How many calories do you have to burn to lose a pound a fat?

Apr 22, 2013

There is a lot of confusion around the importance of healthy nutrition & how it applies to exercise.

So this week’s topic for discussion is the significance of a calorie and the common question about how many calories you need to burn to lose a pound of fat.

Calories in a pound of fat

Possibly the number one mistake made by people is that they overestimate how many calories are burned during a workout and they underestimate the amount of calories in the food items they choose to eat! My experience has been, and I frequently witness this, is that an hour of exercise will burn between 300 & 500 calories- this number varies due to the amount of lean muscle mass in the given individual…muscle regulates metabolism for the most part. So, just for curiosity’s sake, take a look at some regular food items you might eat on any given day, especially those sweet treats we all have a tendency to grab now and then- you may very well be surprised at how many calories these items hold 😉

Now, let’s take a look at the amount of calories in a pound of fat… 500, 1000, 2000 calories? Nope, let’s try 3,500. There are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat. It’s pretty sobering isn’t it? By understanding how many calories make up a pound of fat, it shines a light of perspective on just how important mindful nutrition choices are! Let’s say that you lifted weights for 30 minutes & performed aerobic (cardio) exercise for 30 minutes, resulting in a 420 calorie deficit. Well, that means you “only” have another 3080 calories to go in order to lose one pound of fat! :-O

You may be wondering what the answer is, then. The most efficient way to lose fat is to build lean muscle. Some keys are consistency, being mindful of what & how much food you’re ingesting at any given time, a shift in your own perception – that the “silver bullet” is hype-marketing from the supplement/exercise industry in order to remove as many dollars as possible from your wallet, a regular exercise routine, & an understanding that the weight wasn’t put on overnight…so, it won’t come off overnight. Here’s another way to look at it as well as stave off frustration. Liken it to the investments you make toward your retirement…after weekly or monthly deposits/savings, year after year, can you realistically expect to retire from your job after only 5 or 10 years? NO, of course not! It takes time and consistency to ultimately create the desired & end result…and, wouldn’t it be nice to become fit & healthy enough along the way that when you DO retire, you can enjoy it with far fewer of the “aches & pains of getting old” 😉