What burns more calories than running? It’s an ongoing argument between runners and cyclists—and with these two activities it all comes down to intensity. For a high-intensity cycling workout, CycleBar’s Lisa Niren recommends an indoor cycling class. “The group environment fosters a sense of camaraderie that results in riders holding each other accountable and allows them to push themselves beyond their limits and really work to their max potential,” says Niren. “The high-intensity intervals are designed to spike your heart rate, rev up your metabolism and burn fat.” Crucially, the intervals continue to burn calories and keep the metabolic rate high for up to 48 hours after the class. “This after-burn affect, more commonly known as excess post oxygen consumption (EPOC), changes the game, providing you with an extremely efficient and effective workout,” says Niren. “As these intervals build lean muscle, your body continues to burn fat all day long, even at rest.” For a 120-pound person in a 60-minute indoor cycling class, calories burned biking will be approximately 700 to 850 calories depending on the intensity of the class and the amount of effort exerted. To maximize caloric burn and after burn affects, it’s important to keep the intensity up, perform as many intervals as possible, and keep your form controlled.
We’re not talking a leisurely swim here, but if you choose the right stroke and maintain a high level of intensity, calories burned swimming can be more than running. “Swimming is one of my favorite exercises because it not only involves your entire body but also puts less stress on your joints,” reveals Dempsey Marks, fitness expert and creator of the PreGame Fit fitness and lifestyle program. “With each stroke you must use your legs, arms, and core just to stay afloat. That is a great start to calorie burn because of muscle recruitment.” Marks recommends the butterfly stroke to maximize calorie burn and says an average 150-person person will burn 400 calories per half hour. A more popular stroke, such as the breast stroke, will burn 375 calories per 30 minutes. To add some resistance, swim in an ocean where a current will make you work harder and up the calorie burn.