What Burns More Calories: Sex or Running?

Many of us at 12WBT HQ love to run. While we like to break a sweat on the track, there’s another way that could, er, rank as one of our other top ways to sweat. Yep, we’re talking about sex.

Why running trumps sex

We all know that running and sex are both good for your health – both mental and physical. But here are our top five reasons running is better than sex:

  1. The faster you perform, the better!
  2. You can do it with friends, family, pets – the more the merrier
  3. But running on your own is sometimes the best way to do it
  4. Posting pictures of yourself on Facebook or Instagram is welcomed
  5. Doing it in public will not get you arrested

What burns the most calories: running or sex?

When it comes to walking versus sex versus running, there’s one activity that comes out on top (pardon the pun).

A 10 minute walk burns just 35 calories – about as much as ONE lolly snake. 10 minutes between the sheets will burn about 48 calories, but running? Just 10 minutes pounding the pavement or treadmill will burn off a whopping 95 calories – that’s a mammoth 570 calories per hour – and a seriously good workout.

Also read: What’s the Best Way to Lose Weight for Life?

The verdict is in: running is king!

The verdict is in: while ‘sexercise’ is good, running is even better.

In the war on workout calories, it’s clear to see that running is strides ahead. It’s also not only good for smashing the calories – we’ve talked before about how weight loss can boost your love life too. Another added bonus of running? It will increase your stamina between the sheets. We call that a win-win.


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21 thoughts on “What Burns More Calories: Sex or Running?

  1. Hi there,

    I have been reluctant to engage in running because I have heard that the pounding action can actually cause damage to your knees in the long term just like repeatedly going down the stairs when using stairs to exercise. How could I get around this?

    Thanks for our advice!

    1. Hi Amy – While running is an excellent way to chew up some unwanted stored calories, it’s not always the most favourable type of exercise for those who have considerations around weaker knees, injury or just simply not cut out to do this reasonably comfortably.

      Everyone is so very unique in their body’s genetic make up and while some people can run for years with hardly ever experiencing issues, some people can feel ‘niggly’ quite quickly. If this is the case for you, no problem at all and you can easily switch things up a tad to make this a more doable activity.

      If you find that pounding the pavement is just not for you, try mixing this up with different approaches that will keep you burning big numbers.

      Try aqua jogging – the running you do when you’re not really doing any running! If you do a Google search for ‘aqua jogging’ you’ll find programs that come up and you can use those, or you can just get in the pool and run!
      If you can, use an aqua jogging belt, as these keep you afloat (and so you can focus your efforts on running rather than trying to keep your head above water), you can pick one up from here

      Alternatively, your local pool might have some that you could borrow or hire, if you didn’t want to purchase one of your own.

      Aqua jogging, when done properly (as in not just floaty floaty floaty with the occasional leg kick, but rather you are in there running as powerfully as you can and pumping your arms strongly) is really intense and burns lots of calories!

      Another alternative is to get into boxing classes, or boxing training, as this smashes your upper body and really burns through calories big time. It’s interval training, so it’s great for cardio and fat burn, and it’s a lot of fun!

      Finally, indoor cycling classes are a great alternative to running, they burn a heap of calories in a short space of time, and they are great cardio fitness training.

      Happy burning!
      12WBT Support Crew

  2. hi i am 54 i completed 12wb back in 2013 and lost 10kg i have put 6 kg back on and think i want to do 12wbt again. I have a few aches and pains and they usually get better when i exercise. i currently walk about 8 ks at work 4 days week but this is low impact. i was thinking fit for fifty might be a good option. what would you suggest?

    1. Hi Roz – We recommend waiting until you’ve completed your Pre-Season Task ‘Fitness Test’ prior to making a final decision about which Fitness Program to follow. You will be provided with a recommendation, based on your Fitness Test Score. The Fit for Fifty program aims for slight weight loss or weight maintenance, as the Calorie Levels are set at 1500 calories per day. If you have over 5kgs to lose you might prefer one of our other Fitness Programs for weight loss, pending your Fitness Test Score. Alternatively you could give the Fit for Fifty program a go and see if start losing weight at this Calorie Level. You could also drop your Calorie Level on the Fit for Fifty program if you prefer.

      If you’re keen to join us, now would be a good time to sign up as there are still a couple of weeks of May 2016 Pre-Season left, so you still have time to catch up in time for when the the round commences on 2nd May 2016.To join us for the May round please head to:

      All the very best with your health and fitness goals and I hope that we see you back on board!
      12WBT Support Crew

  3. Plus running does not put you at the risk of getting pregnant/having to worry about pregnancy etc.
    Running is so rewarding too.
    Much prefer to run, yay.

  4. I am at rock bottom! I’m 34 mum of four 12,10,6 & 5.
    I have given up on everything! last week I got a call the my mum has had a heart attack on Friday she had a triple bypass. I am desperate now to shed this weight and live a healthy life for good!have been depressed for months no years in facts! My weight fluctuating up-and-down for so long I am fed up with my life and I feel if I don’t change I’m gonna end up dead I am ashamed to be out in public I don’t think I would get myself a gym I really really need help my mindset is clouded I guess in a way I’m scared even walking has now become a challenge I’m really really lost myself! I’m I am my worst nightmare!

    1. Hi Jacinta – I’m so sorry to hear about the awful scare with your mum’s triple bypass, I hope she is recovering well. I’m also sorry to hear about what a difficult time you’ve been having with your weight fluctuations and feelings of depression.
      As the 12WBT Program is an online, group-based program, we’d recommend you access some support from a professional who is qualified to assist you regarding your depression, as it sounds like this is something you’ve been dealing with for quite some time now. A GP is always the best place to start if concerned about your physical or mental health. As well as making an assessment and diagnosis, a GP can prescribe a Mental Health Care Plan, which may include referral to see a psychologist. With an appropriate referral from a GP, the cost of this treatment may largely be covered by Medicare. Health professionals at Community Mental Health Services and public hospitals do not charge fees.

      In addition to any specific recommendations from your doctor, you can use the following directory to find a suitable psychologist in your local area:

      Even if it does take a little time to find someone you feel safe and comfortable with, it is possible to find some support and assistance and you don’t have to deal with these feelings on your own.

      If you’re keen to join us, having some external support from a professional in parallel with your health and fitness journey can often be invaluable while experiencing depression. Alternatively you might prefer to work through some of your depression prior to undertaking a structured fitness, nutrition and mindset program, so it doesn’t feel too overwhelming all at once.

      You can also certainly choose the option of ‘At Home’ workouts, rather than a gym or exercising outdoors where you may not feel comfortable. It’s also important to keep in mind that weight loss is 80% nutrition, 20% exercise so even if you have to modify the Exercise Plans somewhat, by following the Meal Plans as prescribed, you can still achieve a great result.

      If you’re keen to join us, now would be a great time to sign-up as March 2016 Pre-Season has recently
      started and the round kicks off on 14th March 2016. To join us for the March round please head to:
      I hope that this assists with making an informed decision about joining us and I wish you all the best with your health and fitness goals.

      We’d love to have you on board if you feel the Program is right for you.

      All the best,
      12WBT Support Crew

  5. Hi , im struggling to lose weight and keep motivated to excercise. I joined a local bootcamp about 6 months ago and basically started eating alot better , i cut beer totally out , cut bread out , cut soft drink out and was doing bootcamp min 4 times a week for an hour , i went from 110kg down to around the 93-95kg , im 42 and 6ft 1in , so i was happy!!! Then xmas hit , no exercise , eating and drinking etc , and im now back to where i was again and feel and look terrible…im really struggling to feel motivated to start again

    1. Hi Phil – It sounds like you made some fantastic changes last year – congratulations! You’re certainly not alone in letting things get a bit out of control over Christmas. The best thing you can do now, is shake it off and set some new goals for yourself. Think about what worked from last time (e.g. was cutting out soft drink sustainable? Do that again. Was cutting out bread sustainable/enjoyable? If not, maybe stick to reducing your intake/watching your portion size. Do you still enjoy Bootcamp or would you like to try other forms of exercise, etc.?). You don’t have to overhaul everything in one go AND you don’t need to be perfect. Start by making just one change – nail that and then move on to the next small change. Over time, results will come and you’ll be feeling a whole lot better.

      You might like to check out the following blogs for some more information to get you started:

      Also, a Round of 12WBT might be the thing you need to kickstart things again. Check out think link for some more information about the 12WBT Program –

      Good luck, Phil!! 🙂

      12WBT Support Crew

  6. Hi,
    I am 52 years old and walking is about all I do in terms of exercise at the moment, and even that is sporadic to say the least. I plan to join the next 12 week plan but am not sure about which exercise I should do out of at home, over 50’s or a walking plan. Can I swap from one to the other as I go, and if so, where should I start?

    1. Hi Marian – It’s great to hear you’re keen to join the team. Considering you’re doing some walking at the moment, the Move Program might be a great place for you to start – Once you join, you’ll complete a short Fitness Test (nothing too hard, we promise!), which will give you a better idea of exactly which programs are best for you. Everything is very flexible so if you need to change exercise plans throughout the round, that is absolutely okay. Head to to get started!

      All the best,
      12WBT Support Crew

  7. Hi there
    I would love to loose 10 kg. I’m over 50 and do yoga 3 times a week and walk as well.
    I’m also on a paleo plan so can you let me know which program would suit me best the weight loss or over 50’s and let me know if you embrace paleo
    Thanks Lisa

    1. Hi Lisa,

      It’s great to hear you’re doing yoga and walking regularly! It sounds like the Beginner, Intermediate or Fit for Fifty programs would all be great for you. Once you join, you’ll complete a short Fitness Test, which will give you a better idea of exactly which one is best for you.

      While 12WBT does not have a dedicated Paleo Meal Plan, with a little tweaking each week, you can make your Meal Plans work for you. We’d encourage you to use “Customise Plan” feature of the Meal Plan to switch any unsuitable meals with other options that you like from the Recipe Index. We have over 300 gluten free and 300 lactose free (mostly dairy free) recipes in the Recipe Index, and you can use the ‘Gluten Free’ and ‘Lactose Free’ filters to easily find those recipes that will work for you.

      Simple substitutions of ingredients is also 100% OK. Swap quinoa for cous cous; use cauliflower ‘rice’ and zucchini ‘pasta’; substitute almond milk and coconut yogurt instead of dairy, etc. Using the customise feature of your Meal Plan also updates your Shopping List which saves time and effort, and any last minor edits you need to make before doing your shop won’t take too long.

      For more information, email 🙂

      12WBT Support Crew

  8. I’ve joined and paid for 12wbt but having trouble even starting !!!
    I work in a coal mine in qld i do seven days work and have seven days off.
    I’m doing night shift this round at work which makes it hard i also fly to work,
    that means no special food and the camp food is horrible. I’ve started going to the
    work gym its going good just don’t know how to use the equipment properly. Ssssssso need to do something because basicly I’m sitting down driving for 12 1/2 hrs but so tired when i get back to camp !!!
    Any suggestions
    Susan Agate

    1. Hi Susan,

      It sounds like you work very hard! Please shoot an email to – we’d love to provide you with some more detailed information and tips to make this work for you.

      All the best,
      12WBT Support Crew

  9. I haven’t needed anything like this before,but I had both hips replaced and both femurs broken just above the knees and put on a bit of weight, I have to lose the weight because I need knee replacement surgery for both knees . Finding it hard to move around now but get on exercise bike for about 5 – 10 minutes a day.

    1. Hi Raylene,

      That’s great that you’re able to jump on the exercise bike – every little bit counts! Given your significant history with both hips replaced and femur fractures thrown into the mix, it pays to not expect too much from yourself physically right now! The great news is that members with weight loss goals who have followed our Meal Plans alone have had phenomenal success. We’ve had many members in similar circumstances get on track this way prior to surgery and we’d love to help you in the same way 🙂

      12WBT Support Crew

  10. Hi
    My BMI is in the healthy weight range but the circumference of my waistline is in DANGER ZONE – not surprising given the way I have been eating the past few months. I recently did the 12WBT and loved it only to put it all back on again:-( I’ve tried to get myself kick started again but keep falling off the rails. I want to join again but I need to get my head right! The more I think about needing/ wanting to get back on track with my eating habits and exercise I seem to do the opposite. A vicious cycle. …. And when I do drop the weight again I don’t want to put it back on again. How do I maintain my new weight! What should I do?!

    1. Hi Mary,

      As someone who has completed a round of 12WBT before, you know that all the answers are in the program! The single most important thing for you will be to honestly and wholeheartedly complete your very first Pre-Season Task GET REAL. Remember what Mish says in this task:
      – I cannot want this for you. I cannot get you your results. Only YOU can do this for yourself.
      – You’ve got to let go of your excuses. You’ve used them for so long you probably believe them; you’ve enrolled others to believe them too.
      – If you want to transform yourself, you’ve got to clear these excuses and make way for a breakthrough.
      – Don’t rely on motivation; make exercise part of your day. Don’t think – Just do!
      If you truly honestly and sincerely want to lose weight and keep it off, then you will commit to following the 12 weeks of Exercise and Meal Plans, and watch ALL the Mindset Lessons and integrate the learnings from those lessons into your life so you rewire your brain and achieve long lasting success. Remember it can take time for these lessons to absorb and be integrated 100%, so there will be slip ups and challenges along the way – but as long as you keep trying and burning these new ways of living into your brain, you will get to and maintain your goals. Come and be part of the team – head to to rejoin us today!

  11. Hi there,
    I am need of help. I have no motivation just lost my zest to do anythink. I know I need to loss about 10kg at least. but have tried a number of programs. Q. I’m 56, weight 72kg, 163cm tall , is it possible for me to loss weight like those around me.
    Cheers Jenny

    1. Hi Jenny, I checked in with Gabi from the 12WBT Support Crew and this is her response:

      Fear not – we all lose our motivation and zest from time to time – these are the ebbs and flows of life. As Mish says, motivation is like a bad boyfriend, never there when you need him. So rather than wait for and rely on motivation (not a successful strategy as you already know) join 12WBT and you get all the tools, instructions and support you need to take control of your health and fitness, no motivation required! This is the successful strategy that thousands of our members have already taken, and we would love you to come and find the same success – you can absolutely lose weight like everyone else. And we bet along the way, you will find your zest again. Head to and sign up for a free taste of 12WBT!

      Let us know if you have any more questions. Xx

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