By: Jeff Godin Ph.D., CSCS, SGX
Occasionally we slip up with our diets and sneak in some junk calories. When we do, we have to pay the price… in burpees! At Spartan Coaching HQ we have been conducting research to quantify energy expenditure during the burpee exercise. Here is what we found:
1 slice of Apple Pie a la mode: calories = 420, burpees for 130 lb person = 408, burpees for 180 lb person = 294
1/2 cup of Cranberry sauce: calories = 209, burpees for 130 lb person = 197, burpees for 180 lb person = 146
1 large serving of French Fries: calories = 500, burpees for 130 lb person = 524, burpees for 180 lb person = 349
1 IPA beer: calories = 195, burpees for 130 lb person = 204, burpees for 180 lb person = 136
1 Slice of Domino’s Pepperoni Pizza: calories = 260, burpees for 130 lb person = 272, burpees for 180 lb person = 182
1 – 8 ounce Ted’s Bison Cheeseburger: calories = 730, burpees for 130 lb person = 765, burpees for 180 lb person = 510
1 scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream: calories = 270, burpees for 130 lb person = 283, burpees for 180 lb person = 189
1 – 12” Roast Beef Sub from Subway: calories = 970, burpees for 130 lb person = 1016, burpees for 180 lb person = 677
1 Fried Calamari Appetizer: calories = 700, burpees for 130 lb person = 733, burpees for 180 lb person = 489
1 Plain Bagel: calories = 320, burpees for 130 lb person = 335, burpees for 180 lb person = 223
1 Slice of Cheesecake: calories = 1000, burpees for 130 lb person = 1048, burpees for 180 lb person = 698
1 Egg McMuffin Sandwich: calories = 300, burpees for 130 lb person = 314, burpees for 180 lb person = 210
1 Cadbury Creme Egg: calories = 59, burpees for 130 lb person = 62, burpees for 180 lb person = 41
Use the chart below to figure out your burpee equivalent of junk food calories:
Example: For a 140 lb person:
2 slices of Domino’s pizza = 600 kcals
600kcals/ 1.11 kcal per Burpee = 540 burpees
How was this calculated? SCIENCE!
First we calculated the amount of work being performed during the Burpee. We calculated work as:
– Work (w) = force (f) x distance (d)
– f = weight of the individual in kilograms
– d = distance from the floor to the maximal height of the head during the jump in meters.
Male Athlete A:
– Height: 71 inches (1.80 meters)
– Weight: 180 lbs ( 81.8 kg)
– Average vertical jump during 5 minute burpee test: 5 in. ( .12 m)
– Total vertical displacement from the floor to maximal jump height: 1.92 m (height plus jump height)
– work = 81.8 x 1.92
– work = 157 kg/m
– Given: 1 kcal = 426.4 kg/m
– Thus, 0.368 kcals of mechanical work per burpee
External mechanical work, or the work that is being performed, does not equal the amount of work that is being produced internally. Humans aren’t 100% efficient. Efficiency during running and cycling is about 25%, thus for the body to perform 25 kcals of external work, it must produce 100 kcals of energy internally. That means that the body has to produce 1.47 kcals of internal energy to produce 0.368 kcals of external mechanical work per burpee repetition.
We can also calculate energy production during the burpee exercise by measuring oxygen consumption with metabolic cart. We had several athletes perform the burpees exercise at a constant rate for 3 minutes while wearing a portable metabolic measuring system that continuously measured oxygen consumption. The average rate was 10 burpees per minute and the average oxygen consumption during the last minute of exercise was 35 milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute (ml O2/kg/min). We found the measured oxygen cost of a single burpee to be 3.5 ml O2/kg/Burpee.
To convert oxygen cost to energy expenditure we did the following:
Example same athlete as above:
– Total oxygen consumed during a single burpee is calculated as the product of body weight (kg) and O2 cost in ml/kg/min
– 81.8 kg X 3.5 ml O2/kg/Burpee = 286 mlO2/Burpee or 0.286 liters (l) of O2/Burpee.
– One liter of oxygen is equivalent to about 5 kcals.
– 0.286 l O2 X 5 kcals/l = 1.43 kcals/Burpee.
As you can see , there is good agreement between the 2 methods (1.47 and 1.43 kcals/Burpee respectively).
Founders Breakfast Stout is one of my favorite beers. If this athlete had 2 beers at 250 kcals per beer he would need to perform 349 Burpees to burn off those calories.
2 slices of Domino’s pizza = 600 kcals or 419 burpees
Pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough = 980 kcals or 685 burpees.
You can have your cake and eat it too, but be ready to pay in Burpees!
Dr. Jeff Godin is Spartan’s Head of Fitness Education and an Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise and Sports Science, Fitchburg State University.