Can’t I lose weight? How many calories burn during training in fact and why so little?

Of course, you love aerobics / cross-fit / Zumba / running / weightlifting / dumbbell exercises (underline necessary). Especially because during the intense load, when the sweat flows like a river, and the heart is pounding wildly, thousands of calories are burned. And with every minute of training, when calories burn, the body becomes more beautiful, and closer to the ideal. But are you among those people who still can’t lose weight as it was planned?

Unfortunately, not everything is so rosy. Very often expectations are not match the reality. And the role of training in the matter of calories burning is greatly overestimated.

Simply put, an ordinary gym or group workout visitor burns about 300 calories within one hour of a training, regardless of its type.

Is it little or a lot? It can be taken differently. It’s like half a bar of chocolate. While many still hope that their stuffing face on weekend is compensated by Monday training. That’s not true at all and that is why they still can’t lose weight. And this is one of the reasons why nutrition is much more important than sports in the matter of weight loss.

how much calories burn during cardio and weight lifting

Let’s look at other calories burning myths that often make people overestimate the effectiveness of their training and expect too much.

Myth 1 – performing exercises on a specific muscle group will burn fat locally

Any training with weights, the one in which the muscles must overcome the resistance of the mass additional to the weight of the sportsman’s body (equipment, own weight or bar), contributes only to the growth of muscles. There is no such thing as muscle loss.

There are no exercises for slimming your waist, abdomen or hips. Paradoxically, the performance of a large number of exercises for a certain part of the body can lead to an increase in its volume.

The most you can do is burn your muscles with hunger strikes. But think again whether you need it.


  • Exercise promotes muscle growth, not “weight loss”
  • Yes, exercise burns calories, although to a lesser extent than most of us think. And yes, their implementation will force the body to use its accumulated resources. But you can hardly predict from what part of the body, and whether muscle or fat will be burn. Your body will decide this without asking you.
  • The body consumes fuel in a certain order. Starting with the most affordable energy sources and ending with those whose conversion to energy is the least efficient.

This means that first of all the body uses the accumulated clean energy in the form of ATP. But its reserves are relatively small.

After he uses the muscle glycogen from carbohydrates (hence the famous carbs-load).

Only then will go to the expense of reserves that have a “fat nature”. These are muscle triglycerides and postprandial fatty acids circulating in the blood. But they are not the unfortunate subcutaneous fat!

Myth 2 – Fat starts to burn only after 30 minutes of training

calories burning myth - reasons you can't lose weight

Just remember that this is not true. There is no research to support this thesis.

Fat and calories burning is a complex process. It depends on many factors, and the duration of the training may be one of them, but not exactly crucial.

Myth 3 – Fat and calories burn in the 60% of the maximum heart rate

Again: not true. Neither 60%, nor 50%, nor any other number is a universal determinant of effective fat burning.

Of course, there is a relationship between the level of pulse and the rate of fat and calories burning, but it is individual for each person, and depends on the level of training, diet, % body fat, health and even genetic conditions, and any generalization in this matter does not make sense.

Myth 4 – Exercise on an empty stomach is more effective

That’s true, but not 100%. Training on an empty stomach means training without glycogen reserves. That really burns 20-30% more fat.

But do not forget that if you have a tight dinner in the evening, then getting up for a morning jog at 6 o’clock, you are, in fact, not hungry. Well, you may want to eat, but your body isn’t starving. Because relatively little time has passed since the last dense meal. It is assumed that the body begins to starve during the break for at least 8 hours between meals.

fat and calories burning myths - reasons you can't lose weight

Myth 5 – Everything that is eaten after 18.00, turns into fat

No. There is no magic X hour after which you should stop eating.

Avoiding evening meal makes sense on two occasions. You take care of your well-being – with a full stomach it can be harder to get enough sleep. You cut calories – giving up one usual meal, you will significantly reduce the daily caloric intake.

But the body accumulate fat at any time of the day. This is largely determined by the energy balance. If you eat more than your body burns – body fat reserves increase. If you burn more calories than you consume, your body weight decreases (whether it is muscle or fat depends on the circumstances). Food time doesn’t matter.

Myth 6 – interval fasting helps burn fat more effectively

In the context of the growing popularity of the keto diet, this myth is of particular importance, and it is worth paying special attention. Because more and more misunderstandings and misconceptions appears around keto diet and periodic fasting.

Most people who observe intermittent fasting (adhere to the system of interval fasting) use a 2:1 time ratio. That is, 16-hour fasting, and then an 8-hour period for eating.

The same rules apply during the Muslim month of Ramadan, when the Islamists have been fasting for about a month during the day until sunset. This similarity makes fasting an ideal, natural and disciplined group that can be the object of research into the effects of intermittent fasting, among other things in the matter of fat and calories burning.

This topic was raised in the study conducted under the guidance of Prof. Lesssan and Ali. The summary of their findings is included in the graph below:

fat and calories burning during intermittent fasting

It turns out that during Ramadan there were no significant differences in the level of metabolism between the same people at rest time compared to the subsequent period. But at the same time, the period of limited food consumption was characterized by less activity. This indicates that limiting the amount of energy, consciously and subconsciously affects the energy savings.

Speaking simply, when we eat less, we have less energy and we move less.

What is the conclusion? IF helps to reduce the amount of calories consumed during the day, and as a result, contributes to the achievement of energy deficit. But intermittent fasting doesn’t make the body to spend the accumulated reserves of fat faster or effectively.

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