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Calorie Crunching in 6 Minutes

Lets pretend you weigh 200 lbs and you want to lose some weight - specifically fat off your belly, thighs, under arms, etc.

But you aren't sure what exercises you should be doing. Weight lifting or cardio? Or both? And if so, how much? And which exercises produce the best results?

Well when it comes to weight loss your primary goal is to have a caloric reduction. So you should be doing approx. 70% cardio exercises (because cardio exercises burn more fat) and 30% weight lifting (to maintain muscle tone).

So for example if you had 9 minutes to exercise you might do 6 minutes of cardio and 3 minutes of weight lifting. Which is a tiny amount really, but lets do the math anyway. You have 1,440 minutes in a day so 9 minutes is really only 0.00625 of your day.

So in 6 minutes the most calorie intensive thing you could do is bicycle as fast as you can - approx. 20 mph - which would burn 145.4 calories if you weigh 200 lbs.

In contrast 6 minutes of vigorous weight lifting would burn a mere 54.4 calories. So half that if you did it for 3 minutes, so 27.2 calories.

Grant total for 6 minutes of bicycling + 3 minutes of vigorous weightlifting is 172.6 calories.

It is not a lot. But lets pretend you did that every day for a year. 364 x 172.6 = 62,826.4 calories. Just under 18 lbs of fat. (Exact results will vary on the weight of the person.)

Do that 9 minute exercise routine every day, 2 or 3 times per day and you would lose between 36 and 54 lbs in 1 year. Likely more if you add in the Afterburn Effect and a healthy balanced diet. As your endurance builds and weight drops you will start going faster and pushing yourself harder, possibly exercising for a lot more than 18 or 27 minutes per day... In which case you will reach your exercise goals faster than expected.

27 minutes is less than 2% of your day. Isn't it worth 2% of your day to achieve your exercise goals?

INTERESTING NOTE: Compare below the stationary gym bicycle calories burned vs cycling on a real bicycle. You burn way more calories on a real bicycle because you are moving your own bodyweight, whereas on a gym spinning stationary bicycle you aren't moving any weight. You burn way more calories on a real bicycle - which means the people shelling out money for spin classes would be better off just buying a normal bicycle.

The chart below shows many different activities a person can do and how many calories a 200 lb person would burn in 6 minutes doing those activities. The two best for burning calories (and therefore losing weight) are running and bicycling.

Gym Activities Calories Burned in 6 Minutes (calculated for a 200 lb person)
Aerobics: low impact 45.4 Aerobics: high impact 63.6
Aerobics, Step: 6" - 8" step 77.2 Aerobics, Step: 10" - 12" step 90.9
Aerobics: water 36.3 Bicycling, Stationary: moderate, 150 watts 63.6
Bicycling, Stationary: vigorous, 200 watts 95.4 Calisthenics: Vigorous, jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, pullups 72.7
Calisthenics: Moderate, back exercises, going up and down from the floor 31.8 Circuit Training: w/some aerobic, minimal rest 72.7
Elliptical Trainer: general 65.4 Riders: general (ie., HealthRider) 36.3
Rowing, Stationary: moderate, 100 watts 63.6 Rowing, Stationary: vigorous, 150 watts 77.2
Ski Machine: general 63.6 Stair Step Machine: General, without supporting any bodyweight on hand rails  81.8
Stretching: Mild, Hatha Yoga 22.7 Teaching aerobics 54.5
Weight Lifting: Light, free weight, nautilus or universal-type 27.2 Weight Lifting: Vigorous, free weight, nautilus or universal-type 54.5
Training and Sport Activities Calories Burned in 6 Minutes
Archery: non-hunting 31.8 Badminton: general, social 40.9
Basketball: playing a game 72.7 Basketball: wheelchair 59
Basketball: shooting baskets40.9 Basketball: officiating a game 63.6
Billiards22.7 Bicycling: BMX or mountain 77.2
Bicycling: 12-13.9 mph, leisure, moderate effort 72.7 Bicycling: 14-15.9 mph, leisure racing, fast, vigorous 90.9
Bicycling: 16-19 mph, very fast, not drafting 109 Bicycling: > 20 mph, racing, not drafting 145.4
Bowling 27.2 Boxing: sparring 81.8
Boxing: punching bag 54.5 Boxing: in the ring 109
Coaching: football, soccer, basketball, etc. 36.3 Cricket: batting, bowling 45.4
Curling 36.3 Dancing: Fast, ballet, twist 43.6
Dancing: disco, ballroom, square, line, Irish step, polka 40.9 Dancing: slow, waltz, foxtrot, tango, fox trot 27.2
Fencing 54.5 Football: competitive 81.8
Football: touch, flag, general 72.7 Football or Baseball: playing catch 22.7
Frisbee: general 27.2 Frisbee: Ultimate 72.7
Golf: carrying clubs 40.9 Golf: using cart 31.8
Golf: driving range, miniature 27.2 Golf: walking and pulling clubs 39
Gymnastics: general 36.3 Hacky sack 36.3
Handball: general 109 Handball: team 72.7
Hang Gliding 31.8 Hiking: cross-country 54.5
Hockey: field & ice 72.7 Horseback Riding: general 36.3
Ice Skating: general 63.6 Kayaking 45.4
Martial Arts: judo, karate, kick boxing, tae kwan do 90.9 Motor-Cross 36.3
Orienteering 81.8 Polo 90.9
Race Walking 59 Racquetball: competitive 90.9
Racquetball: casual, general 63.6 Rock Climbing: ascending 100
Rock Climbing: rappelling 72.7 Rollerblade / In-Line Skating 113.6
Rope Jumping: general, moderate 90.9 Running: 5 mph (12 min/mile) 72.7
Running: 5.2 mph (11.5 min/mile) 81.8 Running: 6 mph (10 min/mile) 90.9
Running: 6.7 mph (9 min/mile) 100 Running: 7 mph (8.5 min/mile) 104.5
Running: 8.6 mph (7 min/mile) 127.2 Running: 10 mph (6 min/mile) 145.4
Running: training, pushing wheelchair, marathon wheeling 72.7 Running: cross-country 81.8
Running: stairs, up 136.3 Running: on track, team practice 90.9
Scuba or skin diving 63.6 Skateboarding 45.4
Skiing: cross-country, light effort, general, 2.5 mph 63.6 Skiing: cross-country, vigorous, 5.0 - 7.9 mph 85.7
Skiing: downhill, moderate effort 54.5 Skiing: downhill, vigorous effort, racing 72.7
Sky diving 31.8 Sledding, luge, toboggan, bobsled 63.6
Snorkeling 45.4 Snow Shoeing 72.7
Soccer: general 63.6 Soccer: competitive play 90.9
Softball or Baseball: slow or fast pitch, general 45.4 Softball: Officiating 36.3
Softball: pitching 54.5 Squash 109
Surfing: body or board 27.2 Swimming: general, leisurely, no laps 54.5
Swimming: laps, vigorous 90.9 Swimming: backstroke 63.6
Swimming: breaststroke 90.9 Swimming: butterfly 100
Swimming: crawl, moderate, 50 yds/min 72.7 Swimming: treading, moderate effort 72.7
Swimming: lake, ocean, river 54.5 Swimming: synchronized 72.7
Table Tennis / Ping Pong 36.3 Tai Chi 36.3
Tennis: singles, competitive 72.7 Tennis: doubles, competitive 45.4
Tennis: general play 63.6 Track & Field: shot, discus, hammer throw 36.3
Track & Field: high jump, long jump, triple jump, javelin, pole vault 54.5 Track & Field: steeplechase, hurdles 90.9
Volleyball: non-competitive, general play, 6 - 9 member team 27.2 Volleyball: competitive, gymnasium play 72.7
Volleyball: beach 72.7 Walk: 2 mph (30 min/mi) 22.7
Walk: 3 mph (20 min/mi) 30 Walk: 3.5 mph (17 min/mi) 34.5
Walk: 4 mph (15 min/mi) 45.4 Walk: 4.5 mph (13 min/mi) 57.2
Walk: 5 mph (12 min/mi) 72.7 Water Skiing 54.5
Water Polo 90.9 Water Volleyball 27.2
Whitewater: rafting, kayaking 45.4 Wrestling: one match = 5 minutes 54.5
Outdoor Home Maintenance / Improvement Activities 
Calories Burned in 6 Minutes
Carpentry, installing rain gutters, building fence 54.5 Carrying & stacking wood 45.4
Chopping & splitting wood 54.5 Cleaning rain gutters 45.4
Digging, spading dirt, composting 45.4 Gardening: general 36.3
Gardening: weeding 40.9 Laying sod / crushed rock 45.4
Mowing Lawn: push, hand 54.5 Mowing Lawn: push, power 50
Operate Snow Blower: walking 40.9 Paint outside of home 45.4
Planting seedlings, shrubs 40.9 Plant trees 40.9
Raking Lawn 39 Roofing 54.5
Sacking grass or leaves 36.3 Shoveling Snow: by hand 54.5
Storm Windows: hanging 45.4 Sweeping: garage, sidewalks, outside of house 36.3
Trimming shrubs/trees: manual cutter 40.9 Trimming: using edger, power cutter, etc. 31.8
Watering plants, by hand 22.7 Workshop: general carpentry 27.2
Yard: applying seed or fertilizer, walking 22.7 Yard: watering by hand, standing/walking 13.6
Indoor Home Repair / Improvement Activities
Calories Burned in 6 Minutes
Carpentry: finish or refinish furniture or cabinets 40.9 Caulking: bathroom, windows40.9
Crafts: Standing, light effort 16.3 Hang sheet rock, paper or plaster walls27.2
Lay or remove carpet/tile 40.9 Paint, paper, remodel: inside40.9
Sanding floors with a power sander 40.9 Wiring and Plumbing27.2
Home & Daily Life Activities Calories Burned in 6 Minutes
Child-care: bathing, feeding, etc. 27.2 Child games: moderate, hop-scotch, jacks, etc. 36.3
Cleaning House: general 27.2 Cleaning: light dusting, straightening up, taking out trash, etc. 22.7
Cooking / Food Preparation 18.1 Food Shopping: with or without cart 20.9
Heavy Cleaning: wash car, windows 27.2 Ironing 20.9
Making Bed 18.1 Moving: household furniture 54.5
Moving: carrying boxes 50.9 Moving: unpacking 31.8
Playing w/kids: moderate effort 36.3 Playing w/kids: vigorous effort 45.4
Reading: sitting 9 Standing in line 10.9
Standing: bathing dog 31.8 Sleeping 8.1
Vacuuming 31.8 Watching TV 9
Office Activities Calories Burned in 6 Minutes
Driving vehicle to work 18.1 Sitting: light office work, meeting13.6
Standing: filing, light work 20.9 Riding in a bus or vehicle to work9
Typing: Computer, electric or manual 13.6 Walking: work break31.8
Occupational Activities Calories Burned in 6 Minutes
Bartending/Server18.1 Bakery: general, moderate effort36.3
Building Road: hauling debris, driving heavy machinery 54.5 Carpentry Work 31.8
Coaching Sports 36.3 Coal Mining 54.5
Computer Work13.6 Construction: outside, remodeling50
Custodial Word: general cleaning, moderate effort 31.8 Electrical Work31.8
Firefighting109 Forestry, general72.7
Forestry: planting trees by hand54.5 Heavy Equip. Operator22.7
Horse Grooming54.5 Light Office Work 13.6
Locksmith 31.8 Masonry 63.6
Masseur, standing36.3 Moving / Pushing heavy objects >75 lbs. 68.1
Patient Care: Nursing 27.2 Plumbing 31.8
Police Officer: making an arrest 36.3 Printing: operator, standing 20.9
Sitting in Class 16.3 Shoe Repair: general 22.7
Steel Mill: general 72.7 Theater Work21.8
Truck Driving: loading and unloading truck 59 Welding 27.2

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