Whether it's bad for your waistline or bad for your heart health, you know when you're eating something you shouldn't. Fortunately, you also know that you can minimize the damaging effects of those unhealthy food choices by increasing your exercise and consuming healthier foods for other meals during the day. What it takes to work off something like a cheeseburger depends on several factors that are worth considering before sinking your teeth into that meal.
Figure out what size cheeseburger you're eating so you know how many calories you're actually taking in. Cheeseburgers come in all shapes and sizes depending on whether you're grabbing a fast-food sandwich, cooking it up at home or dining at an upscale burger joint or steakhouse. A single cheeseburger from McDonald's has about 300 calories and 12 grams of fat, while a double quarter pounder with cheese has 750 calories and 43 grams of fat. A heavyweight cheeseburger at a restaurant known for portion size could contain even more.
Don't overlook the damage condiments can do to your figure as well. Two slices of bacon contain around 70 calories and as much as 6 grams of fat. A tablespoon of mayonnaise can pack on another 100 calories and as many as 10 extra grams of fat. Tomato slices, lettuce, ketchup or mustard can also add minimal calories. In some restaurants, the cheeseburger bun is brushed with butter and grilled, which can add even more calories you have to burn.
It doesn't really matter which type of workout you choose as long as you're moving rapidly to increase your heart rate and burn extra calories. A 150-pound person would have to walk briskly for about two hours and 20 minutes or ride a bike for about an hour to burn off a 500-calorie cheeseburger. That person would need to run for about 40 minutes at a pace of 7 miles per hour to work off the same number of calories. Check a fitness calculator like the one at FitnessMagazine to see how long you should do your favorite workout to burn up your cheeseburger calories.
Although any workout can burn off the calories from a cheeseburger, the time it takes to do so depends on your unique body structure. Your age, height and weight, muscle compilation and metabolism all contribute to the rate at which you burn calories regardless of what physical activity you perform.
Sara Melone is a mother of three and a graduate of UNH. With prior careers in insurance and finance, photography, as well as certifications in fitness and nutrition, Melone draws directly from past experience and varying interests. She contributes with equal passion to birth journals, investment blogs, and self-help websites.