How Many Calories Do I Burn When Lifting Weights?

Lifting weights not only helps to build strength and muscle, but it can also contribute to calorie burning. While weightlifting is primarily an anaerobic exercise focused on strength training, it can still have a significant impact on your energy expenditure. In this blog post, we will explore how lifting weights can burn calories, factors influencing calorie burn, and tips for maximizing calorie burn during weightlifting sessions.

How many Calories Do I Burn When Lifting Weights?

The number of calories burned when lifting weights can vary based on factors like intensity, duration, and individual factors. On average, a 155-pound person can burn around 112-223 calories during a 30-minute weightlifting session. However, it’s important to note that this is just an estimate and actual calorie burn may differ for each individual.

Here’s a table providing an estimate of the calories burned when lifting weights based on different durations and body weights. Please note that these values are approximate and can vary depending on individual factors.

Body Weight (lbs)30 Minutes60 Minutes
12590180
155112223
185133266
215155310
245177354

Keep in mind that the calorie burn during weightlifting can vary based on the intensity of the workout, types of exercises performed, and individual fitness levels. Additionally, the table above only accounts for the calories burned during the weightlifting session itself and does not consider any potential post-exercise calorie burn or afterburn effect.

It’s important to remember that the primary benefits of weightlifting are strength gains and muscle development, and while calorie burn is a factor, it may not be as significant as in cardiovascular exercises. For more accurate and personalized estimations, it can be helpful to use fitness trackers or consult with a fitness professional.

FAQAnswer
Weightlifting Calories Burned CalculatorThere are several online weightlifting calories burned calculators available. They use factors such as body weight, workout duration, and intensity to estimate calorie burn.
Weightlifting Calorie Calculator AppVarious fitness apps provide weightlifting calorie calculators. These apps track your workout, including exercises performed and weight lifted, to estimate calorie burn.
Dumbbell Calories Burned CalculatorDumbbell calories burned calculators work similarly to weightlifting calculators but focus on exercises specifically performed with dumbbells.
Does Lifting Weights Burn More Calories Than Cardio?Weightlifting generally burns fewer calories per minute than cardio exercises. However, weightlifting can contribute to increased calorie burn through muscle development.
How Many Calories Do You Burn Lifting Weights for 10 Minutes?The calorie burn during weightlifting depends on factors such as body weight, exercise intensity, and type of exercise. On average, it can range from 60-100 calories in 10 minutes.
45-Minute Gym Workout Calories BurnedThe calories burned during a 45-minute gym workout vary based on exercise selection, intensity, and individual factors. On average, it can range from 300-500 calories.
Does Weightlifting Burn Calories After a Workout?Weightlifting can result in an “afterburn” effect known as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), causing elevated calorie burn even after the workout ends.
Calories Burned Weight Lifting RedditReddit has discussions on weightlifting and calories burned. The r/fitness and r/weightlifting subreddits can provide useful insights and experiences from the community.

Understanding Calorie Burning during Weightlifting:

  1. EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption): Weightlifting, especially high-intensity resistance training, can increase your metabolism post-workout. This is known as the EPOC effect, or “afterburn,” where your body continues to burn calories to restore its oxygen levels and recover from the exercise.
  2. Muscle Activation and Energy Expenditure: Lifting weights engages multiple muscle groups, which requires energy from your body. The more muscles you activate during a workout, the more calories you burn. Compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses, which involve multiple muscle groups, tend to burn more calories compared to isolation exercises.

Factors Influencing Calorie Burn during Weightlifting:

  1. Intensity: The intensity of your weightlifting sessions plays a crucial role in calorie burn. Higher intensity workouts, such as heavy lifting or incorporating supersets and circuits, can increase energy expenditure both during and after the workout.
  2. Muscle Mass: Individuals with a higher percentage of lean muscle mass tend to burn more calories during weightlifting. Muscle is metabolically active tissue, meaning it requires more energy for maintenance and contributes to a higher resting metabolic rate.
  3. Rest Periods: The duration of rest periods between sets can affect the overall calorie burn. Shorter rest periods or incorporating active recovery exercises during rest periods can help keep your heart rate elevated and increase calorie expenditure.

Tips for Maximizing Calorie Burn during Weightlifting:

  1. Include High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Combining weightlifting exercises with bursts of cardiovascular exercises, such as jumping jacks or burpees, can elevate your heart rate and increase overall calorie burn.
  2. Increase Resistance: Gradually increasing the weight or resistance used during weightlifting sessions challenges your muscles more, resulting in increased calorie burn.
  3. Circuit Training: Create a circuit of different exercises targeting various muscle groups and perform them consecutively without taking significant breaks. This approach keeps your heart rate elevated and enhances calorie burn.
  4. Incorporate Compound Movements: Focus on compound exercises that engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. This not only improves overall strength but also burns more calories compared to isolated exercises.
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Does lifting weights burn more calories?


Yes, lifting weights can contribute to burning calories, although the number of calories burned will vary depending on several factors. While cardiovascular exercises like running or cycling are typically associated with higher calorie burns during the activity itself, weightlifting can have a long-lasting effect on metabolism and calorie expenditure.

Weightlifting, or resistance training, helps build and maintain muscle mass. Muscle tissue is metabolically active, meaning it requires more energy (calories) to sustain itself compared to fat tissue. As you build more muscle through weightlifting, your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories your body burns at rest) can increase. This increased metabolic rate can lead to greater calorie expenditure throughout the day, even when you’re not actively exercising.

Furthermore, weightlifting can also induce an “afterburn” effect known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). After an intense weightlifting session, your body continues to consume oxygen at an elevated rate to restore various physiological processes and replenish energy stores. This post-exercise oxygen consumption results in additional calorie burning, contributing to your overall energy expenditure.

It’s important to note that the exact number of calories burned during weightlifting will depend on factors such as the intensity and duration of the workout, your body weight and composition, and your individual metabolism. While weightlifting alone may not burn as many calories as cardio exercises during the actual workout, its impact on muscle development and long-term metabolic rate can have a positive effect on overall calorie expenditure.

How many calories does 1 hour of weightlifting burn?


The number of calories burned during 1 hour of weightlifting can vary depending on several factors, including your body weight, the intensity of the workout, and your individual metabolism. It is challenging to provide an exact number since individual variations play a significant role. However, I can provide you with a rough estimate based on average values.

On average, a person weighing around 155 pounds (70 kg) can expect to burn approximately 112-223 calories during a 1-hour weightlifting session. For a person weighing 200 pounds (91 kg), the calorie burn could range from 145-290 calories during the same duration. These estimates are based on moderate intensity weightlifting.

It’s important to note that these numbers are approximate and can vary significantly depending on individual factors. If you are using specialized fitness equipment or engaging in more intense weightlifting exercises, the calorie burn may be higher. Additionally, factors such as rest periods between sets and the overall intensity of your workout can affect calorie expenditure.

Remember, weightlifting has other long-term benefits for your metabolism and body composition, such as building muscle, which can increase your overall calorie expenditure even when at rest.

Is it possible to burn 1000 calories weight lifting?


Burning 1000 calories solely through weightlifting in a single session is unlikely for most individuals. Weightlifting typically does not burn calories at the same rate as cardiovascular exercises like running, swimming, or cycling, which are known for their high calorie-burning potential.

The calorie burn during weightlifting depends on factors such as the duration, intensity, and type of exercises performed. On average, weightlifting burns fewer calories per hour compared to cardio exercises. However, weightlifting has other significant benefits, such as building muscle mass and increasing metabolism, which can contribute to long-term calorie expenditure.

To put it into perspective, an intense weightlifting session of approximately 1 hour may burn around 200-400 calories, depending on factors like body weight and exercise intensity. Achieving a calorie burn of 1000 calories through weightlifting alone would typically require an exceptionally long and high-intensity workout, which is not a typical scenario for most individuals.

If your goal is to burn a higher number of calories, incorporating a combination of cardiovascular exercises, such as running or cycling, along with weightlifting, can be more effective. This approach allows you to benefit from the calorie-burning potential of cardio exercises while also reaping the long-term metabolic benefits of weightlifting. It’s always a good idea to consult with a fitness professional or trainer to design a well-rounded exercise program that suits your goals and individual needs.

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Can you lose weight by lifting weights only?

Yes, you can lose weight by lifting weights only. Weightlifting helps build muscle, which increases your metabolic rate and calorie burn. It also promotes fat loss and improves body composition. However, for optimal weight loss, combining weightlifting with a balanced diet and cardio exercises may be more effective.

Yes, you can lose weight by incorporating weightlifting into your fitness routine. While weightlifting alone may not result in as significant of a calorie burn during the workout compared to cardiovascular exercises, it can contribute to weight loss in several ways:

  1. Increased metabolism: Weightlifting helps build and maintain muscle mass. Muscle tissue is metabolically active and requires more energy (calories) to sustain itself compared to fat tissue. As you build more muscle through weightlifting, your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories your body burns at rest) can increase. This elevated metabolic rate can result in greater calorie expenditure throughout the day, promoting weight loss.
  2. Afterburn effect: Intense weightlifting sessions can induce excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), commonly known as the afterburn effect. After a weightlifting workout, your body continues to consume oxygen at an elevated rate to restore various physiological processes and replenish energy stores. This post-exercise oxygen consumption leads to additional calorie burning, even after you’ve finished your workout.
  3. Body composition changes: Weightlifting helps promote fat loss while preserving muscle mass. By increasing your lean muscle mass through weightlifting, you can improve your body composition. Although muscle weighs more than fat, having a higher proportion of muscle can lead to a more toned and defined physique. Additionally, muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue, so having more muscle can contribute to increased calorie burning throughout the day.
  4. Improved insulin sensitivity: Weightlifting can enhance insulin sensitivity, which is crucial for regulating blood sugar levels and preventing insulin resistance. By improving insulin sensitivity, weightlifting can help promote weight loss and reduce the risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

It’s important to note that diet and overall calorie balance also play significant roles in weight loss. To achieve optimal results, combining weightlifting with a balanced diet that supports your weight loss goals is recommended. Consulting with a fitness professional or registered dietitian can help you design a comprehensive plan tailored to your specific needs and goals.

Should I lift heavy or light to lose weight?

The ideal approach for weight loss is a combination of heavy and light weightlifting. Heavy lifting helps build muscle and increase metabolism, while light lifting focuses on endurance and calorie burn. Incorporating both can provide a well-rounded workout that promotes fat loss, improves body composition, and boosts overall fitness.


When it comes to weightlifting for weight loss, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether you should lift heavy or light. Both heavy and light weightlifting can have benefits for weight loss, and the ideal approach may vary based on individual goals and preferences. Here are some considerations:

  1. Heavy lifting: Lifting heavy weights with fewer repetitions and higher intensity can help build strength and muscle mass. This can increase your resting metabolic rate and overall calorie burn. Additionally, heavy lifting can stimulate the release of growth hormone and testosterone, which aid in fat loss. However, heavy lifting requires proper form and technique to minimize the risk of injury, so it’s important to learn proper lifting techniques or work with a qualified trainer.
  2. Light lifting: Lighter weights with higher repetitions can provide a cardiovascular and endurance-focused workout. This type of weightlifting can help improve muscular endurance, promote calorie burn during the workout, and contribute to overall fat loss. It can also be more accessible to beginners or those who prefer a less intense workout.
  3. Combination approach: Incorporating a combination of heavy and light weightlifting can provide a well-rounded approach. You can include heavy lifting exercises for compound movements like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses to build strength and muscle mass. Supplementing with lighter weights and higher repetitions can target muscle endurance and provide additional calorie-burning benefits.

Ultimately, the most important factor for weight loss is creating a calorie deficit, where you consume fewer calories than you burn. Weightlifting, regardless of the intensity, can help increase your calorie expenditure, boost metabolism, and improve body composition.

It’s also important to consider your overall fitness goals, personal preferences, and any limitations or considerations such as existing injuries or medical conditions. Consulting with a fitness professional or trainer can help you design a weightlifting program that suits your specific needs and goals.

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Why lifting weights is better than cardio?

Weightlifting offers unique advantages compared to cardio, including increased muscle mass, improved metabolism, long-term calorie burning, enhanced functional fitness, and body composition changes. However, the ideal approach depends on individual goals. A balanced routine combining both weightlifting and cardio can provide comprehensive benefits for overall fitness and health.


Comparing weightlifting to cardio exercises like running or cycling, it’s not accurate to say that one is universally better than the other. Both weightlifting and cardio have their own unique benefits, and the ideal approach depends on individual goals and preferences. However, here are some reasons why weightlifting can be advantageous:

  1. Muscle building: Weightlifting is particularly effective for building and toning muscle. It helps increase muscle mass, which can enhance overall strength, improve body composition, and give you a more defined appearance. Muscle tissue is metabolically active, meaning it burns more calories at rest compared to fat tissue, which can contribute to long-term weight management.
  2. Metabolic impact: Weightlifting has a positive impact on metabolism. As you build more muscle through weightlifting, your resting metabolic rate increases. This means that even when you’re not actively exercising, your body burns more calories throughout the day. This long-term metabolic effect can be beneficial for weight loss and weight maintenance.
  3. Afterburn effect: Intense weightlifting sessions can trigger an afterburn effect known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). This means that after your workout, your body continues to burn calories at an elevated rate as it restores physiological processes and replenishes energy stores. This can result in additional calorie expenditure beyond the actual workout.
  4. Improved functional fitness: Weightlifting can improve functional fitness by enhancing strength, stability, and mobility. It can help in daily activities, promote better posture, and reduce the risk of injury. Building strength through weightlifting can also benefit athletes in various sports and activities.
  5. Body composition changes: Weightlifting helps shape and sculpt your physique by reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass. While cardio exercises primarily focus on burning calories during the activity, weightlifting supports body composition changes by promoting fat loss and muscle development.

It’s important to note that cardio exercises have their own set of advantages, such as improving cardiovascular health, endurance, and calorie burn during the activity. A balanced exercise routine often incorporates a combination of weightlifting and cardio exercises to maximize overall fitness and achieve specific goals. Consulting with a fitness professional can help you design a well-rounded program tailored to your needs and preferences.

Do I need cardio if I lift weights?

While not essential, incorporating cardio alongside weightlifting offers benefits such as improved cardiovascular health, increased calorie burn, enhanced overall fitness, and variety in your routine. It depends on your goals, but combining both can provide a well-rounded approach to fitness and help you achieve optimal results.


While cardio exercises are not absolutely necessary if you lift weights, incorporating cardio into your fitness routine can offer several benefits that complement weightlifting. Here are a few reasons why you might want to include cardio alongside weightlifting:

  1. Cardiovascular health: Cardio exercises like running, swimming, or cycling primarily target the cardiovascular system, helping to improve heart health, lung capacity, and overall cardiovascular fitness. By engaging in cardio activities, you can enhance your cardiovascular endurance and reduce the risk of heart-related diseases.
  2. Calorie burn and weight loss: Cardio exercises are typically associated with higher calorie burns during the activity itself. If your goal is weight loss or calorie expenditure, incorporating cardio can help create a calorie deficit, aiding in weight management alongside weightlifting.
  3. Increased overall fitness: Combining weightlifting with cardio exercises provides a well-rounded approach to fitness. Weightlifting primarily focuses on strength, muscle development, and body composition, while cardio contributes to endurance, stamina, and cardiovascular fitness. Integrating both can improve your overall fitness level and support a balanced and versatile physique.
  4. Variety and enjoyment: Incorporating different types of exercises, including cardio, can help prevent monotony and keep your fitness routine interesting. Adding variety can also target different muscle groups and provide mental stimulation, making your workouts more enjoyable and sustainable in the long run.

Ultimately, the decision to include cardio alongside weightlifting depends on your specific goals, preferences, and overall fitness plan. If your primary goal is muscle building, strength, and body composition changes, weightlifting alone can be sufficient. However, if you also aim to improve cardiovascular health, enhance endurance, or increase calorie burn, integrating cardio exercises can be beneficial. It’s always advisable to consult with a fitness professional or trainer to design a comprehensive program that aligns with your specific needs and goals.

Conclusion:

While weightlifting is primarily aimed at strength and muscle building, it also offers the added benefit of calorie burning. Incorporating weightlifting into your fitness routine can contribute to a higher metabolic rate, increased muscle mass, and the potential for continued calorie burn even after your workout. Remember to consider the intensity, rest periods, and variety of exercises to maximize calorie burn during weightlifting sessions.

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