How many calories does CrossFit burn?

How many calories does CrossFit burn?

The answer is many! However, it’s pretty comparable to many other fitness programs out there. The main difference is what you’re doing with the energy you expend.

The 500 cal comparison

If we burn 500 calories in a workout with us and 500 calories in a workout in another program the main difference is what we’re doing with that energy. We’re actually using it usefully… you can burn 500 calories banging your head against the wall. Does that get you fitter? The answer is no. It gives you a big dent in your head. Which nobody needs.

Calories don’t matter, but they do…

If you’re asking, how many calories does CrossFit burn? You’re probably already counting calories, so you might as well be doing something better with those calories. The difference between programs is the use of movements, techniques and coaching that pushes you towards efficiency. We need as close to 100% of the calories spent to create positive actions out of your body. Those positive actions in turn elicit the greatest adaptation response. For example, running burns a lot of calories and is a very functional movement. At some point however, you’ll need to use techniques that help you be able to run faster or longer or faster for longer. Running mindlessly by itself is not going to do that. What movements are important? Functional ones like squatting, deadlifting and pressing and continued refinement and improvement of each (best done through logical programming and coaching).

Technique is king…

Without using reasonable technique you can’t build intensity. If you have poor technique you’ll spend all the calories that you have more easily. But it’s just not going to end up being a productive use of energy.

For example, if you’re doing a shoulder press. Because you have terrible technique it takes you twice as much energy to put the bar overhead as somebody who moves more efficiently but with equal strength. Or compared to when you do a rep perfectly. The difference is in the perfect rep, you now have the energy to do a second rep. Which means you increase the intensity by 2X, 200%! If you only get one rep, you still expended the same amount of energy but your intensity is only 1/2 of what it could be, lowering your adaptation response and your results! What happens to that person that expended just as much energy and did 2 reps!? Better results.

If the goal was burning calories, they were equal. But we know that’s not is just not how it works. It’s about the power production and the productive use of energy. You can go bang your head against a wall until you expend 500 calories but it’s not equal to productively using that energy to accomplish a task.

What is the best use of energy?

If I’m going to expend 500 calories of energy, I want all 500 calories to be done doing exactly the movements that elicit the response that I want. When we’re thinking about body composition… is expending calories or is expending those calories on building muscle mass more important? If we want to improve passive caloric expenditure it is certainly the latter. To lose fat that needs to be part of our mindset doing more of the stuff that we should be doing! If you want to go run fine, but that’s not building muscle. It is burning calories, which is great. If you want a better body composition it’s not entirely a waste of time, but it’s not always your best use of time!


How many calories does CrossFit burn? It’s comparable to any other fitness program. The difference is how we’re using those calories though. That is what makes the biggest difference in body composition change. For those of you who want to tone up or see your abs, you can run all day to burn cals and never hit your goal. If you have a poor diet and you’re not building any muscle mass, you may never reach them either. So starting today your goal should be to take all the energy that you do have and use it productively! Stop looking for reasons not to start. If you have a lot of homework, hire a writer at and you will free up your time and be able to do things you didn’t have time for.

So, you can either go bang your head against the wall(with a program that doesn’t focus on efficient use of energy) until you hit your calorie burn goal OR you can do the techniques, movements and programming (all decided by a coach and tailored to you) that are going to help you lose body fat and improve body composition! Not to mention increase your fitness! So… how many calories cross a burn? More than other programs but it’s comparable. Most important though is that it is a more productive use of the energy that you’re spending!

people working out in a group fitness class


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