Burning 500 calories can definitely help you lose weight, provided you eat reasonably well at the same time.
In this post, we examine why burning 500 active calories is such a good goal to aim for, without forgetting the importance of healthy eating habits. Let’s get started.
500 Calories Is Both Ambitious & Achievable
It is all too common to set overly ambitious health and fitness goals. This is particularly true when setting New Year’s resolutions, although people can fall victim to this trip at any point during the year.
The problem with setting overly ambitious goals is that they can be derailed by even the slightest misstep on behalf of the goal setter. This is why most fitness-based new year’s resolutions fizzle out by the second week of February ( Side note – this is not a joke. Gold’s gym did a massive study on gym-goers and the 10th of Feb is basically the date at which most people give up on their fitness resolutions).
The underlying point is that if you set the bar too high (like 1000 calories a day for instance), the likelihood of failure increases dramatically. This is why 500 calories a day is such a good target to aim for. It is ambitious and achievable in less than 1 hour.
500 Calories Is Enough To Create A Calorific Deficit
In order to lose weight, you need to create a calorific deficit, whereby you are burning more calories than you consume on a daily basis. More specifically, 1 pound of fat equates to 3,500 calories. Therefore, in order to lose 1 pound, you need to create a calorific deficit of 3,500 calories, which is very achievable over a 2-week period (14 days x 250 calorie deficit = 3,500 calories).
So as you can see, 500 calories is once again a good target to aim for. For instance, if you’re weight has been hovering in the same region for more than 6 months, you could almost certainly achieve a substantial calorific deficit by burning 500 calories, and reducing your calorie intake by 250 calories or more per day.
Reducing your calorie intake by 250 calories doesn’t require any drastic changes to your current diet. It could be as easy as taking away two slices of bread and replacing a glass of juice with a glass of sparkling water.
When combined, burning 500 calories and dropping 250 calories from your current diet adds up to 750 calories per day. If you are able to do this consistently over a period of weeks and months, the weight will drop off easily, and you won’t be hungry or exhausted all the time.
500 Calories Per Day Allows You To Leverage The Power of Compounding
One of the most powerful marketing slogans in circulation today is that ‘consistency is the only currency that matters’ (Prudential). There is a lot of value in this statement.
In the world of finance, everyone hails the power of compounding, and yet so few people appreciate how daily activities can compound into remarkable achievements over time. James Clear has described this phenomenon best of all when noting the power of tiny gains.
In the words of Mr Clear “If you get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done. This is why small choices don’t make much of a difference at the time, but add up over the long-term.”
In essence, burning 500 calories a day for several months can help you unlock the power of compounding in your health and fitness journey. It can help you lose weight and transform the physical attributes of your body, without the risk of injury or burnout.
There Are Lots of Weighs To Burn 500 Calories
One of the best aspects of setting 500 calories as your daily goal is that there are so many different ways to achieve this particular target.
For instance, doing any of the following activities will shred 500 calories in 40-60 minutes.
- Running or Jogging
- Stationary Bike
- Water Polo
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
- Aerobic Dancing
Even walking at a brisk pace (4 mph) can burn up to 500 calories over 90 minutes.
The point is, there are plenty of ways to hit this target, so you aren’t constrained to performing exercises that you don’t enjoy.
Will I lose weight if I burn 500 calories a day?
Burning 500 calories a day can help you achieve a calorific deficit consistently, provided you eat reasonably well. For instance, if you are a sedentary 220-pound man and your weight has been hovering in that region for more than a 6 months, there’s a good chance that burning 500 active calories a day will help you lose weight.
This question is integrally linked to the calories in vs calories out method for losing weight. Simply put, if you control your calorie intake (2,500 calories or less for a man, 2000 calories or less for a woman) and burn 500 active calories per day, you should be able to drop several pounds over the course of a month.
If you sustain this effort for several months, it is entirely possible to achieve life-changing weight loss results.
Calories In vs Calories Out
You may or may not be familiar with the McDonald’s diet (otherwise known as the McDiet). Simply put, there are a number of fitness professionals that have proved that you can lose weight, while only eating McDonald’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, provided you limit the number of calories that you consume during each meal.
When you look at the results that these fitness experts are able to achieve eating only junk food for more than 30 days, it should become pretty clear that creating a calorific deficit is still the most important variable when attempting to lose weight.
Based on this undeniable reality, it is important to recognize that burning 500 calories a day can definitely help you lose weight, provided you control your calorie intake as well.
The end goal is to burn more calories than you consume.
How hard is it to burn 500 calories?
If you are unfit, burning 500 calories is challenging, yet achievable after a few weeks of training.
For most people, it will take around 45 to 60 minutes to burn 500 calories with moderate-intensity running, cycling, swimming or rowing, but there are obviously other ways to achieve this calorie target.
If you are seriously overweight, then it makes sense to give yourself a bit more time to hit this goal in a single session. The bullet points below may help clarify how long it can take to start hitting this target regularly.
- Somewhat active, not overweight: 1 – 3 weeks
- Unfit, slightly overweight: 3 – 6 weeks
- Extremely unfit, Seriously overweight: 6 – 10 weeks
In the end, it should be pretty clear that burning 500 calories is definitely enough to help you lose weight, provided you also improve your eating habits.
Thankfully, you don’t need to make any drastic changes to your current eating plan. If you aim to reduce your calorie intake by 250 calories and focus on burning 500 calories a day through exercise, you will almost certainly lose weight if you have the mental strength needed to sustain this effort over time.