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The Best Way to Calculate Calories Burned

Fitday Editor
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We all want to know which workout provides the most calories burned, but the calculations that will tell you that can become a bit confusing because variables like height, weight, sex, activity and intensity level are part of the equation. Whether you choose to do the math yourself, use an online calculator or buy a gadget to do it for you, it's vital to have some idea of how many calories your favorite workout burns.


While men and women do burn calories differently, with men burning slightly more than women, more goes into the equation than just how we burn calories. Other things such as what exercise you do and how intensely you do it, and for how long, can make figuring out how many calories you just burned give you a big headache. However, there are ways to guesstimate just how much progress your hard work is making for you.

Do the Math

We begin with the amount of calories you burn currently (for calculations assume 12 calories burned per pound for women and 15 calories burned per pound for men). Add the amount of calories burned by your exercise (with walking, you burn .30 x your weight by walking 3 to 4 miles per hour). The problem is that every activity burns a different amount, which varies depending on your speed and exertion level. Unless you want to become preoccupied with numbers racing through your head, you will probably want to leave the calculations to a calculator.

Online Calculators

Many websites exist that let you plug in your weight, age, sex and hours of varying degree of activity (sleeping, reading, housework) then your type of exercise and how long you perform that exercise. Plug those in and hit the Calculate button, and you have your calories burned amount. can help you calculate those calories burned.

Calorie Monitors

There are also calorie monitors of varying degrees of sophistication available that allow you to put in your personal characteristics and your activity, that will do the math for you. The most basic of these is a pedometer that you clip to your belt at the beginning of your aerobic workout. It keeps track of your steps, and thus your calories burned. There are monitors that track your heart rate, have alarms and stopwatches. Your monitor choice is limited only by the wiggle room in your budget.

Your Choice

Which method you choose to calculate your calories burned depends as much on you as an individual as the number of calories you personally burn. If you like math, by all means do it yourself. If your math skills need some help, an online calculator may be your answer. However, if you're like most people you may just spend a few bucks and get a nifty calorie calculator to do the brainy part of your workout for you, or let help you do it yourself.

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