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5 Factors That Affect Calorie Burning And How They Can Help You Lose Weight

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Aug 30, 2022

    5 Factors That Affect Calorie Burning And How They Can Help You Lose Weight

    Ever wonder why two people who follow the same exercise routine and have the same diet still lose weight differently? According to experts, it’s because there are unique factors that affect calorie burning. What are these factors? Find out here. 

    Factors That Influence Calorie Burning

    If you want to maximize your efforts in losing weight, take note of the following factors: 

    1. Body Weight and Muscle Mass 

    Two of the factors that affect calorie burning are body weight and muscle mass. 

    In general, the higher your weight is, the more calories you burn. This is because it takes more calories to move your body. Moreover, people with bigger builds often have larger internal organs, which also influence calorie burning

    Are you familiar with the weight loss plateau or the moment when you no longer lose weight despite not changing anything in your routine? Experts say that plateau sometimes happens after you’ve already lost significant weight. 

    At the same time, however, you have to consider muscle mass. Reports say the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn. The reason is that muscle burns more calories than fats. 

    2. Age

    Did you know that age is also a factor in weight loss and calorie burning? 

    Reports say as you advance in age, your muscle mass also decreases. The connection is still vague, but some suspect that it’s due to our growing “immunity” to the protein for muscle maintenance2

    This means you might be burning fewer calories as you grow older. 

    3. Gender

    Experts say men have more calorie burning ability than women simply because they are usually larger in size. Men likewise have more muscle mass. 

    4. Physical Activity

    Generally, the more you move – and the more intense the exercise is – the more you’ll burn calories. But there’s one thing you have to take into account: adaptation. 

    Perhaps you’ve already observed that the more you do something, the easier it gets to do it. Hence, if you always run, over time, you’ll realize that you can run longer or faster than you can before. 

    But, there’s a catch. The more you become accustomed to a particular activity, the less calories you burn. 

    5. Thermogenesis

    Thermogenesis refers to the energy you need to digest, absorb, and dispose of ingested nutrients. Experts say thermogenesis accounts for about 5% to 10 % of energy use. 

    Of course, thermogenesis is different for each person. 

    How to Maximize Your Calorie Burning

    As you noticed, some of the factors for calorie burning are non-modifiable: you cannot do anything about your age, gender, and thermogenesis. But, you can do some things for the other factors. Here are some tips:

    1. Consider building muscle while losing weight

    It may not be the easiest thing to do, but it’s possible for you to lose weight while building muscle. The key, according to some experts, is to incorporate strength training (weight training) into your cardio workouts. 

    2. Don’t get frustrated over weight loss plateau

    If you experience a weight loss plateau, don’t get frustrated and certainly try not to quit your diet and workout. Talking to a dietitian or fitness expert will help. You just might need to change some things in your routine. 

    3. Have variety in your physical activity

    If you’re getting used to your current physical workout, consider increasing their intensity or choosing another activity. 

    However, please do not do this without the guidance of a doctor, especially if your exercise routine is based on your current health status. 

    Key Takeaways

    Bodyweight, muscle mass, age, gender, physical activity, and thermogenesis affect calorie burning. While some factor are non-modifiable, you can still do some things to maximize your calorie burning.

    Learn more about Diet and Weight Loss here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Aug 30, 2022

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