If you want a workout that consistently burns a lot of calories, take up running.
Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images
You're incredibly busy with work and your home life during the week, so of course when it comes time to work out, you want to maximize your time and burn the most calories. Rest assured, any type of physical activity will shed some of those extra calories and help you drop some pounds. But generally, the more your heart gets pumping, the more calories you'll burn.
Lacing up your running shoes and going out for a run -- or hitting the treadmill -- is still one of the best ways to use up as many calories as possible. If you can keep a steady pace of 5 mph for an hour, you'll use up 510 calories if you weigh 140 pounds, over 600 calories at a weight of 160 pounds and nearly 655 calories if you are closer to 180 pounds. If you're a trained runner and can keep a pace of 8 mph, you'll lose 795 calories, 860 calories or 1,020 calories an hour at 140 pounds, 160 pounds and 180 pounds, respectively.
That's right, skipping rope -- like you did as a kid -- helps you burn off lots of calories. An hour of jumping rope at a moderate pace shaves off almost 640 calories, if you weigh 140 pounds. But if you're at a weight of 160 pounds, you'll burn around 730 calories in an hour, and then as much as 820 calories per hour, if you weigh 180 pounds.
Grab a racquet and a friend and hit the courts -- either racquetball or tennis. A competitive game of racquetball shaves off almost 640 calories per hour, at a weight of 140 pounds. But if you're closer to 160 pounds or 180 pounds, you'll use up 730 calories and 820 calories, respectively. Playing a singles game of tennis is another way to be competitive and drop some calories in the process. At 140 pounds, an hour on the court melts away roughly 445 calories. If you're at 160 pounds, you'll use up nearly 510 calories, and more than 570 calories at a weight of 180 pounds.
If you belong to a gym that offers classes, sign yourself up for some dance classes. Aerobic dancing to a high-energy beat almost effortlessly melts away calories, and before you even get a chance to glance at the clock, the hour-long session is over. At 140 pounds, you'll burn about 415 calories an hour; at 160 pounds, you'll shed more than 470 calories; and if you're closer to 180 pounds, you'll use up over 530 calories per hour.
If weight loss is your goal, you'll need to create a 3,500-calorie deficit to lose 1 pound, explains MayoClinic.com. This means that if you want to drop 2 pounds a week, you need to burn 1,000 calories a day, trim 1,000 calories from your daily diet or do a combination of both. So if you know your workout burns about 600 calories an hour, for example, you'll need to cut another 400 calories from your diet to meet that 1,000-calorie mark.