Come on, it’s time to get fired up, get outside or head to the gym and move your muscles!
Even the most passionate gym enthusiast can sometimes have a hard time finding the motivation to pull on their trainers, grab their water bottle and head down to the gym, and when you do arrive (willingly or not) you’ll want to make sure that your workout is as effective as it can be!
Here we’ll break down some of your favourite exercises into their calorie components, so you can get a rough idea of what all that hard work is doing to your body and fitness goals in the long-run.
It’s important to note that this is just a guide and will of course vary depending on your age, weight, gender, fitness level, and the intensity you work out with.
Here’s some of the most popular exercises and how many calories you’ll burn performing them.
Great for finishing off your workout and using up any remaining energy! The treadmill will get your heart pumping and the fat burning, not to mention the other added benefits of doing cardio, like improved heart and lung health. Going for a 30-minute jog will burn around 290 calories but you can vary this by jogging on an incline or running faster.
Elliptical trainer (cross-trainer)
The Elliptical trainer gives you a total-body workout which is why, other than the treadmill, it’s one of the most popular pieces of cardio machinery in the gym. It’s also low-impact as your feet never leave the pedals so your bones, joints and ligaments aren’t under the same stress as running.
For the average person going at a moderate pace, you can burn around 220 calories in 30 minutes.
Burn calories while you tone and build your legs, glutes, core and back muscles on the excise bike. Hopping on the bike will also lower the risk of many illnesses like diabetes and heart disease by increasing the health of your heart and blood circulation. Keep it interesting by peddling as fast as you can for 1 minute then at an average pace for 1 minute. A 30 minute workout will see you burn around 230 calories.
Rowing works all the major muscle groups by using both the upper and lower body during this exercise. Not only will you burn some serious calories by using this machine, but it also helps to tone and strengthen muscle too! Awesome!
Lifting your own body weight up requires great strength! Unless you are a regular gym-goer, you’d probably struggle with performing a few pull ups right now right? (don’t worry, we would too!) These compound exercises offer complete body conditioning and are a great way to measure your strength progression. Make a note of how many you can smash out this month and then try again next month – if you consistently work on your strength you should see a gradual improvement. This exercise will get you sweating and burn approx. 60 calories in a set.
Build up your back with this easy yet effective exercise. The lat pull down will target the muscles in your upper body and build up your strength. You can perform this movement in a few different ways, including single arm, wide grip, reverse close grip and behind your neck. All of these will challenge you in different ways and the variation will keep the training interesting. Performing a wide grip lat pull down for 4 sets at a moderate effort will burn around 50 cals.
Ah the chest press, the time-honoured way of showing off your strength in the gym. It’s a true test of upper body strength which is why it’s synonymous with weight lifting and body building. Make sure you keep a tight grip on the bar, keep your chest up and ask someone to spot you.
A fantastic exercise for building those guns! Preacher curls isolate your biceps allowing you to sculpt and tone your arms. You can perform this exercise with dumbbells using one hand or barbells using both. Make sure you are seated correctly, your feet are firmly planted on the floor and your armpits are stable on the top-edge of the pad. These will only burn around 30 cals as they wont really get your heart rate up that much, however, think of the gains!
When it’s leg day, one of the best exercises for adding muscle mass and giving you a great overall workout is the barbell squat. This compound movement will include several muscle groups at one time, allowing you to work your lower body and core at the same time, plus it’s going to get your heart rate up so it’s great cardio too! The key here is to maintain correct form and go low! Depending on the weight you can lift, the average person can burn around 200 calories in 15 minutes (about 4 working sets).
Most gyms will have one of two types of leg press machines, these are great for targeting specific muscles groups, in this case the quads, hamstrings and glutes. This machine is great for beginners that don’t feel ready to perform the barbell squats or simply as a ‘burnout’ movement after squats to fully work those muscles and tire them out. You can use the machine to lift heavy and simply perform the movement a few times with the same weight, or you can use it for super sets – (this is where you will perform 2-3 exercises back to back to really target the muscles) or drop sets (where you will decrease the weight slowly until you simply can’t do another rep). You’ll burn around 112 calories by performing the classic movement at a moderate pace for 15 minutes.
Lying leg curl
Tone and sculpt your hamstrings with this easy exercise. To make it a little more challenging why not try drop sets or negative reps (where you slow down the lowing phase of the lift to approx. 3-5 seconds) to really activate those muscles and feel the burn! On average, you’ll burn around 40 calories per set using a moderate effort.
This machine will target your quads and make them burn! People often use this machine as a finishing exercise after squats. To make it really challenging, try doing these negative reps and see how many you can do - once seated correctly, lift your legs out in front of you then slowly (and we mean slowly) lower your legs by counting down from 5. Ouch!
If you’ve followed along in the gym and performed all of the exercises, you’ve burned around 1507 calories! Well done!
Phew! What a workout! Don’t forget to cool down and stretch after to gradually relax your body and your return your heart rate back to its resting rate.
If you have a passion for health and fitness, why not turn it into a career?
Here are some handy tips on how to get a job as a personal trainer
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