October 26

5 Ways to burn 1,000 calories (for real)


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.)

     My happy place, free from numbers

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:   fotolia_98671289_xs

  1. get hurt
  2. have to call in sick to work so you can do your 5 million jumping jacks for the day
  3. 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…

  1. Walk 1 hour + stationary bike 30 minutes + 1 hour strength training
  2. Swim 1 hour + circuit train 1 hour + walk slowly on a treadmill 30 minutes
  3. Strength train 1 hour + row or stationary bike 1 hour
  4. Bike outside 1 hour + group exercise 1 hour
  5. Ballroom dance 1 hour (vigorously) + machine circuit train 1 hour
  6. 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:

Fat burning intervals for women over 50 (includes a new video!)

5 Easy ways to burn more calories from any workout

5 Best Exercises for Women Over 50

Got questions for me? Ideas for a future blog post? I’d love to hear from you! Send me a note at linda@lindamelone.com 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,

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  1. Thanks again for a great post! I’m going to try Zumba (my favorite cardio!) followed by a little strength training. I will definitely wait until Saturday as I may need to just lie down afterwards – LOL!

      1. Hi Linda, question…why does rowing burn so many calories? And does that apply to stationary rowing machines or just being out on the water?

        1. Great question, Colleen! My guess is because rowing uses your entire body. You pull with your arms and push with your legs. That’s tough! I don’t know if it varies tremendously, but usually exercising in the real world burns at least slightly more calories because you have wind resistance and other environmental factors at work, too, that require you to make adjustments. It’s true for biking and running, so it makes sense it would also be true for rowing :).

  2. holy crap. I know this is off topic but GIRL!! NO WAY YOU ARE 61?! what the heck did you use to preserve your body?! I thought you were 35 tops! Jebus, you are gorgeous! I loved this article. I am desperately trying to lose weight quickly and trying to devise my ridiculously intense regimen (mostly to get strong enough to keep up with my toddlers 🤣). Thank you for the amazing article.

    1. haha! Thanks so much for your kind words, Jeanette! It’s all about finding what works for you and being consistent with it. Set small goals for yourself and add another one each week. Keep “stacking” them and you’ll see results :).

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