minute — burns about 13 calories a minute, according to the “Compendium of Physical Activities”. This mode of exercise uses more muscle groups than jogging, and challenges your balance, and coordination — especially if you practice drills that require extra hand and foot skills.
6. Fat-Tire Biking: If you haven’t tried this fast-growing cycling sport, you should. You can burn up to 1,500 calories an hour — or nearly 25 calories per minute — pedaling the heavy, hard-to-turn monster bikes and tackling all types of terrain, all year round, says Mike Curiak, record holder for the 1,000-mile Iditasport Impossible, a fat tire biking race. Reality check: That kind of calorie burn depends on your fitness and strength levels, and your skill. But regardless, it’s sure to be one hell of workout.