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Calorie consumption during sport

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 366 views

For some, the calorie consumption during sport is just a pleasant side effect of their hobby, for others it is the reason to get up to training at all. Find out here whether endurance or strength sports consume more calories, what role the training intensity plays and calculate your average calorie consumption using a table.

Calorie consumption during sport: How to determine it

The calorie consumption during sport is highly individual, but can still be determined. The science that deals with the calculation of calorie consumption during exercise is called calorimetry. It calculates the energy turnover based on the body’s oxygen intake.

The calculation is based on the assumption that 4.5 kilocalories (kcal) are burned per liter of oxygen consumed if the energy is drawn exclusively from fat , and 5.1 kcal if only carbohydrates form the fuel. The more intensively you train, the higher (initially) the proportion of carbohydrates is burned. With continuous measurement of oxygen uptake under stress and taking into account the variable and individual factors as well as the fatigue that occurs, the calorie consumption can be calculated relatively accurately with this measurement.

In everyday training, however, it is hardly practicable to constantly monitor oxygen uptake in order to determine calorie consumption during exercise. Therefore, this is usually done via a sports watch or an algorithm stored in it. It calculates the energy consumption of the athlete using body weight, age, gender and sometimes also the heart rate of the athlete.

This value is much less precise than the calculation in the laboratory, but can definitely be used as a guide value. Endurance athletes can also determine their calorie consumption during sport using the following formula: kilometers covered x kg body weight x 0.9 = energy consumed in kcal.

Calorie consumption in endurance sports

Endurance sports are an effective way to increase calorie consumption during exercise. Because endurance training activates the metabolism and stimulates the circulation. Which sport burns the most calories, making it the king of cardio disciplines? The list below of popular endurance sports provides an overview based on body weight.

Since the calorie consumption during sport differs not only from the weight but also depending on the age, physique, gender and above all the intensity, these figures are only rough guide values!

The classics of endurance sports are often outdoor sports: running, cycling, swimming .

sport 60 kg 75 kg 90 kg
Walking (5,5 km/h) 240 300 360
Walking (6,5 km/h) 270 330 400
walking (competition) 390 480 580
jogging (10 km/h) 660 820 980
jogging (15 km/h) 800 1000 1200
Hike 360 450 530
cross-country run 540 750 880
swimming (comfortable) 360 450 530
Breaststroke (Intensive) 600 740 880
Backstroke (intensive) 480 600 700
Freestyle swimming (intensive) 660 820 980
snorkeling 300 370 450
Dive 420 520 620
Cycling (20 km/h) 480 590 710
Cycling (25 km/h) 600 760 890
Cycling (30 km/h) 720 890 1060
Mountain bike 540 670 800
Winter sports      
Alpine skis 360 460 530
cross country skiing 480 600 700
Ice skating 420 520 660
snowshoeing 480 600 700
Tobogganing 420 520 620
Ride 300 340 400
in-line skating 440 520 620
Golf (without caddy) 330 410 500
kayaking 300 380 440

Calorie consumption in team and competitive sports

Most team sports also burn a lot of calories. During the course of the game, they often alternate phases with moderate endurance exertion and high exertion, which demand a certain amount of cardio fitness from the player.

sports 60 kg 75 kg 90 kg
Handball 720 900 1060
Volleyball 240 300 360
Soccer 540 670 800
Beach volleyball 480 600 370
boxing (competition) 540 670 800
Tennis 420 580 620
Badminton 270 340 400
Martial arts (judo, karate , taekwondo) 600 740 900
fencing 360 240 370

Calories burned at the gym

Especially when the weather is bad, many prefer the fitness center if they want to train their endurance.

sports 60 kg 75 kg 90 kg
Elypsentrainer 540 670 800
rowing (intensive) 560 630 750
Rowing (stationary, moderate) 410 520 620
Spinning 630 780 930
Bicycle (stationary, intensive) 330 780 920
Aerobic (locker) 330 410 490
Aerobic (moderate) 440 520 620
Step Aerobic (locker) 440 520 620
Step Aerobic (intensiv) 600 740 880
Gymnastics 240 300 360
circuit training 480 600 760
jump rope 600 740 890

Calorie consumption in weight training

Muscles burn energy even when they are at rest. Strengthening your muscles with strength training is not only useful to look good in swimming trunks, but also an effective way to increase the calorie consumption during sport and afterwards.

Since it depends on various factors how much energy is actually consumed during training, the calorie consumption of the sports listed here should only be seen as a guide. Calories per sport are calculated based on 60 minutes of training.

sports 60 kg 75 kg 90 kg
Weightlifting (moderate) 180 230 260
weightlifting (heavy) 360 460 530

Calorie consumption in other sports

It doesn’t always have to be the endurance or strength classics. Here comes the calorie burn from exercising in a variety of popular disciplines, from high alpine adventures to weekend fun in the park.

sports 60 kg 75 kg 90 kg
dancing (slow) 180 220 270
dancing (moderate) 330 410 530
archery 210 260 310
Tai-Chi 240 300 360
Yoga 240 300 360
Frisbee 180 220 270
Billiards 150 190 220
Bowling 180 220 260
water aerobics 240 300 360

Calorie consumption during sport – what does it depend on?

It doesn’t matter what kind of sport you do: every extra movement burns calories. Because as soon as the body becomes active, it consumes additional energy. But that is the end of the clarity in terms of calorie consumption during sport. Because not only the sport itself, but also numerous other factors influence how many calories you actually burn. On the one hand, there are training-specific aspects such as:

  • Type of training (e.g. strength, endurance)
  • duration of the training
  • intensity of training
  • frequency of training

On the other hand, it also depends on the athlete himself how high his calorie consumption is during sport. Influencing factors are for example:

Body weight and height: A tall, heavy athlete will burn more calories than a short, lighter one for the same duration and intensity because more energy is needed to move the body.

Gender or body constitution: Men have a higher proportion of muscle mass than women. Since muscles consume more energy than fat, men burn more calories than women when exercising for the same duration and intensity. Of course, this also applies to a very muscular man versus a lanky one.

Age: Muscle mass decreases with age. The result: fewer kilns, lower calorie consumption.

Fitness: The fitter the athlete, the more effectively his fat metabolism usually works. Once the body has learned to access fat reserves, an experienced athlete’s consumption can double that of an endurance sports novice.

Calories burned during sport: Is strength or endurance training more effective?

Strength or endurance training?

Studies have shown that endurance training burns more calories than strength training for a comparable load and training time . This makes it more suitable for weight loss.

Strength training usually causes the weight to climb a little, at least initially, since muscles are heavier than fat tissue. But they also burn energy at rest, which counteracts fat deposits in the long term. They also have the advantage that they stabilize bones, tendons and joints and thus protect against injuries and back problems.

A mix of endurance and strength training is considered ideal for losing weight and getting or staying fit. In this way, the metabolism and the cardiovascular system are boosted and energy-guzzling muscles are built up.

And there is another reason why it makes sense to make your training as varied as possible: According to scientific findings, the body gets used to a constant load, which can result in an “energy consumption plateau” in which the body uses less with the same training intensity.

intensity and calorie consumption

Speaking of intensity: the calorie consumption during exercise increases even more if you vary it regularly. The training is particularly effective if peaks of at least 80 percent of the maximum heart rate are reached in between. This gives trained athletes the highest calorie consumption. The currently very popular high-intensity interval training HIIT adopts this principle , in which short, intensive phases alternate with breaks. You can find out exactly how this works in the text HIIT .

Calories burned during exercise: nutrition before and after exercise

In order to perform, the body needs energy. Which snacks are ideal for training depends on various factors.

Before exercise: A protein-rich snack (e.g. quark, protein bar) is suitable before exercise if a long, moderate session is planned, because it keeps you full for a long time and does not cause blood sugar levels to spike.

A carbohydrate-heavy snack (sports bar, banana, smoothie) is better suited before intensive training sessions. The snack is best taken 30 to 60 minutes before training to give the body some time to digest. However, some athletes can easily tolerate gels and bars five minutes before exercise.

If you want to lose weight, you can also try to train on an empty stomach. Then, however, the training should be short and carried out with low stress.

After sport: In order to support the body in regeneration, you should have a protein-rich snack with a certain amount of carbohydrates (recovery shake, scrambled eggs with toast, chocolate milk, yoghurt with bananas) after sport. This also applies if you want to lose weight. What matters is the total amount of calories consumed throughout the day. And starving weakens your body and slows down your metabolism.

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