How Many Calories Do You Need to Burn to Lose a Pound?

Calories to Burn Fat

It is necessary to burn more calories than you consume in order to achieve weight loss and a reduction in overall body fat. This results in what is known as a calorie deficit. This can typically be achieved by either decreasing the number of calories consumed or increasing the number of calories burned, or by doing both. You need to expend an amount of energy equal to the number of calories that are contained in one pound of fat in order to lose one pound of fat.

It has long been accepted wisdom that in order to lose one pound, a person must expend 3,500 more calories than they take in on a daily basis. In order to accomplish this goal in seven days, you will need to reduce your calorie intake by an average of 500 every day. However, research has shown that there is more to weight loss than what is suggested by this straightforward formula that involves a calorie deficit.

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The concept of consuming 3,500 calories per day has served as the foundation for a great number of weight loss strategies throughout history. The idea is predicated on the premise that one pound of fat is about comparable to three thousand five hundred calories.

In 1958, a physician by the name of Max Wishnofsky wrote a paper in which he suggested that creating a calorie deficit in the amount of 3,500 would equal one pound of weight reduction. This was the beginning of the concept that is now known as the 3,500-calorie deficit.

The concept has been referenced in a number of different pieces of research, in addition to thousands of publications that are widely read about weight reduction.

Studies have, by this point, cast doubt on the validity of this fundamental formula.

3 Researchers have shown that reducing one’s calorie intake results in more than just a decrease of simple body fat. When calories are burned, muscle is also broken down and lost.

It is essential to be aware of the fact that fat on the body is not just fat. The term “body fat” refers to a combination of fluids, solids that do not include fat, and fat itself. Therefore, the actual caloric content of a pound of fat is determined by the composition of that fat, which might differ from one type of fat to another.

To lose weight, how many calories should I cut out of my diet?

The 3,500-calorie hypothesis suggests that if one creates a deficit of 500 calories per day, this should result in a reduction of one pound of fat per week. The research suggests that this guideline considerably exaggerates how much weight a person will actually lose, which is unfortunate because it is commonly used.

It is possible that you may be able to lose weight at a rate of one pound per week in the near run. However, because of the changes in both the makeup of your body and your metabolism, the rate at which you lose weight may also slow down.

The standard computation of a deficit of 3,500 calories does not take into account the way in which your metabolism shifts when you are attempting to lose weight. As your efforts improve, you could require an even greater calorie deficit in order to achieve weight loss results.

This is the reason why you find yourself hitting plateaus when your weight reduction slows down as you get healthier and engage in more physical activity. In addition to metabolic, behavioral, neuroendocrine, and unconscious factors, your body may be influenced to keep a specific amount of fatness even if you don’t consciously want it to do so. According to the findings of these researchers, a phenomenon referred to as adaptive thermogenesis produces the optimum environment for weight gain.

How to Get Yourself into a Calorie Deficiency

It is true that in order to lose weight, you need to expend more calories than you consume each day. Even though the 3,500-calorie rule might not be totally precise, this remains true. You can accomplish this calorie deficit through a combination of a few different strategies.

Eat less calories in order to lose weight.

Any strategy for losing weight should include cutting back on the quantity of calories consumed during the day. This can be an especially effective strategy. On the other hand, it is essential to supply your body with the fuel it requires so that it can function properly.

Reducing your calorie intake by an excessive amount can cause your metabolism to slow down, making weight loss even more challenging. Diets that cut calories too drastically often result in muscle atrophy, which makes weight reduction more difficult and can even reverse some of the progress you’ve made.

Eat a diet that is well balanced even if you are trying to cut back on calories. Getting rid of the empty calories that come from junk food and putting more of an emphasis on nutrient-dense calories can be helpful.

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Raise the amount of calories you burn.

Exercising is a necessary step in the process of losing weight, but it is not a silver bullet. A weight loss rate of between one and two pounds per week is considered to be safe and healthy. If your weight loss is greater than that, it’s possible that you’re also shedding an unhealthy amount of muscle mass along with the fat.

The number of calories that you burn is determined by a number of different factors, including the following:

  • Free-choice recreational pursuit (the type of exercise you do)
  • The level of one’s exertion (speed, intensity)
  • The amount of time spent working out
  • How much you weigh
  • Your current metabolism

If you want to burn 500 calories in a day by jogging, for example, you will need to run approximately five miles, given that the typical runner burns approximately 100 calories every mile. When you exercise, you will probably burn more calories if you weigh more or if you work out more intensely. If you weigh less or operate at a pace that is less strenuous, you will probably experience less burning.

Combine a decrease in calorie intake with increased physical activity.

You could utilize a mix of calorie reduction and exercise to help you reach your weight loss goals if you don’t have the time or stamina to exercise enough to burn 500 calories each day.

9 For instance, if you exercised every day and expended around 300 calories, you would also need to decrease the amount of calories you consumed by the suggested amount each day, which would be 200 calories.

Because the requirements of each person are unique, calculating the number of calories that you require on a daily basis is obviously very significant. This weight loss calculator will provide you with an estimate of the number of calories you need to consume in order to reach the weight that you want to be.

Why having muscle is important.

Include strength training and speedwork in your workout program in order to maximize the number of calories you burn. One of the numerous advantages of strength training is that it helps you create more muscle mass, which in turn speeds up the rate at which your body burns calories while you are exercising as well as when you are at rest. If you perform your strength training session right after a strenuous running workout, you’ll be able to make the most of the rest day that follows as a day dedicated to actual recuperation.

Increasing the amount of protein you consume and lifting weights on a consistent basis will help you lose more weight, slow down the rate at which you are losing muscle, and even help you grow muscle. Increasing your muscle mass will not only help you burn more calories during the day, but it will also assist in revving up your metabolism.

Working out at a high intensity for a short period of time can help you kickstart your efforts to lose weight by increasing the number of calories you burn during and after the workout. If you feel that you are not quite ready for such tough workouts, you should focus on performing shorter bouts of exercise at a higher intensity throughout your workout. 11 During your workout, for instance, you might alternate between working at your absolute maximum intensity for thirty seconds and then easing off for two or three minutes at various points throughout the session.

A Word From Verywell

Although the outdated guideline of having a deficit of 3,500 calories isn’t entirely true, this does not mean that it is without use. The elimination of 500 calories from one’s diet or the burning of 500 calories through other activities may not result in a weight loss of exactly one pound each week, but it is still a solid beginning point for weight loss.

Keep in mind that the number displayed on the scale should not be the primary focus of your attention. You should make an effort to pay attention to how you are feeling in general. Make your progress more visible by tracking it using metrics outside your weight, such as the number of inches you’ve dropped or how well your clothes fit. Even while you are decreasing your body fat, you could be increasing your healthy muscle mass.


  • If you want to lose one pound of weight per week, how many calories do you need to burn?

Plans for weight reduction have traditionally been founded on the notion that in order to lose one pound of weight per week, a person has to have a calorie deficit equal to 3,500 calories per week, which translates to 500 calories per day. But more recent information suggests that the number may be slightly varied for each individual. At addition, the calorie deficit that helps you lose weight in the beginning of your plan to lose weight might not help you lose weight later on in your plan to lose weight.

If you want to lose weight, how many calories should you eat each day?

The appropriate amount of calories for you to consume is determined by a number of factors, some of which are your present body size, your age, your gender, and the amount of physical activity you engage in. You can use a calorie calculator to assess your caloric needs.

How many calories do you burn during normal daily activities?

Your resting metabolic rate, the number of calories you burn via physical activity (including exercise and non-exercise movement), and the thermic effect of food all contribute to your total caloric expenditure. Your total caloric expenditure can be thought of as the sum of these three components (the number of calories required to turn food into energy). The number is unique for each individual. Physical activity is by far the simplest and most effective approach to burn more calories each day.