Here’s the thing about fitness news stories: every day there’s a new diet that enables you to eat piles of butter without gaining weight, high-tech clothing that monitors your body temperature and exertion, and a magic wand that instantly turns fat into defined muscle.
(I made up that last one, but it’s only a matter of time.)
In the middle of all the ruckus is a lot of nonsense, myths, and out-and-out lies.
Example: One so-called fitness expert claims you burn more calories driving in a convertible because of the wind resistance on your face.
At times I feel I’m done. Stop the bus I want to get off.
But then I realize smart people like YOU — because you’re reading this — want the facts.
The naked truth.
The real info without the fluff, BS, and tomfoolery.
It’s why I keep going.
So today’s Nothing But the Truth the Whole Truth fitness segment is about calorie burn…
I’ve come across a lot of charts lately that promise to help you “BURN 1,000 CALORIES IN AN HOUR!”
First, let me say up front that’s a boatload of calories — nearly a day’s worth of food for some people — and a pretty serious declaration to make.
The exercises included 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 or until your eyes bleed or paramedics shows up to revive you so you can do it all over again.
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 my 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 number of calories.
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 enable 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
NOTE: I am not recommending these workouts, mainly because they’re too much for the average person to do all at once.
I busted out my calculator mainly to show you what it really takes to burn so many calories…
For a more doable workout that burns 500 calories, simply cut these guidelines in half.
What will YOU choose? Let me know in the comments section below!
Other posts you may like:
Your Ageless Body Coach,
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Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.