Other than the hours of sweat you put into getting in shape, there’s a lot of science that goes into the process as well.
While there are many wheels and cogs to losing weight, it can be stripped down to how many calories you take in versus how many calories you burn and a tdee calculator can help you put the numbers into perspective.
To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. That’s why the best approach to losing weight is a combination of working out and a healthy diet.
If losing weight has been a juggernaut that you’ve been unable to crack, this quick guide will walk you through the simple science of calories and how many of them you should burn in a day to lose fat.
What are calories?
You’ve probably seen calories listed on most of the packaged foods. They are also vastly mentioned every time weight loss and health is in the discussion. Surprisingly, most people don’t really know what calories are, making this a great place to start.
Scientifically, a calorie is described as the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1g of water by 10 C.
Calories are used in nutrition as an attempt to measure the amount of energy foods provide and how much of it we need daily to live.
It is this energy that the body uses to run various vital functions like breathing, powering the heartbeat and the brain.
How are Calories and Fat Related?
Understanding how calories and fats impact each other is essential in helping you achieve your goal of losing weight.
When you consume more calories than the body can use, the body stores the extra energy in form of fat. Every 3,500 calories stored in your body add one pound of fat.
The opposite is also true. Through working out, you aim to burn more calories than you consume. This forces the body to reach out to its reserves (which are fat) and convert them to energy to fuel your functions. As a result, you lose weight.
That’s why successful weight loss is a balancing act between how many calories you take in and how many you burn.
Tipping the Scales
Now that you understand the balance between calories and fat, just how many calories should you burn to lose fat?
It’s estimated about 3,500 calories are equivalent to 1 pound of fat. Therefore, you need to burn about 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat.
To make the weight loss more practical, if you burn through 500 to 1,000 calories a day, you can lose up to 2 pounds in a week.
But, this is easier said than done. When you lose weight, you lose not only fat, but also lean tissue and water. So, it’s a little hard to calculate the exact amount of fat you will lose by burning through the 3,500 calories.
Because of this, you might need to burn more calories. The body also goes through specific changes during weight loss which means you may also need to cut calorie intake even further to continue losing weight.
How to cut calories
Exercise will help you burn calories stored in the body as fat. For the best results, you also need to lower your calorie intake. This forces the body to reach the stored calories more easily to make up for the deficit.
For most people, giving up some of their habits is the hardest part of losing weight. But, with a few simple steps you get your calorie intake under control in no time.
- Give up high calorie, low nutrition foods – you need to start making sound decisions about the foods you eat. It’s not going to be easy so you can start off slow and work your way up to zero tolerance. Skipping one or two high-calorie foods is an excellent place to start.
- Eat healthier, lower-calorie options – fasting is not a healthy way to lose weight. Your body still needs the energy to stay active and foster healthy weight loss. In place of the high-calorie foods, you can have healthier lower-calorie options. These will give you just the right amount of energy while depriving your body of calories to store.
- Reduce portion sizes – reducing your food intake will also go a long way in helping you reign in your calories. This is more so the case if you’re finding it hard to change your eating habits.
If you can implement these three strategies to reduce calorie intake, your weight loss goals will be much easier to achieve.
Best Exercises To Help You Lose fat
While watching your diet helps you limit the amount of calories going into your body, exercise helps to burn the calories already stored as fat.
Choosing the right exercise is key. If the workout doesn’t burn enough calories, you will only be losing water weight and the fat hangs around.
Here are some of the most effective workouts complete with the expected calories burnt per hour.
- Jumping rope – Jumping rope is one of the most effective exercises for burning calories and losing fat. You can lose between 667 -990 calories per hour if you’re jumping about 120 skips per minute. This is because rope jumping involves different muscle classes, which include the arms, shoulders, calf, glutes, back and abs, among others.
- Running up a hill or a set of stairs – Running up a set of stairs or a hill can help you burn up to 946 calories per hour. You might want to put in maximum effort for the best results. The goal is to go at your fastest pace for about 20 seconds, followed by a recovery run. It’s important to push yourself as hard as possible on each run.
- Cycling intervals – cycling intervals comes in after kickboxing. For most people, the pain of working out is more than enough, so we will pass kickboxing and focus on cycling. Cycling can help you lose up to 840 calories per hour when you sustain a high-intensity ride. If you can’t maintain one, you can always work in high-intensity intervals in your routine.
Your fight with weight loss is more about the calories than the fat. That’s why you need to understand as much about calories as possible to make sure you have all the details that will help you make progress in your fat burning journey.