Probably not. Using exercise as a tool to achieve a particular number of calories burned can be very demoralising and reduces the enjoyment of exercise. It can also be inaccurate; even machines which ‘read’ the number of calories burned can be off by 25%.
So instead of asking how many calories you ‘should’ burn, understand what factors determine how many calories your body burns, so that you can maximise the effectiveness of your workout:
Gender – a 12 stone male could burn 200 calories in 30 minutes while a 9 stone female doing the same workout burns only 130. But this doesn’t make the man’s workout any better, especially if he doesn’t need to lose weight anyway.
Type of workout – more calories are burned during vigorous cardio exercise such as HIIT, cycling and running. Burns of 500 calories per hour or more are achievable, which is much higher than less intense exercise such as yoga and jogging.
Strength vs Cardio – when compared to cardio exercise, strength training burns fewer calories during the workout. But strength training builds lean muscle, which burns a slightly higher amount of calories when at rest. It also makes you look more toned and fit!
Effort level – The more effort put in, the more calories burned. But not everyone achieves the vigorous intensity required to burn 500 calories. Beginners, in particular, need to take it steady while they build fitness so they don’t burn out or cause injury.
Make your goal to increase your activity level, not to burn a particular number of calories.
Remember that fitness provides benefits beyond weight loss. You will boost your mood, protect yourself from disease, improve your sleep and boost your mental health.
Some people just burn more calories during the day anyway because they're more jittery and just move around more. A slim friend of mine does just this, and she doesn't do huge workouts, is just quite a busy person. I think that makes a big difference.
wise words. I look for appearance, strength and endurance as real measures of the effectiveness of my workouts. Not in that order, of course!
When I used to exercise as a teenager I remember religiously counting calories on both workouts and food. It was all based around anxiety and it really made me quite obsessive. Looking back, it's clear how wrong that approach of counting calories is.