Have no fear fitness friend — you can burn 500 calories when working out at-home starting with as fast as a 30 minute workout!
As a seasoned remote worker and fitness lover, I’ve had to find creative ways to burn calorie while at home. Here are my favorite calorie-burning activities:
High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
In this article, we’ll detail exactly how to burn 500 calories through each of these activities while working out at home. I’ll give you exact workouts to follow!
Calorie 101: How To Burn Calories
When it comes down to it, a calorie is a unit of heat energy. To get sciency, a calorie is technically the amount of energy that’s needed to raise one gram of water by one degree celsius.
Medical News Today describes that calories are a measure of how much energy the body needs to function. This includes everything from breathing to physical activity.
BASAL METABOLIC RATE (BMR)
When you’re at rest, your body still needs energy to function, including breathing, circulating blood, growing and repairing cells, and producing hormones and enzymes. This is called the basal metabolic rate (BMR).
FACTORS THAT DETERMINE BMR
Mayoclinic explains that there are different factors that influence the base calorie burn. This includes:
Body size: if you’re tall and bigger in general, then you’ll require more energy to move your body around.
Composition: more of your weight from muscle, burns more calories than fat tissue.
Sex: men typically have less body fat and more muscle than women of the same age and weight, which results in more calories burned.
Age: when you get older, the amount of muscle you have tends to decrease, slowing down calorie burn.
There are also other factors that are involved in calorie burn. This includes gut bacteria and hormones. Some studies have suggested that alterations in the friendly bacteria in your gut can impact your resting metabolism.
As for hormones, leptin and ghrelin can influence your appetite levels, while insulin can influence metabolism. For instance the Department of Health & Human Services, State Government of Victoria, Australia explains that insulin, which is important for the regulation of carbohydrates, can also determine the metabolism of fat.
Related Article: Sprinting On Treadmill vs Outside: Which One Is Better?
ACTIVITY FACTORS (EXTRA BURN)
On top of the basal metabolic rate that you have, there are other factors that determine how many calories you’re burning per day. This includes:
Food thermogenesis: all the processes your body goes through to break down and use food as energy, such as digestion and absorption.
Activity: activities you do on a daily basis such as working and cleaning. It also includes physical fitness.
Which brings us to the burning topic on your mind which you came for… how to burn 500 calories while working out at home.
Related Article: How to Eat More Calories And Lose Weight: Is It Possible?
Burn 500 Calories Workout Out at Home
Time to start heating up those calories, all in the comfort of your own home (or neighborhood).
Unless otherwise referenced, the calorie estimates provided are from Harvard Health and based on a 155 pound (70 kg) person doing 30 minutes of activity. There will be notes regarding which exercises require more than 30 minutes to hit that 500 calorie goal.
Keep in mind that your body may burn calories differently than others. Want to find out the calorie burn of activities according to your specific sex, age, height, and weight?
Check out the Health Status automatic calorie calculator: Calories Burned.
Running and jogging are one of the most efficient calorie burners — high as 539 calories in 30 minutes, when you run at 8.6 miles per hour (7 min/mile).
If you have a treadmill at home, yet tend to use it more to hang your clothes, you can overcome obstacles to exercise by catching up on your favorite Netflix show as you run.
No treadmill? Try going for an outdoor run to soak in some serotonin boosting sun, whether permitting of course.
For an extra calorie burn boost, try interval running. This means you go full blown for a set period of time, then actively recover with a job or walk. A good starting place is to go for a moderate level run for three to five minutes, then an all out sprint for 20-30 seconds.
As an added bonus, if your goal is to lose or maintain weight, studies suggest that running can actually regulate appetite hormones better than walking. Meaning when you run, you’re more likely to burn more than you eat when compared to walking.
If you despise running, try doing the same for power walking. Just keep in mind that if you want to aim for the 500 calorie burn, you’ll have to walk for a longer period of time.
Related Article: How To Workout Twice a Day For Weight Loss (Ultimate Guide)
HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT)
Some studies show that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can burn as much as 450 calories per 30 minutes.
HIIT is activity that’s done at a very high level or strength, for brief bouts of time, then followed by a period of rest or easy recovery. The intense part can last from 15 seconds to a few minutes.
As explained in the article, Should You Do HIIT Every Day? (5 things to Consider), a typical HIIT workout has 5-8 exercises done for 30-60 seconds each, alternating with 20-30 second rest periods. The intense bouts kick your body into an anaerobic state, helping your body burn more calories and fat.
HIIT can include anything such as biking, jumping, or sprinting so it can be done at home. There are various types of HIIT workouts including Tabata. For a tabata workout, you do max effort for 20 seconds then rest for 10, and repeat the same exercise for a total of four minutes.
Related Article: Can Hiit Be Done With Weights? (Yes, There Are 4 Rules)
According to Harvard University, there are slight variances in calorie burn when biking outdoors versus indoors. For example, they estimate that a 155 pound person burns 260 calories going at a moderate pace on a stationary bike while burning about 298 calories outdoor biking.
In a study conducted on bike-based interval training, researchers found that exercisers can burn up to an extra 200 calories in as little as 2.5 minutes of concentrated intense effort, as long as they intersperse longer periods of easy recovery in sprint interval training.
If you have a stationary bike at home, crank up the at-home motivation. The New York Times offers tips on how to spin at home: Be Your Own Spin Class.
According to Health Research Funding, plyometrics can help you burn 500 calories in one hour.
Plyometrics are known as jump training exercises. These are exercises in which your muscles go at maximum force for short intervals of time with the goal of increasing power, speed, and strength.
ACE fitness, explains that anyone incorporating plyometric exercises should already have an established workout and strength routine because many of the plyometric exercises require strong ligaments and tendons.
The more explosive or intense the movement, the shorter the work period should be, followed by a longer rest period. ACE uses the example of three reps or 10 seconds, with rest as short as 20 seconds or as long as two minutes. This can help you burn up to 10 calories per minute!
Examples of plyometrics include lateral bounds, squat jumps, squat thrusters, box jumps, and plyo reverse step (or lunge) with jump. Refer to the ACE article for details and images.
Related Article: Check out our 1-Hour Outdoor Workout
A stair step machine with general use burns about 225 calories per half hour.
Climbing stairs is of course depending on whether you have access to a stair step machine or if you have stairs at your home or apartment. You can also get creative and consider if there are any public stairs in your neighborhood that you could use.
As an added bonus, workout on the stairs with weights. This will help you train for real life situations such as carrying the groceries home.
Keep yourself engaged in the stair workouts by setting a goal for how many times you’ll go up and down the stairs and changing up your speed and how many steps you skip on your way up. Please don’t try skipping stairs on your way down as it can be dangerous.
Related Article: How Long Should A Workout Be? (Science-Backed)
Dancing is a sometimes surprising way to burn a good chunk of calories. Classes such as Zumba can burn upwards of 225 calories per half hour. While disco, ballroom, square dance burn about 205 calories per half hour.
But you don’t need to attend a class or hit the club to reap the benefits. Try a solo dance party or shake it with your roommates or kids. If you’re stuck at home, turn up the beats and get moving to your own rhythm, or give a dance video a try.
According to the American Council of Exercise (ACE), in addition to its cardiovascular benefits, dancing is also a weight-bearing activity, which can improve bone density, and help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, improve muscle strength, and improve coordination and balance.
It also has psychological benefits since it’s enjoyable and engaging for many people. ACE explains it can help reduce stress and fatigue while improving energy, mood, and self-esteem.
That’s right, you can burn a significant amount of calories while being productive. No wonder why you feel tired after doing chores.
If you have access to a lawn or garden, these are excellent ways to get you some fresh air, mood boosting sun, and a workout. Mowing the lawn is one of the highest calorie burners, at 205 calories per half hour. Gardening such as weeding and general gardening burns about 170 calories per half hour.
Lower level activities such as cooking, burns about 90 calories per half hour, while heavy cleaning burns about 170 calories per half hour. If you want to remodel or rearrange, moving household furniture burns about 220 calories.
Spend more quality time with your kids and burn calories. Playing with them at a vigorous effort can burn up to 185 calories per half hour!
Don’t have weights or equipment at home? No worries! Weightlifting, including using your own body weight, can burn about 112 calories per half hour.
Note that with strength type exercises, the initial calorie burn appears to be quite lower than the activities we’ve discussed so far.
Fitbod’s own Emily Trinh, describes in her Can Bodyweight Exercises Be Done Everyday article, that you not only burn calories while training even when you use your own weight, But you’ll also burn calories after a workout. This is due to Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC).
This works because when your body is replenishing your oxygen and glycogen stores while returning your heart rate and temperature to normal, it requires calories. For a greater EPOC effect, your training needs to be more on the intense side.
You can also build more calorie scorching muscle by doing bodyweight exercises. Emily explains that you can build muscle with your own body weight, but it’s important to focus on progressive overload which means you gradually do more than you were previously doing. This is the key to keeping your calorie burn up!
Add more weight
Shorter rest times
Perform variations of one movement
Every Bit Counts
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition, adults should do:
At least 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity.
Or 75 minutes to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.
They should also do muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week.
The recommended amount of activity hasn’t changed, but now, every little bit can count towards this goal. Even just a minute or two at a time can contribute.
This total amount of exercise does not have to be done at the same time. Same goes for reaching your 500 calorie burn goal. You can combine some of the activities we talked about above to total 500 calories working out at-home.
Here’s an example of how you can make your daily activities add up to 500 calories:
30 minutes of mowing the lawn = 205 calories
15 minutes stair workout = 110 calories
Playing with kids 30 minutes = 185 calories
Total: 500 calories!
Related Article: Can You Lose Weight Without Sweating? (Yes, Here’s How)
Out of all the calorie burning workouts above, the most important thing you can do is keep up with them! This will be the ultimate factor that determines your success in reaching your goals in the long-term. It’s easy to get bored or have life events interfere with your workouts.
Here’s a few tips to keep those workouts going, and aiming for that 500 calorie burn!
Make it Routine
Do the Things You Love
Learn more about maintaining motivation levels: Overcoming Obstacles To Exercise When You’re At Home
If your goal is to lose weight, it’s important to know that there’s no magic pill that’s both healthy and aids in significant weight loss. The base of a healthy weight loss plan is to focus on physical activity and a balanced diet, while eating less calories than you burn.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends tipping this calories in versus calories out scale by about 500 calories per day. This can help encourage a weight loss of about one pound per week. So when you add in these 500 calorie workouts into your day, you’ll be on your way towards maintaining a healthy weight.
Just remember to keep in mind that everybody is different and burns calories in different ways. The key is to continually exercise, and push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Learn more about a weight loss promoting diet: Can Eating At Home Help You Lose Weight? (Yes, Here’s How)
About The Author
Lisa is a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) with over 15 years of experience in nutrition, fitness, and mental health coaching and education. She studied Foods and Nutrition at San Diego State University and earned a Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition at Hawthorn University.
Having certifications and experience in group exercise, intuitive eating, coaching and psychotherapy, and digestive wellness, she’s enthusiastic about the relationship between the body and mind.
She’s dedicated to helping people understand how to implement healthy habit change, while gaining a deeper understanding of what makes them feel their personal best.