How Much Weight Can You Lose Wearing a Weighted Vest?
Weight loss occurs when you burn more calories than you consume. This can be done through aerobic exercise, strength training and eating a healthy, low-calorie diet. Increasing the work you do while exercising can help you lose weight in a shorter amount of time; this can be achieved by wearing a weighted vest. Wearing a weight vest while working out increases your exercise intensity, helps you burn more calories and can result in a greater amount of weight loss.
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The Workings of a Weight Vest
There are many weighted vests on the market that vary in weight and comfort. The weight range is usually between 4 and 50 lbs. Some vests have a fixed weight while others allow you to add or remove weight pouches to adjust the amount of weight you carry. Many are one-size-fits-all and come with adjustable straps that you can loosen or tighten to fit your body size. Certain vests balance the weight between the front and back, so may be more comfortable; others only have weight in the front and can feel lopsided. Those with more padding on the shoulders can reduce rubbing as the vest bounces around when you move.
Let’s Talk About Weight
The amount of weight you can lose wearing a weight vest depends on how heavy it is. Wearing a heavier weight vest can cause you to burn more calories during any physical activity. This is because your body has to do more work to move more weight around. Wearing a weight vest that is 10 percent of your body weight can help you burn up to 8 percent more calories than doing the same activity without a weight vest. The more weight you add, the more calories you will burn. You must burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat, so the more calories you burn per activity, the faster you will lose weight.
In general, exercising at a higher intensity helps you burn more calories and lose weight more quickly. This effect is compounded when exercising at a higher intensity while wearing a weight vest. A 140-pound person can burn about 319 calories running at a speed of 6 mph for 30 minutes without wearing a weighted vest. Since a person wearing a weight vest that is 10 percent of her body weight can burn 8 percent more calories doing the same activity, if she wears a 14-lb. weight vest while running at this pace for the same amount of time, she can burn an additional 26 calories. If she picks up the pace to 7 mph while wearing a weight vest, she can burn 30 more calories than she would running at that speed without wearing the weight vest. The faster you go while wearing a weight vest, the more calories you will burn and the more weight you can lose.
The Food Factor
Regardless of the amount of weight you add to the vest or the intensity of your workout, you will not lose weight unless you adjust your diet. Wearing a weight vest cannot overcome poor eating habits if you are still consuming more calories than you burn. To make this piece of equipment truly effective, reduce your caloric intake by 250 calories a day. Cutting calories gradually will prevent your metabolism from slowing down, according to Dr. Pierre Manfroy, contributor to the book “100 Ways to Supercharge Your Metabolism.” Choose foods that are low in fat, such as fruit and vegetables, and limit those that have little nutritional value, such as cookies and chips. This, in combination with working out with a weight vest, can help you lose more weight quickly.
How To Use Weighted Vest For Weight Loss?
After wearing a weighted vest for a couple of months, I am finally ready to write a completely unbiased guide on how effective are weighted vests for weight loss. Plus, I wanna also give you all the tips that helped me to lose almost 20 lbs in just under 60 days.
In a nutshell, weighted vests are good for weight loss becasue they help to increase heart rate and burn extra calories by elevating metabolic rate. Plus, wearing a weighted vest all day helps also to combat food cravings and lowers the appetite, which can significantly lower the amount of food that you eat during the day.
Here you have my overall answer but if you wanna know more details on how much weight can you lose walking with a weighted vest and what are the best exercises to do, I will answer these questions below.
Start slowly by wearing a vest for a couple of hours
If you’re a beginner that wants to lose weight and you’ve never worn a weighted vest before, be careful to not overdo it. In my early days, I was feeling exhausted after wearing a 20lbs weighted vest for only a couple of hours per day.
That was more than enough to be dripping sweat.
I was wearing it mainly for the gym where I did a bunch of bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, pushups, and box jumps.
- Start slowly by wearing the vest for 1-2 hours per day. You can increase the duration by adding an hour or two each week (progressive overload).
- Monitor how you feel (I recommend using something like a journal to write down how you feel every day using a simple scale of one to ten).
- Take a day off where you don’t wear the vest and use that day for recovery (this means you want to stay hydrated, have enough speed, and ensure all other aspects of health are under control).
My point is that if you’re a beginner, I recommend starting low a couple of hours per day, and progressively adding more time. No joke.
Is wearing a weighted vest all day hard?
Wearing a weighted vest all day is extremely hard, especially for beginners and untrained people.
The body needs time to adjust to the new stimulus and if you start immediately by wearing your vest all day, chances are you will feel tired and lethargic.
Even if you’re a gym badass that’s been lifting weights for years, I still recommend taking it easy. Doing a 225-pound bench for reps is NOT the same as wearing a 20lbs vest all day.
Just becasue you can maintain your energy levels for two hours weighted vest workout, chances are you won’t be able to carry it all day (slow and steady wins the race).
How long should you wear a weighted vest for weight loss
In the table below, you can find an example of how long should you wear a weighted vest for weight loss (in minutes).
Going too fast too soon will likely cause muscle pain, and tiredness and can backfire in the long run. Yes, this is a very aggressive progression (I still think it’s too tough for some people).
That’s why I recommend you monitor your energy levels using a journal.
Do weighted vest bodyweight exercises
You can lose weight by wearing a weighted vest and doing simple bodyweight exercises like squats, pull-ups, lunges, pushups, and burpees at home, as well as in the gym.
You don’t need to do fancy gym workouts with leg extensions, triceps extensions, or cable machines.
Of course, you should be doing weights in the gym. Heavy squats, deadlifts, and bench are great full-body moves that build muscle and have a positive effect on your anabolic hormonal levels.
However, if you don’t have access to a gym, and all you have is your body weight, I recommend doing circuit training style workouts that will burn tons of calories.
Best bodyweight workouts for weight loss while wearing a weighted vest
Here are some of the good examples of weighted vest workouts for fat loss, without any other equipment.
- One pushup, walk 100 meters
- Two pushups, walk 100 meters
- Three pushups, walk 100 meters
- Keep going nonstop until you reach 20 pushups
- One squat, one pushup, one lunge on each leg
- Two squats, two pushups, and two lunges on each leg
- Three squats, three pushups, and three lunges on each leg
- Keep going nonstop until you reach 20 reps
- 3 pull-ups, 3 pushups, 3 box jumps, rest 1-2 minutes
- Keep going for as many sets as possible
As you can see, the name of the game here is repetition. Moving from one exercise to another wearing a weighted vest puts a lot of stress on your cardiorespiratory system, therefore, you burn significantly more calories.
Watch your food intake and appetite
I started using a weighted vest on and off a couple of years ago (just before the pandemic started). I was doing pulls up and pushups every other day, but I never wear the vest as a way to lose weight.
After listening to a podcast with Eric Lee Salazar, the IFBB PRO who lost 19 lbs over the course of 15 weeks using a weighted vest (without calorie deficit), I immediately went to my garage and dusted off my rusty weighed clothing.
My plan was to mimic the Erics results by wearing a weighted vest all day (at least for most of the day) and keeping my daily calorie intake around maintenance.
Weighted vests lowered my appetite and hunger
One thing that I noticed straight away after wearing a weighted vest all day is that my hunger and appetite significantly dropped.
In the past, every time when I did a calorie deficit for weight loss, I started to experience food cravings. I was craving chocolate, sweets, and cookies, and the longer I dieted, the more temptations I had.
Basically, I was thinking about food all day long.
Here was different.
On the days when I wore a weighted vest, I was eating only 2 meals a day and didn’t experience any food cravings. I didn’t feel lethargic and I wasn’t thinking about food all day. The cravings went away.
What does the research say about weighted vests and weight loss?
After I noticed that my appetite and hunger went down, I immediately started to look up this information on PubMed. I found a fascinating study from John-Olov Jansson, MD, Ph.D. about gravitostat, a novel system regulating body fat homeostasis.
(Keep in mind that this study was made on rodents).
Here are the key takeaways from this study:
- Added external weight (by wearing weighted clothing) sends a signal to the bones to activate osteocytes, which in response suppresses the appetite.
- Increased loading leads to weight loss not becasue of increased energy expenditure, but rather by decreased food intake, said Dr. Jansson.
In other words, wearing weighted clothing helps with weight loss by lowering your hunger thanks to the homeostatic regulation of body weight and fat mass.
Wear a weighted vest and walk everywhere you can
I was wearing a weighted vest all day doing all sorts of stuff like walking up the stairs, carrying grocery bags, playing with kids, gardening, pulling the trolley, mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, and so on.
I was wearing weighted vests in the mall, downtown, and at the football match. I was wearing the vest on my way to the gym, as well as on my way back (yes, it looked ridiculous and many people looked at me like I’m crazy).
If you’re concerned about what other people may think, I recommend using a more discrete vest that can fit under your clothes. My weighted vest over my clothes (yes, it looked weird).
But it worked. It worked really well.
According to my Fitbit which measures calorie expenditure based on my heart rate, I was burning an additional 300 to 500 calories, just by wearing a weighted vest.
I wasn’t doing any type of cardio in the gym like treadmills or ellipticals. I was just busy at home doing stuff that increases my movement and elevates my NEAT.
Will wearing a weighted vest all day help you lose weight?
Wearing a weighted vest all day helps to lose weight not only by lowering your food intake but also by increasing your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis).
This means you burn more calories during the day, without having to spend more time doing exercise.
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis is everything that you do throughout the day that is not considered purposeful exercise.
Painting a house, doing laundry, or shoveling the snow all requires energy and burn a significant amount of calories.
If you’re a busy person, you may not need to do additional cardio to burn fat. You may have better results by wearing a weighted vest all day and doing all those daily tasks with the vest.
Learn more: Click here to learn more about the pros and cons of wearing a weighted vest all day.
Do less running and more walking
Another way you can use a weighted vest for weight loss is by running. Running is a great cardio exercise that not only helps to burn calories but also to sharpen the brain and makes you more productive (this is a big one for me).
However, it wasn’t my primary form of cardio. I find that I feel more tired if I run every day with a weighted vest.
I much prefer wearing my weighted vest all day, but when running, either run with 10 lbs more weight or without.
I prefer to use a weighted vest for warm-up before my runs, not for the actual run. This helps to improve my running performance and economy. I know few people who like running with ridiculously heavy weighted vests.
However, most of these guys are fit and do not need to lose weight. If your main goal is to burn fat, I recommend using a weighted vest together with low-impact exercises like walking.
Walking with a weighted vest for weight loss
In the past, I was doing a lot of low-impact and low-intensity cardio (e.g. walking) to burn more calories. I’ve written an extensive article about how walking 10km a day helped me to lose weight, which I recommend you read.
Today, I don’t have time to walk 10km every day. However, when I do, I make sure I put on my weighted vest becasue it helps me to burn an additional 100 to 150 calories, depending on the duration and terrain.
I own a Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO, a weighted vest that allows you to adjust the weight. During normal walking on the flat road, I like to add more weight (up to 40 lbs).
However, when I’m hiking or walking on the hills, I usually lower the weight down to 10-15 lbs.
If you’re not sure about how to choose the right weight for your weighted vest, you can learn more about how heavy should weighted vests be in my article here.
How many extra calories do you burn with a weighted vest?
I did an experiment where I measured my calorie expenditure to calculate how many calories I burned with and without a weighted vest while doing certain activities.
For this experiment, I used a Fitbit Versa 3 smartwatch.
I know this device is not the most accurate, but the overall results have shown that there is a huge difference in my heart rate and calorie burn with versus without a weighted vest.
For the record, at the time of that experiment, my body weight was 187 pounds, and I was wearing 20 lbs weighted vest.
In the table below, you can see how many extra calories I managed to burn with and without a weighted vest (per minute).
How much weight can you lose walking with a weighted vest?
Overall, you can lose 1-2 pounds of excess weight by wearing a weighted vest, assuming that you move a lot and you won’t change your calorie intake. People who manage to wear a weighted vest all day and stay in a calorie deficit can lose anything between 2 to 4 pounds per week.
I was able to lose almost 20 lbs in just under 60 days but I know some great stories of people who lost up to 15 lbs in the first 30 days.
However, keep in mind that most of the initial weight loss is usually water weight, depending on your carbohydrate intake.
At the end of the day, it’s more about the food intake and diet, and less about calorie expenditure.
That’s why I recommend using a weighted vest as a tool to lower hunger and appetite, rather than to burn twice as many calories as you can.
In general, wearing weighted vests is an effective way to lose weight becasue it helps to increase your daily calorie expenditure, without doing additional exercises. It also helps to control appetite and hunger.
Keep in mind that I wasn’t changing my diet. I was eating slightly less but not because I was counting calories or measuring food portions. I was eating less becasue wearing a weighted vest made me less hungry.
Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc) and a veteran endurance athlete. He loves to experiment and share his successes and failures to help busy men and women who want to lose weight.
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Do you wanna know how heavy should a weighted vest be? No worries. I’ve been using weighted vests on and off for a number of years. Today I will explain what is a good weight for the weighted.
Recently I came back from holidays and together with my wife we were walking over 10km a day with no gym and no dieting. After we’ve come back, we both continued this habit for the next 30 days and.
In my previous life, I was an exercise physiologist, working for British NHS, Canyon Ranch Tucson, Regent Seven Seas, and Oceania Cruises. Now I unbox, set up, test, and review a wide range of fitness products. In my spare time, I like running, drinking wine, and traveling, not necessarily in that order.
Our content is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Calories Burned Hiking Calculator
The most important part of choosing any exercise routine for weight loss is making sure it’s something you can happily repeat routinely. So if you enjoy hiking and want to lose weight, carry on reading.
Calories burned hiking calculator
This calculator gives your a simple way to estimate the calories you burned on your hike based on average metabolic rates.
- Enter your weight
- Enter the weight of any backpack you wore (enter 0 if you didn’t carry a backpack)
- Enter how long you hiked for
- Enter the distance you hiked (the calculator uses your time and distance to work out the speed)
- Select the type of hike:
- relatively flat cross country
- combination of uphill and downhill
- all uphill
- all downhill
- If hills are involved, choose the approximate avg incline
The calculator will then use all of these factors to estimate your calories burned.
If you’re looking for something more relevant for level firm surface walking, use the calories burned walking calculator.
Seven calories burned hiking questions answered
Answers to top questions about burning calories while hiking…
A leisurely hike will burn between 300 – 600 calories per hour, depending on your weight, backpack, speed and terrain.
The highest impacting factors for calorie burn are:
- Your Weight
- The weight of any backpack you carry
- How long you’re hiking for
- The distance you hike
- The speed of your hike
- The terrain you hike (cross country, uphill, downhill etc)
- How steep the hills are
A 150 pound person with no backpack hiking for 60 mins at 2.5 miles per hour cross country will burn: 351 calories.
The same person with a 20lb backpack on hiking at for 60 mins at speed of 3 miles and up up and down hills of 4% incline will burn: 464 calories.
Is hiking a good way to lose weight? In a word…..yes!!
Hiking is a great way to lose weight.
Do you enjoy getting out on hiking trails? Do you have ready access to some good trekking paths? Hiking is an ideal way to burn extra calories and lose weight.
To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat.
The key to any exercise routine is to find something you enjoy doing and can stick to.
Establish yourself a regular routine of hiking several times a week. And reduce your calorie intake and you’ll soon start to see the inches drop off.
If you weigh around 200 lbs, a 90 minute hike over small hills, with a 10 lb backpack will burn over 700 calories.
Increase the incline of those hills and that calorie burn will be closer to 900 calories.
To lose a pound of weight you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you eat.
Reduce your current calorie intake by 250 calories per day.
For example drop two cans of soda and do 3 hours of easy paced hiking a week. You can expect to drop at least a pound of fat every week.
Use the calories burned hiking calculator above to get an estimate of your calorie burn.
Hiking burns a lot more calories than walking.
If you goal is to lose weight, a cross terrain hike will beat a walk around the block every day. To understand more of the difference see hiking vs walking.
Let’s look at a couple of examples:
If you weigh 175 lbs and walk for 2 hours at a normal pace, you’ll burn around 580 calories.
If you were to spend those 2 hours doing a hilly hike, while carrying a 30 lb backpack, you’d burn around 1,120 calories.
That’s 540 calories more!
If you weight 220 lbs and walk for 2 hours at a normal pace, you’ll burn around 730 calories.
Instead if you spend those 2 hours doing a hilly hike, with a 40 lb backpack, you’ll burn around 1,420 calories.
That’s 690 calories more!
Whatever your weight, hiking instead of walking, will burn up to twice as many calories.
The weight of your backpack makes a big difference. Every 1 lb of backpack weight increases calorie burn by around 5 calories per 2 hour hike.
Your backpack weight should not exceed 20% of your body weight. So a 200 lb person should not exceed a backpack weight of 40 lbs. A 150 lb person, should not have a backpack bigger than 30 lbs.
Here some examples of the approximate calories burned for walking a mile up hill. Each example is for hiking 1 mile up hill at the same speed.
WALKING A MILE UPHILL BURNS BETWEEN 175 TO 390 CALORIES.
What varies in each example is the person’s weight, the weight of the backpack and the hill incline.
150 lb person
- no backpack, 1 mile up gentle incline hill: 175 calories
- 20 lb backpack: 1 mile up gentle hill: 200 calories
- 20 lb backpack: 1 mile up medium incline hill: 235 calories
- 20 lb backpack: 1 mile up steep incline hill: 300 calories
200 lb person
- no backpack, 1 mile up gentle incline hill: 230 calories
- 20 lb backpack: 1 mile up gentle hill: 255 calories
- 20 lb backpack: 1 mile up medium incline hill: 305 calories
- 20 lb backpack: 1 mile up steep incline hill: 390 calories
To get an estimate of the calories you would burn walking a mile up hill use the calories burned hiking calculator.
“All adults should avoid inactivity. Some physical activity is better than none, and adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits.
For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week.
For additional and more extensive health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond this amount.”
Moderate-intensity physical activity is something that raises your heart rate to around 50% of the maximum. Brisk walking is an example of moderate-intensity physical activity.
Vigorous-intensity physical activity is something that raises your heart rate to 70% – 80% of the maximum. Hiking up hill is an example of Vigorous-intensity physical activity.
If you really want to get the maximum effect from hiking following this general approach.
Aim to keep your heart rate as high as possible for as long as possible.
- Warm up gently – to make sure you don’t injure yourself
- Go hard uphill at a fast pace – this drives your heart rate up
- Maintain a steady state – doesn’t require as much effort but keeps you heart rate high
The average person takes 2,000 steps per mile, however your actual steps per mile will vary based on various factors, the most important of which being your height.
Use our calculator to get a personal estimate of how many steps in a mile.