What is the main requirement of any weight loss process?
There may be thousands of different diets out there, which greatly vary depending on their requirements, rules, restrictions, concepts, and length, but there is one thing that all of them have in common. Any successful weight loss process is based on the principle of caloric deficit (16). To perform this, you need to burn more calories than you consume (15). It may sound easy, but without making any adjustments in your nutritional plan or habits, it may be extremely difficult up to the point of impossible; this will also depend on your lifestyle and current diet. When you stick to a healthy diet and perform some additional physical activity, the result will most definitely get you closer to your target weight. But to know how many calories to consume, you need to find out how many you burn during a day, and that’s what this Calories Burned Calculator is for.
Ideal body weight73 kg
Current body weight119% (1.2x)
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To fully understand how to count your calories, first, you need to know what factors add to the daily number of burned calories.
Which aspects make up your total energy expenditure?
To determine how many calories you burn a day, you need to calculate your total energy expenditure (TEE) that is consisting of 3 aspects: physical activity-related energy expenditure (PEE), which includes non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) and exercise activity thermogenesis (EAT); two other components – basal metabolic rate (BMR); and diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT) (12).
NEAT and EAT
Your body is always working and never rests completely. Even when you sleep, it spends energy to support all of the vital processes, such as breathing, heartbeat, and others. It means that it always burns calories, even when you think you are not doing anything. Not to mention the fact that even if you lead a mostly sedentary lifestyle, and don’t purposely exercise in the gym, you still use calories by walking, sitting down, standing up, or lifting your hands while following your routine. For example, a person whose weight is 155 pounds (70kg) can burn calories in half an hour when doing the following daily routine activities(3):
- Computer work – 50 calories
- Cooking – 93 calories
- Reading sitting – 42 calories
- Standing in line – 47 calories
- Food shopping with cart – 130 calories
- Mowing lawn – 205 calories
The number of calories spent doing such types of activities complies NEAT (11), along with EAT, add up to PEE which makes up 15-30% of your total energy expenditure.
BMR and DIT
Two other components of the TEE include your resting or basal metabolic rate and diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT) (9). The BMR, which is considered when using a calories burned calculator, makes up about 60% of the TEE, and the DIT accounts for about 10-15% (12). Your BMR varies depending on your sex, height, weight, and age. You can also calculate your BMR using the Mifflin-St Jeor equation. Equations for calculating BMR date back to 1918 with the Harris-Benedict equation, but the 1990 Mifflin-St Jeor equation the most recent and possibly the most accurate..
Here is how the Mifflin-St Jeor equation goes (2):
- Your BMR if you are a woman = 10 × your weight in kg + 6.25 × your height in cm – 5 × your age in years – 161
- Your BMR if you are a man = 10 × your weight in kg + 6.25 × your height in cm – 5 × your age in years + 5
Or the original Harris-Benedict from 1918:
- Your BMR if you are a woman = 655 + 4.35 × your weight in lbs + 4.7 × your height in inches – 4.7 × your age
- Your BMR if you are a man = 66 + 6.2 × your weight in lbs + 12.7 × your height in inches – 6.76 × your age
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Calculating the TEE
To calculate the TEE, you should use the BMR you calculated with the Mifflin-St Jeor or Harris-Benedict equation, and multiply your BMR by your physical activity level (PAL), and it looks like this:
TEE = your BMR × your PAL.
Each level of physical activity has its number equivalent and is determined by the amount and intensity of the physical activity which you perform regularly in your everyday life. You can say that it includes NEAT and partially EAT, which you will find out how to calculate a bit later in this article.
Physical activity levels and their numeric value are classified as follows (6):
Sedentary or light activity lifestyle: 1.40 – 1.69
A sedentary or light activity lifestyle means that you don’t perform any additional physical activity during the day and your occupation doesn’t involve physical work. You generally use vehicles for transportation and don’t walk long distances. Such lifestyle also includes little to no regular exercise, and leisure spent sitting or standing with little movements such as talking, reading, watching TV, or using a laptop. One of the examples of people who lead such a lifestyle is an office-worker and can occasionally be engaged in additional physical activities outside work. Another one is a housewife or househusband, who spends most of the time doing household chores and caring for children.
Active or moderately active lifestyle: 1.70 – 1.99
These types of lifestyle oversee having an occupation that involves certain amounts of physical work and more energy expenditure than the ones described in a previous point but are still not that strenuous in terms of energy demands. It also involves those who lead mostly sedentary lifestyles but spend a certain amount of time on moderate to vigorous physical exercise. For example, if you lead a sedentary lifestyle with a PAL 1.55, but regularly spend one hour running, cycling, swimming, or doing sports, your PAL can raise to 1.75, meaning that you belong to the category of people who lead a moderately active lifestyle. Other examples of moderately active lifestyle include people with occupations such as construction workers, farmers who walk long distances, etc.
Vigorous or vigorously active lifestyle: 2.00 – 2.40
These types of lifestyle are the most active and burn a great number of calories. People who lead such a lifestyle are engaged in regular strenuous work or strenuous leisure activities for several hours. Examples include farmers in the wild who work with a machete, hoe, or ax for several hours daily and regularly walk long distances carrying heavy loads, or athletes and dancers who spend a lot of time vigorously practicing.
So, for a woman aged 32, who weighs 155 pounds, is 67 inches tall, works at the office and doesn’t perform any additional physical activity in her leisure time, the required daily number of calories will be calculated as follows:
(655 + 4.35 × 155 + 4.7 × 67 – 4.7 × 32) × 1.40 = TEE = 2,091.25 calories.
Calories Burned Calculator: Exercise
It is only natural that different amounts of activities, of different intensity, burn a different number of calories. That is why each activity has its particular metabolic equivalent for a task (MET). It is determined by how much energy the body uses during the performance of a certain physical activity. This number is standardized so that it can be effectively used by different people. It is also easier to compare different types of exercises to each other in such a method. One MET can be defined either as 1kcal per kg of bodyweight per hour and is approximately equivalent to the energy you spend sitting at rest or in a form of oxygen uptake, where 1 MET equals 3.5 ml per kg per minute (1).
Just like physical activity lifestyles, which have their numeric equivalent, there are different groups of physical activities which are divided according to their METs, such as (13):
Calories burned calculator: Vigorous-intensity activity
As may be obvious from its name, this type of activity involves vigorous exercising and requires 6.0 or greater METs. Some of the examples include walking with the speed of 4.5 to 5 mph (around 7.2 to 8 km/h), running, doing aerobics, carrying heavy loads upstairs, shoveling snow or soil by hand, etc.
Calories burned calculator: Moderate-intensity activity
This type of activity requires fewer METs than the vigorous-intensity activity but is still quite energy-consuming. It requires from 3.0 up to 6.0 METs. Walking with the speed of 3 to 4 mph (4.8 to 6.4 km/h), cleaning by mopping or vacuuming, and others, belong to this group.
Calories burned calculator: Light-intensity activity
With required 1.6 and up to 3.0 METs, light-intensity activity examples include walking with the speed of 2 or less mph (3.2 or less km/h), standing in line, cooking, and others.
Calories burned calculator: Low-intensity activity
The least vigorous physical activity requires a mere 1.0 to 1.5 METs and is used to be called “sedentary activity”. This type of activity is very common and may make up more than 50% of the waking time of a common adult. It includes sitting, lying, and reclining. Standing still also belongs to this category, with an energy expenditure of 1.5.
Now, that you know all the things you need to learn about METs, it is time to get back to counting calories.
The equation for the Exercise Calories Burned Calculator is:
Duration of physical activity in minutes × (MET × 3.5 × your weight in kg) / 200 = Total calories burned.
Take for example the following activities:
Calories burned calculator: Biking
There are different types of biking, with different intensity and longevity. The table published in the Harvard Heart Letter, from Harvard Medical School has the following data on how many calories people of different weights burn during 30 minutes of performing this activity (3):
|Type of activity||125lb (56kg)||155lb (70kg)||185lb (84kg)|
|Bicycling: 12-13.9 mph (20-22km/h)||240||298||355|
|Bicycling: BMX or mountain||255||316||377|
|Bicycling: 14-15.9 mph (22-25 km/h)||300||372||444|
|Bicycling: 16-19 mph (25-30 km/h)||360||446||533|
|Bicycling: > 20 mph (>32 km/h)||495||614||733|
However, if you want to know the exact number of calories that you burn individually, then use the above-mentioned equation, putting in the MET of the type of activity that you performed, which are (14):
- Bicycling: 12-13.9 mph (20-22km/h) – 8 METs
- Bicycling: BMX or mountain – 8.5 METs
- Cycling: 14-15.9 mph (22-25 km/h) – 10.0 METs
- Bicycling: 16-19 mph (25-30 km/h) – 12.0 METs
- Bicycling: > 20 mph (>32 km/h) – 16.0 METs
Calories burned calculator: Stationary bike
Here is the data presented in the Harvard Heart Letter (3):
|Type of activity||125lb (56kg)||155lb (70kg)||185lb (84kg)|
|Bicycling, Stationary: moderate||210||260||311|
|Bicycling, Stationary: vigorous||315||391||466|
Moreover, here are the METs for types of stationary bicycling (14):
Conditioning exercise bicycling, stationary, 150 watts, moderate effort – 7.0 METs
Conditioning exercise bicycling, stationary, 200 watts, vigorous effort – 10.5 METs
Calories burned calculator: Yoga
|Type of activity||125lb (56kg)||155lb (70kg)||185lb (84kg)|
|Stretching, Hatha Yoga||120||149||178|
And here is its METs:
Stretching, Hatha Yoga – 2.5 METs (14).
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List of METs of the most popular exercises
Just like with the three above-stated activities, you can count how many calories you individually burn during your workout.
To do so, all you need is the formula, which you already know, and the METs. So, here is the list of METs of the most popular exercises (14):
- Calisthenics (e.g. pushups, sit-ups, pullups, jumping jacks), heavy, vigorous effort – 8.0
- Circuit training, including some aerobic movement with minimal rest, general – 8.0
- Weightlifting (free weight, nautilus or universal-type), powerlifting or bodybuilding, vigorous effort – 6.0
- Stair-treadmill ergometer, general – 9.0
- Mild stretching – 2.5
- Jog/walk combination (jogging component of less than 10 minutes) – 6.0
- Jogging, in place or 5 mph (8 km/h) – 8.0
- Running, 8 mph (around 13 km/h) – 13.5
- Running, 10 mph (16 km/h) – 16.0
- Fast running, 10.9 mph (17.5 km/h) – 18.0
- Running, stairs, up – 15.0
- Basketball, game – 8.0
- Boxing, in the ring, general – 12.0
- Football, competitive – 9.0
- Judo, jujitsu, karate, kickboxing, taekwondo – 10.0
- Rope jumping, fast – 12.0
- Rope jumping, moderate, general – 10.0
- Soccer, casual, general – 7.0
- Softball or baseball, fast or slow pitch, general – 5.0
- Tennis, general – 7.0
- Volleyball – 4.0
- Volleyball, beach – 8.0
- Wrestling (one match = 5 minutes) – 6.0
- Walking for pleasure – 3.5
- Moderate walking, 3.5 mph, (5.6 km/h) uphill – 6.0
- Walking, 4.0 mph, (around 6.5 km/h) level, firm surface, very brisk pace – 5.0
- Walking, 5.0 mph (8 km/h) – 8.0
- Swimming laps, freestyle, fast, vigorous effort – 10.0
- Swim. laps, freestyle, slow, moderate or light effort – 7.0
- Swimming, leisurely, not lap swimming, general – 6.0
- Swimming, sidestroke, general – 8.0
Which other factors affect how many calories you burn during training?
You may have noticed how people on the same diet, who perform the same amount of physical activity may have different results.
This happens due to certain factors, which affect the number of calories you burn during the workout, such as:
People who are a bit older find it more difficult to perform the same physical activity which they easily performed during the days of their youth. With age, you spend more effort to reach a higher intensity level of activity (10).
This partially explains why buffed people eat a lot and may nevertheless not gain weight. The more muscle mass you have – the more calories certain activity burns (4).
Intensity of breathing
Your oxygen intake may help identify how difficult it is for you to perform certain exercises and how much effort you spend. If you breathe heavily and fast you burn more calories, and every liter of oxygen you breathe in makes your body burn 5 calories.
This aspect partially explains why you should always gradually increase the amount or the difficulty of your workout. The higher fitness level you have – the fewer calories you burn performing the same activity.
Amount of sleep
Lack of sleep can not only significantly worsen your wellness by causing insulin resistance, thus increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity, but also reduce your metabolism (7) and making your body burn fewer calories (8).
How many calories should I burn to lose 10 pounds?
1 pound (around 0.5 kg) equals approximately 3, 500 calories. Cutting 500 to 1, 000 calories a day will make you lose 1-2 pounds a week, which is a recommended amount and pace (5). So, to lose 10 pounds, you need to burn 35, 000 calories.
How many calories do I burn sleeping?
Even when you sleep, your body requires energy for maintenance of the proper functioning of all your organs. You burn calories to support breathing, heartbeat, blood circulation, etc. Sleeping equals 0.9 METs.
So, to find out how many calories you burn sleeping use the following formula:
Duration of your sleep (in minutes) × (0.9 × 3.5 × your weight in kg) / 200 = Total calories burned
How can I increase the number of calories I burn a day without going to the gym?
Firstly, you don’t have to go to the gym if you want to burn more calories. All you need is to add a bit more movement to your routine. Simple things like taking the stairs instead of an elevator, going for a short walk after work, or using a bicycle to get to work instead of a car will make a significant difference in the number of your daily burnt calories. Secondly, you can burn more calories even by periodically walking across the room while you are on the phone, watching the TV, reading a book, or shopping online.
Despite a great variation of nutritional plans, they are all based on the main principle of a successful weight loss – burning more calories than you consume. To implement this practice into reality, you need to count how many calories your body burns during your everyday life and how many calories the exercise which you prefer burns. You can find this out using the calories burned calculator. Your total energy expenditure (TEE) equals your basal metabolic rate (BMR) multiplied by your physical activity level (PAL).
Having calculated that, you will know how many calories your body requires daily. Now, all you need is to calculate how many calories you spend during a workout, and then cut your general daily caloric intake of 500 to 1, 000 calories, and stick to your new routine. However, some factors may also affect the number of calories you spend, which is why your calculations may not be 100% accurate.
Keep in mind, that you still should consult a specialist before making any drastic changes in your diet or training plan.
Do you think that a single diet plan is not enough? You’re absolutely right! Take up a challenge and try this 20-min Full Body Workout At Home to get a snatched body.
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!
- 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report (2018, health.gov)
- A New Predictive Equation for Resting Energy Expenditure in Healthy Individuals (1990, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights (2004, health.harvard.edu)
- Can I boost my metabolism to lose weight? (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- Counting calories: Get back to weight-loss basics (2018, mayoclinic.org)
- Human energy requirements: Energy Requirement of Adults (2018, fao.org)
- Impaired Insulin Signaling in Human Adipocytes After Experimental Sleep Restriction: A Randomized, Crossover Study (2014, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Is too little sleep a cause of weight gain? (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- Measuring Energy Expenditure in Clinical Populations: Rewards and Challenges (2013, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories (2017, mayoclinic.org)
- Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) (2014, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT): a component of total daily energy expenditure (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. 2nd ed. (2019, health.gov)
- The Compendium of Physical Activities Tracking Guide (n.d., prevention.sph.sc.edu)
- Weight-loss basics (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- Which is better for weight loss — cutting calories or increasing exercise? (2020, mayoclinic.org)