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Is it possible to lose 5 lbs per week doing yoga?



Is it possible to lose 5 lbs per week doing yoga? I read somewhere that this was possible, but I have to wonder if it is a gimmick or something. I want to know if it is actually possible to do.

Helen S., Toronto"


Hello Helen!

Well yes, technically it is possible.

But it really depends on how much a person weighs, how many calories the person is burning due to how vigorous you are doing yoga, how long you do yoga and how often you are doing yoga.

For example lets say a 300 lb person does gentle yoga for 30 minutes.

Using a calorie calculator we can determine that would burn 178.6 calories. That isn't really a lot.

In contrast the same person doing vigorous yoga for 30 minutes burns 478.65 calories. That makes a huge difference in terms of calorie burn.

However in order to burn 5 lbs of fat per week doing any exercise you would need to burn 17,500 calories per week. (There is 3,500 calories in 1 lb of fat.)

So to lose 5 lbs per week a person would need to burn 2,500 calories per day, every day, above and beyond their normal routine - all while maintaining a healthy diet!!!

So that means that a 300 lb person would need to do vigorous yoga for roughly 157 minutes to burn 2,500 calories. 2 hours and 37 minutes of vigorous exercising sounds like a ridiculously tall order for a 300 lb person to do.

Even if you did so called "gentle yoga" it would take 420 minutes to burn 2,500 calories per day. 7 hours of gentle yoga per day also sounds pretty ridiculous for a 300 lb person to do.

Now lets pretend you don't weigh 300 lbs. What if you weighed 200 lbs instead?

Well it changes the numbers. Gentle yoga would be 119.07 calories in 30 minutes, vigorous yoga would be 319.1 calories in 30 minutes.

So to burn 2,500 calories every day you would need to do 10.5 hours of gentle yoga (every day!), or almost 4 hours of vigorous yoga (every day!)...

So I think the point I am trying to make here is that the math gets pretty ridiculous.

So in conclusion, yes, it is possible to lose 5 lbs of fat per week doing yoga - but the number of hours per week you would need to do yoga gets pretty ridiculous if you do the math based on your own weight. Find a calorie calculator for yoga online and do your own calculations and you will see my point.

Plus I would like to point out that losing more than 2 lbs of fat per week can result in sagging skin. You have to give your skin more time to adjust its elasticity and shrink down a bit to match the flesh underneath. See my various posts about preventing loose skin to learn more about why it is best to lose weight slowly so you don't end up with excess loose saggy skin.

Now don't get me wrong. Yoga is a great way to exercise and lose weight, but don't expect it to be a "lose weight fast" solution.

If you are looking to use yoga to lose weight then I recommend at most 60 minutes of yoga per day - and pace yourself with respect to how gentle or vigorous you want to go depending on your personal needs and goals.

Later as you get better at yoga you might increase to 90 minutes per day and try more daring yoga postures, but you should not be trying to burn fat in an hurry. Just take your time, do it properly, learn patience and self-control - these are things that are integral to the whole yoga experience.

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