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Net Calories Needed After Exercise to Lose Weight

author image Brigid Rauch
Based in Bethesda, Md., Brigid Rauch has been writing about health and nutrition since 2007. Her work has appeared on websites for companies like Honest Tea. Rauch holds a master's degree in urban planning from University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance and teaches classes in Ayurvedic holistic medicine for moms and pregnant women.
Net Calories Needed After Exercise to Lose Weight
Two women are preparing a salad. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Despite the advertising and claims from supplements and fad diets, weight loss requires burning more calories than you consume. Your net calories burned means how many more calories you burn than you eat in your food. Calculate the net calories burned to determine how much weight you will lose and to design an optimal diet and exercise regimen for your weight loss goals. Talk to your doctor before beginning a diet or exercise plan.

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Calories and Weight Loss

In order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume to create a net calorie deficit. A calorie debit means that your body uses more energy that that supplied by the food you eat, and will have to use stored energy instead. When your body uses stored energy in the form of body tissues -- usually fat -- the net effect is weight loss. In order to lose 1 pound you must burn 3,500 calories more than you take in with food.


The amount of calories you burn during exercise depends on your weight and your level of activity. A heavier person burns more calories because they have to carry more weight during the activity and the extra effort results in more net calories burnt. A more strenuous activity such as running burns more calories than a more gentle activity such as walking.

Calories Consumed

To determine how many calories you consume, keep a detailed record of what you eat throughout the day. Write down what you eat and the amounts. Don't forget to include all ingredients as well as any condiments. If you eat packaged food, read the labels for calorie information. At restaurants, ask if they have nutritional information for items on their menu. The sum of all the calories in all the foods you eat is the number of calories consumed for the day.

Net Calories Used

To calculate calories burnt during a specific activity, use a calories burned estimator. The calculator tells you how many calories you burned based on the activity you did, the time spent and your weight. To determine net calories, subtract the calories you burned from the calories you took in. If you get a negative number, you burned more calories than you took in and you will lose weight.


Don't lose weight too fast. You may feel weak, faint or have other adverse reactions if you stress your body by trying to lose weight very quickly. Eliminate empty calories, such as those from soda pop, that don't supply much nutrition in the form of vitamins and minerals. Eat foods low in calories but high in nutrition, such as dark leafy greens. Exercise regularly. The President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition recommends at least 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise.

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