Blog Fitness How Many Exercises Per Workout For Weight Loss: Making The Most Out Of Your Gym Time

How Many Exercises Per Workout For Weight Loss: Making The Most Out Of Your Gym Time

how many exercises per workout for weight loss

A common goal most people usually write down for their new year’s resolution is to lose weight. There will be a side note next to the goal saying how you’ll be waking up every day at 5 am to go to your morning workout or how you will only eat vegetables and fruits and all that. While losing weight might be one of your goals, just writing it down and not doing anything about it for sure won’t help your case. Two main things are effective when it comes to weight loss; nutrition and exercise. While we aren’t going to talk so much about nutrition in this read, we are going to bring out the lowdown on exercise. Let’s just see how many exercises per workout are needed for weight loss. BetterMe


Going blindly to the gym and then jumping right into workouts might not give you the results you want. We give you the props for making an effort and making your way to the gym, but that is not all you need to do to lose weight. As the adage goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. Before you make your way to the gym, you need to have a plan; a plan that includes your goal and how to get to your goal. Your goal shouldn’t be something general like, “I want to lose weight,” have a specific number of pounds you want to lose. Something like I want to lose 20 pounds is more like it. Now since you know your goal, the next thing to do is to work towards it.

Nutrition without exercise is just giving nutrition a heavy burden to carry and vice versa. To lose weight, you need to do these things; check what you eat as you burn more calories at the gym (3). Assuming you have the nutrition part in check, here are things you need to know to help yourself burn calories at the gym. 

How Many Exercises Per Workout: What Are The Factors That Influence Weight Loss? 

There are certain factors apart from exercising and nutrition that affect weight loss that shouldn’t be ignored. You might be hitting the gym as hard as you can, but your weight loss journey might be impaired without checking these factors. Here are some of these factors: 

  • Sleep

Sleep and weight loss go hand in hand. Sufficient sleep is required to promote weight loss. On average. a person should sleep for eight hours a day. Not getting enough sleep might have you starting bad habits like late night snacking, which will deter your weight loss journey. Studies also show that the less you sleep, the more likely you are to store fat and bring in more calories (1). 

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Apart from that, the lack of enough sleep also affects your hormones, and this can lead to weight gain. The hormones that are responsible for regulating your appetite are usually affected by the amount of sleep you get. These hormones are ghrelin and leptin (1). Ghrelin helps promote appetite and fat storage, while leptin helps to suppress your appetite. When you don’t get enough sleep, this results in high levels of ghrelin and low levels of leptin, resulting in more food consumed (1). 

  • Stress

Stress is yet another thing that can affect your weight loss journey. The hormone associated with stress is cortisol. When your stress levels are high, your cortisol levels also increase. High levels of cortisol are usually responsible for reducing insulin sensitivity and can also promote the storage of fat around the stomach area (1). Stress also promotes habits like stress-eating, which results in you bringing in more calories than you normally do hence leading to weight gain.

how many exercises per workout for weight loss

  • Age

The older you get, the more weight you are likely to gain. The main reason for this is the slowing of your metabolism (1). As you get older, most of your muscle mass starts being replaced by fat mass. It is known that muscles have a higher rate of metabolism at rest as compared to fat mass, so since your fat mass increases more than your muscle mass, your metabolism also reduces (1). 

  • Not Drinking Enough Water

Is there anyone who doesn’t know the importance of drinking enough water? Well, here is another reason as to why you should drink enough water. Being hydrated helps prevent weight gain. When you are thirsty, your cells will signal to your brain that you need more fluid. The problem is that at times this signal isn’t very clear to many people and they instead end up eating rather than drinking, which tends to promote weight gain (1). 

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Apart from this, water helps in weight loss by promoting satiety. If you drink water before a meal, you are likely to feel full faster compared with not drinking water before eating. This reduces the calories you consume and thus promotes weight loss. 

  • Genes

Your genetic makeup also comes to play with issues related to weight gain and weight loss. Genes are known to affect the amount of fat your body stores and where it stores it. There are also some gene mutations that may cause an increase in appetite and weight gain (4). 

Read More: Muscular Strength Exercises: Kick Your Fitness Routine Up A Notch

How Many Exercises Per Workout Session For Weight Loss?

Just like most things when it comes to weight loss, there is no blanket answer to this question. There are factors that come into play, like how many pounds do you want to lose? Which kind of exercises are you doing? How long are you doing the exercises and so on. 

When it comes to how many pounds you want to lose, the person who wants to lose more pounds will have to work out more than a person who wants to lose, let’s say 2 pounds in 2 months. 

When it comes to the kind of exercises you are doing, it goes without saying that different exercises burn calories differently. The number of calories you would burn doing mountain climbers is not the same number of calories you would burn by going for a walk

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When it comes to the intensity of the workout, the more intensity you put into your workout session, the more calories you are likely to burn. High-intensity workouts burn more calories than low or moderate-intensity workouts. 

How Many Exercises Per Workout: How Much Should You Workout Everyday To Lose Weight? 

When it comes to this question, we shall look at the two main exercises and how long you should do each in a week. The two main exercises that help with weight loss are cardiovascular exercises (aerobic activity) and strength training. 

An average human being is advised to get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity in a week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity or a mixture of the two (6). Since that is the amount that is advised for every week, you can divide those minutes by the number of times you workout every week. If you do vigorous aerobic activities 3 times a week, you need to do 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercises every workout session. If you do moderate aerobic activities 3 times a week, you need to do 50 minutes of moderate aerobic exercises every workout session. To have a clear difference between vigorous and moderate aerobic exercises, vigorous exercises include sprinting and jumping rope exercises. In contrast, moderate exercises include exercises like taking a walk and swimming.

Strength Training

When it comes to strength training, an average human is advised to do strength training for all the major muscle groups for a minimum of two times a week (6). You are also advised to at least do a single set for each exercise. You should use a resistance that is heavy enough to tire your muscles after 12 to 15 repetitions. When it comes to resistance training, you can use your own bodyweight or use resistance equipment like resistance bands. 

It goes without saying, but the more you exercise, the faster you are to getting to your weight goals. If you feel like 150 minutes of moderate cardio are not enough, ramp up your exercise and do 200 minutes or even 300 minutes. Being active also helps to lose weight, so try as much as you can to be up and going instead of sitting curled on the sofa watching a tv series for more than 6 hours.

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how many exercises per workout for weight loss

How Many Exercises Per Workout: How Many Calories Should You Burn In A Workout To Lose Weight?

In order to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. The recommended weight loss is 1 – 2 pounds in a week. That translates to 3500 to 7000 calories in a week. So, if you are trying to lose 1 pound in a week, you have to divide it between eating fewer calories and working out. A good way to do this is to lose 1500 calories by cutting your calorie intake and 2000 calories from working out in a week. 

If you only workout 5 days a week because you don’t want to work out every day of the week (as rest is also important in a workout program), you need to burn 400 to 500 calories in each workout. This translates to 2000 calories, and as a result you are going to be able to hit your weekly target. You need to keep in mind that the number of calories you burn is influenced by things like weight, gender and other factors (5).  A man who is 180 pounds is likely to burn more calories than a woman who weighs 120 pounds while both doing the same workout. 

How To Track The Calories You Burn Per Workout?

The good thing about technology is that it has made things like tracking calories easier. The Apple Watch and many other smartwatches can help you track the number of calories you burn while working out (5). 

Apart from using the smartwatches, you can use various online calculators that help track the calories you burn in a workout: 

The online calculators use this formula to calculate how many calories you burn per workout (7): 

Calories Burned = Duration of the exercise in minutes * ( MET * 3.5 * Weight in Kgs)/200

MET, also referred to as the metabolic equivalent for a task, estimates how much energy your body uses during a certain activity, and all online calculators have this built-in. 

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Read More: Body Composition Exercises: A Foolproof Way To Encourage Weight Loss And Shape A Stronger Body

How Many Exercises Per Workout Session For Weight Loss

Since there is no exact answer that would be sufficient for everyone, below is a table highlighting the calories a 125-pound person, a 155-pound person and a 185-pound person are likely to burn doing different workouts for 30 minutes (2). 


General Weight Lifting 90 112 133
Water Aerobics 120 149 178
Stretching, Hatha Yoga 120 149 178
Moderate Calisthenics 135 168 200
General Riders 150 186 222
Low Impact Aerobics 165 205 244
General Stair Step Machine 180 223 266
Teaching Aerobics 180 223 266
Vigorous Weight Lifting 180 223 266
Low Impact Aerobics, Step 210 260 311
High Impact Aerobics 210 260 311
Moderate Cycling, Stationary 210 260 311
Moderate Rowing, Stationary 210 260 311
Vigorous Calisthenics 240 298 355
General Circuit Training 240 298 355
Vigorous Rowing, Stationary 255 316 377
General Elliptical Trainer 270 335 400
General Ski Machine 285 353 422
High Impact Aerobics, Step 300 372 444
Vigorous Cycling, Stationary 315 391 466

how many exercises per workout for weight loss


Billiards 75 93 111
Bowling 90 112 133
Dancing: slow, waltz, foxtrot 90 112 133
Frisbee 90 112 133
Volleyball: non-competitive, general play 90 112 133
Water Volleyball 90 112 133
Archery: non-hunting 105 130 155
Golf: using cart 105 130 155
Hang Gliding 105 130 155
Curling 120 149 178
Gymnastics: general 120 149 178
Horseback Riding: general 120 149 178
Tai Chi 120 149 178
Volleyball: competitive, gymnasium play 120 149 178
Walking: 3.5 mph (17 min/mi) 120 149 178
Badminton: general 135 167 200
Walking: 4 mph (15 min/mi) 135 167 200
Kayaking 150 186 222
Skateboarding 150 186 222
Snorkeling 150 186 222
Softball: general play 150 186 222
Walking: 4.5 mph (13 min/mi) 150 186 222
Whitewater: rafting, kayaking 150 186 222
Dancing: disco, ballroom, square 165 205 244
Golf: carrying clubs 165 205 244
Dancing: fast, ballet, twist 180 233 266
Fencing 180 233 266
Hiking: cross-country 180 233 266
Skiing: downhill 180 233 266
Swimming: general 180 233 266
Walk/Jog: jog <10 min 180 233 266
Water Skiing 180 233 266
Wrestling 180 233 266
Basketball: wheelchair 195 242 289
Race Walking 195 242 289
Ice Skating: general 210 260 311
Racquetball: casual, general 210 260 311
Rollerblade Skating 210 260 311
Scuba or skin diving 210 260 311
Sledding, luge, toboggan 210 260 311
Soccer: general 210 260 311
Tennis: general 210 260 311
Basketball: playing a game 240 298 355
Bicycling: 12-13.9 mph 240 298 355
Football: touch, flag, general 240 298 355
Hockey: field & ice 240 298 355
Rock Climbing: rappelling 240 298 355
Running: 5 mph (12 min/mile) 240 298 355
Running: pushing wheelchair, marathon wheeling 240 298 355
Skiing: cross-country 240 298 355
Snow Shoeing 240 298 355
Swimming: backstroke 240 298 355
Volleyball: beach 240 298 355
Bicycling: BMX or mountain 255 316 377
Boxing: sparring 270 335 400
Football: competitive 270 335 400
Orienteering 270 335 400
Running: 5.2 mph (11.5 min/mile) 270 335 400
Running: cross-country 270 335 400
Bicycling: 14-15.9 mph 300 372 444
Martial Arts: judo, karate, kickbox 300 372 444
Racquetball: competitive 300 372 444
Rope Jumping 300 372 444
Running: 6 mph (10 min/mile) 300 372 444
Swimming: breaststroke 300 372 444
Swimming: laps, vigorous 300 372 444
Swimming: treading, vigorous 300 372 444
Water Polo 300 372 444
Rock Climbing: ascending 330 409 488
Running: 6.7 mph (9 min/mile) 330 409 488
Swimming: butterfly 330 409 488
Swimming: crawl 330 409 488
Bicycling: 16-19 mph 360 446 533
Handball: general 360 446 533
Running: 7.5 mph (8 min/mile) 375 465 555
Running: 8.6 mph (7 min/mile) 435 539 644
Bicycling: > 20 mph 495 614 733
Running: 10 mph (6 min/mile) 495 614 733

To determine how many exercises per workout for weight loss, you need to first set your daily goal, which is the amount of calories you need to burn per day. With that done, depending on the weight category you belong to from the table, you can be able to see how many calories you burn from doing the different exercises and sporting activities. For the people in the intermediate weights which are not mentioned, you can use the weight close to your weight to approximate the number of calories you are likely to burn from the workout as the numbers don’t differ by large numbers. For example, if you are 160 pounds, you can use the 155-pound table.BetterMe


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 Things That Affect Your Weight (Besides Diet and Exercise) (n.d.,
  2. Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights (2018,
  3. Exercise for weight loss: Calories burned in 1 hour (2019,
  4. Factors Affecting Weight & Health (2018,
  5. How many calories should you burn in a workout to lose weight? (2021,
  6. How much should the average adult exercise every day? (2019,
  7. How to Calculate the Calories You Burn During Exercise (2020,
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