Top 10 Calorie Burners

Exercise can be a frustrating process, but it's a necessary evil in the battle for weight loss and maintaining a healthy life style.  Finding activities you enjoy is critical, but what activities will result in the most efficient calorie burn?  I've tried it all.  Going to the gym, home videos, jogging; for me finding the right exercise involved a great deal of trial and error.  In the end, having someone behind me, pushing me all the way has yielded the best results.  My Sensei acts as a personal trainer, pushing me to perform at my maximum capacity.  Martial arts isn't for everyone, but I found out for myself that there were several popular options that just weren't returning results for me.  Don't be afraid of trying different things.  When you find the right activity, it's like a marriage made in heaven!  For me, the martial arts fills my need to be part of a supportive community, learning and progression, and pushing myself to the limit.  

Still uncertain as to the best option for yourself?  Here'a s top 10 list from the Mayo clinic to get the ball rolling.  Knowing the calories burned by some of the top exercises can help you design the most effective workout regimen for your fitness and weight-loss goals. The top 10 calorie-burning activities are listed below. Mix up your workouts and give a different mode of exercise a try – not only will the variety help you burn calories but it will keep you motivated to keep working out.


Calories burned per hour*
Based on a 160-pound person

  1. 986 calories burned: Running at 8mph
  2. 913 calories burned: Rollerblading
  3. 730 calories burned: Tae Kwon Do
  4. 730 calories burned: Jump rope
  5. 657 calories burned: Stair treadmill
  6. 584 calories burned: Jogging at 5mph
  7. 511 calories burned: Backpacking
  8. 511 calories burned: Racquetball
  9. 511 calories burned: Cross-country skiing
  10. 511 calories burned: High-impact aerobics

* Values from the Mayo Clinic Exercise for Weight Loss chart 


Kickboxing has increasingly gained in popularity in recent years.  It's a great workout for cardio and strength, not to mention a great deal of fun!  Kickboxing is a great workout for women in particular since it emphasizes use of larger muscle groups in the lower portion of the body.  The sport originally a Thai martial art that is commonly known as Muai Thai. It has been practiced in Thailand for many many generations and they are known as the masters of the art.

Because of it's focus on striking with the legs, kneeing, kicking, jumping and so on, kickboxing is an amazing way of toning your legs and butt.  It's an intense workout, but you'll see some great results if you keep up with it.  I've pulled out two kick variations to give you some flavor for these types of exercises - go get your kicks!

Waist Whittlers

Working your abdominal muscles can do more than just improve the way you wear your clothing.  Strong abdominal muscles serve to improve your posture, reduce back pain, and provide stability.  They're essential in the development of core strength, and ultimately provide your organs with better support.  This was good enough reason for me to take a more serious look into building my own core strength. 

Keep your movements smooth and slow, and do your best to not overexert yourself. Make sure that you support your back as much as possible when doing abdominal exercises. And don't forget to warm up before you jump into any workout session - you'll reduce the tension in your muscles later with a good warm up.

The Virtues of Core Strength

There's a huge buzz around the development of core strength.  One reason is this: all of our movements are powered by the torso--the abs and back work together to support the spine when we sit, stand, bend over, pick things up, exercise and more.  The torso is the center of strength, the origin of your body's movement.  Developing core strength is beneficial in that it results in ...

  • More functional workouts that translate into daily life activities
  • Improved performance in sports
  • Reduction in the risk of injury
  • Better ability to function each day
  • Interesting workouts that challenge you in new and different ways
Planks are a great means of developing your core strength.  Following are a few basic plank exercises to get you started on building your core strength.

Hip Reduction

No, contrary to the title, these exercises will not make you less hip! For years, I couldn't walk through a room without knocking into table corners, or potentially knocking things off as I walked by, being incapable of judging the girth of my hips for the longest time. This is a large muscle group that will take time to reduce, but with persistence and patience, you can slim down your hips.  Think about that fantastic moment when you can step into those skinny jeans and feel them loosely slip over your hips.  Be the skinny girl, imagine how you'll look and keep working!

Following are some hip focused exercises to get you on your way to hip reduction.

Dropping Those Saddle Bags

Had I lived during the days of the California Gold Rush, I would have been a millionaire with the size of my saddle bags!  Ugh!  The bane of my existence lies in that area south of my waistline, hips and thighs.  For the longest time, I couldn't even glance into the mirror in clothing store changing rooms - I would become physically ill looking at the size of my hips and thighs.  For someone like myself, it took some serious work and dedication to move the fat out of my hips and thighs.  Think about it, these are some of the largest muscle groups in the human body, therefore it took some work to whittle them down. 

If you're plagued by problems in this area too, I've found some exercises that can help in your efforts.  These are great exercises to do while you're watching TV, or if you have downtime while your computer is running, standing in line, etc.  Try to find a way to out-do the number of sets you can do from one day to the next - think of it as competing with yourself!

Happy Holidays - in the Home Stretch!

For those of you following my thoughts and experiences since July of this year, I want to stop down for a moment, and thank you for all the time and attention you've devoted to reading my musings.  While I've lost 30 lbs in the past year, what many of you haven't seen are the personal struggles I've endured simultaneously.  If this year has taught me anything, it's been to take better care of my body in order to weather severe personal hardships.  Often in the past, I've often turned to food for comfort and diversion to get through particularly difficult times.  What I realize now, is that the momentary elation I feel, is ultimately followed by not only a physiological, but emotional crash as well. 

Usually, I try to publish to my blog four times per week, and I've deviated from that not due to lack of material (there's plenty in my head!), but due to these significant changes in my life.  Thanks to all the wonderful cast of characters in my life, who have kindly and generously provided support through these difficult times when I swore I couldn't go any further.  In particular ...

  • Charlene - for giving me focus and a voice through blogging
  • Mary Jane - for making the blog a reality!
  • Cheryl - for letting me give you a very wet, sob-soaked shoulder
  • Craig - for challenging and pushing me each week in karate class
  • Pace Karate Kids - thanks for taking me in, you're all sooo fantastic!
  • Global Connections - all my new friends/family in the UK, Netherlands and beyond, you make my life so much more colorful and interesting!
  • Steve - for giving me hope, love and friendship well above and beyond the call of duty
  • My Family - for supporting me without judgment, and warmly welcoming me back with open arms
  • My Readers - for "hungrily" reading all my posts, there's much more to come, so stay tuned!

Happy holidays and a healthy new year in 2010!  Check back soon for tips and tricks to guarantee a fit and fabulous new you in the new year!

Warmest Regards,
~ Lisa ;)

The Benefits of Boxing

Now, I'm sure you're thinking, Lisa, that's it.  Maybe the martial arts thing, but now boxing?  Yes!  Boxing is a great means of getting fit, improving your coordination, and ultimately it aids in self defense.  Many people see positive results from boxing training and see results in stronger and more defined arms and legs. These programs and classes also help you to gain a sense of inner strength and emotional balance.  Cardio boxing training classes and the innovative variations of the sparring jabs, power punches, defense, and fitness blend all of the aerobics exercises. They teach the proper execution of punch and kick combinations for a more intensive workout that can help you become stronger and ultimately bolster your self esteem.

So put on your gloves, break out your jump rope, and give it your best shot!  Here are a few videos to get you up and punching!

Stretching Out

Everyone's heard about the importance of stretching, and how it goes hand and hand with any exercise regimen.  Stretching before your workout will help you loosen up all your muscles. Whether you're getting ready to work out or just doing a high volume activity, it's important to stretch. When stretching, you allow more oxygen to reach the muscles, which in turn promotes stronger ligaments as well.  After exercise stretching is as important, if not more important, than those done before. After you are finished workout your muscle tense up again, so by doing a pos exercise stretching it will allow your muscles to loosen up. This will help with the next day soreness; it won't prevent all soreness, but it will help it.

If you're ready to get stretching, then below are some videos to get you started.  The first is about five minutes in length, but will give you six good, solid stretches to incorporate into your routine.  Stretching is too important to forgo, make sure you use some good stretching tactics both before and after your next exercise session.

Get More Kicks!

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, it's time to get to investing some sweat equity to work off that Turkey dinner from yesterday!  As I mentioned in a previous blog, what I love about martial arts is all the focus on core strength, and the development of leg strength.  For those of you who have followed my blog, you'll recall all my lamenting about the shape in which my legs used to be.  They were really the bane of my existence, and I could swear they were twice the width of my upper body.  Keep in mind, the largest muscle groups in the human body are found in the hips and upper legs - it's no wonder I was so frustrated!

If you're looking to reduce the size of your legs, as I did, then kicks are right up your alley.  I've pulled up some videos from YouTube on crescent kicks and tiger tail kicks, to get yourself kicked into shape!  Enjoy!