How many pounds will I lose if I burn 400 calories a day?

Quick Answer

Burning an extra 400 calories per day can lead to weight loss of around 1 pound per week or 4 pounds per month. The exact amount of weight loss will depend on your current calorie intake and expenditure. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume.

How Calories and Weight Loss Are Related

Weight loss occurs when you expend more energy through activity than you take in through food and drink. To lose 1 pound of fat, you need to have a calorie deficit of approximately 3,500 calories. This calorie deficit can be achieved through a combination of reducing calorie intake and increasing calorie expenditure through exercise and activity.

There are a few key points to understand about calories and weight loss:

  • 1 pound of fat contains about 3,500 calories
  • To lose 1 pound per week, you need a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories (3,500 calories divided by 7 days)
  • Burning an extra 400 calories per day while keeping intake constant creates a 400 calorie daily deficit
  • A 400 calorie daily deficit could result in about 1 pound of weight loss per week (400 x 7 days = 2,800 calories/week)

So in simple terms, burning an extra 400 calories per day can lead to losing approximately 1 pound per week, or 4 pounds per month. However, the actual amount of weight loss could be more or less depending on your total daily calorie expenditure and intake.

Factors That Affect Weight Loss

While a 400 calorie daily deficit theoretically leads to 1 pound of weight loss per week, the actual amount of weight loss will vary based on the following factors:

Current Calorie Intake

If your current calorie intake is high, creating a 400 calorie daily deficit through exercise may lead to more weight loss than if your calorie intake is already low. For example:

Current Calorie Intake Calorie Deficit from Exercise Total Daily Calorie Deficit
2,500 calories -400 calories 400 calories
1,800 calories -400 calories 400 calories

In this example, the person with the higher calorie intake will likely lose more weight with a 400 calorie deficit.

Calorie Expenditure

The more calories you burn through activity, the greater the deficit and weight loss. Your basal metabolic rate accounts for 60-75% of daily calorie expenditure. More exercise increases expenditure. Higher muscle mass also increases resting expenditure.

Macronutrient Composition

The types of foods you eat impact weight loss. Protein increases satiety so you eat less. Low carb diets can promote water loss initially through reduced glycogen stores. Low fat diets eliminate high calorie sources like oils. Watching macros can optimize weight loss.

Calorie Accuracy

Tracking calories burned through exercise and intake from food is notoriously inaccurate. Wearable devices can overestimate calorie burn. Food labels and tracking apps may underestimate calorie consumption. These inaccuracies affect expected versus actual weight loss.

Individual Factors

Age, gender, genetics, stress levels, sleep, medication use, and health conditions can all impact metabolic rate and weight loss results. Hormones, in particular, play a key role in fat storage and distribution.

How to Create a 400 Calorie Deficit

Here are some tips for how to burn an extra 400 calories per day to lose weight:

Increase Cardio Exercise

– Brisk walking for 60-90 minutes
– Jogging for 30-45 minutes
– Swimming laps for 45-60 minutes
– High intensity interval training for 20-30 minutes

Aim for cardio that burns 8-10 calories per minute. This equates to around 400 calories in 45-60 minutes.

Add Resistance Training

– Lift weights 3-4 times per week
– Focus on larger muscle groups like legs, back, chest
– Build muscle to increase resting metabolic rate

Weight training can burn around 200-300 calories per 45-60 minute session. It also builds muscle which expends more energy at rest.

Increase Non-Exercise Activity

– Take the stairs instead of the elevator
– Walk around while on phone calls
– Fidget, tap your feet, and make other small movements
– Park farther away and walk to destinations

Increasing daily movement outside of exercise burns extra calories. Small efforts add up over the course of a day.

Reduce Calorie Intake

– Eliminate liquid calories like sugary drinks
– Cook meals at home and watch portion sizes
– Stick to mostly whole, minimally processed foods
– Limit dining out at calorie-dense restaurants
– Moderate higher calorie foods like oils, cheese, nuts

Decreasing calorie intake makes it easier to maintain a consistent 400 calorie daily deficit through exercise alone.

Sample Daily Routine to Burn 400 Calories

Here is an example daily routine that incorporates exercise and activity to burn around 400 extra calories:


– 45 minute brisk walk (300 calories)
– Take stairs up 3 floors to office (10 calories)


– Lift weights for 30 minutes at lunch (150 calories)
– Walk for 10 minutes on 2 phone calls (40 calories)


– Cook a light 400 calorie dinner
– Fidget while watching TV (50 calories)
– Park farther away at the grocery store (20 calories)

Total Extra Calories Burned: ~400

This example combines cardio, resistance training, NEAT activities, and paying attention to diet to create a 400 calorie deficit through calorie expenditure alone. Actual calorie burn will vary based on the specific activities.

Nutrition Tips to Increase Calorie Deficit

Diet and nutrition choices can make it easier to maintain a 400-500 calorie daily deficit. Here are some tips:

Increase Protein Intake

– Choose lean proteins like chicken, fish, tofu, beans
– Aim for 0.7-1 gram per pound of body weight
– Boosts satiety and preserves muscle during weight loss

Reduce Added Sugar

– Limit sugary drinks, bakery items, candy, ice cream
– Avoid unnecessary added sugars in sauces, condiments
– Sweeteners provide no nutrition and empty calories

Fill Up on Fiber

– Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains
– Fiber helps you feel full on fewer calories
– Aim for 25-30 grams of fiber per day

Healthy Fats in Moderation

– Include heart-healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts
– But limit high-fat foods like cheese, butter, creamy sauces
– Fats are calorie-dense so watch portion sizes

Hydrate with Water

– Drink water as your primary beverage
– Avoid liquid calories like juice, soda, sports drinks, coffee drinks
– Proper hydration supports metabolism and exercise performance

Sample Meal Plan to Create a Calorie Deficit

Here is an example 1,600 calorie meal plan to create an approximately 400 calorie deficit, assuming a basal metabolic rate of around 1,800-2,000 calories per day:


– Oatmeal made with skim milk, topped with berries (300 calories)
– Black coffee (5 calories)


– Turkey and avocado sandwich on whole wheat (400 calories)
– Side salad with vinaigrette (150 calories)
– Iced tea (5 calories)


– Baked chicken breast (150 calories)
– Roasted brussels sprouts (150 calories)
– Brown rice (100 calories)
– Glass of unsweetened almond milk (40 calories)


– Greek yogurt with cinnamon (100 calories)
– Apple with peanut butter (150 calories)
– Baby carrots (50 calories)

Total Calories: ~1,600

This meal plan focuses on lean proteins, fiber-rich produce, whole grains, and healthy fats to optimize nutrition and stay satisfied on fewer calories. It also limits liquid calories, added sugars, and highly processed foods.

Exercise Cautions When Increasing Activity Level

It’s important to take precautions and exercise safely when substantially increasing your physical activity:

  • Increase exercise duration and intensity gradually to avoid overuse injuries
  • Wear supportive shoes suited to the exercise
  • Stay hydrated and fuel appropriately for longer workouts
  • Listen to your body and take rest days when needed
  • Talk to your doctor before significantly increasing exercise if you have health conditions
  • Stretch after exercise to maintain flexibility and reduce muscle soreness

Increasing daily movement outside of dedicated workout time also carries little risk of injury. Simple lifestyle activities like taking the stairs and parking farther away are low-impact ways to increase calorie expenditure.

The Best Exercises to Burn 400 Calories

Certain types of exercise make it easier to hit a 400 calorie burn in a reasonable amount of time. The best options include:


– Jog at a moderate pace for 30-45 minutes
– Low-impact and accessible exercise for most people
– Burns 700-800 calories per hour


– Freestyle swimming for 45-60 minutes
– No-impact and gentle on joints
– Burns up to 800 calories per hour depending on intensity

Circuit Training

– Combine cardio and resistance exercises with minimal rest
– Gets heart rate up and builds muscle
– Burns up to 600 calories in 45 minutes

Jumping Rope

– Jump rope for 20-30 minutes
– High-intensity exercise that burns 700+ calories per hour
– Portable and requires minimal equipment


– Bike at moderate intensity for 30-45 minutes
– Low-impact cardio that’s easy on joints
– Burns 500-700 calories per hour

Weight Loss Timeline Expectations

When following a regimen to burn 400 extra calories per day, you can expect weight loss results along the following timeline as long as you maintain the deficit:

  • 2 weeks: Up to 2 pounds lost
  • 1 month: Up to 4 pounds lost
  • 3 months: Up to 12 pounds lost
  • 6 months: Up to 24 pounds lost
  • 1 year: Up to 52 pounds lost

However, weight loss inevitably slows over time as you get closer to your goal weight and your energy needs decrease. Expect fast initial results that gradually taper off. The above timeline also assumes consistent compliance with burning 400 extra calories daily.

Other Benefits of Burning Extra Calories

In addition to weight loss, creating a calorie deficit through exercise, activity, and diet provides these benefits:

  • Reduced body fat percentage and smaller waist circumference
  • Increased cardiovascular fitness and endurance
  • Improved strength and tone from strength training
  • Better cholesterol and blood pressure numbers
  • Decreased risk for obesity-related diseases
  • Potentially improved mood from exercise-triggered endorphins

Burning extra calories can jumpstart weight loss while also creating positive changes in body composition, health metrics, and mental outlook when maintained over time.

Maintaining Weight Loss

The best way to maintain weight loss from burning 400 extra calories daily is to:

  • Make exercise and activity a consistent habit
  • Continue to watch calorie intake after reaching goal weight
  • Weigh yourself weekly and adjust if weight creeps up
  • Focus on nutritious whole foods to feel satisfied on fewer calories
  • Allow occasional treats but limit portion sizes
  • Stay motivated by tracking non-scale victories like body measurements, pictures, fitness gains

Permanent lifestyle changes are key for long-term weight maintenance after initial weight loss. Remaining vigilant with nutrition choices and consistent with physical activity makes it easier to sustain a lower weight.


Burning an additional 400 calories per day through a combination of increased exercise, activity, and dietary changes can lead to weight loss of around 1 pound per week or 4 pounds per month. But the actual amount will vary based on your current stats and consistency. Weight loss slows over time as your calorie needs decrease. Permanent lifestyle changes are necessary for maintaining long-term results.

Leave a Comment