Do You Subtract Your Calories Burned From Exercise From Your Total Allowed Calories?

Losing weight is easier if you use a plan that includes tracking your calories eaten and calories burned through exercise. Depending on your plan, you can subtract the number of calories you burn from your recommended daily calorie intake number for weight loss, or use a combination of dieting and exercise to meet your fitness target.

Recommended Calorie Number

Organizations such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommend a specific number of daily calories for people who want to maintain a healthy weight. These numbers are not weight-loss numbers but can guide you in a weight-loss plan. Your daily calorie number for healthy weight maintenance is based on your age, gender and activity level. Working with a registered dietitian or other qualified health professional, you can get a more accurate number taking into consideration other factors, such as your height, weight, resting heart rate and current body mass.

Weight-Loss Calorie Number

How to Use Your BMR to Lose Weight

Learn More

To meet a healthy weight-loss target of 1 to 2 pounds weekly, you will need to burn 500 to 1,000 calories more than your recommended daily calorie number for weight maintenance. For example, if your daily recommended calorie number for weight maintenance is 2,000, you’ll need to eat 1,500 calories each day to lose 1 pound each week, or eat 2,000 calories each day and burn an additional 500 calories through exercise or create a combination of calorie restriction and exercise that creates your 500-calorie deficit.

Exercise Calories

You burn calories all throughout the day. You’re burning calories now as you read this article, but not very many. Your total daily calorie burn, based on your level of activity, is how you determine your recommended daily calorie intake level. You can increase your normal daily calorie burn through exercise to help hit your weight-loss goals. Your daily recommended calorie number might be 2,400 calories, based on the fact that on a regular day, you are very active. To lose 1 pound of weight, you’ll need to add 500 calories of exercise each day if you wish to continue eating 2,400 daily calories. If you have a day where you are not very active, your daily recommended calorie number might go down to 2,000 calories, so eating 2,400 calories and doing 500 calories worth of exercise won’t help you hit your goal.

Other Factors

How to Eat Every Hour on the Hour to Lose Weight

Learn More

If you significantly restrict your calories without enough exercise to boost your metabolism, your body might reduce your daily calorie burning to compensate for what it thinks is a problem. Some people call this going into starvation mode, or your body lowering its “set point,” or normal metabolic rate. If you perform high-intensity cardio exercise and workouts with resistance, your body will continue to burn more calories than normal for hours after your workout, so a 500-calorie workout might lead to an additional post-workout calorie burn of hundreds of extra calories.