You’d think that once you know the not-so-secret formula for weight loss— which is, to just consume fewer calories than you burn—the pounds would melt away.
But you need a goal – You settle on 3000 calories a day. Is this a realistic goal? If so, how do you achieve it? Should you drastically alter your diet or incorporate high-intensity workouts into your routine? Or, is there another way to hit this ambitious target without risking your health and wellbeing?
We answer all these questions and more in this comprehensive guide on how to burn 3000 calories a day.
Heads up; burning 3000 calories a day is no easy feat. Neither is it safe or advisable to do so. We’ll explain exactly why.
Is It Possible To Burn 3000 Calories In a Day?
Yes, it’s possible to burn 3000 calories a day. However, you’ll have to take on some extreme measures to reach this number. For example, a 185-pound person can burn approximately 840 calories by running for an hour (3). To achieve 3000 calories in a day you’d have to run for nearly four hours.
But before you lace up your running shoes and head out the door, let’s take a step back and evaluate the potential consequences of such an intense workout.
On the first day, you’d probably feel exhausted and sore, but that’s to be expected since your body is not used to such a strenuous activity.
It’s not only running that can give you these results. Any high-intensity activity, such as cycling, swimming, or playing sports like basketball or soccer for hours on end, can also help you burn 3000 calories, but it comes with consequences that outweigh the benefits.
We provide more context, and tips for building a sustainable running practice here – Run 3 Miles a Day
If you struggle to even flirt with the idea of giving up your favorite foods or working out till your legs give way – BetterMe app is here to breathe a fresh perspective into the way you view the weight loss process! Check out the app and experience the fun side of fitness and dieting with BetterMe!
How To Burn 3000 Calories a Day By Walking?
You might think that since high impact, or high-intensity exercises are not a sustainable or realistic option, then walking may help you achieve the 3000 calorie goal while helping reduce potential negative impacts. Now you may be set on figuring out how to burn 3,500 calories a day walking.
We hate to break it to you, but trying to burn 3000 calories a day just by walking is not an effective or realistic strategy. The reason is that walking is a low-intensity activity that burns significantly fewer calories, compared to high-intensity workouts.
So not only would you have to walk for hours on end, but you’d still face similar consequences as with high-intensity exercises, such as fatigue and potential injuries.
How Many Steps To Burn 3,500 Calories a Day?
If 10,000 steps a day is the widely suggested number for maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle, then would 30,000 steps a day help you reach your goal of burning 3000 calories? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
First, there isn’t a specific number of steps that can directly equate to burning a certain amount of calories. It varies based on factors such as weight, height, and walking speed.
A common estimate is that you can burn around 100 calories per mile walked (4). So to reach 3000 calories, you’d have to walk approximately … 30 miles a day!
Thirty miles is a significant distance, and it’s not something most people can achieve or sustain without facing negative consequences such as fatigue, muscle damage, and injuries.
How To Burn 3000 Calories a Day Without Exercise?
Since burning 3000 calories a day through exercise is not the safest or most sustainable option, you might consider alternative ways to reach this goal. Surely, the right diet can put you on the right track?
Again, we have nothing but bad news for you. Creating a 3000-calorie deficit through diet alone is downright impossible. To put things into perspective, the average person burns around 1500-2000 calories a day through daily activities and basic bodily functions.
This means that to achieve a 3000-calorie deficit, you’d have to consume absolutely nothing while maintaining your regular physical activity level. Clearly, this is not a viable or healthy option.
And before you say; well, intermittent fasting schedules like extended fasting can help me go days without eating.
Yes, extended fasts (any that are longer than 24 hours) can result in a calorie deficit, but they are not sustainable or safe long-term solutions.
For one, the whole idea of intermittent fasting is that you eat within a specific eating window. And considering how ravenous you’d be after not eating for an extended period, it’s highly likely that you’d end up overeating and negating any calorie deficit.
Even if you didn’t, you can only use extended fasts for a limited amount of time before your body starts losing muscle mass and lowering your metabolism (since it’s trying to conserve energy).
And most importantly, people who do extended fasts right don’t use them as a long term weight loss tool. To break a plateau? Sure. To kick off their weight loss journey? Sure. But not as a consistent solution to consistently burn 3000 calories in a day.
How Much Should I Eat If I Burn 3000 Calories a Day?
In theory, if you can consume only 500-1000 calories in a day while burning 3000 through high-intensity workouts.
Firstly, as mentioned before, high-intensity exercises are not sustainable or safe long-term solutions for burning 3000 calories a day.
Additionally, constantly eating at such a significant calorie deficit can lead to nutrient deficiencies and other health problems (2).
Furthermore, if you’re already struggling to find the motivation and energy to burn 3000 calories a day through exercise (which is understandable), then trying to limit your food intake so drastically would only make things worse.
So, What Can You Do?
Assuming you’ve come to terms with the fact that burning 3000 calories a day is not ideal or feasible, then let’s focus on more realistic and sustainable goals.
Read more: What Does 3000 Calories Look Like?
Find Out How Many Calories Your Body Needs a Day
The first step is to determine your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the number of calories your body burns at rest.
From there, you can add in factors such as physical activity level and calculate your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). This will give you an estimate of how many calories your body needs to maintain its current weight.
A simple formula is to multiply your weight in pounds by 15 to calculate your BMR. Then, depending on your physical activity level, multiply your BMR by 1.2 (sedentary), 1.375 (lightly active), 1.55 (moderately active), or 1.725 (very active) to get an estimate of your TDEE (8).
TDEE refers to your total daily energy expenditure, which is the number of calories your body burns in a day through all activities, including exercise. It’s not a perfect measure, but it can give you a good starting point to create a personalized and realistic calorie intake goal for yourself.
From there, you can create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than your TDEE, but not to the extreme extent of trying to burn 3000 calories a day through exercise alone.
Have a Reasonable Target
A calorie deficit of around 500-1000 calories per day is considered a reasonable and sustainable goal for weight loss (10). This means you can aim to consume 500-1000 fewer calories than your TDEE each day through a combination of diet and exercise.
Remember, slow and steady wins the race when it comes to weight loss. According to the CDC, losing 1-2 pounds of weight per week is a safe and realistic goal (9). With that in mind, instead of trying to burn 3000 calories a day, aim for gradual and sustainable progress.
Check out our blog on the 5-day diet to see why having a reasonable weight loss target is so important.
Take a Sustainable and Balanced Approach
The bare minimum for physical activity, according to health experts, is 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week (1). So instead of focusing on burning a specific number of calories in a day, aim to get at least this much physical activity every week.
Now, you can certainly do more and challenge yourself, all the way up to daily exercise if you have the time and energy.
But your approach must be balanced, and here are some ways to achieve that:
- For cardio, have a mix of both high and low-intensity workouts. (For example, three days of high-intensity interval training and two days of moderate-paced jogging or cycling).
- For strength training, alternate between muscle groups using a workout split that suits your schedule and preferences.
- Incorporate other types of physical activity that you enjoy, such as dancing, hiking, playing sports, or even just going for a walk with friends.
- Incorporate rest days into your routine to allow your body to recover and avoid overexertion or injuries.
- Give your body the fuel and nutrients it needs to support your physical activity.
- Know the signs of overtraining, such as extreme fatigue, irritability, and mood swings, and take breaks when necessary.
Focus on Creating Healthy Habits
Instead of obsessing over burning a specific number of calories each day, focus on developing healthy habits that will benefit your overall well-being in the long run (11).
Some examples include:
- Focusing not only on the quantity but also the quality of your food (choose whole, nutrient-dense foods over ultra-processed, nutrient-poor and calorie-dense ones)
- Practicing mindful eating and listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues
- Getting enough sleep each night (7-9 hours for adults)
- Managing stress through relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga
- Seeking support from friends, family, or a health professional when needed
You can get some inspiration for a weight loss diet in our article about the 1200-calorie diet meal plan 14 days where we provide an example of a healthy and balanced meal plan that can help you create sustainable habits.
Whether you’re a workout beast or just a beginner making your first foray into the world of fitness and dieting – BetterMe has a lot to offer to both newbies and experts! Install the app and experience the versatility first-hand!
If I Burn 3000 Calories a Day, How Much Weight Will I Lose?
We’ve determined that burning 3000 calories a day is not a realistic or sustainable goal. Now let’s say you were able to do it for a week, how much weight could you lose?
To lose a pound of fat, a generalized theory is that you need to create a calorie deficit of around 3500 calories (5). Theoretically, if you were able to consistently burn 3000 calories a day, you’d be losing close to a pound a day.
If this doesn’t sound alarming enough, keep in mind that a significant portion of that weight loss would also be from water and muscle mass. This means that you’re potentially putting your health at risk by trying to achieve such a drastic calorie deficit.
What Is the Maximum Daily Calorie Burn?
There is no “maximum” daily calorie burn that applies to everyone. It depends on factors such as age, weight, height, and physical activity level. Our bodies are all unique and require different amounts of energy to function properly.
As far as the maximum calories you can burn in a day, safely and sustainably, the general consensus is that you should aim for a maximum calorie deficit of 1000 calories per day.
What Exercise Burns 3000 Calories?
Burning 3000 calories through exercise alone in a single day is an incredibly high and likely unsustainable goal for most individuals.
High-intensity activities like running, cycling, or swimming at a vigorous pace for extended periods could potentially lead to such an expenditure, but only for well-conditioned athletes, particularly endurance athletes. The average person would likely risk injury or extreme fatigue attempting this.
How Many Calories in 1 Kg?
In general, it is often stated that 1 kg of body weight is approximately equivalent to 7700 calories (6). This means that to lose 1 kg of body weight, you would need to create a calorie deficit of 7700 calories.
However, weight loss isn’t this simple, and factors like the quality of the calories consumed and the individual’s metabolism can impact the equation.
How Many Calories Does 15K Steps Burn?
The number of calories burned by walking 15,000 steps varies depending on factors such as your weight, pace, and individual metabolism.
On average, a person might burn between 300 and 600 calories walking 15,000 steps, but this is a rough estimate and the actual number can vary.
It’s also important to remember that even light and moderate physical activity, like walking, positively contributes to overall health in ways beyond simple calorie burn (7).
The Bottom Line
Burning 3000 calories a day is a lofty and potentially dangerous goal. Instead, focus on finding a balance of healthy eating and physical activity that works for your body and lifestyle. Remember to always prioritize your safety and well-being above any weight loss numbers or goals.
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)
- Calorie restriction in humans: an update (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Calories burned in 30 minutes of leisure and routine activities (2021, health.harvard.edu)
- Calories Burned Walking Calculator (2023, caloriesburnedhq.com)
- Counting calories: Get back to weight-loss basics (2023, mayoclinic.org)
- Effect of Exercise Training on Fat Loss—Energetic Perspectives and the Role of Improved Adipose Tissue Function and Body Fat Distribution (2021, frontiersin.org)
- Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence (2006, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- How to Calculate Calorie Deficit for Weight Loss (2022, medicinenet.com)
- Losing Weight | Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Activity (2023, cdc.gov)
- Rate of weight loss can be predicted by patient characteristics and intervention strategies (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Weight-Loss and Maintenance Strategies – Weight Management (2004, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)