How Many Calories Do You Burn During Bikram Yoga?

Bikram yoga takes hot yoga to an entirely new level. Between the grueling moves, scorching room temperature, humidity, and the sheer length of the class, most participants leave exhausted and sweaty. Despite the sweat and exhaustion, there’s a sense of satisfaction after putting in the hard work. 

Although you might think you’re burning off hundreds (even close to a thousand) calories in a session, it’s usually less than that. Aside from the sweat factor, a few additional aspects can affect your calorie burn. Here’s what you should know about calorie burn in Bikram yoga classes.

How Many Calories Do You Burn In A 60-Minute Bikram Yoga Class?

The total amount of calories you burn in any given Bikram yoga session depends on a few things, including your gender, weight, effort, the number of breaks you take, and so on. Given the variability, it’s tricky to pinpoint an exact calorie count that will encompass what each person should expect to burn. 

For example, let’s consider an individual weighing 180 pounds. For the sake of this example, we’ll solely focus on weight as the defining factor. In a 60-minute Bikram yoga class, this individual might burn around 430 calories. 

Of course, these numbers might vary based on their effort, gender, and the other listed factors, but this offers a general idea of what to expect. For instance, let’s say we have two individuals of the same weight. Individual A takes more breaks and somewhat less effort than individual B, and because of this, individual B likely burns more calories than individual B.

On top of these factors, you might not get the same calorie burn if you fail to engage the proper muscles. You need to ensure you distribute the load to the appropriate muscles in each pose, as failing to do so could activate smaller muscles or improper muscles, resulting in less calorie burn and potential injuries. 

How Can You Increase Calorie Burn In A Bikram Yoga Class?

Many of us have exaggerated expectations of how many calories we’ll burn in a given exercise session. In reality, most people burn 500 calories or less. Of course, you can increase this number drastically with certain types of training, but it usually takes more time and effort. 

So, while it’s entirely possible to burn hundreds of calories in a Bikram yoga class, you might not burn as much as you think. You can incorporate various advancements in your practice to help your body burn more calories, including:

  • Avoid taking frequent breaks – try to take fewer breaks (but remember to listen to your body – if you need a break, take one)
  • Spend less time moving through poses, increase the speed of your transitions
  • Hold each pose for longer to engage the muscles and increase the burn
  • Ensure you engage the correct muscles in each pose
  • Extend your practice time (choose a 90-minute session instead of a 60-minute session)

It’s also important to consider the calories you burn from simply existing. The basal metabolic rate (BMR) represents the number of calories we burn on an everyday basis. This calorie consumption powers the body’s most basic (basal) functions to sustain life, including protein synthesis, breathing, circulation, nutrient processing, ion transport, and cell production. 

Our BMR typically accounts for a significant portion of the calories we burn during any given day. So, remember to keep your active calorie burn expectations within a realistic frame, as our bodies are already working hard to keep everything functioning correctly.

Can Bikram Yoga Help You Lose Weight?

Bikram yoga can help you shed unwanted weight. However, Bikram yoga alone won’t do the trick. You’ll likely need to correct other areas of your lifestyle, including calorie consumption, food intake, exercise, and hydration. 

Stay Active

While Bikram yoga is an excellent way to lose weight (when combined with other lifestyle changes), you might want to incorporate other types of exercise into your routine. Completing a Bikram yoga class daily might not be feasible for some folks, especially considering the intensity and electrolyte loss due to sweat. 

So, ensure you stay active throughout your daily life. Get in plenty of steps each day, add strength training, or top it off with additional aerobic exercise. Or, if you prefer to stick with yoga, add different styles of yoga to your exercise regimes, such as Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga. 

These types of yoga are quicker-paced yet not quite as grueling as Bikram yoga (the heat adds to it), so they can help boost your calorie burn and accelerate strength gain. 

Calorie Deficit

To lose weight, you’ll need to achieve a calorie deficit. This means you need to burn more calories than you consume each day. If you’re new to counting calories and tracking macros, you can always use a fitness tracker app to keep track of your consumption each day. Some apps are free, while others are paid. 

When you initially start a calorie deficit, calculate your maintenance calories, as this will play a significant role in what you should consume to lose weight. Your maintenance calories represent the number of calories you need to consume daily to maintain your current weight. 

Once you determine this aspect, you can figure out how many calories you can cut to lose weight each week. If you’re hoping to lose around one pound per week, cut your calorie consumption back by about 500 calories each day.

Steer Clear Of Processed Foods

Processed foods are a staple in the diets of millions of Americans. However, if your goal is to lose weight, they won’t help you at all. In many cases, heavily processed foods (such as cookies, sweet smoothies, and potato chips) are calorie dense and offer very little nutritional value. 

Since they lack nutrients, they often leave you hungry for something else, leading to overeating. So, to avoid this problem, select healthier options. Eat whole foods, filling your plate with fruits, vegetables, and a good source of protein at each meal. 

While you don’t need to eat ultra-clean 24/7, eating clean most of the time is essential to help you achieve your goals. A small cheat meal here and there shouldn’t derail your progress, so if you want to reward yourself with your favorite sugary coffee at the end of a successful workout week, go for it (just don’t go overboard)!

Stay Hydrated

Bikram yoga often leaves participants sweaty due to the scorching temperatures in the studio. So, it’s essential to stay hydrated. Although drinking extra water doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll lose more weight, it’s crucial to keep your body ready for your next session. 

Before and after each Bikram class, be sure to drink plenty of fluids to prepare your body for the upcoming (or previous) fluid loss during the session. If you find that water doesn’t quite cut it, try incorporating a low-sugar sports drink packed with electrolytes.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Hot Is It In A Bikram Yoga Class?

Generally, Bikram yoga studios are set to a sweltering temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit. On top of the heat, the room is often somewhat humid, usually around 40 percent humidity. This creates a hot, sweaty environment to encourage calorie burn as you challenge your body through each move.