How to track calories burned during HIIT in 2 Simple Ways!


High-intensity interval training is an efficient way of burning fat, building endurance and in some cases, growing muscles in a short time.

When it comes to losing weight, caloric expenditure is chief. You need to know how many calories you burn and consume. 

The difference equals your transformation, as in, weight loss. 

In this article, we will explore two ways of tracking calories burned during HIIT along with a few pressing questions answered on the same.

How you track calories burned during HIIT?

1. MET Values Chart

Over the years, researchers have tracked the number of calories burned doing all kinds of activities. This information is available for free at the Compendium of Physical activities, thanks to the National Institute of Health (NIH). 

Different activities require varying amounts of energy to complete. A dynamic of exercises is compiled on the website in categories.  Each with a comprehensive list of related activities. You should find most workouts. 

METs are used to quantify the number of calories burned while performing each exercise.  

Metabolic equivalent (MET) is the amount of energy expenditure when an individual sits quietly. 1 MET equals 0.45 Kcal/lb/hour. For instance, a 220lb person burns 220kcal (calories) sitting quietly for 1 hour. 

Note that this is a manual method of calculating calories burned. Hence, a little math is required. Here’s how to proceed:

Head over to the compendium. Navigate to the activities category and select the specific HIIT workout you wish to try. 

Each workout has an assigned MET value. Use the 2011 values as they are the latest. Values in blue have supporting research linked. Those in red are just estimates. 

How to calculate calories burned during HIIT

  • Calories burned during the burst period

For instance, bicycling is the first activity. Now, if you wish to do HIIT cycling, then you should select-“bicycling, mountain, uphill, vigorous”. In that case, the MET value is 14.0. To get any values, first convert your weight to kilograms. 1 pound is approximately 0.45 kilograms.

Simply multiply your weight in pounds by 0.45. Alternatively, you can just google the conversion(X pounds in kilograms). 

Next, multiply the number of kilograms by the MET value to find the number of calories burned. In our case;

220 pounds=99.79kgs

High intensity biking rating=14.0 METs.

Therefore, calories burned for 1 hour during vigorous bicycling equals-14*99.79=1397.06 calories. 

To get values in minutes, simply divide the calories found by 60. Multiply by the number of minutes.

For examples, the number of calories burned by a 220-pound individual in 10 minutes of vigorous bicycling would be:


Therefore, for 10 minutes, we have:

23.28*10=232.84 calories/10 minutes

  • Calories burned during the recovery period

HIIT training also involves intermediate episodes of reduced activity. Using the same bicycling example, we will pick the “bicycling, mountain, genera” option. 

This is reduced intensity biking with a rating of 8.5METs. It gives the number of calories you will be burning as you recover from the burst period. 

For our 220-pound person example, we have:


Our caloric value would be”

8.5*99.79=848.215 calories/hour

To find the value in minutes, we divide the number by 60 as follows:

848.215/60-14.137 calories/minute.

Or even better,

7.068 calories for 30 seconds. 

This gives 

141.37 calories/10 minutes

  • Total calories burned for a 20-minute HIIT workout

We will work with bicycling. Assuming there is 1 minute of burst cycling followed by 1 minute of moderate, rest cycling, we have:

10 minutes of burst activity=232.84 calories

10 minutes of burst activity=141.37 calories

Giving a total of 374.21 calories for a 20-minute HIIT cycling session for a 220-pound individual.

To track the total number of burned calories, define the duration of your HIIT training. Next, calculate the total number of minutes of burst, as well as the total number of minutes of light activity.

Calculate the values for each block as previously illustrated. 

NOTICE: This technique does not take into account other factors such as body mass, body composition, age, gender, ambient temperature and efficiency, which also affect the number of calories burned.

Consequently, there is a more accurate way of measuring the number of calories burned. In the following section, we will discuss this electronic technique.

2. Heart Rate Sensors

A heart rate sensor measures the number of times your beats in a minute using light. The sensor works by calculating how much time the light takes to reflect.

 A heartbeat leads to a corresponding increase in blood pressure, hence, density per unit area. This corresponds to readings in beats/minute.

 The faster you work out, the more blood pumps and the higher the BPM. Smart devices such as smart/running watches and fitness smartphones compute this data in very short intervals, typically seconds. 

They also take into account your height, weight, gender among other variables that come into play. With this, they can calculate the total number of valorizes burned during the duration of your workout. This includes both the burst and recovery periods.

Heart rate sensors come in many shapes, forms and sizes. Most running watches have these sensors built right in. The larger the sensor, the more accurate it is in measuring heart rate.

Chest straps are the most accurate forms of heart rate scanners. This is attributed to their proximity to the heart. Dedicated heart rate sensors relay this data to computing devices such as smartphones and smartwatches for further processing.

To track calories burned during exercise, put on a heart rate sensing device. You may relay this data to your smartphone app such as MyFitnessPal to give your number of calories burned.

You may also use this calories burned by heartrate calculator for the same results.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

#How many calories does HIIT burn after a workout?

According to researchers from Colorado State University, HIIT training burns an average of 226 calories after training.

#Can I do HIIT every day?

While HIIT is safe and effective, you may not need to do it every day. Fitness experts recommend that you limit it to 3-5 days a week.

#What should I eat for HIIT training?

A high carbohydrate meal that also includes proteins is highly recommended 3-4 hours before training. A high carbohydrate snack is recommended within an hour after training.  

#Which is the best HIIT workout app?

The following are 5 best HIIT training apps you can try today:

  • Freeletics
  • Keelo
  • Seconds Pro
  • Interval timer
  • Workout Trainer

#Is 30 minutes of HIIT enough to lose weight?

You can burn 25-30% more calories performing HIIT training over other forms of exercise. Therefore, with consistent 3-5 times/week of HIIT training, you can burn fat, hence, lose weight. 

Remember that other factors such as height, weight, gender, type of exercise, diet, level of hydration and rest affect the number of calories burned during HIIT training.  



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