500 Calorie Workouts + 18 Top Workouts To Burn The Most Calories

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With so many types of exercise to choose from, it can certainly be difficult to know which types of exercise you should be doing for different purposes and goals and how to structure your workouts for the best results.

From aerobic exercises like running and cycling to resistance training and flexibility exercises like yoga, there can be a seemingly dizzying array of types of exercises and workouts to juggle in your fitness routine.

Sometimes, rather than caring specifically about the type of exercise you do, you just want to do a workout that will burn a lot of calories. Perhaps you overindulged at a meal or are eager to kickstart some weight loss and want to do a 500 calorie workout to burn some excess energy.

But what types of workouts burn 500 calories? What are the best 500 calorie workouts? How long do you have to work out to burn 500 calories? In this article, we will discuss how to torch 500 calories in your workouts and the best 500 calorie workouts to do when you’re short on time and want to maximize your calorie burn.

We will cover: 

  • How Many Calories Do You Burn Working Out?
  • What Workouts Burn the Most Calories?
  • Here Are 18 500 Calorie Workouts To Try

Let’s dive in! 

A group doing a 500 calorie workout on rowing machines.

Related: Calories Burned Per Activity Calculator (800+ Activities)

How Many Calories Do You Burn Working Out?

All forms of physical activity or exercise burn calories because it requires energy to contract your muscle and move the body.

A calorie is a unit of energy that refers to the amount of energy it takes to increase the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius.

Whether you choose to walk, run, swim, lift weights, take a yoga class, do a HIIT indoor cycling workout, or do jumping jacks, you’ll expend a certain number of calories based on the intensity of the workout, the muscles involved, your body weight and composition, and the duration of the workout. 

Exercises performed at high intensities and that involve your entire body, or large muscle groups will burn more calories than low-intensity exercises or those working isolated muscles.

For example, you’ll burn more calories running at a 7-minute-per-mile pace compared to a 9-minute-per-mile pace, and a total-body exercise like squat thrusts will burn more calories than an isolation exercise like tricep extensions.

People in an aerobics class.

You can use a fitness watch with a heart rate monitor to get a decent estimate of the number of calories you burn during exercise. 

The higher your heart rate, or the closer your heart rate is to your maximum heart rate, the more vigorously you are exercising and the more calories you will burn per minute.

With that said, some studies suggest these fitness monitors can be highly inaccurate, so it’s important to approach any sort of calorie expenditure numbers with some skepticism.

Especially if you’re trying to lose weight, assume that there’s an overestimation of some degree going on, so you might want to shave 15-20% of the calories burned off your final number on your fitness watch or what the treadmill, elliptical, or other exercise machine says, and adjust your diet accordingly.

For example, if the treadmill calories or your Apple Watch show that you burned 500 calories in your workout, it’s often good to imagine that value is inflated by close to 100 calories. 

Therefore, for the purposes of calculating how many calories you need to eat to lose weight, it can be a good idea to adjust the energy expenditure to 400 calories.

A group running.

What Workouts Burn the Most Calories?

So, what workouts burn 500 calories fastest?

Again, you will burn more calories during exercise when the intensity is high, and you are using a greater percentage of your total muscle mass. 

Additionally, the more you weigh and the more lean body mass you have, the more calories you will burn per minute of exercise or doing any type of physical activity.

Let’s take a look at some of the most efficient forms of exercise for burning calories:

#1: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts, which involve repeated bouts of very vigorous exercise followed by easy recovery periods, are one of the best workouts to burn 500 calories in a short amount of time. 

Research indicates that HIIT workouts burn as many calories as a moderate-intensity, steady-state workout in 40% less time. 

This means that if it normally takes you 60 minutes to burn 500 calories cycling at a steady pace, you can potentially do a 500 calorie indoor cycling HIIT workout in just 36 minutes.

Moreover, the high intensity of HIIT significantly increases the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) or afterburn, revving your metabolism for up to 14 hours after exercise. 

This means that you will continue to burn more calories than usual at rest for upwards of 14 hours after your workout.

Great calorie-torching HIIT exercises include plyometrics, running, cycling, climbing stairs, jumping rope, burpees, and other bodyweight calisthenics.

People doing plyometric box jumps.

#2: Plyometrics

Plyometric exercises, often considered “jumping exercises,” involve performing explosive movements and rapidly generating force. 

Examples of plyometrics include squat jumps, jumping rope, jumping jacks, burpees, and box jumps. 

Plyometrics are cardiovascularly demanding and involve large muscle groups, so these workouts burn calories quickly.

#3: Steady-State Cardio

Cardio exercises like running, cycling, swimming, rowing, stair climbing, hiking, and elliptical trainer workouts can burn 500 calories, especially if your workouts are long and/or vigorous. 

#4: Strength Training

We tend to think of cardio exercises as being the best way to burn 500 calories in a workout, but strength training workouts can burn a decent number of calories, depending on the exercises you choose to do and how much weight you lift.

Total-body, compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and power cleans, especially with heavy weights, expend a lot of calories. 

There are also metabolic benefits of building muscle mass because muscle burns more calories both at rest and during activity than fat tissue.

A person doing a push up.

Here Are 18, 500 Calorie Workouts To Try

Below, we’ve created a table that shows different 500 calorie workouts for people of different weights. 

The data comes from Harvard Health and the Compendium of Physical Activities, which have either the calories burned for 30 minutes or the METS value for the activity. 

The higher the METS for the activity, the more calories you will burn per minute.

We then used these values to determine how many minutes you would need to exercise to burn 500 calories doing that specific type of exercise.

Therefore, the table shows the number of minutes you need to do to get a 500 calorie workout for each type of exercise.

For example, if you weigh approximately 155 pounds and want to do a 500 calorie circuit training workout, you will need to work out for approximately 49 minutes.

A person swimming laps.
Exercise Activity125-pound (56.8 kg) person155-pound (70.5 kg) person185-pound (84.1 kg) person
Bicycling, Stationary: moderate716051
Rowing, Stationary: moderate716051
Calisthenics: vigorous634945
Circuit Training: general634945
Running: 5 mph (12 min/mile)635245
Kettlebell training635142
Bicycling: 12-13.9 mph635245
Rowing, Stationary, vigorous594134
Boxing sparring564640
Elliptical Trainer, moderate intensity564640
Ski Machine, moderate intensity534438
Running: 6 mph (10 min/mile)514236
Aerobics, Step: high impact504236
Swimming laps, vigorous504236
Bicycling: 14-15.9 mph504236
Martial Arts: judo, karate, kickboxing504236
Bicycling, Stationary: vigorous485434
Rope Jumping (Fast)443630

Keep in mind that there are plenty of other 500 calorie workouts you can do besides those listed in the table above. Any type of exercise burns calories, so doing a 500-calorie workout simply involves performing your exercise of choice long enough to expend 500 calories.

You can do a 500 calorie walking workout, a 500 calorie stand-up paddleboarding workout, a 500 calorie HIIT workout, a 500 calorie yoga workout, and so on. 

The higher the intensity and the more muscle mass you use when performing the exercise, the more calories you will burn per minute.

Therefore, while you certainly can do a 500 calorie yoga workout, if you’re doing a low-intensity form of yoga, such as Hatha yoga or Yin yoga, you might need to exercise for upwards of two hours to burn 500 calories in your workout.

Ultimately, any type of physical activity will help you burn calories, but it’s important to remember that burning calories is only one of the many benefits of exercise

Whether you end up burning 500 calories in a workout or burning 350 calories, you’re still making lots of positive steps towards better health and fitness.

A great way to torch calories fast is to run. If you want to try out some calorie-burning treadmill HIIT workouts, check out our 5 Ultimate Treadmill HIIT Workouts article for some awesome workout ideas.

People in a spin class.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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