How many calories do you burn during your workout? How many calories do you burn when you’re not working out? Depending on what you do for exercise, you could be burning 5-10 times as many calories at rest than when you are working out.
You Burn the Majority of Calories at Rest
Most people burn about 100 calories for every mile they run. Whether you weight train, swim, run, or play sports, you probably burn anywhere from 200-500 calories (maybe more, maybe less) during a typical workout. That is certainly going to help you lose fat. However, you burn 1500-3000 calories the rest of the day doing absolutely nothing.
Absolutely nothing? Well, not exactly. You might not be moving around, but inside your body, protein, carbohydrate, and fat metabolism is taking place. Your brain, organs, nervous system, and especially your muscles need energy to maintain themselves. Whether you’re sitting on the couch, or sleeping in bed, your muscles are constantly using fat reserves to feed itself.
I’m not saying exercise is meaningless (although I’m sure the title of the post had you wondering what I was talking about). Exercise is great for burning extra calories. However, if you’re using exercise as your primary means to lose fat, you are going about the process in the wrong way.
Use Exercise to Build Muscle and Diet to Lose Fat
The more muscle you have, the more mitochondria you potentially have – which means you can efficiently metabolize more fat at any given time (find out how to increase the number of mitochondria you have). Mitochondria are little cell powerhouses in our muscles. They take glucose and fatty acids, and through a series of steps, convert them into energy (ATP) for our cells. What does all this mean?
Your goal for exercising should not be to burn fat while you work out. Your goal should be to use exercise as a means for putting your body into a prime metabolic state to release fatty acids, and to build muscle – which will keep you burning fat all through the day (and night).
Once you have that solid muscular foundation, it makes losing fat 10 times easier. Not only can you eat more calories and lose weight, but you’ll be burning more calories at rest. Having a little extra muscle can burn hundreds of extra calories per day. In fact, one pound of muscle burns approximately 5.67 calories a day .
Let’s just say we burn an extra 200 calories per day from that extra muscle. Over the course of a year, that is (200 calories * 365 days = 73,000 calories). 73,000 calories is approximately 21 pounds. That’s right – 21 pounds of extra fat loss every year. This is what boosting your metabolism means in its truest form.
So, are the calories we burn during our workouts meaningless? Of course not. They are, however, miniscule compared to the calories we burn the rest of the day. Use exercise to build efficient metabolic pathways and to build muscle, and use nutrition to manipulate body fat percentages.