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Jamei June, our Beauty/Lifestyle writer, did five different workout classes to see how many calories actually were burned. From Zumba to Pole Dancing, she found out the truth behind each. (Image: Danielle Bortone-Holt Photography) Photo Credit: Danielle Bortone-Holt Photography

How Many Calories You ACTUALLY Burn In Your Workouts

We all know the magazine headlines: "Burn 1000 calories dancing!" and the like.
But before I lit my running shoes on fire, I decided to really explore the truth behind all these numbers given to us regarding calories burned per workout routine.
I am a runner, usually logging about 16 to 20 miles a week - and I admit to rarely doing any other type of workout. With summer sneaking up, I knew switching up a exercise routines might be the key to losing those last stubborn pounds.
Just a disclosure, I am not calorie expert! Just a young lady, around 108 pounds and just under 5' tall looking for the optimum calorie-burning workout for my body. I say this as everyone burns calories differently; the data I'm about to share might vary for those taller than I, for example.
I used a FitBit Zip for my data, which counts calories, steps and active minutes. To get an more accurate count, find a tracker that takes into account your heart rate. I also included a "fun versus difficult" meter, ranging 1 to 10, with 1 being super boring/super easy to 10 being extremely fun/extremely difficult.
Cheers to burning calories before bikini season!
Zumba:


  • How many calories the Internet says I'd burn: 500 - 1000

  • How many calories I actually burned (average from two sessions): 450

  • Fun vs. Difficult Meter: 9/3

  • Average Audience Age: 20-60 years

  • Overall take: There is no way you're wiping the smile off my face while shaking my hips to salsa. The dance class didn't feel like a workout and was totally worth the try.




Matt Graves, and instructor at Gold Gym, says fun is one of the main reasons for trying Zumba. "It's really for everybody," he said. "It's fun because you don't even notice you're burning calories."


I would recommend it to people just getting back into fitness, or for those who exercise daily and want to switch it up. I personally don't think I'll be skipping my runs thinking it will help me drop weight.
Yoga:

  • How many calories the Internet says I'd burn: 300

  • How many calories I actually burned (average in two sessions): 250

  • Fun vs. Difficult Meter: 5/5

  • Average Audience Age: 20-70 years

  • Overall take: To be fair to yoga, which I genuinely love, there are many different classes with many different focuses. I did a generic yoga class, with no specification, for this experiment. If taking a more high intensity class, such as hot vinyasa, I can imagine you will burn a lot more calories. Yoga benefits are long term and life-changing, however for a super quick fix before summer I would incorporate cardio.


Barre (ballet fusion class):

  • How many calories the Internet says I'd burn: 300-400

  • How many calories I actually burned (average in two sessions): 300

  • Fun vs. Difficult Meter: 8/7

  • Average Audience Age: 15-60

  • Overall take: This class at Barre3 surprised me! I had no idea what I was getting into. The hour-long class focuses on toning and strengthening, working six different sections of your body from head to toe.




My muscles were shaking and I was sore from my biceps to my booty after. However, overall, Barre is a strengthening workout I know I would see results from. Most of the women I spoke to had confided they while they had not lost a ton of weight, the class for toned their bodies and flattened their tummies. All said it was a priority in their routine.
Pole Dancing:

  • How many calories the Internet says I'd burn: 250-350

  • How many calories I actually burned (average in two sessions): 225

  • Fun vs. Difficult Meter: 8/6

  • Average Audience Age: 20-50

  • Overall take: I would say, "Shhh don't tell my mom!" But to be honest, my mom loved pole dancing class! I took group classes at Divine Movements and this workout is something I would like to continue. The varied age range and initial awkward giggles made the class a fun experience in itself. I noticed it toned my arms (Yes, it is in fact a workout!) and inspired me to eat cleaner so I would feel more fit while dancing.


FlyWheel Cycle Class:

  • How many calories the Internet says I'd burn: 600-800

  • How many calories I actually burned (average in two sessions): 750

  • Fun vs Difficult Meter: 10/9

  • Average Audience Age: 20-60

  • Overall take: Imagine a night club having cycling bikes. This is FlyWheel. Great music, high intensity, contagious energy and an Instructor who you swear has DJ experience from having the entire class actually want to dance along while cycling.


This class is difficult. You will sweat immensely. However, out of the classes I took, this one is what I could trade in my running shoes for knowing I would lose the most weight before slipping on my swimsuit.
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