Illustration Reveals How Much Women Need to Exercise to Burn off Common Foods vs. Men

January 27th 2017

Almie Rose

There are several factors that impact how many calories you burn during exercise — and gender is one of them.

A man and woman could eat the same junk food, but that doesn't mean it'll take the same amount of time (doing various forms of exercise) to burn them off.

First off, how many calories should men and women eat in a day?

There's really no one correct answer to this — it depends on the height and weight and more importantly, the activity level of the person. The more sedentary someone is, the fewer calories they need to consume. But we can come up with a scenario to estimate.

Let's say you're "moderately active."

The United States Department of Health and Human Services defines "moderately active" as "physical activity equivalent to walking about 1.5 to 3 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour" in addition to the regular light activity you do as you go about your day.

If you're a moderately active adult man from ages 19-30, they suggest you consume somewhere between 2,600–2,800 calories.

If you're a moderately active adult woman from ages 19-30, they suggest a lower calorie range: 2,000–2,200.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults "do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week."

The following infographics from Buddy Loans via Lifehack show how much a man vs. a woman would need to work out to burn off the same amount of calories — plus some helpful workout suggestions.

So how much do you need to workout after eating a Big Mac?

A Big Mac sandwich is 460 calories. So If you're a man, you'd have to do 42 minutes of cardio, or 57 minutes of weightlifting. But if you're a woman, you'd have to do 51 minutes of cardio or 68 minutes of weightlifting. And that's just for the burger.

Big Mac

Want fries with that?


So far, for a McDonald's burger and fries, a woman would need to do cardio for 1 hour and 39 minutes compared to a man's cardio workout of 1 hour and 22 minutes.

Would you like to add a can of Coke?

can of coke

If so, you can also add on 12 or 16 minutes of cardio or weight lifting, respectively, if you're a man. Add 14 or 19 minutes of cardio or weights, respectively, if you're a woman.

Would you prefer a beer?


Fancy a dessert?

chocolate bar

If you knew how much you had to exercise per food you ate, would it change your eating habits?

That's the question the Royal Society for Public Health of the U.K. asked in April, when they suggested labeling foods with how much exercise it would take to burn them off, with the goal of making consumers "more mindful of the energy they consume and how these calories relate to activities in their everyday lives," according to the journal BMJ.

However — and this is important – you do you.

You know your body best. You know how much food you can and cannot eat in one sitting and how much or how little food and exercise makes you feel happy and healthy.

You can see the rest of the images at Lifehack.