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How Many Calories Does Exercise Actually Burn: A Comprehensive Guide to Energy Expenditure

In the journey towards weight loss, understanding the science behind calorie burn is crucial. In order to lose weight you need to be in a caloric deficit. The problem is people think they are burning more calories than they actually are when it comes to exercise. Whether you're an avid walker, a dedicated runner, or a strength training enthusiast, knowing the amount of calories you burn can empower you to make informed choices in your fitness routine. Let's delve into the specifics of how many calories you burn from different exercises and what it actually takes to lose 1 pound of fat from exercise.

Calories Burned from 1 Mile of Walking:

Walking is a fantastic low-impact exercise suitable for all fitness levels. The number of calories burned during a mile of walking depends on factors such as speed, weight, and overall fitness

At a moderate pace (3.5 mph), a person weighing around 155 pounds can burn approximately 314 calories per hour. Therefore, walking a mile would burn roughly 100 calories. If the pace increases to a brisk walk (4.5 mph), the calorie burn can elevate to around 372 calories per hour, resulting in burning approximately 120 calories for one mile.

Calories Burned from 1 Mile of Running: Running is a higher intensity but that doesn't mean you are burning significantly more calories running than you would walking. The calories burned per mile vary based on factors like speed, weight, and running efficiency.

Running at a moderate pace (5 mph) can burn approximately 590 calories per hour for a person weighing 155 pounds. This translates to burning around 100 calories for every 1 mile. Increasing the speed to a faster pace (8 mph) can elevate the calorie burn to approximately 930 calories per hour, resulting in burning around 120 calories for one mile.

As you can see whether you choose to walk or run during your workout will not significantly change the number of calories you are burning at a set distance.

Calories Burned from 30 Minutes of Strength Training: Strength training, though not as calorie-intensive as cardio DURING the workout, but has a profound effect on the amount of calories you burn AFTER the workout. The calorie burn during strength training depends on factors like intensity, muscle mass engaged, and the specific exercises performed.

On average, a person weighing 155 pounds can burn about 100-200 calories during 30 minutes of moderate-intensity strength training. High-intensity strength training, involving compound exercises like squats and deadlifts, can elevate the calorie burn to approximately 300 calories in 30 minutes.

What makes strength training so beneficial to fat loss however is what happens AFTER you stop strength training. When you stop strength training your body goes into hyperdrive trying to repair your muscle tissue. The process of repairing your muscles burns more calories than the workout itself! You will burn more calories the hour after your workout than you did during the actual workout. This lasts for two full days after your workout as your body works to fully recover from your intense strength training workout. This equates to an extra ~200 calories per day just from recovering from your one strength training workout! This does not happen when you run or walk because you don't break down your muscle tissue so your body does not have to spend calories recovering from your run/walk.

How To Lose One Pound Of Fat: One pound of fat has 3,500 calories of energy. That means in order to burn one pound of fat you need to burn 3,500 calories (without ingesting more calories, that is create a 3,500 calorie deficit).

Given the information above that means you would need to run or walk 35 miles without eating a single calorie in order to burn 1 pound of fat. Running or walking 35 miles would mean you have to run or walk 5 miles per day every single day of the week just to burn 1 pound of fat! Most people simply don't have time for that much exercise

With strength training the most you want to do during a week would be three full body workouts or 6-10 working sets per muscle group. For this reason it is impractical to solely rely on strength training to lose weight as well.

What To Do If Your Goal Is To Lose Weight: Just because exercise is not going to be the driving force behind your weight loss that does not mean you shouldn't engage in exercise regularly. Strength training 2-3 days per week will allow you to build muscle so that when you lose weight you are just losing fat while keeping your muscle tissue. The amount of muscle a person has is directly related to how healthy they are. If you lose weight but as a part of the process you lose muscle you are no healthier than when you were heavier and had more muscle mass!

Creating a balanced and sustainable nutrition plan will help you create a caloric deficit and that is how your weight loss is going to happen. As the old saying goes... "You can't out work a bad diet!"

To create a caloric deficit you first need to know how many calories you burn in a day. Watch This Video to figure out your total daily energy expenditure. A healthy caloric deficit will be 300-500 calories below your total daily energy expenditure!

Reformed Fitness is passionate about helping you reach the many health and fitness goals you have. Find out how our evidence based workouts can help you reach your goals in just two 30 minute strength training workouts per week! Schedule your FREE Virtual 1 on 1 workout today!