Calories Burned and Activity Calculator
Use this calorie calculator to estimate how many calories you will burn a day during the exercise you do.
How many calories will I burn per day?
The amount of energy you burn per day when exercising is dependent upon your weight, height, the intensity of the workout, and time spent doing the activity.
This calculator uses a table of established mets (or Metabolic Equivalents) per activity to determine your individual energy burn. The ‘Level’ can be applied to my macro calculator to more accurately assess your activity level when you are counting macros.
METs have proven to be fairly accurate but with any calorie calculator, only an estimate can be given. You may burn a little more or a little less than the calculator states.
A 30-year-old woman, 150 pounds in weight, height 5 foot 5 inches.
If she exercised for 30 minutes a day, walking the dog, she would burn an extra 88 calories per day. This would be considered ‘Light’ on the macronutrient calculator.
If she changed this to 45 minutes per day and exercised using a stationary rowing machine (with vigorous effort), this would change to 368 calories per day (a Moderate setting on the macro calculator).
What is the Activity Level?
If you are using this calorie calculator in conjunction with the my macro calculator, this will help you better estimate your exercise level. This can be “< LIGHT", LIGHT, MODERATE, or EXTREME. If your activity shows "< LIGHT“, you may want to choose SEDENTARY on the macro calculator.
Exercise energy is difficult to assess, but this provides a pretty reliable estimate.
Generally, we tend to overestimate our exercise level, and unless we have a physical job, most of us will fall into the sedentary category if we purposely don’t go to the gym or engage in other forms of exercise that are more than 20 minutes in duration.
Calories burned during exercise FAQs.
What About Wearable Exercise Trackers?
Wearable exercise trackers can be a great motivator to move more but because of the limited metrics they measure, they tend to overestimate calorie burn.
For those tracking steps, this can be even further off target because casual steps around the home or office burn very little energy, while purposeful steps (i.e. running, walking fast, walking up stairs or hills, etc.) burn more energy. Trackers don’t do a great job of differentiating the two, even if they have a built-in heart rate monitor.
One investigation from Stanford showed that wearables overestimated a person’s calorie burn by 27-93 percent depending on the device.
The most accurate way to measure calorie burn is to measure heart rate and oxygen uptake during an activity, which is how the Metabolic Equivalents used for this calculator were established.
What is a MET?
One MET can be defined as 1 kcal per kg of body weight per hour and is roughly equivalent to the energy cost of sitting quietly. This can also be measured in oxygen uptake where one MET is the equivalent of 3.5 ml per kg of body weight per minute.
Do you burn carbs during exercise?
Yes, during exercise your body has a process for using energy. First, it burns stored ATP. Secondly, it taps into stored glycogen which is primarily made from carbs. Thirdly, it converts blood glucose into energy, and lastly when all the available sugar (carbs) are used it begins to convert fatty acids into energy.
Does this Calorie Calculator have HIIT training?
Since HIIT (high-intensity interval training) can be a general term for exercise with multiple activities and very short rest periods, You won’t find the exact words in the table.
If you do HIIT with weights choose “circuit training”. If you do HIIT with just your body weight, use “calisthenics”.
How many calories should I burn per day
A good target for most people is 200-400 calories per day through movement about 6 days per week. This ensures that you’re giving your muscles and skeleton the movement necessary for good health. Research has shown that sitting too much lowers life expectancy so getting up and moving every day is recommended.
Should I use exercise to create a daily calorie deficit for weight loss?
While exercise does cause your body to require more energy consumption, it shouldn’t be used to create a deficit. Your calorie deficit should be created independent of exercise. It should be based on your sedentary TDEE and then you should add your exercise burn into the equation. This is because exercise isn’t always possible which means that during days or periods of inactivity you could be eating too much since you haven’t learned how much to eat to lose weight in the absence of exercise.
Nutrition is 85-90% of the weight loss process, exercise is the rest.
- Ainsworth, B. E., Haskell, W. L., Herrmann, S. D., Meckes, N., Bassett Jr, D. R., Tudor-Locke, C., … & Leon, A. S. (2011). 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities: a second update of codes and MET values. Medicine & science in sports & exercise, 43(8), 1575-1581. (link)
- Compendium of Physical Activities (link)
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