How much fat did I lose on my 1500-calorie workout?

By Douglas Pieterse, Co-Founder & Head Personal Trainer
"It may be simple but not always easy"
Here is a subject that comes up far too often to not be addressed. I often hear people talk about how they burnt 1000 calories in a HIIT class. Or better yet, they added their step count together with their workout so they could have a huge caloric expenditure of about 1500-2000 calories. 
Now it goes without saying that counting calories is not an exact science, but it does tend to help us gauge how much energy is being consumed and used. However, there does seem to be some misunderstanding when it comes to how much is realistically burnt during a workout and how much fat loss that translates into. 
The guideline for when it comes to how much fat is lost per calorie deficit is set at 7700 calories per kilogram of fat. Let’s say you do a HIIT workout which consists of a warm-up (10minutes), with an actual workout time of 25-30 minutes. Excluding the time spent standing around, getting organized, and stretching and chatting you might be lucky enough to burn about 300-400 calories. But what about EPOC? 
(Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. EPOC, informally called afterburn is a measurably increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity.) 
Well, let’s give you an added 200 calories for that. That would mean on a good day where you really push yourself you may end up only burning about 600 calories from your workout. Great work!!! Now only 6900 calories to go. 
What about longer workouts, where we forget about EPOC and go for the immediate gratification of a high-calorie burn by doing much longer workouts? You know, the ones that usually last 2- 3 hours. 
Yes, you will see a higher caloric expenditure, and your weight might drop considerably, but a large sum of this loss will only be water weight. The numbers might drop on the scale initially, but they will return in a few days following proper hydration. 
There is no real secret to weight loss, as you can see. It’s going to take consistent effort and most definitely the help of a well-balanced diet that will get you the results you want. A friendly reminder though, even when you train, you still must remain disciplined with your diet. Just because you did a great 3-hour hike and burnt 1500 calories does not mean you can have a pizza, beer, and ice cream and still lose weight. 
Make sure to choose a nutritional path that works with your lifestyle. Diets can help some, but they might not work for your body, your lifestyle or your wallet. There are no shortcuts to getting results, but there will always be a fitness and nutritional regimen that will suit you.