Feel The Burn: How Many Calories Are Burned Bartending?

calories burned bartending
Joe | Last Updated: November 24, 2023
I'm Joe, a veteran bartender with over a decade in the industry and a burning passion for mixing drinks.

From the outside looking in, bartending may seem like a doddle. Chatting with customers, serving fancy cocktails, and changing the odd keg here and there, easy right?

Far from it.

Bartending is a fast-paced, high-energy role that is not for the faint-hearted, and it’ll have you sweating like there’s no tomorrow during a busy shift.

If you’ve ever been curious about the calories burned bartending, you’ve come to the right place, as today, we’re going to deep dive into the unexpected workout that is working behind a bar.

We’ll give you an estimate of just how many calories are burned while bartending and discuss whether it’s truly an active job or not.

So let’s get into it…

How Many Calories Are Burned Bartending?

The amount of calories you’ll burn while bartending varies from person to person depending on a number of factors including muscle mass, weight, overall fitness, and activity during the shift.

That said, on average a bartender can burn between 150 – 500 calories per hour and complete well over 10,000 steps during a single shift.

As mentioned, there are a number of factors that will influence the number of calories burned while bartending, with the establishment playing a key role too.

calories burned bartending
Image by Didriks

Busy nightclub bartenders in Las Vegas will often burn more calories than bartenders working in a rural pub in Ireland.

Nevertheless, it’s a surprisingly physical job, especially during busy shifts. Bartenders are constantly moving, shaking cocktails, lifting kegs, and walking.

This increases the heart rate and can work up quite the sweat, but it’s important to note that the calories burned will vary during every shift and for each bartender.

Is Being A Bartender An Active Job?

Yes, bartending is VERY much an active job, so if you’re looking for an easy ride that doesn’t take much physical energy, bartending isn’t the role for you.

That said, it’s a great way to lose weight and stay lean all year round, whilst it’s difficult to keep a healthy diet while working in a bar environment, those that do often reap the rewards of a great physique.

Bartenders are constantly on their feet, and it’s not uncommon for them to not sit down at all during a full eight to ten-hour shift.

The fast-paced nature of their job means that they must keep high energy during the shift, serving multiple different customers simultaneously.

The mechanics of a bartending job are physical too, whilst it may not seem like it, shaking cocktails, pulling pints, and changing barrels are all physically exerting tasks.

Not to mention the clean-down at the end of each shift and washing glasses in between busy periods.

calories burned bartending
Image by Jessica and Lon Binder

Newcomers to the industry often get quite the shock when they take on a bartending role, their feet and legs ache as they’re not used to standing up all day and such a physical workout.

It takes some getting used to, and finding the energy to get to the gym after a long shift can be difficult.

How Many Calories Does A Bartender Burn In An Eight-Hour Shift?

I wear my Garmin Active watch to track my calories and steps during shifts, and find that during an average eight-hour shift I actively burn around 1800 calories.

However, I’ve tracked busy shifts on Saturday nights and burned upwards of 3000 before, but I often run around trying to ensure the shifts go as smoothly as possible.

On the other hand, there are shifts where I’ve burned fewer than 1800 calories, such as when the bar hasn’t been super busy with customers and I’ve had some time to slow down.

Ultimately, the amount of calories burned as a bartender is going to depend on your current health and the type of worker you are.

If you’re someone that thrives off bartending and loves the job, you’ll likely burn a lot more calories than someone who just wants to go home.

There are a ton of variables that impact the number of calories that are burned while bartending, but generally, it’s a very active and physically demanding job that is not for the faint-hearted.

Bartending Is Basically Exercise

Bartending is very much a form of exercise as the calories burned on shift can be more than that burned in an actual workout at the gym.

Heart rate is elevated, energy is high, and there are a lot of physical tasks involved such as lifting, carrying, and walking.

Depending on the individual’s body composition, work ethic, and the establishment they work in, bartending can be a great way to get in shape and look after your cardiovascular health.

Whilst the late nights and long shifts may not be ideal for some people, the fitness benefits are profound and after a few months, bartenders often find themselves in better shape.

calories burned bartending
Image by Bear Sloan

Keeping a diet that is nourishing and full of nutrients is very important while working as a bartender as it’s important to fuel your body with food that will keep you energized.

Many bartenders find themselves falling into the trap of relying heavily on energy drinks, but this can become very unhealthy and lead to bad habits, so I advise against this.

Wrapping Up

To wrap up, the average amount of calories burned while bartending is often between 150 – 500 per hour or an average of 1800 per eight-hour shift.

However, this can fluctuate and vary drastically depending on the individual’s age, health, activity at work, and body composition as a whole.

This post may seem like working a bartending shift is similar to running a marathon, but it’s certainly not, so don’t let the physical demands of the job put you off.

It actually makes the shifts go much faster and beats sitting down wishing the shift to be over. Just be sure that you’re eating enough calories to cover your energy expenditure and lay off the energy drinks, you’ll be grand.

Thanks for taking the time to educate yourself on the demands of bartending and I hope this post has provided you with all of the insights you need.

See you next time!

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