Workouts that burn 1,000 calories may sound appealing if you want to lose weight or want to be able to eat whatever you want. But how you burn those calories and how long it takes can look different for everyone, and it can make your workout more frustrating if you don’t manage your expectations properly.
So how do you burn 1,000 calories per day, and how long does it take? You can burn 1,000 calories per day through a variety of cardio exercises such as running, cycling, or rowing. How long it takes is highly individualized. Your body weight, current fitness level, body fat percentage, age, gender, and workout intensity all determine how long you need to work out to burn 1,000 calories.
For the purposes of this article, I’m going to assume that you’re interested in burning 1,000 calories per day because you’re trying to lose weight. I’ll discuss whether or not you even need to burn 1,000 calories per day, how much weight you can expect to lose, and if it’s safe to burn 1,000 calories a day.
I’ll also talk about which activities burn the most amount of calories and what factors contribute to burning 1,000 calories a day.
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Do You Need to Burn 1,000 Calories Per Day?
Before we discuss how you can burn 1,000 calories per day and if it’s even necessary, you should first understand what that really means. When people say that they want to burn 1,000 calories per day, they typically mean they want to burn 1,000 calories per day through exercise.
It’s a common misunderstanding that you only burn calories by exercising. But your body burns calories all day long, even when you’re at rest.
This is what’s referred to as your basal metabolic rate (BMR), or the number of calories your body burns by performing life-sustaining functions such as the beating of your heart, breathing, and circulation. You can lay in bed not moving for an entire day and still burn calories.
Most people don’t spend their days that way. As such, you also need to consider how many calories you burn per day through a combination of the life-sustaining functions mentioned above plus all of your other daily activities, including working out. This is referred to as your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
You likely already burn at least 1,000 calories per day just by existing. Doing things like walking to and from the parking lot at work, running after your kids, cleaning the house, and of course, exercising all contribute to your daily calorie expenditure.
However, you likely also eat more than 1,000 calories a day. And when you don’t burn off as many calories as you consume, it can lead to weight gain since you’re not expending all of that extra energy.
Many people tend to underestimate their calorie consumption and overestimate their activity levels, which is especially problematic when you’re trying to lose weight.
This may lead you to believe that you need to burn as many calories as possible through exercise, and you’ll punish yourself with long, intense workouts.
But the truth is, it’s not really necessary to burn 1,000 calories a day through exercise alone, even if you have weight loss goals. While it can certainly help, it requires a lot of exercise that many people either can’t handle or don’t have the time for.
So instead of slogging through grueling workouts to try to burn 1,000 calories in one shot, you’re better off burning more calories throughout your entire day. Some of the ways you can do this include increasing your non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) — or ways that you move your body without exercising — and getting in at least 8,000 steps per day.
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How Much Weight Will You Lose by Burning 1,000 Calories?
Most experts agree that you need to have a 3,500-calorie deficit per week in order to lose one pound. So if you were to burn 1,000 calories per day — or 7,000 calories per week — you could lose 2lbs per week.
However, it’s not that straightforward. Your rate of weight loss depends on your training age, what kind of training you do, how you eat, and other genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors.
To make things more complicated, your progress will eventually stall when you’re on a weight loss plan. You can only sustain a 2lb/week rate of weight loss for so long. Think about it — if a 200lb person was able to consistently lose 2lbs/week, they’d lose close to half of their body weight in a year, which is an unrealistic expectation.
Furthermore, trying to lose weight at such an aggressive rate isn’t sustainable in the long term. It can also lead to a loss in muscle mass, which is usually the opposite of what many people want.
A more likely scenario is that you’ll do workouts that burn 1,000 calories a few days per week while eating 250-500 calories less than your maintenance calories — which you can determine using an online TDEE calculator — and increase your NEAT. By following a more reasonable approach, you can expect to lose 0.5-1lb/week.
Factors to Consider When Burning 1,000 Calories
Burning 1,000 calories isn’t always easy. Everyone burns calories at a different rate based on several different factors, some of which are out of your control.
Some considerations to take into account when trying to burn 1,000 calories include:
- Your gender. Men tend to burn more calories with physical activity because they have more muscle mass.
- Your age. As you get older, you lose muscle mass, which burns more calories than fat.
- Your body weight and body fat percentage. It’s easier for larger individuals or those with high body fat percentages to burn more calories with exercise. They have more mass to move, and it takes their bodies more energy to function properly.
- How in shape you are. Someone who’s new to working out may burn more calories with exercise than someone with a strong fitness background because their bodies haven’t yet adapted to physical activity.
It’s also important to note that calorie counts on activity trackers and cardio machines can be incredibly inaccurate, so you can’t always tell exactly how many calories you’re burning. The best way to determine that number is to get a heart rate monitor, preferably one with a chest strap.
Alternatively, you can use a metabolic equivalent of task (MET) calculator, but these kinds of calculators only work well if you’re very honest about how much effort you’re putting into your workouts.
7 Ways to Burn 1,000 Calories
The activities below can all help you burn 1,000 calories. But how long it takes you to get there will depend on your workout intensity, body weight, your pace and how consistently you maintain it, and your current fitness level.
You can burn anywhere from 11 to 17 calories per minute from running, but the exact numbers vary based on how much you weigh and how fast you run.
Let’s say you weigh 150lbs, burn 15 calories per minute, and can run a 10-minute mile. You’d be able to burn 1,000 calories by running for about 70 minutes or 7 miles.
However, this assumes that you can maintain the same pace for all 7 miles. If your pace slows down at all, it will take you longer to burn 1,000 calories.
CrossFit workouts are intense because they involve a combination of strength, endurance, gymnastics, and HIIT. But they also tend to be short. You can go all-out for eight minutes and still only burn 150 calories if you don’t do any extra work before or after the workout of the day (WOD).
According to the American Council on Exercise, males burn an average of 20.5 calories per minute during a CrossFit WOD while females burn 12.5, depending on the nature of the WOD and exercise intensity.
So, even in a typical one-hour CrossFit class that includes a strength portion and a WOD, you’ll almost never come close to burning 1,000 calories. You’d need to do multiple WODs a day to get to that point.
3. High-Intensity Interval Training
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can burn 25-30% more calories than other forms of exercise, but the amount of calories you burn varies based on what kind of exercise you do.
For example, a HIIT cycling session for 30 minutes can burn anywhere from 390-690 calories. But you have to be a heavier person and pedal at close to a 20mph pace to get to the higher end of that range. If you’re a smaller individual or don’t pedal that fast, it can take at least 90 minutes to burn 1,000 calories.
The one drawback of HIIT workouts is that you can’t sustain a high-intensity pace for very long because they require you to move at an intensity that you can only maintain for a few seconds. It’s not recommended to do HIIT workouts more than two to three days per week because of how taxing they are on the body.
If you’re cycling at a rate of 10-12mph, you can burn roughly 7 calories per minute depending on how much you weigh. If you bump up the intensity to 14-16mph, you can burn up 15 calories per minute.
Based on these numbers, you’d have to maintain a pace of 14 mph for about 65-70 minutes to burn 1,000 calories.
Depending on your weight, you can burn anywhere from 510-750 calories per hour using a rowing machine.
For smaller individuals, it would take just under two hours to burn 1,000 calories. If you’re tall or you weigh more, it could only take about an hour and 20 minutes.
6. Elliptical Machine
Like most cardio activities, how many calories you burn on the elliptical depends on the level of effort you put into it.
An average person can burn anywhere from 350-450 calories per hour moving at a moderate pace. You’d have to spend more than two hours on it to burn 1,000 calories.
7. Daily Step Count
You only burn 30-40 calories for every 1,000 steps you take, so you’d have to get 33,000 steps each day to burn 1,000 calories from walking alone. It’s extremely difficult to do that unless you have an active job.
Fortunately, research shows that getting 8,000 steps per day is enough to improve your health. But you have to also engage in other activities that contribute to your TDEE to burn 1,000 calories per day just from increasing your daily step count.
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Tips To Burning More Calories Other Than Working Out
Many people don’t have the time to spend doing workouts long enough to burn 1,000 calories, but they also don’t do any other physical activity aside from exercising.
If you’re looking for ways to increase your TDEE, there are several creative, enjoyable things you can do to burn more calories when you’re not working out.
1. Increase your NEAT
As I mentioned earlier, NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis, which encompasses the daily activities you do outside of exercising. Increasing your NEAT is an excellent way to boost your total daily calorie output.
To increase your NEAT when you’re at work, you can:
- Park your car further away from the office’s entrance
- Walk around your office building during your lunch break
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Get a standing desk
- Walk around while you’re on the phone, if possible
To increase your NEAT when you’re at home, you can:
- Set an alarm to walk around your house and stretch every hour
- Play kickball, tag, or Frisbee with your kids
- Invest in an inexpensive foldable treadmill to get more steps in while you watch TV
- Take your dog (if you have one) for more walks
- Do your own chores
- Fidget more — simply tapping your feet or bouncing your leg can burn a small number of calories
2. Join a recreational sports team
Participating in a sport you enjoy is a great way to burn more calories without feeling like you’re working out. You may be able to find a local basketball, soccer, or volleyball team near you.
A good thing about these leagues is that they’re often more focused on having fun, so you may not even need to have much experience to be part of a team.
3. Participate in seasonal outdoor activities
If you go to the beach, lake, or pool often in the summers, don’t just spend the entire time lounging in a chair. Go swimming, get out in the water on a kayak, or try stand-up paddleboarding to get more activity in your day.
On the flip side, in the winter, you can go skiing, snowboarding, or ice skating. Even shoveling snow from your driveway can help you burn more calories.
Is It Safe to Burn 1,000 Calories Per Day?
For most people, it’s not safe to burn 1,000 calories per day through exercise.
Depending on what kind of activity you do, you need to work out for over an hour to burn that many calories, and it takes a long time to build up to that level of endurance. And if you do higher-intensity workouts, it’ll be difficult to do them every day without getting injured or burned out.
Trying to burn 1,000 calories per day also becomes problematic if you’re eating a dangerously low number of calories as this can be a sign of an eating disorder. If you’re trying to burn a high number of calories to offset behaviors such as binge eating, you need to consult with a medical professional.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How much weight can you lose by burning 1,000 calories a day?
You need to burn 3,500 calories per week in order to lose 1lb/week. If you double that, you may be able to lose 2lbs/week because 1,000 calories x 7 days a week = 7,000 calories burned per week.
However, you can’t maintain that rate forever without losing muscle mass or negatively impacting your health. It’s much more reasonable to lose 0.5-1lbs/week by eating in a slight calorie deficit, increasing your NEAT, and doing whatever exercise you can fit within your schedule instead of doing hours-long workouts just to burn 1,000 calories.
Can You Burn 1,000 calories in One Hour?
It is possible to burn 1,000 calories in one hour, but you’d have to work at a high intensity that many individuals can’t sustain for that long. While running, cycling, and rowing are most ideal for burning a significant amount of calories, it will still take the majority of people at least 90-120 minutes to get to the 1,000-calorie mark.
How far do I have to walk to burn 1,000 calories?
On average, you can burn 100-200 calories during a 30-minute walk and cover 1.5 to 2 miles in that time. You’d have to walk for five hours or for a distance of at least 7.5 miles to burn 1,000 calories.
However, this depends on your weight, how fast you walk, what kind of incline you’re on, and many other factors. It’s better to focus on increasing your step count throughout the day rather than trying to burn 1,000 calories within one walking session.
Despite what many people believe, most of us burn 1,000 calories per day just by existing. But to burn 1,000 calories through exercise, you typically have to spend over an hour doing some form of cardio. However, factors such as your fitness background, age, gender, body weight, and body fat percentage all determine how quickly you can burn 1,000 calories.
It’s also important to remember that calorie counters on activity trackers and cardio machines are often unreliable. A heart rate monitor with a chest strap is the most accurate way to determine how many calories you’re burning.
About The Author
Amanda Dvorak is a freelance writer and powerlifting enthusiast. Amanda played softball for 12 years and discovered her passion for fitness when she was in college. It wasn’t until she started CrossFit in 2015 that she became interested in powerlifting and realized how much she loves lifting heavy weights. In addition to powerlifting, Amanda also enjoys running and cycling.