Knowing exactly how many calories you burn during a workout can help you stay on top of your fitness goals. For many people, the thought of burning 400 calories in one workout session can seem a little daunting. However, unlike lofty fitness goals that can take months to achieve, burning 400 calories a day is an entirely realistic and attainable goal for most people.
The methods for achieving this are surprisingly varied and not as strenuous as you may think. You can either engage in high-intensity activities for a shorter period or opt for low-intensity exercises for a longer duration.
So, here’s why burning 400 calories isn’t as difficult as it seems and how you can effortlessly incorporate calorie-burning activities into your daily routine.
Is Burning 400 Calories a Day Considered Active?
Yes, burning 400 calories a day is considered an active lifestyle. The general recommendation for adults is to engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity every week, along with muscle-strengthening activities a minimum of twice a week (1).
Burning 400 calories a day through exercise can easily fulfill this requirement and put you on track for maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.
But it’s not just about the numbers on the scale – regular physical activity has numerous health benefits that include reducing your risk of chronic diseases, improving mental health, and increasing overall energy levels.
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If I Burn 400 Calories a Day, How Much Weight Will I Lose?
Burning 400 calories a day for a month could potentially result in a weight loss of approximately 3-4 pounds. Exactly how much weight you lose will be dependent on a variety of factors including your current weight, body composition, and diet. However, consistently burning 400 calories a day can lead to significant results over time.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a calorie deficit of 500-1,000 calories per day for a safe and sustainable weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week (4). Therefore, burning 400 calories a day could put you closely within this range.
Why Am I Not Losing Weight but Burning 400 Calories a Day?
You’re not losing weight despite burning 400 calories a day because other factors such as diet and lifestyle habits also play a significant role in weight loss.
If you’re not seeing results despite burning 400 calories a day for a week or more, one of the following could be the reason:
You’re consuming more calories than you’re burning: Calorie intake is a crucial factor in weight loss. If you don’t create a calorie deficit through exercise and consume excess calories, then you won’t see any results.
You’re not engaging in enough physical activity: Burning 400 calories per day may seem like a lot, but it’s important to note that this can vary based on your current fitness level and body composition. It’s essential to gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts if you want to continue seeing results.
Your body composition is changing: Muscle weighs more than fat, so if you’re incorporating strength training into your routine, you may not see drastic changes on the scale. However, this doesn’t mean you’re not making progress. Instead, focus on how your clothes fit and how you feel in general.
Your tracking is inaccurate: It’s important to track your calorie burn accurately. Using fitness trackers or apps can help you get a more precise estimate of the amount of calories you’re burning.
You’re using the wrong metrics: Instead of solely focusing on weight loss, consider other metrics such as body measurements, overall fitness level, and how you feel mentally and physically. These can be more accurate indicators of progress.
Read more: What Does 3000 Calories Look Like?
How Many Calories Should You Burn a Day to Lose Weight?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a calorie deficit of 500-1000 calories per day for safe and sustainable weight loss (4). Depending on your current weight, body composition, and diet, this could mean burning anything between 200-700 calories through physical activity every day.
Here are our top tips for burning 400 calories a day in a healthy and sustainable manner:
Embrace High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High-intensity interval training, which is popularly known as HIIT, is a vigorous form of exercise that can help burn a significant amount of calories in a relatively short period. It involves alternating between high-intensity bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest.
This constant fluctuation between high-intensity efforts elevates your heart rate and helps you burn more calories (3). The beauty of HIIT is that it can be adapted to many types of exercises, including running, cycling, and strength training, which makes it a versatile and effective choice.
Become a Stair Master
Forget the elevator and make the stairs your best friend. Climbing stairs is an excellent way to burn calories while strengthening your lower body (7). One hour of stair climbing can burn anything from 500 to 800 calories, depending on your body weight and intensity.
It’s also a practical exercise that can be done anywhere—no gym membership is required. Start with a few flights and gradually increase the number of stairs.
Give Dancing a Spin
Dancing isn’t just fun—it’s also a great workout. Whether it’s salsa, hip-hop, or Zumba, dancing can burn approximately 400-500 calories per hour (2). It will also improve your coordination, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. So turn up the music and let your body move!
This simple and inexpensive tool can provide a full-body workout, burning approximately 10-20 calories per minute (2). This means you could reach your 400-calorie goal in just 20-40 minutes! In addition, jump rope exercises enhance cardiovascular health, coordination, and agility. Start at a comfortable pace and add more minutes as your endurance improves.
Mix It up with Circuit Training
Circuit training is a great way to keep your workouts exciting and challenging. It involves performing a series of exercises in quick succession with little or no rest in between. Each circuit can be customized to your liking and can include a mix of cardio, strength training, and high-intensity exercises (6).
This variety will make your workout more interesting while also helping you burn calories more effectively. Our Calories Burned Hiking guide simplifies circuit training using only your body weight.
Do House Chores
Household chores such as vacuuming, mopping, and cleaning are an excellent way of burning calories. Spending an hour doing these tasks can burn up to 400 calories while also keeping your home clean and organized. In our article, “5,000 steps: Calories Burned”, we explore the benefits of simple life activities and how they can contribute to your daily calorie burn.
Low-intensity steady state (LISS) activities such as walking can be an effective way to burn calories without placing too much pressure on your body. Try increasing your daily steps or going for a walk during your lunch breaks to increase your calorie expenditure.
Knowing how long it takes to burn 400 calories while walking may also help you plan your daily exercise routine. For example, a 160-pound person who walks at a moderate pace of approximately 3.5 mph for an hour will burn approximately 400 calories (2).
Our guide to Calories Burned Walking 1 Hour is a helpful resource if you want to lose weight by walking.
Fuel Your Body Right
Don’t deprive yourself of food or skip meals in an attempt to lose weight quickly. This can lead to unhealthy habits and ultimately hinder your progress. Instead, you should focus on nourishing your body with nutritious foods that will help you reach your long-term fitness goals.
A balanced, nutrient-dense diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates is essential for success.
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How Many Calories Should I Burn in a Day If I’m on a Diet?
The number of calories you should burn in a day while on a diet is based on your current weight, height, and activity level. The CDC recommendation of a 500-1,000 calorie deficit still applies, but the specific number will vary for every person (4).
To calculate exactly how many calories you should be burning per day, you must first determine your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the number of calories your body needs to function while at rest. You can use an online BMR calculator or consult a healthcare professional to get an exact calculation based on your individual information.
Once you have your BMR, you need to factor in your daily physical activity level using a tool such as the Harris Benedict Equation. This equation takes into account your BMR and adjusts it based on your activity level to determine your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). From here, you will subtract 500-1,000 calories from your TDEE to find your ideal healthy calorie deficit for weight loss (5).
How much weight will I lose in a week if I burn 400 calories a day?
If you’re burning an extra 400 calories per day, you can expect to lose approximately 0.8 pounds in a week. This is based on the idea that burning 3,500 calories equates to approximately one pound of weight loss.
How many calories do I need to burn to lose 2 pounds a week?
To lose two pounds in a week, you’d need to create a total deficit of 7,000 calories. This breaks down to a daily calorie deficit of 1,000. So, if your daily calorie needs are 2,500, for example, you’d need to aim for 1,500 calories per day to meet this goal.
How long does it take to notice weight loss?
Visible weight loss generally takes approximately 2 to 4 weeks. However, it’s important to remember that everyone’s body responds differently to diet and exercise, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see any immediate changes. You must keep consistent with your healthy habits and then you’ll start to see progress.
What is the difference between active and burned calories?
Active calories are those you burn when you’re exercising or participating in other physical activities. Burned calories include active calories and also the calories your body uses to perform basic functions such as breathing, circulating blood, and regulating body temperature.
How many calories do you burn in a day with an active job?
If your job involves a lot of standing, walking, or heavy lifting, you may burn 2,500 to 3,000 calories a day. Jobs such as construction, nursing, or retail can keep you on your feet and moving for most of the day, which leads to a higher calorie burn than more sedentary jobs.
The Bottom Line
In summary, burning 400 calories a day is achievable and can contribute to many health benefits. However, it’s important to remember that weight loss is also dependent on factors such as diet, physical activity, rest, and overall lifestyle habits. By combining regular physical activity with a balanced diet and healthy habits, you can easily achieve your fitness goals and maintain an active lifestyle.
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!
- American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids (2018,heart.org)
- Calories Burned Calculator (2023,calculator.net)
- Evidence-Based Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training on Exercise Capacity and Health: A Review with Historical Perspective (2021,nih.gov)
- Losing Weight (2023,cdc.gov)
- Physical Activity Energy Expenditure and Total Daily Energy Expenditure in Successful Weight Loss Maintainers (2020,nih.gov)
- THE BENEFITS OF CIRCUIT TRAINING (n,d,nasm.org)
- The Energy Expenditure of Stair Climbing One Step and Two Steps at a Time: Estimations from Measures of Heart Rate (2012,nih.gov)