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How Many Sit Ups Does it Take to Burn One Pound of Fat?

Jul 9, 2008
So many people have the fitness goal to lose stomach fat, and in order to do that many people turn to sit ups. One important point is that you cannot spot reduce body fat. Spot reduction is the #1 Abdominal Exercise Myth.

Big marketing companies keep perpetuating the spot reduction myth because it is profitable, but the truth is that no matter how much you work a spot, you cannot specifically target the fat under your skin in a certain spot with exercises for the muscles in that spot.

Okay, let us get back to talking about how many sit ups you would have to do in order to burn one pound of fat. It is generally accepted that you have to burn 3500 calories from fat in order to lose 1 pound of fat, so just how many sit ups is that.

Well, if you did as many sit ups as you could in 1 minute you might be able to complete 50 reps if you are in really good shape. At that rate, you are probably around 10 calories burned in that 1 minute.

Now if you are not in good shape, you will probably only be able to do half as much (25 sit ups in a minute and burn around 5 calories per minute).

So if 50 sit ups is about 10 calories, then you would have to do 17,500 sit ups in order to burn 3500 calories. If you did 1000 sit up every day for 2 weeks you would only be at 14,000 sit ups.

Hopefully, you can see that using sit ups to burn fat might not be the most efficient workout strategy. Aerobic exercise, sports activities, or total body weight training are better choices for burning body fat.

Generally, travelling 1 mile by foot burns about 100 calories (walking or running 1 mile burns about 100 calories, but of course running takes less time).

With these numbers you would have to walk 35 miles to burn 3500 calories. If you walked 2.5 miles every day for 2 weeks, you would walk about 35 miles after two weeks.

So in order to burn 3500 calories of 2 weeks, you can do 1000 sit ups a day or walk or jog 2.5 miles a day.
I will venture to say that it is impossible for the average person to do 1000 sit ups in one day, but it is very possible for the average person to walk 2.5 miles (35-45 minutes a day).

To burn the same amount of calories in a typical candy bar (300) you would have to walk or run 3 miles or do 600 sit ups. If you want to lose inches on your waist I would skip the candy bar and go for an apple.

Losing weight is all about eating high quality foods and exercising regularly to burn excess calories. You can try to lose weight just by doing sit ups, but it is not the smartest or most efficient way to lose weight.

For the best weight loss results, take a comprehensive approach. Eat a nutritious diet, do aerobic exercise, and perform total body weight training.
About the Author
Dr. Charles A. Inniss, Jr. is a physical therapist and personal trainer.

Click the link to his website for free weight loss and diet tips and more information on sit ups and ab exercises
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