Great British Bake Off: the workout

Have your cake and eat it!* Burn calories while you bake with our fitness expert’s GBBO-inspired calorie buster (*cake contains far more calories than are burned by eating it)


Yes, cakes are ‘fattening’. They contain sugar and butter and – if you’re lucky – jam and cream. But all the vigorous dough-kneading, rolling pin action and squatting in front of the oven on The Great British Bake Off got us thinking… is baking actually a calorie burner?


Well, we had a chat with fitness expert and personal trainer Laura Williams. While weight loss through exercise is different for everyone, she’s given us an average break down of how many calories all of that baking is busting…  

Kneading dough

30 minutes = 80 cals (if you’re standing up)

“Make sure you stand to knead the dough,” says Laura. “Bending your knees slightly, maintaining a straight back and pushing all of your weight through your heels will also work the bottom.

“Keeping your elbows tucked into your sides to knead will work the triceps (backs of arms), while arms bent out to sides will work shoulders more.”

Whisking eggs/cake mix

15 minutes = 50 cals

“Tensing your stomach (don’t confuse this with holding your breath) will work your waist muscles while you’re whisking. Make sure you alternate your whisking arm to work all muscles evenly!”

Rolling pastry

30 minutes = 100 cals

“When rolling pastry, tense your stomach and lower back towards the kitchen surface as you roll (making sure your back doesn’t arch). This acts as a mini-plank to strengthen core muscles.”


10 mins = 30 cals

“Adopt the same exercise as whisking – and don’t forget to swap arms.” 

Carrying heavy groceries

10 minutes = up to 150 cals

“Practise bicep curls and overhead extensions with baskets and bags full of food to kill time and work muscles when standing in the supermarket queue.”

Squatting in front of the oven while watching something bake

30 minutes = 250-300 cals

“Rather than kneel on the floor, squat on and off constantly for 30 mins while watching your bake (if you have a low set oven, that is).”

Plus, don’t forget the general bits and bobs you’re doing around the kitchen. When the GBBO bakers are on their feet baking for four hours, they can use up to 400 calories.

Even skipping the dishwasher has its benefits, with twenty minutes of washing up using around 40 calories.

And the icing on the cake? Eating cake for 15 minutes burns 25 calories, although do remember that the average calorie content of a slice of cake is 450 calories…

The Great British Bake Off starts tonight at 8pm on BBC1

Get more information about Laura Williams at and on Twitter @laurafitness


Picture via Twitter @Benjaminvear