by Marc D Thompson

I was recently asked to choose what is the best calorie-burning exercise discipline. This is not only an irrelevant question, but unnecessary. There is not a “best.” But I did indulge an answer and, not surprisingly, the inquisitors disagreed. I have a degree in ex science and a degree medicine, and literally over 3 dozen certifications. But to answer this question, that is useless academia. The question is flawed in, first, thinking science runs fitness and, secondly, confusing factual vs actual vs practical. The question was: Which is the best calorie burner among running, PT or spinning? The answer they wanted to hear, the FACTUAL answer, was (1) PT. That is the scientific answer, but unfortunately not the true answer. A second answer, the one I decided to give, The ACTUAL answer, is (2) spinning. The reason is session by session, minute for minute, comparing EVERY spin class, every personal training session and every “running” session ever taught, there are more calories burned as an average within the general public in Spin. Why is this? Because the ability (skill) and requirements (strong joint connections, superior mind-muscle link, coordination, etc.) to make PT or running burn calories time and time again is more difficult or even impossible for most people. Yet burning calories seated can be attained at higher intensity over longer periods of time, hence more volume of calories expended. This is where science and reality do not meet. However, high caloric expenditure is not an indication of good exercise or a good discipline. It’s also merely a scientific number. I teach spin, PT, yoga, pilates, running, bootcamp, etc. The single class that I taught over the past 35 years that burned the most calories was my X-Spin class, a combination of all of these three disciplines from the original question. But that still doesn’t mean a thing, it happened to work for those clients at the moment is time. Additionally, a good Spin class, as I teach, includes off-the-bike plyometrics, core and running! (It’s not Spin anymore, it’s X-Spin, but most of us need classifications of things). That also doesn’t mean that potential (factual) is not higher in the other two, PT and running, over spin. If you consider jump squats PT, try doing them for an hour. Sure you’d burn more calories than an hour spin class, but did you actually do it, i.e., is it performable, a hour of jump squats? To explain, consider this: Husain Bolt can run the 100 meter in under 10 seconds. Can you? Factual vs. Actual. It’s also easier to burn calories longer seated, simple as that. This also doesn’t mean Spin is better than any other class, is just is the nature of Spin. So, strike two, still not the answer. So what’s the answer, the true answer, as far as health and fitness goes, the PRACTICAL answer is (3) none of them…and all of them. Which no one wants to hear. Actual vs factual vs reality. In my opinion there’s no credence whatsoever in selecting which health and fitness burns more calories as an indication of their benefit. A list of such is of value simply to give choices in health and fitness for the sake of information, variety and individual progress. So then what defines good health and fitness? The answer is simple: if you are better and healthier because of your class, then it’s good. If you’re not, then it’s not good. That’s key to the fitness. Go to for details.  PS-And please don’t get me started on “Calories In, Calories out” statements, arghh! The key: find the INDIVDUALITY and find the ART of health and fitness, based on science but perfected in experience for YOU. The answer comes in wisdom derived from individual experiential, observation and practice