Determining how much exercise to lose weight is actually very simple to compute. Many people are under this misconception that it is necessary to exercise for an hour five days a week if you want to see results. While it would be silly to argue that this method wouldn't yield results, you can definitely get away with hitting the gym as little as three times a week to see results. How much exercise you need to lose weight is totally dependent on, you guessed it, what you eat. Follow these simple steps and you will have the perfect routine.
- Calculate how many calories you burn a day doing absolutely nothing. In other words, your resting metabolic rate (RMR). Your height, age, and weight all factor into this equation. As your height and weight increase, so does your RMR. However, as your age increases, your RMR goes down. There are a couple different equations that attempt to calculate the exact number of calories you burn, but the one we are going to use is Mifflin equation as shown:
- For women: (10 x weight) + (6.25 x height) – (5 x age) – 161
- For men: (10 x weight) + (6.25 x height) – (5 x age) + 5
*Note that weight is measured in kg, height in cm, and age in years.
For instance, if you are a twenty-five year old man, weigh in at 160 pounds and are 5'8", your RMR is 1,685 calories. How much exercise you need to lose weight is very much dependent on this number, we'll see why later.
- Keep track of how many calories you consume in a day. This should go without saying, but how much exercise you need to lose weight is dictated by what and how much you eat. Of course eating healthful foods is always better than grabbing a fatty and/or sugary snack, but every calorie still needs to be counted if you are looking to achieve successful weight loss.
- Subtract calories consumed from calories burned. Now that you know how many calories your bodily naturally burns throughout the day from basic bodily functions, all you have to do is factor is what you've eaten. For instance, using our previous example, you burn 1,685 calories a day. If you consume 2,000 calories, the recommended daily caloric need of an adult male, you have a net gain of 315 calories.
- Burn off the difference. Roughly, there are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat. In the above example, exercising until you lose 315 calories will keep you at the same weight. However, by exercising until you have a net loss of 500 calories a day, you will lose weight at about a pound per week. In the above scenario, that would mean working out until you have burned 815 calories.
Don't be dismayed by these results. Burning 815 calories takes a lot of exercise, which is why diet is so important. Eating less calories is easier than burning more calories, so find the balance that works for you. As you can see, calculating how much exercise to lose weight is no big secret, it's controlling what you eat that is the hard part!