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Need advice on 1000 calorie workout routine.

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Hi everyone


So I have decided to try and start going to the gym and hitting a calorie burn of 1000 every time I go. So far I have hit 850 calories in about 70-80 minutes. I want to reach 1000 within the next to weeks (I'm trying to pace myself here!). Ideally, I want to go to the gym 6-7 times a week and burn this amount every time I go to the gym. So basically for the next 2-3 months I plan on doing just cardio.

I basically do elliptical for 30-40 minutes (that burns around 350-500 cals) and then I do walk on the treadmill for about 25 mins at 3.0 mph with a 6 incline. That hits around 200-250 cals. Then I go back to the elliptical and finish of the difference to hit my goals.

I consume about 1500 calories a day and try to have as many fruits and veggies as I can. 

A little about myself- I am a 24 yr old male, 5'7 220 lbs. I am obese but I used to workout a lot in HS so a lot of the weight I attribute to the muscle mass that I still have (and I have also been working out intermittently from the age of 18 to now). Since around 18 I have oscillated btwn the weight of 180-245. I am about to finish my degree and I want to start getting more out of life.


So can anyone please advise and tell me if my regimen is good? Am I too ambitious? Do you think this is a bad idea? Any comments would be appreciated.





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What's magical about 1000 calories and what device do you have the can accurately measure how many calories you have 'burned'?

1000 is a nice round number. And to me, that's a lot of calories (it gives me satisfaction to know that I burned that amount). Also, I don't know if you could burn too many calories? I mean, I don't want to cause any damage by working out too hard? Any validity behind that way of thinking? 

Yeah, I know what you mean about the accuracy. I only rely on the counters on the machines I work on and I know those can't be 100% accurate. But they also can't be too inaccurate. I think at most the error on them would range from 50-100 cals, and I'm ok with that cause it's not like my only physical activity in a day is going to the gym. I live in a big city where I walk to everything and go up stairs a lot, so I know if there's any underestimation by the machines I'm making it up on my daily activities, more or less.

Are there any calorie counters devices out there that you would recommend?

In my non-expert opinion, I think trying to hit 1000 calories burned at every workout will only end up "burning" you out real quick. What will you do then? What happens if you start dreading the fact that you have to go to the gym to burn the magical 1000 calories? Also, working out 6-7 times (or is it days) isn't healthy for your body, you not only risk fatigue but injury.

Have you seen your doctor? If not,  get a physical and tell the doctor your goals and they can help you with a sensible eating/exercise plan.

I suggest you take it slow and make healthy eating and exercise a part of your life. In the long run, you will benefit more by making a lifestyle change. My favorite motto regarding exercise is, "It's a marathon, not a sprint."  

You should go and seek the help of a nutrionist as you may well not lose any weight under that regime. I row about 600 cals a day and I eat about 1500 cals a day and I really don't lose very much weight as I probably fall under the trap of eating too little. I'm 157 lbs and I'm supposed to have about 1700 calories a day. 

Why don't you look at some of the biggest loser diets where the contestants are losing thousands of calories a day due to exercise yet eating more than you are. They're also considerably larger than you are. 



Its not how many you calories you burn.  Professional athletes burn thousands of calories in a day but the maintain pretty regular weights because they eat to maintain the excercise they do.

Its the deficit that causes you to lose the weight and a deficit of 500 calories/day is plenty.

Trust me, the calculators on the machines are off by far more than 50-100 calories...try more like 30%-50%. As in, if the machine says you burned 500, you probably really burned more like 300.

I agree with other posters though that 1000 calorie burns at the gym, 6-7 times a week (you should also be taking 1-2 days off to rest) is a bit excessive.

1) You should be taking in way more than 1500 calories per day. Especially since you exercise regularly.

2) If you only take in 1500 and you end up burning 1000 in the gym, you will only be going on 500 for the day.

What I would recommend is this :

1) Start eating more. If you starve yourself, your metabolism will slow down and you actually start to gain weight. I know it sounds funny to hear the words "eat more" when you are trying to lose weight. However, you need to get more calories per day. Especially since you plan on burning 1000 calories in the gym. If you continue to work out 6-7 days a week with a low caloric intake, and don't account for what you burn, you will burn out quickly.

This will give you an idea of how many calories per day that you need :

Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 x age in year ) x 1.55

After plugging in your stats, you would need to get 3300 calories per day to maintain your weight. Since you are interested in losing fat, you should maintain a 500 calorie per day deficit. This means that you should be taking in 2800 calories per day plus going in before exercise. If you burn 1000 calories, you would need to take in 3800 calories for the day to maintain the 500 calorie deficit. YOU ARE SEVERELY UNDER-EATING!!!

2) It seems like you are only doing cardio. Strength training is actually the BEST way to lose fat and re-transform your body. You should get in lifting at least 3x a week using heavy weight and compound lifts.

3) Mix up your cardio. If all you ever do is steady state cardio for long periods of time, your body will adapt and start to use muscle for energy. The scale will say you have lost weight, but it will be muscle and not fat that you have lost. By throwing in some HIIT, you will focus more on body fat and retain the muscle that you have. HIIT is short busts going as hard as you can (15-20 secs) mixed with slower recovery periods (45-60 secs). If you do it correctly, you will be toast after 20 minutes.

4) Make sure to take at least one day off per week if not more where you rest. Your body needs time to recover.

So you eat 1500 calories a day and burn 1000 at the gym? You do realize you're body requires energy for things like making your heart beat and breathing?

You need to be eating more. If you were sedentary your calorie target would still be close to 2000 cals a day. And you are certainly not sedentary. Check out this calculator to get a better estimate of how much more you should be eating.

If you don't have a HRM I suggest you get one. If you just go by what the machine says you can be very off. The machine would say that I burn about 600 calories when accordign to my HRM I've been burning around 1000. Don't trust the machine.

You seem to be doing a lot of cardio...which is great, but if you are looking to burn fat more efficiently, weight lifting is something you should add to your routine. See, it generally takes about 35 minutes of cardio before a person begins to burn fat. The fat that is burned is only done while you are running or walking. Weight training on the other hand burns fat not only while you work out, but after as well. This is due to the fact that when you lift, you are breaking down muscle fibers. Your body continues the breaking and rebuilding process over the course of the day and into the next (this is the soreness you feel). The whole time the body is breaking down and rebuilding fibers, you are burning calories.

I would ask a trainer at your gym for a routine based on your body type and what you can do. However, if you want to be more successful, do not take long breaks in between reps. Try to make your break time minimum so your body had to continue to work. I know that for me I generally do about 45 minutes of rigorous lifting, about 6 different exercises with about 3-5 sets of each, ranging between 4-8 reps per exercise. I usually do a full body workout, but I am a DI athlete, so I have a regiment to follow. Either way, lifting is definitely something you should try to work into your workout.

I guess I disagree with most of the posters above, esp. about the "burning muscle instead of fat" myth.  At your weight, 1000 cal per workout is pretty easy to accomlish, you seem to enjoy it, you want to have good cardiovascular health and blood lipid profile. Cardio workouts increase the number of blood vessels in all parts of your body and make it more responsive to muscle building via strength training.

You can't depend on the elliptical readings, but the treadmills are pretty accurate, so you can use the treadmill "rate of burn" multiplied by your time on the elliptical (if you think you are going as hard). It sounds like you don't run, so using the incline feature on the treadmill is a good way to up the calories (try to go up to 15%, even if you have to slow down to 2.5 mph). For some diversity, try out the "step mill," if they have one (looks like a little escalator going down).

FYI: I prefer outdoor workouts (otherwise known as recreation, lol).  But, when I am forced indoors due to bad weather, I always burn at least 1200 calories (not including my strength training). My outdoor workouts usually burn 2000+ calories. I've been doing that (and sometimes a lot more) for 20 years and my muscle mass has always been determined by how much strength training that I do, not how much cardio that I didn't do!


Haven't read any of the posts except the OP's but I need to are NOT EATING ENOUGH! You are at risk of slowing your metabolism down to a snail's pace..not to mention so many other things that I don't have time to post right now.  With a 1000 burn, I will quickly guess that at your weight..and with a defecit to lose should be consuming at least 2700-2800 calories. Right're at..what 500?!! YIKES!

Most of those gym machines are set to 150 lb male.  You could actually be burning more.....IDK...I suggest if you are serious and really want to calculate how much you burn..invest in  a hr monitor.

You really need to get your nutrition in check. After that..I suggest incorporating some strength training in if you want to maintain muscle and burn off fat!



If you aren't used to it then you are heading for a burnout. 2 weeks is a very short space of time to want to increase your exercise like that, it took me nearly a year to go from burning about 400cals in an exercise session to 1000cals and even then I burnt myself out pretty bad, I only managed to keep up with it for about 3 months before I realised I had burnt myself out!

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I am the farthest from an expert, but I am a fit/ health nut myself and I think there are a couple of things you should consider.  First, you are doing tons of cardio when in reality you only need about 20-30 minutes of intense cardio about 4-5 days a week.  Second, lifting weights builds lean muscle that actually burn calories while you are sedentary and all throughout the day.  If you really want to fire up your metabolism, build some muscle.  I do not mean you have to be a gym jock and spend 2-3 hours a day lifting weights.  However, I do mean moderate to heavy strength training for 3-4 days a week and about a half an hour a day.  There are many comments on here about you possibly burning out and I have to say I agree with that, too.  I believe a pound of fat is worth about 3500 calories and you are creating a huge defecit each day, but you probably won't see the weight come off as fast as if you had eaten more calories.  When your body runs out of ATP (food for your cells that the body converts from what you eat) and has no source coming in to create these ATP, it will start using yes, your fat stores, but aloso your muscles will deteriorate.  You need to find out how many calories a day you need and really focus on becoming healthy, not skinnny.  Also, there is a such thing as 'skinny fat' from losing a lot of weight and not building any muslce.  You most likely do not want this to be your physique, so do some homework!

Burning 1000 calories 6 times a week is A REALLY bad idea. Its going to be near impossible to maintain that while eating 1500 calories a day. You can't live on 500 calories a day, much less have the energy needed to exercise. This is a really, really bad idea. If you want to continue trying to burn 1000 cals a day you need to eat alot more. In reality though the safest and most realistic thing to do is to eat more AND exercise less. You need to being things that you'll be able to maintain over time without getting burned out or injured.

Wow first of all I want to thank everyone for chimming in, it's really hard to know what to do without any advice. I will take what everyone said into consideration, especially the fact that I'm not eating enough. I was suspicious of that too, but I didn't know if it was the correct way to think. I think I will take on of the posts advice and go see a nutritionist and try to work out a healthy regimen for long term, steady weight loss. 

I will also invest in one of those heart rate monitors for more accurate readings. And I definitely will begin to do weight training at least 3 times a week. 

I have one more question maybe one of you guys can answer. So I would still like to lose 2 lbs per week ( I've read that that is safe weight loss). I have a BMR of 2100 cals per day. About 3-4 times a week I go to school so I'm walking around a lot so I'm sure that number is higher (I think that BMR is calculated by assuming you stayed in bed all day). I still want to keep my caloric burn pretty high but I won't just do cardio anymore. I will try to tone it down to 30-40 mins of cardio and then weight lifting. BUt I still want to go to the gym 6 times a week because for me, that keeps me motivated in the sense that it is always on my mind and I enjoy it. 

So anyways, what do you guys recommend would be an appropriate daily calorie intake to lose 2lbs a week given that routine?


Again, thank you so much everyone and good luck on all your personal endeavors. 


Your BMR is 2800 calories a day (this is with a 500 calorie deficit included). I plugged in your stats and figured it out in my original post. What a lot of people seem to do for some reason is forget to use the activity multiplier.

If you work out at least three days a week, you are supposed to take your final answer times 1.55. This came out to 3300 calories a day. Then since you want to lose fat, you should get 2800.

I used to do around an hour of cardio each day and 20 - 30 mins of weights 3 - 4 times a week, I found this more sustainable. Though as someone pointed out you don't need much more than 30 mins cardio a day. At the time I wasn't eating enough to sustain that and I hit a plataeu pretty quick. Now I just work out my daily maintenance calories by using "Light Activity" because I still clean house, walk to work etc and then add any extra exercise on top of that, as a rule of thumb I make sure I never have more than 1000cal deficit each day. I am not a professional but I have heard your body can't process more than that a day without taking it from muscles etc instead of fat. A daily deficit of 1000cals a day will give you approx 2lb loss each week. So it goes to show the more you exercise the more you have to eat.

I need help!

I normally burn 400 calories doing an hour of elliptical machine.  I do that 3x per week.  Is that enough? Should I try to burn more than 1,000 calories to get results?

One of my friend is follow a program called 1000 Calorie Challenge.  I think the site is He already lost 12 lbs within a month.

Unfortunately, I don't have any money right now so I can't buy it.   What do you guys recommend that I do to burn more calories than what I am doing right now.  And I really don't want to do more cardio.  That is just plain boring.

I don't really have access to a gym at the moment..  I can't offer it.  I got laid off a month ago. :(  I do have dumbbells and a bench if that helps.

Please help, I need to lose weight for my upcoming reunion. My goal is to lose 20 lbs in 8 weeks.  Is that even possible..

Thank you for your help in advance.




Original Post by markcruz11:

 Should I try to burn more than 1,000 calories to get results?

Did you read the responses to the original question? You don't need to burn 1000 calories in the gym to lose weight.

Use the burn meter on this site (under tools) to figure out how much you burn in a day, and eat ~500 less than that. has some ideas for how to do strength training if you don't have access to a barbell. For instance, No weights? No problem! and  Workout 6: All dumbbells! All the time!

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