Burpees For Weight Loss: Is It A Good Idea?

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Exercise can help with weight loss but some options are better than others. Find out whether doing burpees for weight loss is a good idea or not.

Burpees are good for weight loss in the sense that they help you burn a nice amount of extra calories.

This increases your chances of using up more energy than is coming in from food and/or making the difference bigger for more weight loss results.

At the same time, you need to keep in mind that you still need to pay enough attention to other lifestyle habits like your diet. It is possible to do a lot of burpees and gain weight if these other habits are suboptimal.

Additionally, there are exercises that can burn more calories than burpees in a shorter amount of time.

Some other things to note about burpees are that they can be rough on your body, interfere with resistance training recovery, and may not be fun to you.

In the end, you want to weigh the pros and cons of burpees for weight loss against each other and decide whether this exercise is the right choice for you.

Are burpees good for losing weight?

Generally speaking, burpees are decent to good for losing weight in terms of how much extra energy (calories) they make you consume.

At the same time, you need to know that burning calories does not necessarily mean losing more weight, that burpees also have disadvantages for this goal, and that other alternatives can be more effective.

How many calories do burpees burn?

Your body burns energy, measured in calories, throughout the day to function. When moving more intensely by doing an exercise like burpees, you increase the number of calories you burn.

To figure out whether burpees are good for weight loss and to what extent, taking a look at how they compare to other exercises in terms of calorie burning can be helpful.

The following numbers are estimations for a 155-pound person doing the exercises for 30 minutes (1).

  • Burpees: 293 calories
  • Water Aerobics: 149 calories
  • Stretching (Hatha Yoga): 186 calories
  • Rowing, Stationary (moderate): 260 calories
  • Bicycling, Stationary (moderate): 260 calories
  • Elliptical Trainer (general): 335 calories
  • Running 5.2 mph: 335 calories
  • Jumping rope: 372 calories
  • Swimming (breaststroke): 372 calories

These amounts are rough estimations but they do give somewhat of an idea of how burpees compare to other workouts.

Burpees are helpful but there are also definitely exercises that are more effective for burning calories in a short amount of time.

Does that mean burpees always cause weight loss?

Before you start doing 30-minute burpee workouts to lose a certain amount of weight, you need to know that burning more calories does not always lead to weight loss.

To lose weight you need to make it so your body requires more energy to function than is coming in from food. At this point, you start using energy stores like body fat to get the remaining needs.

Burpees help with weight loss in the sense that they increase your energy needs. This makes it easier to get to the point where you start using energy stores and/or make the difference bigger.

At the same time, you do not always reach this point by exercising more. It is possible that you need to pay more attention to other lifestyle habits like your diet to get weight loss results with burpees.

How many burpees to lose weight

So in practice, how many burpees you need to lose weight also depends on details like what you eat.

However, let’s assume you have a lifestyle routine that keeps you at the same weight and the only change you make is doing more burpees.

In that case, you can use the number of calories burpees burn and that the average person does about 15 repetitions per minute to make estimations about how many repetitions you need to achieve your goals.

More specifically, people of different body weights would have to do the following amounts of burpees to burn a pound of body fat (if they keep the rest of their routine the same):

  • 125 pounds (56 kg) body weight: 6667 burpees
  • 155 pounds (70 kg) body weight: 5376 burpees
  • 185 pounds (83 kg) body weight: 4505 burpees
  • 215 pounds (97 kg) body weight: 3876 burpees

Again, these are very rough estimations. For example, burpees at high intensities could cause afterburn. This would reduce how many repetitions you need to do to see results.

Additionally, keep in mind that as you lose weight, the same workouts start burning fewer calories.

Do burpees burn belly fat?

Next, many people consider exercising to lose body fat in specific areas. Unfortunately, it is generally not possible to target fat loss in significant amounts.

First of all, whether you start burning up fat or other energy stores like glycogen depends on the state of your body and what workouts you do.

Secondly, even when you start burning fat, what areas are first depends on things like your genes and how far you are in your weight loss journey.

With good habits in other lifestyle areas, burpees could help one person lose those final few pounds of belly fat. For someone else, burpees could only burn glycogen stores (at least temporarily).

Potential downsides of burpees

The information above helps you realize that burning more calories does not always lead to weight loss.

However, details different from the amount of energy an exercise uses can matter too.

First of all, burpees can be rough on your body. Especially if you have a few extra pounds to lose. It is possible that doing something like 100 burpees a day would lead to injuries.

These injuries could reduce how much exercise you can do to 0 which is not helpful when trying to lose weight.

Secondly, because burpees tend to engage your muscles a good amount, they could interfere with your recovery from resistance training workouts.

This can lead to fewer results and/or decrease your performance in these weight lifting workouts.

Lastly, while they offer nice benefits, a good amount of people don’t enjoy doing burpees. Liking your exercise routine to at least some extent can benefit your consistency a lot.

How fast can you lose weight with burpees?

Let’s assume again that you have a lifestyle routine that keeps you at the same weight and that the only thing you change is doing more burpees.

More specifically that you implement 300 burpees a day, around 20 to 25 minutes of working out.

If a 155-pound (70 kg) person does this for a week, he/she will burn about 1365 calories which comes down to losing about 0.39 pounds (0.17 kg) of body fat.

When doing the same routine for 30 days, this person can burn around 5850 calories which are about 1.67 pounds (0.73 kg) of body fat.

In reality, this person could lose weight faster than that because of the afterburn effect from burpees.

Additionally, making changes in other lifestyle areas like your diet could offer even faster weight loss results.

How to lose more weight with burpees

As mentioned, the main way to lose more weight while doing more burpees will be to make changes in other lifestyle areas like your diet.

That aside, you may also want to burn more calories with burpees.

The first way to do this is to make this exercise more intense per minute. That could mean doing the burpees faster or wearing a good weighted vest.

Keep in mind that these modifications are also harder on your ankles, knees, hips, and back.

Another option is doing burpees for longer amounts of time. There is a point where you can start overtraining but longer workouts tend to burn more calories.

How to do burpees when you are overweight

With all the jumps and shocks, burpees can be hard for people who are overweight. Extra weight increases the impact of the shocks your body experiences.

The first way you can do burpees when you are overweight is by doing a regular bodyweight squat instead of a jump squat. By leaving out the jump, burpees become less hard on your body (in a good way).

Secondly, if that is still too hard, you can step into the plank position and back instead of jumping.

Again, this makes the exercise less challenging on your body while still keeping a lot of the weight loss effects.

Potentially better alternatives

Besides modifying burpees, you can also just choose different exercises altogether.

There is no shame in starting or sticking to other movements that help you achieve your goals in a way that involves a lower risk of injuring yourself.

Some low-impact burpee alternatives include:

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Lifting weights
  • Swimming
  • Using an elliptical machine
  • Kayaking
  • Using a rowing machine

These exercises are great for burning calories and offering more general health benefits too.

At the same time, they involve fewer shocks that could be too challenging for people who are overweight and/or new to exercise.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.