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How Many Calories Should You Burn For Weight Loss?
If you are looking to lose weight, probably one of the first questions that comes in your mind is “how many calories should I burn a day”. Don´t worry you are certainly not alone. Questions on how many calories you need to burn every day to lose weight, are one of the most searched on the Internet today.
Being aware of how many calories you burn each day will help you figure out how many calories you should consume so that you create a calorie deficit, which is one of the major factors for losing weight.
Worry not, it is not as complicated as it may sounds, the online calorie calculator provided in this article will do all calculations for you and will provide you with a straight forward answer.
We highly recommend you though to check out our step-by-step example to understand how to interpret these numbers.
Let´s answer the question regarding this topic, after all you´ve landed here because you typed in “how many calories should I burn a day” to get this sorted out.
Let´s summarize what you will need to do –Solution to calculate how many calories you need to burn a day to lose weight:
- Find out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is how many calories you will need for your body to function properly (based on your height, sex and age)
- Decide how much weight you want to lose and in which time span
- Make use of the Harris-Benedict formula (BMR x activity level) to calculate how many calories you need to consume a day to maintain your current weight
- Based on this, calculate how many calories you should save a day either through burning them off by exercise or by dieting
How Many Calories Should I Burn A Day?
Use this calorie calculator to see how many calories you should burn per day: Put in your age, select your gender, type in your height in either inches, feet or centi meters, put in your weight in kilo grams or pounds and select your daily activity level. Type in how much weight you want to lose (in kilo grams or pounds) and the timespan (in days). Proceed and press the Calculate Button.
How many calories to burn a day to lose weight?
With the calculator above you are able to find out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), how many calories you burn per day based on your level of activity and ultimately how many calories you will need to save per day (through exercise or dieting) in order to reach your weight loss goals.
To see through the theory behind these calculations, see our step by step example below.
You won´t have to keep paper and pen because this daily calorie calculator will do this part for you.
First Step: Calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate
Several studies have found that in general females need 1500-1900 calories to maintain their current weight and males need approximately 2000-2400 calories.
This numbers are also called Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR).
Bottom Line: This Figure provides you the number of calories your body needs on a daily basis in order to work properly.
Use the formulas below (enter your current weight and height in pounds/inches), to calculate your Basic Metabolic Rate.
BMR for Males: 66 + (6.2 x current weight) + (12.7 x body height) – (6.76 x age)
BMR for Females: 655.1 + (4.35 x current weight) + (4.7 x body height) – (4.7 x age)
For instance, the BMR of a female age 20, 5 feet in height, currently weighting 140 pounds is: 1447.65 calories.
BMR for Men: 66 + (6.2 x weight) + (12.7 x height) – (6.76 x age)
BMR for Women: 655.1 + (4.35 x weight) + (4.7 x height) – (4.7 x age)
Keep in mind, this is not how many calories you should consume on a daily basis but how many calories your body needs to work and function without doing anything. You can also see it as the number of calories you burn a day doing nothing. This calories are consumed by the body by it´s complex processes like digestion, keeping heart rate up etc.
Second Step: Harris-Benedict Formula
The second step is to use the so called Harris-Benedict formula to find out how many calories you need per day to keep your current weight.
BMR x Factor of Activity results in the Harris-Benedict Equation.
|Daily Activity||Activity Factor|
|No or little exercise||1.2|
|Light activity level (doing sports 1-3 days per week)||1.375|
|Moderate activity level (physical activity/exercise 3-5 days per week)||1.55|
|High activity level (intense bouts of exercise 6 or 7 days per week)||1.725|
|Extreme activity level (exercise, physical demanding job/hard training)||1.9|
Example: Your BMR is 1600 calories and you fall under the light activity level during the day then your daily calorie requirement is: 1600 x 1.375 = 2220 calories a day. 2200 calories are needed to keep your current weight.
If you are looking to lose weight you should aim to consume less than 2200 calories a day and if you want to gain weight you obviously need to consume more than 2200 calories a day.
Third Step: How much weight you want to lose?
In this step you need to decide how many weight you want to lose and when. To follow a realistic goal, you should understand when you lose weight.
At which rate you are losing weight?
There are several factors that influence how much weight you can lose. One part of this puzzle is that weight loss will occur when the calories you burn are more than the calories you feed your body. In our article on “How much weight can I lose in 3 weeks“, we pointed out the key role of hormones in weight loss, and that it´s manipulation is as important as counting calories.
You can divide it in two categories: Food and drinks affect your calorie intake while physical activity and other factors like hormones affect the rate you burn calories.
How Many Calories To Burn A Pound Of Fat?
Another parameter to our equation is that 1 pound of fat is approximately 3500 calories.
In essence this means, that if you consume 3500 more calories than what you burn in a given period of time, you likely will gain one pound but if you are able to burn 3500 more caloires than you consume, this will lead to losing 1 pound.
Fourth Step: How many calories to burn a day for weight loss
The fourth and last step is to find out how many calories you need to burn a day in order to reach your weight loss goal.
Keep in mind, these numbers are only estimate numbers and it is not guaranteed that by following this number you will lose or gain weight.
Many other factors are involved in this complex process of weight loss and the numbers of calories you consume is just one piece of the puzzle. However, since it is not hard to calculate you can use it as your point of beginning.
Assuming you are a 40 year old female, 5ft and 2 inches tall, 142 pounds of weight and with a daily light activity level. Your goal is to lose five pounds in two months.
You would need to calculate the amounts of calories to per day this way:
1. Your BMR is 1380 calories
2. Your calorie need for the day based on your current level of activity is 1900 calories
If you consume 1900 calories a day, you will maintain your current weight. If you eat more than that you eventually will gain weight and if you eat less than that, you are likely to lose weight.
Let´s look on how much weight can you lose in 2 months in this example:
3. You want to lose 5 pounds (2.3 kg) in 2 months, which is about 17500 calories (one pound of body fat is 3500 calories).
This means you will need to burn or use up 17,500 extra calories for the next two months.
By doing a basic calculation you will find out that this is equivalent to 280 calories per day. If you manage to burn 280 calories per day or save these 280 calories per day in your diet, you can lose 5 pounds in 2 months.
4. Take away the number calories you need to save a day from your daily caloric intake needs
Your Daily caloric need – Necessary Calorie savings a day = 1900 – 280 = 1620 calories a day.
This is how much calories you should consume a day if you want to lose lose 5 pounds in two months.
How many calories you will need to burn per day, depends on how much calories you are consuming on a daily basis.
Keep in mind, the goal is to save 280 calories a day above what your body needs to function.
If you are consuming 1800 calories per day you will need to burn 175 calories through exercise to reach your set goal of 1625 calories a day.
The total amount of calories in this example which is burned for normal body functioning in 1900.
If you consume 1800 calories a day it means you are saving 100 calories a day, but this will not be enough to reach your set weight loss goal of losing 5 pounds in two months!
To reach your set weight loss goal you will need to burn an extra of 175 calories a day through physical activity.
To lose weight at a faster rate, you can either reduce your caloric intake, increase your physical activity through exercise and/or pair it with a good diet plan like The 3 Week Diet and a potent natural weight loss supplement like Leptitox.
Burning calories is not as easy as it sounds. Many dieters know that it is hard work to burn those extra calories.
Weight Loss and Calorie Counting
Is calorie counting a good way to induce weight loss?
A lot of dieters are hesitant to even try an lose weight because they don´t know where to begin. They know they must take care of their diet and exercise more but the lack of how to measure these goals creates an aura of uncertainty and this often times leads to frustration before the weight loss journey even has started.
To counter act this issues and have crystal clear goals on what you want to achieve, you can begin your weight loss journey by doing some of the simple calorie calculations, explained above.
By finding out how many calories you should be eating per day and how many calories you should burn per day, you can have a clearer picture about your daily caloric needs and a good estimate as to when you will start to reach your optimal body fat percentage.
Important things to know when you try to lose lose weight:
- In the beginning of your weight loss journey, you will not only lose fat starting a diet and/or a weight loss program. You will water especially at the beginning and if you don´t take care about a proper protein intake you may also lose muscle.
- Try to keep your protein intake moderate to high, because if you don´t provide your body with enought protein, your body will cover its protein needs from your muscle mass. A result in muscle mass equals a decrease in BMR which means the less muscle mass you carry, the less calories you burn a day. Muscles are constantly burning calories, even at rest.
- When you go overboard with your weight loss efforts and cut calories in a radical fashion, your body will try to adapt by lowering its metabolic rate. It will enter into a protective mode by reducing the number of calories it needs per day. This can result in slowed down weight loss.
- You never should consume less than 1000 calories a day. This should be the bare minimum and it is not recommended to go beyond this number.
- Keep in mind that some beverages also carry calories so keep in mind to include your beverages in your daily calorie calculations.
- Try to use a technique called calorie cycling to make the process easier to follow. Once you have calculated your daily caloric needs you can go above and below this range on several days of the week. If your daily caloric need for example is 1700 calories, you can choose to go above this number on Tuesday and Thursday and below this number the rest of the rest days of the week. However, avoid exaggerations.
- Be honest to yourself about your activity level an try to be as accurate as possible.
- Avoid decreasing your daily caloric intake by more than 500 calories a day. You would be better off expanding the time frame. Reducing your intake by 500 calories won´t do your body good in the long run and make it difficult to stick to your diet in the long term.
- Always consult a doctor or dietician before making changes to your diet.
I hope our article gave you an answer to the question “how many calories should I burn a day”. These above mentioned tools and calculations can give you an idea where to begin and how much effort you will need to put in to reach your weight loss goals and target weight.
Successful weight loss comes down to a lot of factors and counting calories is just a piece of the puzzle.
However, keep in mind that the amount of calories you should use up a day depends on the number of calories you consume through nutrition and the number of calories you opt to save for weight loss.
If you consume more calories than you need, you will need to burn more calories through physical activity and/or exercise to stay aligned with your weight loss goals.
Hello, My Name is Cassie Jones and I am the Main Content Author for Weight Loss Journal.