Top 15 Sports to Burn Calories9 min estimated reading time

best exercises burn calories

Top 15 Sports to Burn Calories


15 Most & 15 Least Effective Sports to Burn Calories

Do you want to burn a lot of calories in a short time and thus lose weight? Super, then you find in this article the best sports to burn maximum calories.

I also discuss the worst sports to burn calories, so you also know immediately which sports have little impact.

What you will learn in this article:

  • Whether you should count calories
  • How calories you must burn to lose a kilogram of fat
  • What the afterburn effect is
  • Whether you better eat less or go to work out

We start with a few frequently asked questions about calories.

What you need to know about calories!

What is a calorie?

There is a lot of confusion on the internet about exactly what a calorie is, but the correct definition is:

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

Note: If one is talking about calories, one usually refers to kilocalories (kcal).

How many calories is a kilogram of fat?

This is a frequently asked question. The short answer is approximately 7700 calories (kcal).

How many calories per day can you eat to lose weight?

That depends on your weight, height, age and gender. Here you can use the BMR calculator to calculate how many calories you can eat per day to lose weight.

Do you have to count calories?

Counting calories is half the story when losing weight. There are various reasons why calories can mislead you.

How the calorie burning calculations have come about

  • A weight of 70 kilograms has been assumed
  • It is assumed 30 minutes of training/exercising
  • The calory numbers come from this Harvard page, a reliable source
  • The number of calories has been rounded off for convenience
  • Some sports burn exactly as many calories as others so they actually share a place

Let’s start!


15 most effective sports to burn calories

# 1. HIIT – 500 kcal ± 100 kcal afterburn

hiit-workoutHIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. It is a way of exercising where you do exercises at high intensity alternating with moments of rest.

If you only count calories while exercising, you will burn fewer calories than a cycle at a good pace (> 32 km / h) or running (> 16 km / h), but then you do not take the afterburn effect into account.

The afterburn effect, officially called EPOC, means that you also burn extra calories after exercise. This is many times higher with a high intensity training such as a HIIT as opposed to a lower intensity training such as cycling or running.

It also appears that you burn up to 7 times more fat in 12 weeks with HIIT 20 times 3 times per week than 30 minutes cardio (source) 3 times per week. In short, a good argument for not being completely blind to burning on calories, because burning fat is the most important thing.

Below is an example of an HIIT, something that you can easily do at home.

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

cycling running

As mentioned above, cycling or running has not won from HIIT. With cardio you probably burn a little more calories than with HIIT but you do not just have to watch the number.

It turns out that you burn up to 7 times more fat in 12 weeks with HIIT 20 times 3 times per week than 30 minutes cardio (source) 3 times per week.

The same study also showed that the HIIT participants had gained 1 kilo of muscle mass while the cardio group had lost 0.5 kilos. This is an important fact because with more muscle you get a more sexy figure.

And no, you are not immediately muscular when you are doing HIIT as a woman. You get a tight and beautiful body!

But are more arguments not to run if you want to lose weight. In an article, I give you 7 reasons why losing weight with running is worthless.

# 3. Flag football – 445 kcal

Flag Football

Maybe you did not expect him, but Flag football is the most intensive ball sport according to Harvard. That is also not surprising because:
  • You often throw the ball at each other quickly
  • The field is small, but that does not mean that you do not run a lot because you are constantly running to the other side
  • To throw the ball into the goal is often thrown hard with a big jump

Do you want to burn calories optimally with a team sport? Then Flag football is the best choice.

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


One of the disadvantages of running is that you can quickly get injured because you catch a blow every day.

But fortunately, there are also other sports such as swimming (and of course cycling) with which you do not have this problem.

Especially if you swim fanatically with a front crawl or butterfly stroke you go over 400 kcal (per 30 minutes with a weight of 70 kilos).


# 5. Climbing – 410 kcal

This is my favorite sport of the row. I only do not do wall climbing, which often goes up to about 17 meters high.

On the other hand, I’m climbing on a wall up to 4.5 meters high without tools, also called bouldering.

I know that ‘without tools’ sounds scary, but there are thick mats on the floor. An accident is rare in the boulder gym.

See here a video where the explain bouldering:

# 6. Water polo – 370 kcal

Water polo actually shares the spot with rope jumping, squash and martial arts.

Because you practice the sport in water, water polo is obviously a heavy sport.

# 7. Jump rope – 370 kcal

Also, an effective way to lose pounds.

I also wrote an article about losing weight with jumping rope.

# 8. Squash – 370 kcal

Another sport in which people underestimate how much effort is required.

The room in which you play squash is often quite small but you need explosive power to be able to hit the ball again.

# 9. Martial arts – 370 kcal

For example, think about martial arts, judo, karate and (kick) boxing.

# 10. Hockey – 300 kcal

It is not for nothing that those hockey women look so good …

# 11. Skiing – 300 kcal

Not only does your calories burn with the sport itself, but also with weathering the cold.

# 12. Basketball – 300 kcal

People often underestimate basketball and think that you will burn more calories in football. Not so!

# 13. Tennis – 260 kcal

Although there are quite some breaks between the rallies, you still burn a lot of calories.

# 14. Football – 260 kcal

It’s a big flied that you have to cross from one side to the otherside

# 15. Inline skating – 260 kcal

Inline skating is for all ages and if you still have a dog, you might as well attract those skates.

Another tip!

For whatever reason you are going to exercise, it is also important that you enjoy it. Because having fun with sport means that you remain motivated, that you enjoy doing it.

Do you do an individual sport? Then create your own pleasure by setting up a nice music and finding a quiet place.

And if you are sensitive to it, reward yourself for something nice like a new outfit when you reach a goal. All small things, but if it helps to enjoy it, and to keep it, then it’s all a good thing!

15 least effective sports to burn calories

# 1. Pool billiard – 95 kcal

Every now and then lifting your cue and hit a ball, you will yield little burning.

# 2. Bowling – 110 kcal

Fun to do with friends or family, especially if you win but not worth it if you want to burn calories.

# 3. Frisbee – 110 kcal

Nice to do in the park where the dog runs behind the Frisbee, but that is also all that is said.

# 4. Curling – 150 kcal

Is also not a grease pot, I think the person who scoops the ground like a fool for the curl burns more calories.

# 5. Horse riding – 150 kcal

It strikes me that this sport ends so low, because for some people riding seems to be a bit like a horse, but at speed, it is heavier than you think.

# 6. Tai Chi – 150 kcal

#There are many types of Tai Chi, but the idea is that you perform fighting movements at slow speed.

# 7. Volleyball – 150 kcal

I had expected this higher, but I think it is because you have quite a few breaks in this sport and that you do not always get the ball.

# 8. Walking 5.5 km / h – 150 kcal

This is the most healthy sport. In terms of calories, it is not rich but it is easy to maintain.

# 9. Badminton – 170 kcal

Another sport that I expected you would burn more calories with.

# 10. Canoeing – 190 kcal

If you want to burn some calories and want to be outdoors in nature, this is a good option.

# 11. Skateboarding – 190 kcal

With skateboarding, you burn fewer calories than rollerblading, but that is of course because you take several moments of rest with skateboarding.

# 12. Snorkeling – 190 kcal

Another sport that you can do if you like being in nature.

# 13. Softball – 190 kcal

Still, quite a few calories if you ask me because from my school time I can still remember that I sometimes had 10 minutes to do nothing in the field.

# 14. Dancing (pub or disco) – 190 kcal

If I have to choose between softball and dancing in the pub or disco, I know the answer. You can at least flirt in the pub or disco!

# 15. Fencing – 220 kcal

Not the most popular sport but in the commonwealth countries more popular, but against the expectation still quite effective.

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

Imagine you eat a pastry, for example, a whipped cream tip of 100 grams. In this case, you have directly worked around 300 kcal calories in!


You have to do HIIT for about 15 minutes or cycle or run at a fast pace for 15 minutes. Then remember that a piece of 100 grams is reasonably small.

And that is exactly the problem …

A study by Harvard shows that sports have little effect on losing weight if someone does not adjust his or her diet (source).

Another study (from 1997) shows that adjusting your diet is 2 to 3 times more important from the 25 years before.

On the basis of these data and the experiences in my practice, the conclusion is that 80% is about healthy food and only 20% about exercise / sport. From this, you may indeed conclude that you can lose weight without exercising.

In short, focus on nutrition if you want to lose weight!

   Image result for renegade diet picture



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