BODYPUMP is a branded workout from Les Mills with classes offered in gyms around the country and online. BODYPUMP calories burned will vary from person to person and class to class. It depends on how hard you work during the class and how much you weigh.
You can burn up to 540 calories per class, according to Les Mills, the creator of BODYPUMP. Harvard Health Publishing estimates for vigorous weightlifting support this claim.
What Is BODYPUMP?
To get an idea of how many calories you'll burn in a BODYPUMP class, it helps to know what the workout entails. Les Mills calls BODYPUMP the "original barbell class" and says it's ideal for people who want to get lean and toned and lose weight.
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Using light to moderate weights and high repetition counts, you'll do a series of moves that Les Mills claims are scientifically backed to be effective for creating long, lean, toned muscles. Classes are also fast paced without a lot of down time.
According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, workouts involving lower weight and higher repetitions promote muscular endurance rather than significant gains in muscle size. Additionally, performing moves back to back without resting in between sets increases the calorie-burning potential of the workout. Compared to a traditional weightlifting workout, BODYPUMP may burn more calories.
BODYPUMP Calories Burned
However, there isn't any scientific evidence on just how many calories you'll burn in a class. According to Les Mills, one class will burn up to 540 calories. At first glance, this certainly seems doable.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, people can burn 180 to 266 calories doing 30 minutes of vigorous weightlifting, depending on their body weight — heavier people burn more calories doing the same activities as lighter people.
BODYPUMP classes are 30, 45 or 55 minutes in length. You won't be working at peak intensity for the whole class but, roughly speaking, you would burn 180 to 266 calories in a 30-minute class, 270 to 399 calories in a 45-minute class and just short of 360 to 532 calories in a 55-minute class. That's pretty close to the maximum amount Les Mills says you can burn.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Fat Loss
The Composition of Muscle Mass
There's more to consider, however, than how many calories you'll burn during a class. Building muscle increases your body's metabolism, because muscle takes more energy to synthesize and maintain than fat.
According to researchers at the University of New Mexico, muscle mass accounts for 20 percent of your resting metabolism rate (RMR), which is the amount of calories you burn throughout the day just going through your daily activities, sleeping or watching TV.
Muscle also accounts for 20 percent of your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), which includes RMR calories, plus the calories you burn through exercise. Comparatively, fat only accounts for 5 percent. Therefore, the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn at rest and from being active.
Keep Burning Calories After Class
Additionally, there is something called the afterburn effect, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). According to the American Council on Exercise, strength training with short — or no — recovery periods in between promotes metabolic adaptations that cause the body to continue burning calories at a higher rate after you finish exercising.
A small study, results of which were published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport in October 2018, compared the effects of a BODYPUMP class versus a steady-state cardio cycling session.
Both workouts burned the same number of calories during the activity, per heart-rate monitoring measurements. However, the researchers found that post-exercise, BODYPUMP had more acute physiological effects, potentially providing additional metabolic adaptations that increase longer-term calorie burning.
These results require working at a high intensity. The harder you work in your BODYPUMP class, the more calories you'll burn during and after class. Give it your best effort to reap the biggest rewards.
- Les Mills: "BODYPUMP"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- National Academy of Sports Medicine: "NASM's Optimum Performance Training"
- University of New Mexico: "Controversies in Metabolism"
- American Council on Exercise: "7 Things to Know About Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)"
- Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport: "A Comparison of the Acute Physiological Responses to BODYPUMP™ Versus ISO-Caloric and ISO-Time Steady State Cycling"