Our burned calories calculator will teach you the science behind consuming energy both normally and by exercising, and the effect of burning: weight loss.

Here you will learn:

  • What is a calorie?
  • What is the metabolic equivalent of a task?
  • How to calculate the calories burned during an activity?
  • How to use our burned calories calculator.

What are calories?

A calorie is a measurement unit for energy. A calorie is the energy used to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. In terms of the SI unit for energy, the joule, a calorie satisfies this conversion:

1 cal=4.186 J1\ \text{cal}= 4.186\ \text{J}

Calories are often used to measure energy in chemistry and the food industry. A single calorie is a rather small quantity: when dealing with daily life, food intake, and weight loss, we prefer to use the kilocalorie, a thousand calories.

🔎 The word calorie comes from the frenchization of the Latin word calor: heat.

Careful: often, the term "calorie" is used in place of "kilocalorie": in most cases, you can understand if you are dealing with one or the other by the context.

Burning calories: your body as an (almost) heat engine

Human bodies need energy to function: both for mechanical work (moving your muscle) and for other kinds of processes: thinking (a matter of electricity), repairing and maintaining our temperature (chemical), and so on.

In humans — an not only — energy is stored, for short periods of time, in ATP, a molecule that provides the energy to many processes in our body. Much of the ATP we use is produced "right away", after the digestion of the food we eat during a day.

If we consume an excess of food, providing our body with more energy than it needs to function, it is forced to store it in lipidic cells: fatty cells.

All in all, you can think of these processes as "calories in, work out": we can define (and calculate) the calorie required to perform any kind of action. Let's see this in detail.

The metabolic equivalent of a task (MET)

The energy required by any activity varies according to three factors:

  • The type of activity: running requires more calories than walking;
  • The weight of the person; and
  • The duration of the activity.

The first one of these factors is known as the metabolic equivalent of a task or MET. The MET of an activity is directly correlated to the (energetic) effort required by the task itself. Obviously, the values we used in our calculators are averages: not everyone runs with a MET of 9.89.8!

METs are measured in kcal/(kg⋅h)\text{kcal}/(\text{kg}\cdot\text{h}).

All together, these three factors allow us to calculate the calories burned during an activity. We use the following formula:

calories=3.5⋅T⋅MET⋅W12, ⁣000\text{calories} = \frac{3.5\cdot T\cdot\text{MET}\cdot W}{12,\!000}

Where:

  • TT is the duration of the activity in seconds; and
  • WW is the weight of the person in kilograms.

You can approximate the expression knowing that a MET is equal to 0.95⋅kcal/(kg⋅h)0.95\cdot \text{kcal}/(\text{kg}\cdot\text{h}). By accepting an error of 5%5\%, we can use the following equation:

calories=T⋅MET⋅W\text{calories} = T\cdot\text{MET}\cdot W

To calculate the calories burned more precisely, we should use many more parameters: age, sex, and so on. However, the difference would be small!

How to use our burned calories calculator

You can use our burned calories calculator in two ways:

  • Calculate the burned calories; or
  • Compare the energy required by two activities.

To calculate the calories burned exercising (or even resting), follow these steps:

  • Insert your weight;
  • Choose the type of activity;
  • Insert the duration of the activity.

We will calculate the total number of calories burned exercising and the calories burned per hour.

While comparing two activities, we will tell you in which one you will burn more calories.

Calculate calories for weight loss

Burning calories is the key to weight loss. However, you shouldn't only reduce your caloric intake (the amount of calories contained in your food): the best way is to balance it with some exercise: exercising is always a healthy choice!

We have more tools about our bodies: try our body mass index calculator, and our body surface area calculator.

Davide Borchia
I want to
know how much energy I've burnt
Your weight
lb
Activity
Activity
🚲 cycling
Time of the activity
hrs
min
MET = 9.5

Metabolic Equivalent of a Task (MET) – measures how many times more energy an activity burns in comparison to sitting still for the same period of time (MET = 1).
Outcomes
Energy burned
kcal
Energy burned per hour
kcal
/hour
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