5 Tips to Burn More Calories When Working Out

5 Tips to Burn More Calories When Working Out

Cross training is an excellent way to stay fit and healthy. It not only keeps you in shape, but also helps your body recover from strenuous exercise routines and can be great for weight loss goals.

But how many calories do you actually burn on cross training? The answer depends on various things! On what type of exercise you are doing, how long you are doing it, with what effort you are doing it, and of course it depends on you! The more you weigh, the more you burn!

Calorie deficit

Simply put, you must have a calorie deficit in order to lose fat and weight. However, we all burn different amount of calories at rest, which you need to take into account when you want to calculate calories burned when working out.

We will dive into questions about calorie burning and cross training and hopefully help you get started with the right training for you!

Calories burned per day

As framed above, counting number of calories burned while working out, is a bit more complex than as such.

Basal metabolic rate (BMR)

First you need to understand how you can calculate the number of calories your body burns while at rest.

This is your basal metabolic rate (BMR).

To calculate your BMR, you need to use the following formula:

Women BMR= 655 + (9.563 * weight [kg]) + (1.85 * (height [cm]) (4.676 * age [years])

Men BMR = 66.47 + (13.75 * weight [kg]) + (5.003 * height [cm]) − (6.755 * age [years])

Let's take an example, female weighing 65 kilos, is 178cm tall and is 28 years old, will have a BMR of:

655 + (9.563 * 65) + (1.85 * 178) - (6.755 * 28) = 1,416.

Harris Benedict Formula

Once you have your BMR, you need to apply the Harris Benedict Formula, which calculates the total number of calories burned per day. You can use your BMR and multiply it with a factor based on how active you are:

  • Little to no exercise: BMR *1.2 = total calorie
  • Moderate exercise: BMR * 1.55 = total calorie
  • Highly active: BMR * 2 = total calorie

In other words, if you spend most days in bed, then this is going to be one. If you go for a walk during lunch break, go out dancing at night or work as an athletic coach – aim for a factor of 1.5. If you work long shifts, exercise every day or have just finished training for hours – aim for 2 which is the most active group!

Burning calories

Having established how many calories a body burns during the day, let's move onto how to calculate calories burned doing a workout.

To calculate calories burned, we need to use a METs calculator. MET stands for metabolic equivalent, which is your ratio of energy expenditure to resting values.

One MET is the energy you use while resting, or your BMR!

Utilizing a MET calculator will give you an answer in kilocalories per hour (kcal/hour). Based on this number and how long you are training for, we can now calculate amount of calories burned during that workout.

So, METs are used as an estimation of calories burned in various physical activities. Looking up a METs table, you will find that golf e.g. has a MET value of 3, running 6 and cycling 4 and jump rope 11! This means that a physical activity like jump rope, exerts 11 times the energy compared to resting.

MET formula

MET formula: METs x 3.5 x (weight [kg]) / 200 = calories burned per minute.

So let's take an example using the formula. To illustrate, we will use the woman weighing 65 kilos from the previous example. Let's imagine she goes running, which has a MET value of 6. She would calculate calories burned in the following way:

6 x 3.5 x 65 / 200 = 6.8 calories per minute. Let's say you are running fo 30 minutes, that would give you a total calorie burn of 204 calories.

How many calories do you burn on cross training?

Calculating calories burned on cross training can be a bit complex. As described above, it depends on the MET value of the physical activity you are doing. And therefore also on the intensity of the workout in question. For example, cycling is less intensive than running and therefore burns fewer calories.

Low intensity versus high intensity workouts

For high calorie burning purposes, workouts with a higher intensity are of course most beneficial.

However, low intensity workouts have amazing benefits as well. You can workout for a longer duration of time, they are a great way of nurturing your body. And most often, low intensity training has a low impact on joints and muscles. Lastly, low intensity workouts can ensure that you do not do burn out from working out too hard all the time! So, between tough interval and cardio training, make sure to do low intensity exercises as well!

Our 5 tips to burn more calories when working out

1 Choose high intensity workouts

One way to burn more calories during training is by doing high intensity workouts. This means that your heart rate will go up and you are going to be working at a higher capacity.

An example of this could be cycling intervals or running hill sprints, where the intensity goes up every now and then over short periods of time.

High intensity workouts have a higher calorie burn rate and therefore are great for burning the most amount of calories.

Remember, you can always adjust your workout intensity by adjusting how fast or slow you cycle/run!

In fact, this is also good from an endurance perspective as it forces our body to adapt to different intensities – meaning that we get

2 Maximise muscle mass activation

By choosing workouts that maximise your muscle mass activation, you are able to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. When you are maximising your muscle mass activation, you will maximise the benefits derived per unit of time for your body. This means in order to gain the same benefits on a treadmill for instance as on a jump rope or the Nordic Trainer, you need to run for much longer.

3 Short intense trainings

To maximise output, short intense sessions are often the answer. Remember that you are always able to adjust your workout time by increasing or decreasing the intensity of your training.

Doing short intense sessions will ensure a high output per session, which can help you burn more calories along with benefitting from improved health and endurance overall.

A good way to measure how effective this is for yourself is by calculating your heart rate.

The MAF Test is a good way to measure your maximum aerobic function, but calculating the amount of calories burned per minute during an exercise session is also very useful! Doing so will help you measure how effective each training was and what kind of progress you are making – if any. And lastly, keep in mind that the best way to measure your calorie burn is by calculating the total amount of calories burned during a workout.

4 Switch up your routine

By switching up your workout routine and doing different exercises, you will be able to burn more calories.

As mentioned above, calculating the number of calories burned during a training session can help you measure how effective workouts are for yourself. And as every good fitness professional out there knows: variety is key!

Doing different types of activities such as interval training, strength training and cardio will work your muscles in different ways. And this means that you are able to burn more calories during each type of exercise!

5 Push yourself!

Push yourself!! A very simple but effective tip. The harder you push yourself, the more calories you will burn. If you only have 30 minutes, then thats fine! Give it all you have. The reward from pushing yourself in short sessions are tremendous.

Rounding off

Even if your fitness goal isn't to lose weight, counting the amount of calories burned is a great way of tracking your level of fitness. The more calories you burn, the harder you essentially have to work. To burn more calories, pursue high intensity interval training, push yourself and make sure that you maximise your muscle activation.


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