How Many Extra Calories Can You Burn Wearing A Weight Vest (With Calculator)

weight training equipment

It is understood that wearing a weight vest can increase the number of calories* you burn while exercising.

Wearing a weight vest that amounts to at least 15 percent of your total body weight is claimed to be able to help you burn 12 percent more calories, based on a study conducted by the American Council on Exercise.

*The unit of measure commonly called a “calorie” is actually a “kilocalorie” – however “calorie” is so commonly used, we will use the shorter term here.

Weight Vest Calorie Calculator

Enter your weight, the weight of your weight vest, exercise type & time taken into the calculator, for an estimate of how many extra calories a weight vest can help you burn:

Total Calories Burned:

Before using any data obtained using this calculator, please consult with your doctor!

Here’s a look at some estimated values to give you a better idea about the improvement you can experience.

Walking With A Weighted Vest – Calories Burned

A person weighing 180lb can burn around 100 calories per mile while walking. For a person at 120lb, walking for a mile can help them burn up to 65 calories. These are the figures based on the fact that the people are walking a mile without any additional weight attached to their bodies.

Let’s consider that both of these individuals are now wearing weighted vests, which are 15 percent of their own bodyweight. According to these figures, the person weighing 180lb can burn 112 calories wearing a weighted vest for the same distance. Similarly, the person weighing 120lb will burn almost 73 calories instead of 65 calories while walking the same one mile distance wearing a weighted vest.

Running With A Weighted Vest – Calories Burned

The best way to get an idea of the number of calories burned by an individual is to base it on 100 calories to the mile rule. Of course, there are many factors to consider, including the speed at which you run, if there is an incline, your own weight etc. For the sake of getting a good comparison, we will look at a 140lb female.

A 140lb woman running at 10-minute mile pace will burn roughly 327 calories in 30 minutes. Compared to that, the same person doing the same exercise over the same distance with a 21lb weight vest will burn approximately 376 calories, 49 calories more than without the weighted vest. This may not sound like much, but repeated over time can add up to a significant increase in calories burned.

Note – use caution and consult with your doctor before running with a weight vest – the examples here are intended to demonstrate the theory, and should not be taken as a recommendation.

Working Out With A Weighted Vest – Calories Burned

And now to look at the number of calories typically burned while doing cardiovascular exercises. It is a pretty standard workout that everybody participates in and the number of calories burned relies a lot on the body weight of an individual. Adding a weighted vest to the equation can give us a good idea of how much it can affect the number of calories burned.

We are going to take a look at circuit training with kettlebells, which is considered great cardiovascular exercises. For a person weighing 185lb, a 30-minute session with vigorous intensity can burn just over 350 calories. A 30lb weighted vest added into the equation will mean that the same person can burn 410 calories in the same amount of time.


These are figures based on the calculations from the study conducted by the American Council on Exercise. They are still estimates at best and you should know that. Even though these are estimated values for the number of calories burned, they should give you a good idea of how much you stand to gain if you add weighted vests into the equation when you are working out.

Further Reading

All figures used in this article & the calculator are derived from research published at the Compendium of Physical Activities.