It would be difficult to burn 3,500 calories a day, but you often hear that number because it's the number of calories in a pound of fat. For healthy weight loss, combine exercise with the right diet. From HIIT to strength training, here are the best fat-torching exercises.
Unless you're an elite athlete, it's difficult to burn 3,500 calories a day through exercise alone. This could lean to overtraining and injuries.
Is a 3,500-Calorie-Burning Workout Realistic?
You must burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat. To do this, you should cut 500 to 700 calories per day for weight loss, along with the right exercise to burn calories. Doing a 3,500-calorie-burning workout in one day, however, is not realistic for most people. As the Mayo Clinic points out, losing 1 to 1.5 pounds per week is a safe and realistic goal.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends burning at least 250 calories per day through exercise for weight loss. The number of calories you burn during a workout depends on the specific activity, along with the intensity, frequency and length of the workout.
Your body burns calories all the time, even when you are at rest, by doing things like breathing, pumping your heart and repairing cells, says the Mayo Clinic. This is called your basal metabolic rate.
You can't control how many calories you burn at rest, but you can increase this number through regular aerobic exercise and strength training. Lifestyle activities like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking your dog each day also contribute to calorie burn.
How Diet Affects Weight Loss
Diet actually affects weight loss more than exercise, says the Mayo Clinic, but both are important. Exercise has a stronger effect on maintaining your weight and preventing you from gaining it back.
Additionally, when you are trying to lose weight, eating fewer calories while increasing the number of calories you burn through exercise is the ideal combination.
A 45-year-old woman with a sedentary lifestyle should eat around 1,800 calories per day to maintain her weight, states the USDA. It is possible to burn 3,500 calories a day (or lose a pound in one day) by creating an energy deficit. To do so, you must eat less and work out more or at a higher intensity.
However, that weight loss would be from both diet and exercise, not just one 3,500-calorie-burning workout. Plus, it's advisable to start by cutting just 500 to 700 calories per day for a safe rate of weight loss.
Read more: 15 Best Weight-Loss Exercises For Home
The Mayo Clinic recommends incorporating both aerobic and strength training to burn the maximum amount of calories through exercise. Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day, which can be done all at once or broken up into 10- or 15-minute chunks throughout the day.
Perform strength training, like weightlifting, at least twice a week, as this counteracts muscle loss from aging. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscles you have, the more calories you will burn at rest.
Best Calorie-Burning Workouts
A high-intensity interval training workout (HIIT) is one of the best ways to maximize calorie burn in a short amount of time, notes the American Council on Exercise. HIIT features short bouts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short rest period.
With these workouts, you combine aerobic and strength training all in one to torch fat and calories. LIVESTRONG.com has several HIIT workouts to help get you started.
Read more: 20 Minute HIIT Workout
Harvard Medical School lists several other calorie-burning workouts to help get you in shape. The listed calories burned are estimated for a 155-pound woman exercising for 30 minutes.
- Stationary bike (vigorous cycling): 391
- Running (6 miles per hour): 372
- Running (10 miles per hour): 614
- Stationary rowing (vigorous): 316
- Swimming laps: 372
- Jumping rope: 372
- Tennis: 260
- Walking (4 miles per hour): 167
- Elliptical trainer: 335
- Stair step machine: 223
- Golf (carrying clubs): 205
As you can see, a 3,500-calorie-burning workout would be difficult to achieve unless you ran a marathon in one day! For a realistic weight-loss goal, combine at least 30 minutes of a high-intensity workout with a healthy diet plan.
- Mayo Clinic: "Metabolism and Weight Loss: How You Burn Calories"
- American Council on Exercise: "Physical Activity Calorie Counter"
- USDA: "Estimated Calorie Needs per Day, by Age, Sex, and Physical Activity Level"
- Mayo Clinic: "Exercise For Weight Loss: Calories Burned In 1 Hour"
- American Council on Fitness: "Calorie-Burning 20-Minute HIIT Workout"
- Harvard Medical School: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes For People of Three Different Weights"