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The 500-calorie workout plan

Linda Melone, CSCS, is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and certified personal trainer based in Orange County, CA. Visit her website at

Burn 500 calories today

To lose weight, energy going out (calories you burn) must be more than energy coming in (calories you eat). Specifically, you need to create a 3,500 calorie deficit in order to lose a pound. Eat 500 fewer calories or burn 500 more calories. Either way, you'll slim down.
Burn 500 calories today

Higher math aside, it's decidedly less painful to cut back a bit and burn off more. You won't feel so deprived. Plus, you won't end up in the ER from back-to-back days of intense workouts, especially when the heaviest thing you'd lifted prior was the lid off a pint of Ben & Jerry's.

Here's a combination of 250-calorie-burning daily activities, along with ways to cut 250 calories a day from your diet. Mix and match to find what works best for you. Either way, stick with it and you will see results!

Calorie savers

  • Spray oil instead of a tablespoon of oil
    Calories saved: 100
  • Egg whites in place of whole eggs
    Calories saved: 65 per egg
  • Use mustard in place of mayo on sandwiches
    Calories saved: 75
  • A piece of fruit instead of 3 cookies
    Calories saved: Approximately 100
  • Swap hamburger for turkey burger
    Calories saved: Approximately 40
  • Skip the cheese on top
    Calories saved: 100
  • Swap a potato for a cup of veggies
    Calories saved: 75
  • Trade your specialty coffee for black coffee
    Calories saved: 200 or so, depending on the specialty coffee
  • Cut your sandwich in half and save the rest for another meal
    Calories saved: Depends on the sandwich but up to 250 for a mayo-based tuna salad
  • Skip the bread and butter before dinner
    Calories saved: 200 (1 roll + 1 tablespoon butter)

Calorie burners

Burn more calories by adding these activities to your weekly routines. The calorie-burn quickly adds up.

  • Walking the dog 30 minutes a day: 125 calories
  • Running up the stairs for 2 minutes: 36 calories
  • Washing and waxing the car: 300 calories
  • Gardening, total 60 minutes, including 30 minutes pushing a lawn mower: 360 calories
  • Vacuuming and ironing for 60 minutes: 152 calories
  • Cooking for 30 minutes: 72 calories
  • Walking 15 minutes to and from public transportation: 60 calories
  • Going up one flight of stairs 3 times a day: 15 calories
  • Walking briskly at the mall for an hour: 145 to 240 calories
  • Getting up and answering the phone, standing during a 10-minute conversation: 20 calories

More on calories

How to shred calories all summer long
Calorie reality check: What does it really take to burn off that breakfast?
How many calories should I eat in a day?

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