# Calories burned per mile

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Posts: 214 Member
Hello everyone i hope everything is well. I would like to ask a question and anyone one with answer please comment. I am 280 pounds i want to know how much calories I burn per mile. I have been getting mixed answers from my search on google. I would like to know ideally how many net calories i burn. Thanks any help is appreciated.

## Replies

• Posts: 2,564 Member
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How fast are you completing the mile. Do you walk, run, jog, or a mix?
• Posts: 7,885 Member
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• Posts: 1,449 Member
edited March 2020
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It really depends on whether you're walking or running. I'm gonna take a guess and say that at 280 lbs you're probably walking, if only because when I was 280 lbs I definitely wasn't jogging or running anywhere.

At 280 lbs, a reasonable guesstimate for your calories burned per mile at a leisurely walking pace (2 - 2.5 mph, as opposed to the "light" walking many web sites put at 3.5 mph, which is very fast and difficult for an obese person) is 150. That's the number I used for many, many, many walks when my weight was 320 down to 270 ish, and the numbers always squared nicely with my actual weight loss, so it was accurate, at least for me.

As you lose weight, you'll want to shave a bit off that number over time, but for now, 150 is fine.

EDIT: I tried @lemurcat2 's calculator above and it said 212 calories for 1 mile at 2.5 mph. I don't think that is completely outlandish, but it does seem high & I don't think you'd get the best results eating back that many calories, if you're eating them back. 150 seems better to me. If it's just an academic exercise, like wanting to log your workout without it impacting your food consumption, then sure estimating a bit higher than 150 is fine. When I was in my walking phase (before larding up the house with exercise machines) I ate back 50 %, so 75 per mile and my usual walk was 2 miles & I'd eat back 150, which worked pretty well.
• Posts: 19,809 Member
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Lietchi wrote: »
I've seen these formulas posted in the boards for calories burned by running and walking:

Running:
Weight in Pounds X Distance in Miles X 0.63

Walking:
Weight in Pounds X Distance in Miles X 0.3

Agreed.
Importantly they are also net calorie estimates unlike a lot of apps that give gross calorie estimates.
• Posts: 9,711 Member
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sijomial wrote: »
Lietchi wrote: »
I've seen these formulas posted in the boards for calories burned by running and walking:

Running:
Weight in Pounds X Distance in Miles X 0.63

Walking:
Weight in Pounds X Distance in Miles X 0.3

Agreed.
Importantly they are also net calorie estimates unlike a lot of apps that give gross calorie estimates.

Yep, and that's what you want, and not the gross calories.
• Posts: 10,968 Member
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More on a bike than in a car.
• Posts: 183 Member
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I get my calorie burn amount from my fitbit. I'm a bigger girl trying to lose weight so I walk briskly intermittently with jogging. I use the none 2 run app. That plan has been working well for me so using the Fitbit gives me the calories burned per exercise and also calories burned for the whole day. Comparing my weight loss with how hard I've been working with exercise I now know exactly how much exercise and calorie deficit I have to maintain to keep losing weight. I find it very helpful to know how many calories I'm burning when I exercise.
• Posts: 1,449 Member
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Lietchi wrote: »
I've seen these formulas posted in the boards for calories burned by running and walking:

Running:
Weight in Pounds X Distance in Miles X 0.63

Walking:
Weight in Pounds X Distance in Miles X 0.3

These numbers are way too low for walking. Using these formulas, a 300 pound person walking a mile would get a whopping 90 calories. That's obviously absurdly low. Note that if you put 300 pounds into a walking calculator on a walking site, you'll get anywhere from 180-250 calories, which implies a coefficient of 0.6 to 0.83. For instance, as I noted earlier, @lemurcat2 's calculator gives 212 calories for 280 pounds, a coefficient of .75.

And the differences are too large to be explained by gross vs net exercise calories. Simply put, the 0.63/0.3 coefficients are too low for people at higher weights, as per all the exercise calculators out there.
• Posts: 10,968 Member
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Why is it obviously too low?
• Posts: 14,035 Member
edited March 2020
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Why is it obviously too low?

Because this:
https://exrx.net/Calculators/WalkRunMETs
and this:
do not always agree with the Runner's World formulas.

And I don't know (I couldn't find the original magazine article during a short search a few minutes ago) whether there exists some overwhelming evidence that proves the Runner's World formulas more "correct" than generally accepted MET values.
• Posts: 214 Member
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sorry i should have mentioned that I am walking not running. I average 2.5 mph, I am hoping to walk until i hit 250 and then start biking.
• Posts: 10,968 Member
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lgfrie wrote: »
EDIT: Addressing the gross vs net exercise calories issue: Let's say you're burning 160 cals/mile for an hour at 3 mph and 300 lbs. That's 480 cals/hr. With a BMR of, say, 2400 (just to use a round number) you'd have to subtract 100 from that 480 to get net exercise calories, so call it 380 rather than 480. That's still 126 net new cals burned per mile, or a coefficient of 0.42 with BMR removed from the equation - 0.42 gives you a pure "net" calorie calculation and is still 40 % higher than RW's estimate.

For what it's worth, a lot of other can't burn 480 kCal per hour on a bike, and walking is considerably lower intensity.
• Posts: 13 Member
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lgfrie wrote: »
Why is it obviously too low?

EDIT: Addressing the gross vs net exercise calories issue: Let's say you're burning 160 cals/mile for an hour at 3 mph and 300 lbs. That's 480 cals/hr. With a BMR of, say, 2400 (just to use a round number) you'd have to subtract 100 from that 480 to get net exercise calories, so call it 380 rather than 480. That's still 126 net new cals burned per mile, or a coefficient of 0.42 with BMR removed from the equation - 0.42 gives you a pure "net" calorie calculation and is still 40 % higher than RW's estimate.

Gross versus Net calories and a BMR... can you explain this a bit more? If possible, put it in context of oh, say a 55 y/o male @225 pounds who treadmills almost everyday for what the on board computer says is 325 calories burnt in anywhere from 22 to 27 minutes depending on my pace. Thx
• Posts: 2,392 Member
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lgfrie wrote: »
Why is it obviously too low?

EDIT: Addressing the gross vs net exercise calories issue: Let's say you're burning 160 cals/mile for an hour at 3 mph and 300 lbs. That's 480 cals/hr. With a BMR of, say, 2400 (just to use a round number) you'd have to subtract 100 from that 480 to get net exercise calories, so call it 380 rather than 480. That's still 126 net new cals burned per mile, or a coefficient of 0.42 with BMR removed from the equation - 0.42 gives you a pure "net" calorie calculation and is still 40 % higher than RW's estimate.

Gross versus Net calories and a BMR... can you explain this a bit more? If possible, put it in context of oh, say a 55 y/o male @225 pounds who treadmills almost everyday for what the on board computer says is 325 calories burnt in anywhere from 22 to 27 minutes depending on my pace. Thx

Gross vs net in a nutshell:

Gross includes the calories you burn doing nothing at all (the cost of staying alive)

Net does not

MFP already addresses the BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) which is your cost of staying alive. So if your machine adds it as well, it is being double counted for the time period you exercise. For most people this isn't a huge number, for those that exercise more it might become significant.

As for the treadmill, if it reports miles I'd do a calculation based on that and go from there. Short of a lab, it's an estimate. I have a Precor machine and studies show that it overestimates, and that is a machine that uses a high end power meter source, as well as a lot of data, to produce the calories burned curve. In the case of my machine, I found studies that tested it vs lab testing for use in the military as an alternative fitness test method. It was close enough, but certainly not exacting.
• Posts: 9,711 Member
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robertw486 wrote: »
lgfrie wrote: »
Why is it obviously too low?

Those formula coefficients (.63 running, .3 walking) are gospel at MFP but they are just one source and, as far as walking for obese people is concerned, they are absurdly low.

All of the online calorie estimators/calculators that I've seen for walking produce numbers higher than the RW numbers. Much higher, in the case of heavier people. As in, roughly speaking, double. That was my point in the last post, which got the avalanche of disagrees.

Let's take a quick tour of some online walking calculators, keeping in mind that RW says 90 calories per mile for a 300 pound person:

This one says 214 calories for a 300 lb person walking a mile: https://www.verywellfit.com/walking-calories-and-distance-calculators-3432711

This one says 167, consistent with the #'s I was positing: https://caloriesburnedhq.com/calories-burned-walking/

This one says 180: https://www.omnicalculator.com/sports/walking-calorie

Another one that says 180: http://www.shapesense.com/fitness-exercise/calculators/walking-calorie-burn-calculator.shtml

This one says 172: https://captaincalculator.com/health/calorie/calories-burned-walking-calculator/

So basically, in comparison to RW's 0.3 coefficient and resulting 90 calorie estimate, online calorie calculators use coefficients of around 0.6. Double the RW estimate.

There are many more of these calculators but I think 5 data points will suffice for now, as they are roughly consistent with each other.

Aside from the calculators, it only makes intuitive sense that walking, as an initial exercise for an obese person just starting out on the fitness journey, will burn a s**t ton more than 90 calories per mile. At a typical 2.5 mph for someone just starting out and overweight, that'd suggest 225 calories for a full hour of exercise. That is obviously way too low. Obese people walking a full hour each day (in conjunction with portion/calorie control) drop weight like a stone at first, as everyone knows. Takes a lotta work to lug around an extra 100-150 pounds of fat for an hour on a walking trail, as I experienced back in the day. BPM = high, calories burned = high. Of course, the BPM and therefore calories burned per minute come down as you lose weight and get in shape.

RW's .63 coefficient might work very nicely for running and for people at normal BMI's, but .3 for walking for obese people is not useful. That is probably why no other sites use numbers that low.

I would find it quite demoralizing if I was back at 300+ pounds and just starting my walking journey, and finding out that the big reward I get is 90 calories per mile or 225 per hour. That's an hour of lugging my tonnage around for one lean chicken taco at California Tortilla. Fortunately, you can eat a solid 400 ish cals to cover a 1 hour walk at that weight level. RW's #'s just aren't right.

EDIT: Addressing the gross vs net exercise calories issue: Let's say you're burning 160 cals/mile for an hour at 3 mph and 300 lbs. That's 480 cals/hr. With a BMR of, say, 2400 (just to use a round number) you'd have to subtract 100 from that 480 to get net exercise calories, so call it 380 rather than 480. That's still 126 net new cals burned per mile, or a coefficient of 0.42 with BMR removed from the equation - 0.42 gives you a pure "net" calorie calculation and is still 40 % higher than RW's estimate.

Finding data points that are in agreement doesn't solve the actual question.

The numbers in question from the original Runners World article are not just an opinion. They were backed with a study. The idea was to use science to see which prediction formulas were the most accurate. I'm fairly sure the below linked is the study they referenced...

https://researchgate.net/publication/8157727_Energy_Expenditure_of_Walking_and_Running_Comparison_with_Prediction_Equations

One of the prediction methods they cite as fairly accurate was the ACSM method, which is used in the linked calculator below:
https://exrx.net/Calculators/WalkRunMETs

Over the years there have been quite a few studies on the matter and they all come to reasonably similar conclusions. Gender, age, fitness levels, etc have all been tested, and there really is not a huge variance for the average person. Though the numbers aren't exacting across all populations, they are reasonably close. In the end, unless going outside the norm (as in walking very fast or jogging very slowly) then the efficiency doesn't change a lot. As such it can easily be broken down into a mass x distance equation.

Walking is simply a very efficient exercise and doesn't burn many calories.
robertw486 wrote: »
lgfrie wrote: »
Why is it obviously too low?

Those formula coefficients (.63 running, .3 walking) are gospel at MFP but they are just one source and, as far as walking for obese people is concerned, they are absurdly low.

All of the online calorie estimators/calculators that I've seen for walking produce numbers higher than the RW numbers. Much higher, in the case of heavier people. As in, roughly speaking, double. That was my point in the last post, which got the avalanche of disagrees.

Let's take a quick tour of some online walking calculators, keeping in mind that RW says 90 calories per mile for a 300 pound person:

This one says 214 calories for a 300 lb person walking a mile: https://www.verywellfit.com/walking-calories-and-distance-calculators-3432711

This one says 167, consistent with the #'s I was positing: https://caloriesburnedhq.com/calories-burned-walking/

This one says 180: https://www.omnicalculator.com/sports/walking-calorie

Another one that says 180: http://www.shapesense.com/fitness-exercise/calculators/walking-calorie-burn-calculator.shtml

This one says 172: https://captaincalculator.com/health/calorie/calories-burned-walking-calculator/

So basically, in comparison to RW's 0.3 coefficient and resulting 90 calorie estimate, online calorie calculators use coefficients of around 0.6. Double the RW estimate.

There are many more of these calculators but I think 5 data points will suffice for now, as they are roughly consistent with each other.

Aside from the calculators, it only makes intuitive sense that walking, as an initial exercise for an obese person just starting out on the fitness journey, will burn a s**t ton more than 90 calories per mile. At a typical 2.5 mph for someone just starting out and overweight, that'd suggest 225 calories for a full hour of exercise. That is obviously way too low. Obese people walking a full hour each day (in conjunction with portion/calorie control) drop weight like a stone at first, as everyone knows. Takes a lotta work to lug around an extra 100-150 pounds of fat for an hour on a walking trail, as I experienced back in the day. BPM = high, calories burned = high. Of course, the BPM and therefore calories burned per minute come down as you lose weight and get in shape.

RW's .63 coefficient might work very nicely for running and for people at normal BMI's, but .3 for walking for obese people is not useful. That is probably why no other sites use numbers that low.

I would find it quite demoralizing if I was back at 300+ pounds and just starting my walking journey, and finding out that the big reward I get is 90 calories per mile or 225 per hour. That's an hour of lugging my tonnage around for one lean chicken taco at California Tortilla. Fortunately, you can eat a solid 400 ish cals to cover a 1 hour walk at that weight level. RW's #'s just aren't right.

EDIT: Addressing the gross vs net exercise calories issue: Let's say you're burning 160 cals/mile for an hour at 3 mph and 300 lbs. That's 480 cals/hr. With a BMR of, say, 2400 (just to use a round number) you'd have to subtract 100 from that 480 to get net exercise calories, so call it 380 rather than 480. That's still 126 net new cals burned per mile, or a coefficient of 0.42 with BMR removed from the equation - 0.42 gives you a pure "net" calorie calculation and is still 40 % higher than RW's estimate.

Finding data points that are in agreement doesn't solve the actual question.

The numbers in question from the original Runners World article are not just an opinion. They were backed with a study. The idea was to use science to see which prediction formulas were the most accurate. I'm fairly sure the below linked is the study they referenced...

https://researchgate.net/publication/8157727_Energy_Expenditure_of_Walking_and_Running_Comparison_with_Prediction_Equations

One of the prediction methods they cite as fairly accurate was the ACSM method, which is used in the linked calculator below:
https://exrx.net/Calculators/WalkRunMETs

Over the years there have been quite a few studies on the matter and they all come to reasonably similar conclusions. Gender, age, fitness levels, etc have all been tested, and there really is not a huge variance for the average person. Though the numbers aren't exacting across all populations, they are reasonably close. In the end, unless going outside the norm (as in walking very fast or jogging very slowly) then the efficiency doesn't change a lot. As such it can easily be broken down into a mass x distance equation.

Walking is simply a very efficient exercise and doesn't burn many calories.

I like this quoted calculator as it comes very close to the numbers that work for me for running and walking. But of course I have years of data, and have to say that this often-quoted equation works for me. Mind you, apart from age I could have been a participant in this study with regards to size and weight.

I find it very interesting btw that the difference between threadmill and track is so small. I would have expected a bigger difference.

Btw, feel very stupid asking this, but what would those equations be in kg/km? I have custom workouts in MFP for multipliers of 0.37 and 0.86, but I'm not sure where I got them from.
• Posts: 1,449 Member
edited March 2020
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robertw486 wrote: »

Finding data points that are in agreement doesn't solve the actual question.
....
Walking is simply a very efficient exercise and doesn't burn many calories.

I didn't find "a data point in agreement" with a particular point of view. What I found were 5 online calorie estimators that are all in agreement with each other. +/- 10-15 %. Actually, I found around 15 of them but it seemed superfluous to copy 15 links. Nevertheless, no matter how many online calculators one finds for walking, they are all roughly consistent, and higher than the RW estimate.

I agree, walking is an efficient exercise. How efficient, is the question. Of course you will burn less calories walking, which is what we homo sapiens were designed to do, than biking or skiing, but how much less?

To posit that a 300 pound person huffing and puffing down a hiking trail for an hour at 2 mph burns a grand total of 180 calories is.... not helpful, to put it gently. That is what the RW formula yields, whereas all the other calculators produce a number along the lines of 320-400, which is more reasonable.

Anyone who wants to award themselves 30 % of their body weight per mile as a calorie estimate for walking is free to do so. I have always given myself somewhere between 45 and 60 % (depending on my mood) and that has squared with my CICO spreadsheet and actual weight loss.

Of course, if one is not eating the calories back, this remains an interesting theoretical discussion. If one is eating the calories back, however, and is 300 pounds, it cannot be stressed highly enough that 90 calories per mile is an absurd underestimate of the actual calories expended and needs to eat more food to cover the exercise adequately.