If you want to lose weight, most people will recommend you eat less and exercise more. In itself, that’s a good recommendation. Losing weight by jogging alone, as many try, usually does not bring the desired success. However, you should not overestimate the effect of the individual measures. In particular, the effect of cardio training on weight loss is often misjudged.
For this reason, I want to provide some clarity with this article. I want you to understand how high the more calorie consumption while jogging really is. From this we will discuss together how effective weight loss through jogging actually is and what you can expect.
Calories burned while jogging
Running is a great sport, for me there is no question about that. Running is healthy, functional and a very flexible and easy to learn training. At a correspondingly high running pace, the energy consumption while running is also quite high. For these reasons, running is also a very popular option among the diet sports .
The idea is simple and understandable: the more you run, the more calories you burn and the faster you lose weight. Most of them don’t even know how many calories they actually burn while running. I would like to bring this closer to you using an example.
The numbers used in the calculation example are approximate values that I have roughly averaged from the literature available. However, I think that these are significant enough to give you a good impression.
Sensible consumption information always at least takes your body weight into account. What calories (kcal) you use per hour of jogging per kilo of body weight:
- Slow jogging (7-9 km / h): approx. 8 kcal / kg
- Brisk jogging (10-12 km / h): approx. 10 kcal / kg
- Medium-fast running (13-15 km / h): approx. 12 kcal / kg
- Fast running (16-18 km / h): approx. 14 kcal / kg
Anything that is faster should be a sprint for most people. Even “fast running” is, to be honest, almost sprint pace for me personally and I use it more for HIIT or Tabata training .
Sample calculation 1 – one and a half hours of basic endurance
Once a week I do a longer (about 1.5 hours) slow run around 9 km / h. This is my running pace for my basic endurance training. My current body weight is around 90 kilograms. For my calorie consumption while running, this means:
8 kcal / kg / h x 90 kg x 1.5 h = 1080 kcal
Sample calculation 2 – One hour of speed run / threshold training
I also do a tempo run of about an hour once a week. In my one-hour threshold training, I currently maintain an average speed of a little over 11 km / h. For my calorie consumption this means:
10 kcal / kg / h x 90 kg x 1 h = 900 kcal
900-1000 calories (kcal) for a training session doesn’t sound bad at first, does it?
Those who are better trained than moving may move at a higher speed and burn more accordingly. However, the principle should be clear.
Funny side info: If you run the same route at different speeds, you will always find very similar total consumption.
Such formulas and guide values are always based on average values from tests and can only serve as guide values. If you want to know how many calories you really burn while running, I recommend getting a good fitness tracker with heart rate measurement (e.g. the Garmin Vivosmart HR *). Especially with cardio training these deliver very good results.
More calories burned when jogging
If you are impressed by the 900 or 1080 calories (kcal) and have convinced you to run more in the future in order to lose weight even faster, great. However, there is still one little thing to consider. These values are not actually my total consumption while running. However, I would have burned calories if I had gone about my everyday life as normal.
My calorie consumption in everyday life
I calculate my basal metabolic rate using the Harris-Benedict formula. This is the most recognized formula because it gives very realistic results. For men it reads as follows:
Basal metabolic rate (kcal / 24 h) = 66.5 + (13.7 * body weight (in kg)) + (5 * body height (in cm)) – (6.8 * age (in years))
According to this formula I have a basal metabolic rate of around 1990 kcal per day . This is the energy that I use up when I do absolutely nothing. In principle, that would be my energy requirements if I only slept all day, lay in bed and didn’t move at all.
In addition there is my so-called performance turnover. There are different calculation methods for this and one would have to consider all activities individually for the most exact values possible. For the sake of simplicity, I will use the so-called PAL factor. This specifies an average value for certain activities / activities. Below are some examples of PAL factors:
|sitting or lying||1,2|
|only sitting, little activity||1,5|
|predominantly sitting, with standing / walking activities||1,7|
|mostly standing / walking||1,9|
The more exercise in everyday life you have, the higher this reference value is of course. For my office job as a project manager, I assume the factor 1.7. That should be about my private activity level. If I apply this factor to the 17 hours that I do not sleep, I come to a total energy expenditure of approx. 2976.7 kcal per day .
Again, this calculation is of course only an approximation and you can use a fitness tracker with pulse measurement (e.g. the Garmin Vivosmart HR *) to make much more precise statements about your energy consumption. In fact, after measuring with my Garmin Fenix 3 HR * Smartwatch, I have an average of around 3100 kcal on non-training days.
Actual more calories burned while jogging
So what does that mean in concrete terms for my actual extra calorie consumption when jogging?
According to the calculation, every hour that I go about my everyday life, I have an energy consumption of 141 kcal. So I would use up this energy if I didn’t do any sport. In order to determine the actual additional energy consumption when jogging, I have to subtract this basic consumption from the total consumption when running.
- One and a half hours of basic endurance: 1080 kcal – 212 kcal = 868 kcal
- One hour of speed run / threshold training: 900 kcal – 141 kcal = 759 kcal
These are the actual numbers that you should add to your calorie consumption here.
Don’t get me wrong, this is still a good consumption if your goal is to lose weight by jogging. However, you should be clear about which additional consumption is actually realistic.
Lose weight by jogging – that’s how much you have to run
Let’s take a look at what that means in concrete terms for your weight or, more precisely, fat loss. To do this, we will calculate how much I would have to run at both speeds to consume so much more energy that I lose a kilo of body fat.
One kilogram of body fat has an energy content of 7,000 kcal. With my previously calculated values, that means I would have to to lose a kilo of body fat
- Slow jogging for 13 hours and 19 minutes (for me basic endurance)
- jogging briskly for 9 hours and 13 minutes (for me tempo runs)
Then I would use enough extra energy to lose a pound of body fat. That is a lot. This means that you can hardly lose weight by jogging alone.
But the good news is: You don’t have to lose weight just walking.
Strength training and nutrition
Your weight loss project will be really effective if you combine various measures. In addition to cardio training, this also includes regular strength training and a diet that is tailored to your goals. If you adapt all of this to your living conditions, then you will be able to stick to your diet .
With the right combination you will not only manage to lose weight as quickly as possible, like with a crash diet . You will also manage to get significantly more muscle mass in your diet to define your muscles and thereby get the body that most people want. Losing weight through jogging alone would not achieve this goal.