In order to lose one to two pounds per week (generally considered a healthy, reasonable goal), you need to burn 500 to 1,000 calories more per day than you consume — or between 3,500 and 7,000 calories per week.
Losing weight more quickly than this, isn’t recommended by most major health organizations. It’s usually unsustainable and can lead to nutrient deficiencies, muscle loss and a stalled metabolism.
To create that caloric deficit (meaning you burn more calories than you consume), you first need to figure out how much you’re consuming and how many calories per day you burn without exercise. You can use an online calorie calculator.
But you must be sure that you add exercise without increasing your calorie intake. If you eat more calories in response to exercise, it won’t result in weight loss.
The study, published in Obesity in 2012, reported that exercise-only participants lost 2.4 percent of their body weight and diet only participants lost 8.5 percent. Those who dieted and exercised lost 10.8 percent, making the combination strategy most effective
For example, a 155-pound person burns 2,000 calories per day and eats 2,000 calories will maintain her weight. But, if she exercises and burns an extra 500 calories per day — perhaps by jogging at 5 mph for 45 minutes — but continues to consume 2,000 calories, she can lose a pound per week. Her efforts can be compounded by cutting an additional 250 to 500 calories out of her diet
Is Cardio or Strength Training Better for Weight Loss?
Exercise helps burn calories and also maintains lean muscle mass while you’re losing weight. If you reduce calories without exercise, one-quarter of every pound you lose comes from lean muscle mass. Muscle also requires more calories for your body to sustain, so it boosts your metabolism.
Cardiovascular exercise, which involves raising the heart rate for an extended period of time, such as cycling or running will burn a lot of calories per minute as compared to strength training. But strength training is better at developing muscle mass when compared to cardio.
You may burn just about 100 calories per half-hour session of strength training but reap numerous, additional benefits. Ten weeks of resistance training can increase your lean muscle mass by 3 pounds, decrease your fat weight by 4 pounds and increase your metabolic rate by 7 percent, reports research published in a 2012 issue of Current Sports Medicine Reports. A balanced approach to exercise that includes both forms is best for your health and weight loss.