Among the most common questions to ask about weight loss are how many calories you’d have to cut to lose a pound or how much exercise you’d have to do to burn through one. This sounds like a very direct question and it seems as though it should have a very short answer. Unfortunately, as with everything else in life, it’s a little more complex than that.
It’s simple to say that one pound of fat is made of about 3,500 calories. Therefore, either cutting back on calories until you’ve reached that total or taking on exercises that will burn that many calories won’t necessarily cause you to lose a pound. Frustrated yet? Don’t be. It’s not actually that bad. You just have to factor in a few more issues before you can watch that number falling on the scale.
The key to losing one pound is not just to burn 3,500 calories, but to create a deficit of that much. After all, if you burn 3,500 calories but you consume 8,000 too many calories in that same amount of time, you’ll gain weight, not lose it. Therefore, you need to work with both your diet and your exercise in order to create that deficit and drop one pound after the next.
How do you do that? The first thing you’ll want to do is use a nutrition and fitness tracker such as the free one at ShareFit. That will help you to know just how many calories you’re taking in and how many you’re burning through your various exercises.
For most people, by reducing their average daily calorie intake by between 300 and 500, and by simultaneously boosting their daily activity levels – preferably by 300 to 500 calories per day – reaching the 3,500 per week calorie deficit is achievable.
How long does that take? Here are a few of the most common options:
• Cycling – Whether on a bicycle or stationary bike, the average American man (who weighs around 190 pounds) would need to ride a bike at a low to moderate intensity for about 2 hours to burn 500 calories. The average American woman (who weighs around 165 pounds) would need to ride the bike for about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
• Yoga – A man would need around 11 and a half hours to burn 500 calories. A woman would need 12 and a half hours.
• Low intensity lap swimming – A man needs about an hour of swimming to burn 500 calories. A woman needs an hour and 5 minutes.