Getting your metabolism to fire so you burn 2,000 calories a day is quite achievable, especially if you're a moderately active healthy adult. Your body uses calories for basic biological activity, such as breathing and pumping blood.
Add the calories required to function in daily life — such as walking to your car in the parking lot, grocery shopping and showering — and any exercise you do, and there's a good chance your metabolism will surpass the 2,000-calorie mark.
However, burning an extra 2,000 calories — in addition to those you use for daily living — is not something the average person should attempt every day, because it requires the training and exertion levels usually reserved for athletes. Always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
If you lead an active lifestyle, it's likely that you can burn 2,000 calories a day.
Understand Average Calorie Burn Estimates
The number of calories you burn per day depends on a number of factors, including your age, gender, size, activity and genetics. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, estimated daily calorie needs for women are 1,600 to 2,400 and 2,000 to 3,000 for men.
These estimates of average calorie burn show that it's quite easy to reach 2,000 calories per day as long as you're moderately active, which means you move the equivalent of walking 1.5 to 3 miles per day in addition to your regular daily life activity.
Try Some Serious Exercise
Doing the equivalent of 150-minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or water aerobics done 30 minutes per day, five times per week, might not burn as many calories as you think. That water aerobics workout only burns around 178 calories per session for a 185-pound person, according to Harvard Health Publishing. If you're smaller, it burns even fewer calories.
To burn 2,000 calories per day through exercise alone, you'd need to exercise for a longer duration and at a greater intensity. A runner who weighs 155 pounds and goes at a swift pace of 7.5 mph burns 465 calories per half-hour; it'll take him 2 1/2 hours of running at this intensity to burn 2,000 calories.
Enter the Realm of Olympians
Some elite athletes may easily burn 2,000 calories in activity daily. Olympians, for example, train for several hours per day. But not all of these athletes burn 2,000 calories a day in addition to normal activity.
Endurance athletes in cycling, rowing and running as well as team athletes in activities such as soccer or basketball tend to burn the most daily and need to eat significantly more calories per day.
Other athletes, including those involved in strength sports such as shot put and weight lifting who require short bursts of energy, or aesthetic sports such as diving and gymnastics who need to maintain a light, lean frame, tend to burn fewer calories and do not often exceed 2,000 calories in activity per day.
Try These Activities
Instead of trying to burn 2,000 calories in a day, aim for a more realistic burn of 2,000 calories over the course of several days or a week. In order to lose weight, the American Council on Exercise recommends daily exercise that burns 250 calories in addition to cutting 250 calories from your diet.
If you're 185 pounds and walking 4.5 miles per hour for 30 minutes per day, you'll burn only 1,554 calories per week, according to Harvard Health Publishing. If you participate in more-intense exercise, you can spend less time exercising.
For example, if you weigh 155 pounds and work out on the elliptical machine at the gym, you'll burn approximately 335 calories in 30 minutes. It'll take you about three hours to burn a total of 2,000 calories.
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020: Appendix 2. Estimated Calorie Needs per Day, by Age, Sex, and Physical Activity Level"
- American Council on Exercise: "Weight Loss — Tipping the Scales in the Right Direction"