Home / Additional Resources / Burn 1000 Calories in 60 minutes – Fact or Fiction ?


You’ve seen the claim attached to the newest big box gym, running clubs, kickboxing ,cycling or boxing—and that’s just in the first two pages of a Google search. Burning 1,000 calories sounds pretty awesome; that’s nearly a third of a pound (a pound equals 3,500 calories) per workout. At that rate, you’ll be back in your skinny jeans in a matter of weeks! Heck, you might even have to buy skinniER jeans.
Not so fast. While exercising is a great way to burn calories and increase cardiovascular fitness, believing the 1,000-calorie claim needs some clarification.

Number of calories you burn depends upon your weight, the activity you are doing and the intensity level you are exercising at. Any activity that you perform can be done at a variety of intensity levels. If you exercise at a higher intensity level, you will be working harder, expending more energy and burning more calories than someone who is not working quite so hard.
Every individual is unique to how many specific calories they burn in 60 minutes. However, there are some general guidelines to determine which activities will give you more or less calories burned for exercise. Depending on the activity you choose, you can burn approximately 9-13 calories per minute.

Body size:
If one person weighs 150 pounds (68 kg) and another person weighs 200 pounds (91 kg) and they both cycle for 60 minutes, the 200 pound person will burn more calories than the 150 pound person. That is true for all activities; the larger your body size the higher number of calories you will burn.
This fact is important to take into account during weight loss. As you lose weight, your total calorie amount goes down for exercise. So, what you may have burned in exercise in 60 minutes at your starting weight will be less as your body mass gets lower.

Weight bearing exercise
In general, weight bearing exercise usually has a higher calorie burn than non-weight bearing exercise. Weight bearing exercise means you are supporting your own body weight. Examples of weight bearing exercise includes running, walking, dancing, tennis, etc.
Non-weight bearing exercises include biking or swimming. In biking, the seat is holding your body weight, and the water in swimming is holding your weight. Keep in mind you can still burn as much or greater calories with non-weight bearing exercise compared to weight bearing exercise if your intensity is high enough.

Something to consider for calorie burn is the intensity during exercise. The higher the intensity, the greater the calorie burn. Exercise is considered high intensity when you feel like you are reaching your maximum physical effort. You won’t be able to carry on a conversation during high intensity exercise. You feel about an 8-8.5 on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being your maximum physical effort and 1 laying on the couch.
Moderate intensity means you are still working hard, but you can carry a conversation during exercise. You feel between a 6 or 7 on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being your maximum physical effort and 1 laying on the couch. Moderate exercise actually has a greater percentage fat burn, but overall calorie burn will be lower.

How many muscles are involved?
Another thing to consider is when estimating calorie burn during exercise is how many muscle groups are you engaging. Playing basketball, racquetball, tennis or doing something like tae kwon do involve various muscle groups which increases calorie burn. Using your arms, core and legs increases calorie burn instead of just using 1 muscle group.

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