Here is a letter from my buddy who works as a fitness trainer:
“Today client of mine asked, how many calories should she burn a day for one 1-1.5 hours workout? The client weighs about 220 pounds and is working on losing weight. She exercises on a treadmill for 40-60 minutes, losing about 1,000 calories during this workout.
How realistic is that? I lose 300 calories in 40 minutes of xc skiing at an active pace. However, the client is concerned that she is training too hard and like to know if there are any standards for calorie consumption during exercise. Thanks for your help!”
How Many Calories Does My Body Burn?
One pound of fat is about 3,500 calories. To lose one pound of weight by losing fat, you have to expend those 3,500 calories. The number is enormous since even the most intense workout allows you to burn about 500-700 calories per hour.
However, activities such as boxing or wrestling indeed burn more than 1,000 calories per hour. But it is easy to see that rounds in these sports last no more than 2-3 minutes. The intensity is too high. And even pro athlete cannot move at that intensity for an hour.
Also, you can see energy expenditure on some fitness equipment in joules. Commonly people confuse energy consumption in calories with energy expenditure in joules:
1 calorie = 4,186 joules and 250 calories burnt is a bit above 1,000 kilojoules
Does Weight Affect Calories Burned?
The client of my pal does not lose even 400 calories in an hour of her workout. And even this number will be with a correction to her weight. And there are good reasons for this.
The main reason is that this woman is likely to be poorly trained (low muscle tone and little muscle mass, which means low calories expenditure during and after her workout). And that is why she cannot develop a high intensity during her cardio. Calories consumption also increases significantly between high intensive workouts rest.
Even if this woman sweats a lot and is tired, her heart rate may not exceed 120 bpm, or her heart rate may be very high at a ridiculous small load. After all, she is overweight, and you can only imagine the tremendous strain on her heart and joints when this woman works out on a treadmill.
Weight loss for her should be comprehensive and not be limited to the treadmill. For effective weight loss, strength training is essential to increase muscle strength, tone, and volume.
Proper nutrition is also crucial. Ideally, first of all, you need to lose weight (about 20-30 pounds) by correcting your menu. Only after that, you may start serious weight and cardio exercises. Everything will go much more natural, faster, and safer.
Burning 500 Calories A Day Is A Norm
As mentioned earlier, 500-700 calories per hour of training is a calories consumption norm. It would be very tough to spend more than that, even for an experienced athlete!
The recommended rate of weight loss is as follows: no more than 2,2 lbs per week. More is either unpleasant and harmful. It is easy to calculate that by training even six times a week for one hour and burning 500 calories each time, it is possible to burn only 3,000 calories. That’s about 0,7 lbs of fat.
You can understand a woman who wants to get rid of extra pounds as quickly as possible and frequently looks at the scales. However, rush here is not a good idea. The body physically cannot burn more than 2 lbs of fat per week. That is a natural metabolic limitation. If you have lost more than 2 pounds in a week, it means that you have lost not only fat but water and muscle mass.
And this is quite sad. It will now be more difficult for you to expend calories and lose weight. Not to mention the possibility of sagging skin! How many people have complained to me and asked for advice on how to tighten sagging skin! Don’t make their mistake.
What In Conclusion?
If you want to lose weight, pay attention to these three things:
✅1. Losing weight should include not only workouts but also your enriched nutrition. And this even outweighs in importance and effect of fitness. But still, right diet works much better in combination with fitness.
✅2. Don’t give up working out. That is very important because it speeds up metabolism and increases muscle. And two muscle pounds burn about 50 calories even in a passive state. It is a gift for someone who wants to lose weight.
✅3. You should be psychologically prepared to workout for a long time, for a year minimum. Otherwise, there is a risk of being disappointed in fitness. That is when the result will be significant and irreversible. During this time, you will be able to learn the rules of proper nutrition and physical activity.
To help you keep your calorie consumption calculations here is a great Calorie Calculator I use myself.
PS: And, lastly, a quote from one reader’s letter.
“Calorie burning is closely related to the time of year. In winter, the body tends to protect itself. And every bit of food is stored in the form of fat. If food is unhealthy or you overeat, be ready to see new fatty areas on your body.
Winning over excess weight depends on many factors: mood, health, thoughts, nutrition, etc. On cardio trainers, there is a function to show spent calories. But if you see these numbers on the trainer’s panel and think you can calm down and leave the gym with a sense of accomplishment, think twice!
If there is no pleasant fatigue, delight, and good mood after a workout, then you just exhausted your body, and it will greedily seek replenishment energy: to lie, to sleep, to eat, to sit.
The golden rule of weight loss is to come to a gym with pride in yourself, not with self-hate. And when leaving the gym, to love and respect yourself even more.
That is the most important and coolest secret in any case!“