It can be frustrating if you’re working out regularly and not seeing the results you want. Part of this may have to do with the kind of exercise you choose. Running is a great option — it’s efficient at burning fat and calories, you can do it on your own or in groups and you don’t need a gym membership. But there are a lot of other great options as well. While the amount of fat each burns will vary depending in the intensity at which you do them, the length of your workouts and your unique physiology, here are a few options that have the potential to burn more fat than running.
In this types of exercise, ropes that come in various diameters and lengths are anchored and — holding the ends in each hand — you perform various exercises. It’s a great option because it’s good at working your core and upper body. It also offers a great cardio workout. And because it allows you to work out muscles that may be harder to isolate with weights, it gives you added flexibility. Battle roping can be done as one part of a workout, or on its own. It’s a good choice if you’re interested in building more muscle but not ready to jump to heavier weights. Enjoy the following video for an example of battle roping.
This classic is still popular because it’s highly effective. Start out by placing your hands on the ground, then jump and extend your feet out behind you, jump again to bring your feet back toward your hands, then lift your hands and jump upward. Some variations include a push-up while your feet are behind you. Burpees can help you to build strength, endurance and coordination.
Both outdoor cycling and spin are great options that offer excellent cardio exercise. They can help to burn fat, build muscle, reduce stress, improve cardiovascular health and more. And with spin, you can use the tension knob to increase the intensity of your workout. And if you take a spin class, you have the added bonus of working out with others, which for many of us can provide extra motivation to keep up with our exercise routine. Spin is also great for interval training.
If you haven’t worked with a kettlebell before, it’s basically a tea kettle-shaped weight with a large handle that you, well, swing in various movements. These exercises often involve multiple muscle groups, making the more of a full-body workout than exercises that isolate a single muscle group. You’re not just using your arms — you’re also often involving your back, shoulders, hamstrings and glutes. According to the American Council on Exercise, kettlebell swings can burn up to 20 calories per minute (depending on the intensity of your workout), and it offers both cardio and strength training.
Although many view rowing as an upper-body workout, it’s actually a great full-body exercise and works several different muscle groups in the upper-body, legs and core. In addition, it provides resistance in two directions — forward and backward. Some gyms offer rowing classes where instructors will take you through a series of intervals. Rowing is also relatively low-intensity and effective at burning calories.
One of the major benefits of jumping rope is that it’s cheap and can be done anywhere. It’s also something most of us have some level of familiarity with, so the learning curve is pretty low. And, of course, a jump rope is easy to pack in a suitcase if you’re traveling. It’s also great because it burns a relatively high number of calories in a short period of time. On the other hand, it does put stress on the knees, hips and ankles — though if done properly, it is still a lower-impact exercise than jogging.
Many of us owned a pair of rollerblades when we were kids. But what we probably didn’t realize as we were skating around our driveways is that inline skating is an excellent workout. It’s great at burning calories — depending on the intensity of your workout, it can burn up to about 160 calories in 15 minutes. It can help to strengthen and tone your glutes and quads. It also engages your core differently than running does, since you’re using your core muscles to balance your body on the wheels. And it’s a low-impact form of exercise.
Running is a great workout, and it’s often quite convenient, since you don’t need equipment or a gym membership. But it’s not the only option that’s effective at burning fat. And even if you enjoy running, adding variety is usually a good thing. Try some of these options if you’re ready to shake up your routine, or if running simply isn’t your thing.
— Sarah Cooke