Blog Weight Loss Burn 500 Calories a Day: Your Ultimate Guide to Easier Weight Loss

Burn 500 Calories a Day: Your Ultimate Guide to Easier Weight Loss

In our eternal quest to find the balance between staying fit and living life to the fullest, we often find ourselves in a bit of a fix. Which of us has the time or energy to spend hours at the gym or follow extremely restrictive diets? That’s why the idea of burning 500 calories a day without turning your life upside down sounds the most ideal. It’s not just about shedding those extra pounds, it’s about feeling stronger, more energetic, and frankly, happier in our skin. Most of us want such solutions because we’re looking for a way to enhance our health without sacrificing the joys of life—such as enjoying a slice of pizza without the side order of guilt.

What if we told you that integrating simple, fun activities into your daily routine could help you hit that magic number—500 calories—without feeling like a chore? That’s why we’re here to teach you. We’re ditching the one-size-fits-all approach and getting real about weight loss. No more dreary treadmills or sad salads. Instead, we’re talking about lively dance sessions in your living room, brisk walks in the park, and maybe even a little gardening. It’s about making those calories burn in the most enjoyable way possible. So, let’s dive right into the exercise game, one calorie at a time.

The Foremost Principle of Burning Calories 

Before we understand how to burn 500 calories in a day, we need to make sure we’re looking at the problem correctly. If weight loss is your end goal, the first thing to consider is creating a caloric deficit. Let’s take a look at what this means. 

A caloric deficit occurs when you consume fewer calories than you burn. Over time, this caloric reduction results in weight loss. While no fixed calorie deficit value will ensure weight loss in all people, it’s calculated that in many cases, a consistent 500-calorie daily deficit will roughly equate to 1 pound (lbs) of fat loss per week (12).

It’s also important to understand that this value is dependent on individual factors such as: 

  • Sex
  • Age
  • Physical activity levels
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Body composition
  • Hormones
  • Lifestyle habits
  • Stress
  • Underlying health conditions
  • Taking certain medications
  • Genetics
  • Sleeping habits (15)

In addition, you can create a healthy caloric deficit by bettering your everyday diet and exercising regularly. 

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Can I Lose Weight by Burning 500 Calories a Day?

The simple answer is yes. However, it’s important to look at weight loss from burning 500 calories in a wholesome, all-inclusive way as you’ll need to sustain and maintain the practice. The first thing to consider is a caloric deficit, as mentioned above.

Achieving a caloric deficit—where you expend more calories than you consume—is a foundational principle in weight loss science. Burning an extra 500 calories each day can effectively contribute to this deficit, potentially resulting in approximately one pound of weight loss per week. This math is based on the assumption that a pound of fat equals about 3,500 calories (10). 

However, the effectiveness of this approach is dependent on individual factors such as metabolic rate, daily activity level, and dietary habits. Below, we dive into the science that backs this strategy, in addition to the practical considerations you should make. 

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend people assigned female at birth (AFAB) eat 1,600 to 2,000 calories and people assigned male at birth (AMAB) eat 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day to maintain their weight (6).

To set yourself up for weight loss, you’ll need to burn 500 calories ‌more‌ than you take in. This means you first need to figure out how many calories you need to maintain your current weight (your “maintenance calories”) and make sure you’re not taking in (eating or drinking) more than that. Then you’ll need to burn 500 calories more than you normally do each day to see weight loss results (11).

Several studies have confirmed that burning 500 calories a day results in sustained weight loss that is both safe and practical. Such a number does not create the kind of issues that may arise when you look at cutting daily calorie count by 1,000 or more. Rapid weight loss, although possible from a combination of restrictive diets and intense exercise, is not considered a sustainable, long-term solution nor a safe solution. 

When undertaking a burn 500 calories-a-day weight loss plan, it’s important to take a look at the effective strategies that will help you get there. 

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burn 500 calories a day  

1. Diet and Nutrition: The Cornerstone of Effective Weight Loss

One of the foremost ways to lose weight is to address your diet, nutrition, and eating habits. Opting for a balanced diet, ensuring you’re consuming the right balance of nutrients, and tackling portion size are some strategies to consider. 

  • Balanced Diet: Focus on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These foods are not only nutrient-dense but also provide satiety which can help reduce overall calorie intake. (3)
  1. Fruits and Vegetables: High in fiber and water content, they help you feel full longer and are packed with micronutrients.
  2. Lean Proteins: Including chicken, fish, legumes, and tofu, support muscle repair and growth, which is particularly important if you’re increasing your physical activity. They’re also the foundation of all organs and tissues, making protein an essential part of your diet.
  3. Whole Grains: Foods such as quinoa, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread offer sustained energy without the blood sugar spikes that are associated with refined grains.
    • Portion Control: Understanding and managing portion sizes can significantly impact calorie consumption. Using smaller plates, measuring servings, and being mindful of the food you eat can help you avoid overeating (16).
    • Mindful Eating: Slow down and savor your meals. Eating mindfully improves digestion and satisfaction with smaller portions, which reduces the likelihood of overeating (13).
    • Hydration: Drinking water throughout the day can help with weight loss by promoting fullness and preventing you from mistaking thirst for hunger. Aim for at least 8 glasses a day, or more if you’re active (8).
    • Avoiding Processed Foods and Sugary Beverages: These items are high in calories but low in nutritional value and contribute to weight gain. Opting for water, herbal teas, or infused water instead of sugary drinks can significantly reduce calorie intake. The No-Sugar diet is a rigorous yet result-inducing plan you can consider (2). 

2.  Lifestyle Adjustments for Sustainable Weight Loss

In addition to addressing your diet and nutrition, the other aspect of shedding the pounds comes from making crucial lifestyle adjustments such as incorporating exercise into your daily routine, showing consistency, and managing your stress and sleep levels. 

  • Regular Activity: Beyond structured exercise, look for opportunities to move more throughout the day—taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking during breaks, and standing at your desk can increase your daily calorie burn.
  • Sleep and Stress Management: Adequate sleep and low stress levels are essential for weight loss. A lack of sleep can affect hormones that control hunger and appetite, while high stress can lead to emotional eating (14, 5).
    • Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.
    • Stress Management: Techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can help manage stress.
  • Consistency: The often ignored aspect of losing weight is being consistent. While the solutions – from diet to exercise – are available to all of us, building regularity when it comes to executing these habits is the difference between those who can and those who only wish. 
  • Accountability and Support: Having a support system or accountability partner can significantly enhance your weight loss efforts. Sharing goals, challenges, and successes can keep you motivated.
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Read more: Intermittent Fasting Macros – Managing Calories the Smart Way!

Is 500-Calorie Burn Good?

Yes, burning 500 calories every day is considered commendable when it comes to weight loss. Most experts recommend burning this golden number of calories to ensure a sustainable route to shedding the pounds. Beyond the science, burning 500 calories a day speaks to a commitment to your health and is essentially “good” in every aspect. 

  • Burning 500 calories daily is achievable for most people, which makes it a realistic and sustainable goal. It acknowledges our need for balance—pushing us toward improvement without leading to burnout.
  • Whether it’s through brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or dancing, this goal allows for flexibility. It’s about finding joy in movement, in ways that resonate with our individual lives and preferences. (4)
  • Studies have also highlighted that regular physical activity, such as burning 500 calories a day, improves cardiovascular health, enhances mood, and increases energy levels. It’s a holistic approach to well-being.

burn 500 calories a day  

Is Burning 500 Calories a Day Considered Active?

Burning 500 calories a day certainly plants you firmly in the ‘active’ category, but it’s more than just a label – it’s a reflection of a lifestyle choice and a daily commitment to your health and well-being. 

According to several studies done on the topic, reaching or exceeding this level of daily caloric expenditure aligns with an active lifestyle, significantly surpassing the sedentary norms that dominate modern life. (9

What Exercise Can Burn 500 Calories a Day? 

Burning 500 calories a day through exercise is an achievable goal with a structured plan and dedication. The specific amount of calories burned can vary widely depending on the factors mentioned above. Listed below are some exercises and an estimate of the time an average person of 155 pounds needs to burn approximately 500 calories (1):

  1. Running: This is one of the most effective ways to burn calories. Running at a moderate pace of 6 mph (about a 10-minute mile) can burn approximately 500 calories in 45 minutes.
  2. Cycling: Stationary biking or cycling outdoors at a moderate pace can also help you reach this goal. For the average person, cycling at a moderate pace of 12-13.9 mph will take approximately an hour to burn 500 calories.
  3. Swimming: A full-body workout that is also gentle on the joints, swimming laps at a moderate or vigorous pace for about an hour can burn approximately 500 calories. 
  4. Jump Rope: This high-intensity exercise can burn a significant amount of calories in a short period. Jumping rope can burn approximately 500 calories in just under 30 minutes for a person, depending on the intensity.
  5. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT workouts alternate between high-intensity exercises and short periods of rest. These workouts are efficient for burning calories and can help you reach the 500-calorie mark in 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the intensity of your workout.
  6. Strength Training Circuit: A circuit that combines strength training exercises with minimal rest in between can also help burn calories efficiently. Including exercises that target large muscle groups (such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses) can increase the calorie burn. A vigorous 1-hour session can burn approximately 500 calories, depending on the intensity and weight used.
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If you tend to let yourself off the hook, raise the white flag when things get tougher than you expected, send yourself on an unconscious binge-eating trip – BetterMe app is here to help you leave all of these sabotaging habits in the past!

7. Rowing: Using a rowing machine at a vigorous pace for approximately an hour can burn roughly 500 calories. Rowing is an excellent full-body workout that engages both the upper and lower body.

8. Zumba/Dance Classes: Participating in a Zumba or dance class for an hour can burn approximately 500 calories. These classes can vary in intensity but are a fun and engaging way to reach your calorie-burning goal (7). 

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9. Hiking: Engaging in a hiking activity, particularly on trails with varying elevations, can burn approximately 500 calories in an hour. Hiking is excellent for calorie burning and your mental health.

10. Wall Pilates: This is an amazing way to tone and tighten the small muscles in your body. You can reach the 500-calorie point by doing moderate-intensity Wall Pilates for 90-120 minutes or so.

11. Power Yoga: A vigorous yoga class can burn approximately 500 calories in an hour. Power yoga incorporates a faster pace and more intense poses compared to traditional yoga, which makes it a good workout for calorie burning (17).

12. CrossFit: Known for its high intensity and varied functional movements, participating in a CrossFit workout for an hour can help burn approximately 500 calories, depending on the specific exercises and your pace.

13. Elliptical Training: Using an elliptical machine at a high intensity for an hour can burn approximately 500 calories. It’s a low-impact alternative to running.

14. Plyometrics: Also known as jump training, plyometrics involves explosive movements such as jumping squats, box jumps, and lunge jumps. A vigorous session can burn approximately 500 calories in under an hour, depending on the intensity and your weight.

15. Rock Climbing: Indoor or outdoor rock climbing is a physical challenge that burns approximately 500 calories in an hour, depending on your weight and the difficulty of the climb.

In another article, we’ve decoded the 4-day diet plan and the 4-day lifting routine for you to consider while starting your weight loss journey. 

Read more: Boxing Calories Burned: Lose Weight by Punching

burn 500 calories a day  


  • How many calories are burned by 10,000 steps?

The number of calories burned by walking 10,000 steps varies based on factors such as your weight, pace, and walking efficiency, but on average, you can burn approximately 400 to 500 calories. For someone who weighs around 155 pounds, walking at a moderate pace of 3.5 mph can lead to this calorie burn. It’s a useful benchmark for those who are looking to incorporate walking into their fitness routine. This method offers a balance between achievable daily exercise and effective calorie expenditure.

  • Is burning 500 calories in a workout good?

Burning 500 calories in a single workout is considered a robust achievement for most people, signifying a moderate to high-intensity level. This burn rate can contribute significantly to weight loss goals or maintaining a healthy weight, particularly when combined with a balanced diet. 

For perspective, a person may need to engage in an hour of vigorous cycling, running, or a high-intensity fitness class to achieve this. Consistently hitting this mark can lead to improved cardiovascular health, increased muscle strength, and better overall fitness.

  • How much should I eat if I burn 500 calories a day to lose weight?

To lose weight effectively while burning 500 calories a day through exercise, you need to aim to create a calorie deficit. This means consuming fewer calories than your body expends. For weight loss, a daily total deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories is recommended, which will lead to a safe loss of approximately 1 to 2 pounds per week. 

Therefore, if you’re burning an extra 500 calories a day through exercise, you should aim to eat 500 calories less than your usual intake to hit the higher end of this range, adjusting as required based on your specific body needs and weight loss goals. Always consider nutritional balance to ensure your body gets the necessary vitamins and minerals.

The Bottom Line

As we’ve seen, burning  500 calories a day is not just an achievable target, it’s also a sustainable one. Most research points to this number as the ideal number of calories to burn off each day to see visible, long-term results. 

While it’s best to track your calories regularly to stay on track, other interventions also include making dietary and lifestyle changes such as eating a balanced diet, eliminating alcohol, reducing sugar intake, maintaining consistency, and incorporating regular exercise. When you’re making active changes in your fitness, burning 500 calories every day will only expedite the process of reaching your ideal weight.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. 7 Exercises That Can Torch 500 Calories in No Time (2020,
  2. 11 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight (2023,
  3. A guide to eating a balanced diet (2024,
  4. Burn 500 Calories A Day Fast: The 12 Best Workouts (2023,
  5. Can stress lead to weight loss? (2020, 
  6. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020–2025 (2021,
  7. How Can I Burn 500 Calories in an Hour? (n.d.,
  8. How Drinking More Water Can Help You Lose Weight (2023,
  9. How Many Calories Are Burned Daily by Active and Sedentary People? (2019,
  10. How Many Calories Are in a Pound of Body Fat? (2023,
  11. How to Calculate Maintenance Calories (2020,
  12. How to safely and effectively create a calorie deficit for weight loss (2023,
  13. Mindful Eating 101 — A Beginner’s Guide (2023,
  14. Weight Loss and Sleep (2023, 
  15. What Is a Calorie Deficit, and How Much of One Is Healthy? (2024,
  16. 7. What is the role of portion control in weight management? (2014,