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How Many Calories Do You Need to Burn for Fat Loss?

How Many Calories Do You Need to Burn for Fat Loss?

Weight Loss

and Calorie Counting

I thought this article was a great read and very relevant to weight loss. For those looking to to lose fat I suggest you read what my buddy Craig Ballantyne,  had to say about burning calories and losing fat. You may recognize Craig from men’s health magazine or as the author of  the Turbulence Training manuals and website.

If you rely on classic long slow aerobic cardio for  weight loss, you probably spend a minimum of 30 minutes on a cardio machine in an effort to hit your target number of calories burned.

But is that the best way to lose weight and flatten your stomach?

Does keeping an eye the cardio equipments readout and going by how many calories you need to burn fat work?

I’m sure you know that approximately 1 pound of fat contains 3500 calories, so does burning 500 calories per day on the treadmill cause you to lose 1 pound of fat  by the end of the week?

Well, according to the guys in lab coats and writing reports on mice running on hamster wheels write reports that say according to science and our mice tests, thats the way it works. But science and practice don’t always agree.

Back in the day, Craig use to write a column on fat loss myths for Men’s Fitness magazine. One such myth Craig covered was that of how many calories you need to burn for fat loss…

I need to burn 500 calories each workout to lose fat. Fact or Fiction?

Possibly one of the worst inventions for fat loss was the calorie-counting monitor on treadmills, elliptical machines, and stairmasters.

Because of these, millions of men and women now obsess about the number of calories burned each time they step onto one of these machines. You’ve probably even been one of those people, watching it creep up ever so slowly during a slow-cardio session. I know I have. Like a watched pot of water that never boils, the watched calorie counter never puts a dent into our total of calories burned to lose weight.

And then in the back of your head you are thinking about the party toning and know that you can wipe out a 30-minute, 300-calorie treadmill session with one fell swoop of the Krispy Kreme hand.

Too many people are brainwashed into thinking that if they don’t burn 300-500 calories per session, then they won’t lose fat. After all, that is what you’ve been told time and time again in those fluffy fitness/fashion magazines.

The problems with this approach to fat loss are numerous. First off, it’s difficult to say if the calorie counters are even accurate. A story on CBS news showed that cardio machines overestimate calorie burning by up to 20%.

Lables are not always correct either

Next, depending on slow cardio for advanced fat loss is relatively useless and at the very least, inefficient. It takes a long time for you to burn a lot of calories and one study showed that men who only used cardio training for weight loss ended up with a reduced resting metabolism. You are basically undoing the calorie burning by depending only on cardio. On the other hand, guys in the same study that used strength training didn’t suffer a reduced metabolic rate.

So what is the solution to burning fat in a faster, more efficient method?

The answer is to use strength and interval training to burn fewer calories in less exercise time, but with a more intense form of exercise.

Weight loss and doughnutsYour body will burn more calories after exercise (when you use intervals) than it does after you do slow cardio and your metabolism will stay high. Some experts refer to this as the afterburn effect.

How do you do intervals?

Well, you could sprint for 30 seconds and rest for 90 seconds and repeat that for 6 sets – using the bike preferably or treadmill if you are experienced with it.

Within that short time frame the intervals will cause your muscles to go crazy with activity (I call it a metabolic turbulence). This crazy metabolism boost causes lots of calorie burning after exercise to get your body back to normal. The result is you would
end up burning more fat and more calories in the post-exercise period as your body tries to get things under control.

Now there is one time where you’d want to count calories, but that is when you are counting up and determining how many calories you eat per day. Again, you can wipe out an entire workout’s work in less than a minute simply by eating garbage. Remember the ideo above.

Without some structure and discipline to your nutrition, there is nothing any program other than one that lasts 20hours a day can do to help you lose fat.

So strength training, nutrition, and interval training. These are the two anti-calorie counting methods that will help you lose fat and get lean.

See for yourself how you can burn fat and build muscle

Give Turbulence Training a try on  me

Click here for  — > Free Turbulence Training Fat Burning Muscle Building Workout

2 comments… add one
  • Heather Claus

    It’s funny how many women miss out on strength training as a necessary part of a fitness program.

    honestly, the only way I ever lost weight (once when I was a pudgy teen – kept off 18 years, and now again, after a cancer scare) is by adding in strength training, and making it a regular part of my routine to keep it off.

    One frustration for those who want to lose weight can be that some bodies (raises hand) put on muscle much more quickly in the first few months/weeks of a program than they lose fat, so the scale goes nowhere.

    Even with measuring, that weight number not dropping as rapidly as it could (should?) is frustrating.


  • Heather thanks for the comment, and you are correct.

    Weight training is essential to fat loss in the long term. The number on the scale is the last number need to look at, there are better measures of success in your fitness program, even a weight loss program.

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