Weight Loss: How Many Calories Should You Burn Per Day?

We often hear that losing weight is as simple as burning more calories of what we eat. But what does this really look like in practice? Exactly how many calories should you burn in a given day? The answer: it depends. Everyone burns a different amount of calories at rest, which you need to consider before figuring out how many calories you burn. during a workout and then how many calories to eat.


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There are many factors that affect your ability to see results, but if you’re exercising to lose weight, it’s important to pay attention to how many calories you are using during each workout and how much you are consuming with your diet. Consulting a nutritionist or nutritionist can be helpful as they are trained to help meet your body’s specific calorie needs. But without one, you can still estimate how many calories you need a day and how much you burn when exercising. With the help of certified trainer, Brooke Taylor, we’ve detailed the best exercise strategy to achieve your weight loss goals.

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A quick reminder before you read on: it’s important to maintain a healthy mindset during this process. Exercising for the sole purpose of “punishing” yourself for what you ate or just to burn a ton of calories may temporarily motivate you, but the most sustainable motivation for exercise comes from something positive, like exercising to relieve stress or move your body. Remember that exercise offers many more benefits to your health and well-being than just weight loss or calorie burning.

How Many Calories Should You Burn To Lose Weight?

If your goal is to lose weight and you are tracking calories, then you have to burn more calories than you consume, creating a deficit. To do this, you must take into account your basal metabolic rate, which is the number of calories your body burns at rest. Then consider how many calories you are eating per day.

Once you have the total calories you burn at rest and eat in a week (multiply your BMR by 7 and your calorie intake by 7), you can adjust your calorie and exercise intake to burn about 2,000 calories per week, which is the goal that Taylor gives to most clients.

According to Taylor, losing one to two pounds a week is a healthy goal. one pound is equal 3,500 calories, and you can split how you create that deficit. She recommends burning 2,000 calories a week by exercising and then cutting 1,500 calories a week from your diet, which breaks down to about 214 fewer calories a day.

A general rule of thumb is to try to burn 400 to 500 calories five days a week during workouts. Remember, the number of calories you burn in a workout depends on your weight, gender, age, and many other factors, but this number is a good starting point. For example, a man who weighs 200 pounds will burn more calories doing the same workout as a woman who weighs 130 pounds.

“Every body is different, which is why it’s super important to work with certified professionals to customize a program for you, monitor your program, make suggestions as you go along, and make changes if necessary,” says Taylor.

Close-up of woman using cellphone at gym

Heart rate-based fitness trackers and monitors are tools to determine your calorie burn.

Atit Phetmuangtong/EyeEm/Getty Images

How to track calorie burn when you exercise

Most fitness trackers, including Fitbit, Apple Watch and Shout, will tell you your calorie burn for each workout. This is usually based on your heart rate and other personal information you entered into your device settings when you set it up (such as your weight, age and gender). Taylor says he’s been a fan of the Polar heart rate monitor since chest monitors (like Polar) tend to be more accurate than trackers you wear on your wrist. None of these devices are perfectly accurate, but they can come close.

You can also use an online calculator where you select the type of training, your age, gender and weight and the duration of the training.

According to Taylor, the main factors that determine how many calories you burn during a workout include:

heart rate training zone: Your heart rate zones show “how hard you are pushing and recovery periods,” says Taylor. “Your heart rate changes daily, so knowing how much you’re burning and what zones you’re training in will only help you reach your goals that much faster.”

Your natural resting heart rate: everyone has a single resting heartbeat, and a normal range is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. If you have a higher resting heart rate, Taylor says your workout will need to be adjusted accordingly. “These clients usually go up quickly and stay in higher burn zones longer, so they need breaks more often,” says Taylor.

Your weight: “If someone weighs 120 pounds, then they will burn less per hour than someone who weighs 180 pounds,” says Taylor.

types of workouts: “How you’re training matters,” says Taylor. That’s why you should opt for an exercise routine that takes both cardio and strength training into account, even if strength training doesn’t burn as many calories as cardio training. Building more muscle over time will help you burn more calories when you are at rest.

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The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended for medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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