I openly admit I am not a big fan of math.
The very idea of adding and subtracting, multiplying, square rooting and other nightmarish calculations make my eyes glaze over. (If you’re an accountant, and I wore a hat, it would be off to you.)
Mention any type of equation and I feel myself mentally leave my body, astral projecting myself to a beach somewhere, while my head bobs along with whatever numbers are being thrown at me.
My husband has literally asked me, “Are you still with me?” when the topic comes up and he sees me check out.
I can’t help it.
In my defense, however, I will read, write, and research happily for hours – activities that would make others lose their minds – without a nanosecond of boredom.
So I got that going for me.
I realize this puts me at a disadvantage when it comes to balancing a checkbook, figuring out my taxes and 95% of business activities. It’s why I hire people to do these things. I know my strengths.
There’s one exception: Calorie counts and figuring out how many of them you’ll find in a gram of protein, carb or fat (4, 4, and 9, respectively… 7 per gram of alcohol).
I also like knowing how much activity it takes to burn off the piece of chocolate I just ate that I didn’t realize was filled with caramel until I bit into it. (Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate. Just not filled chocolate or chocolate-covered fruit or chocolate with sea salt or mixed with other stuff that doesn’t belong in the chocolate family.)
In a related story… and to segue to today’s topic, I’ve come across a lot of charts lately that promise to help you “burn 1,000 calories!”
First, let me say up front that’s a boatload of calories and a pretty serious declaration to make.
When I see such a title, I think, “Show me the money!” Because chances are, the article will dance around the issue. Like the story I read online this morning just as I was thinking of this topic. It talked about everything except how you can actually burn this number of calories.
The moves in many of these articles are, as you’d expect, cardio. Lots and lots of cardio. Mainly jumping jacks, high stepping, lunging, squatting for 300 reps and so on. Each day of the “program” requires you to do more and more reps each day until you:
- get hurt
- have to call in sick to work so you can do your 5 million jumping jacks for the day
- pass out from exhaustion, dehydration and starvation from round the clock reps
Not a single workout I found that makes this claim would legitimately burn anywhere CLOSE to 1,000 calories.
I’m here to give you the real deal, as I always do.
Let’s start with a couple of things that influence calorie burn, shall we?
One: Your body weight.
Think about it.
It takes more energy for you to move a heavier object, right?
Same goes for your bod. A person who weighs 300 lbs. will burn more calories than someone weighing 150 lbs.
So to make a blanket statement that YOU will burn X calories can’t work the same for everyone. It’s simply science.
Two: Your fitness level.
Again, a fit person will be more efficient at workouts they’re accustomed to doing. The body adapts. Think of a routine you do all the time.
It gets easier because muscles know what to expect, so to speak, so they’re not flailing about trying to get all coordinated as they did in the beginning.
In short, fit people actually burn fewer calories than someone who is less fit.
Why fit people should be punished this way baffles the mind.
Here’s an example (info from the American College of Sports Medicine):
If you weigh 300 lbs., you’ll burn over 1,000 calories an hour walking at a very brisk, 5 mph.
If you weigh 140 lbs., you’ll burn half that, 535 calories.
At 200 lbs you’ll burn 764 calories walking at the same pace for the same amount of time.
Huge differences, right?
Calisthenics like jumping jacks and the other type of exercises listed in many of these articles burn about half that.
In reality, a 150-lb. person would need to do two hours of continuous, vigorous, hardcore exercises to burn 1,000 calories.
So with these facts in hand, I took a middle of the road approach for exercise sequences that enables a 150 lb. woman to burn 1,000 calories. Below you’ll find the most popular workouts and the calorie burn per hour.
Mix and match them to add up to 1,000 calories, or refer to the combos I created below (HINT: it won’t be easy!) …
Walk briskly (4.0 mph) on a flat surface: 358 calories/hour
Swim “leisurely” (no laps): 430
Walk on a treadmill moderately slow (3.0 mph): 236
Walk up hill at a 3% grade (3.0 mph): 325
Running, flat (6 mph): 729
Machine circuit training (moderate effort): 430
Dancing (ballroom, slow): 215
Dancing (ballroom, fast): 394
Group exercise, general aerobics: 465
Strength training (general): 394
Rowing (general): 501
Stationary bike (moderate effort): 501
Biking outdoors (general): 573
1,000-calorie burning (or close to it) combos:
NOTE: I am not recommending these workouts, mainly because they’re too much for the average person. I busted out my calculator mainly to show you what it really takes to burn so many calories…
- Walk 1 hour + stationary bike 30 minutes + 1 hour strength training
- Swim 1 hour + circuit train 1 hour + walk slowly on a treadmill 30 minutes
- Strength train 1 hour + row or stationary bike 1 hour
- Bike outside 1 hour + group exercise 1 hour
- Ballroom dance 1 hour (vigorously) + machine circuit train 1 hour
- More realistically, you can cut these in half, though, and burn 500 calories, which is still not too shabby.
What combination of these exercises will YOU try this week? Do you have a favorite, high-calorie burning workout? Let me know in the comments below…
Other posts you may like:
Got questions for me? Ideas for a future blog post? I’d love to hear from you! Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be sure to answer.
And PLEASE spread the word by forwarding this post and telling all your gorgeous, ageless friends where they can find great info on staying fit after 50!
Thanks so much in advance… ♥
Your Ageless Body Coach,