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MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,437
12/9/12 9:41 P

Telling Spark you intending working out 5 times per week is a good start. But Spark's assumptions are based on average exercise intensity, and it is possible to significantly exceed this average with higher intensity workouts. (and working it more intensely is usually a good thing)

In your case, yes, it probably better to directly enter a weekly calorie target, rather than using Spark's minutes/days assumptions.


HACK_HACKER SparkPoints: (16,150)
Fitness Minutes: (29,163)
Posts: 54
12/9/12 9:16 P

Thanks for all the posts! I see what you mean. And the fitness tracker has been instructing me to change my fitness goals, but I don't understand what setting I need to change. I already told it that I plan to do cardio exercise 5 times a week--I try to do it before every exercise session, even if I'm strength training. Do I need to tell it that I know I burn X calories a week? The setting on the bottom of the page?

And I'm definitely not trying to eat less than my calorie allotment. I actually got all 1500 in today! But it's a lot of effort to eat that much, since I don't keep snacks around. I'm working on it, though!

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,437
12/8/12 8:57 P


Spark's intake recommendations take into account exercise averaged over the week.

The body typically has a reserve of about 2000 calories of usable energy, and should easily be able to cope with 650 calories of exercise, even if this is more than the daily average. It might be a different matter if you were burning 1500 calories, where you should be eating something before or during exercise to avoid depleting those reserves.


MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,437
12/8/12 8:48 P


Exercising more is good.

But I agree with Bubble - Spark's default goals are based on 30 minutes 3 times per week of moderate exercise, and it is fairly easy to exceed them if you push things a bit more. Update your Goals to more accurately reflect what you are burning.

It is important to eat appropriately to support higher levels of activity. Dramatically undereating can be effective in the short term (over a few days), but over the longer term, this is definitely not a healthy approach. It makes it difficult for your body to get all the nutrients it needs, and opening up too large a calorie deficit can lead the body to trying to close the gap by slowing your metabolism, sacrificing muscle to preserve fat, etc.

Spark's intake recommendations are based on what someone of your height and weight, and activity level would need, and going significantly under this number is not a healthy approach.


BUBBLEJ1 Posts: 2,981
12/8/12 4:36 P

Vegan - If your fitness goals are accurate then they account for exercise done, so no you don't need to eat more. If your fitness goals are not accurate then change them and see what your new range is.

VEGANMEGAN4LIFE SparkPoints: (1,667)
Fitness Minutes: (615)
Posts: 24
12/8/12 3:55 P

Hi Everyone!

I am a bit confused also.

I have eaten all my calories for the day (1500). But I did a major workout (hiking with a field-pack) and burned 650 calories.

So does that mean I can eat more calories for the day?

BUBBLEJ1 Posts: 2,981
12/8/12 3:18 P

Sparkpeople sets you up with low goals (to make them manageable for beginners). You need to reset your fitness goal to suit you. On the left side of your homepage you will see your fitness goal (xxx minutes to go!). Under that is a link that says change goal. Click on that and set your goal to something more realistic. You can do this whenever you want.

When you do this your calorie range will most likely increase. So you will need to address coming in under your calories. Your body needs fuel to exercise and live, and eating too little will actually harm your weight loss. If you make your sparkpage/trackers public people can give you specific advice.

Edited by: BUBBLEJ1 at: 12/8/2012 (15:20)
HACK_HACKER SparkPoints: (16,150)
Fitness Minutes: (29,163)
Posts: 54
12/8/12 2:17 P

I'm new to the site but not new to fitness. For the most part, I'm just trying to trim back some pounds and improve my stamina, and SparkPeople has been a huge help in keeping me engaged and accountable for my health.

I'll admit that tracking my diet has me avoiding the Nutella in the cupboard, but somehow, three days in a row, I've come in under my calorie minimum by 500 calories nearly. And I hit my calories burned goal for the month on my second day of cardio.

I don't think intentionally eating more is going to help, but I also don't want to exercise less! I reached my fitness minutes goal today (again, only my fourth day tracking). Am I doing something wrong with my exercises? Should I really exercise less? Or is this just SparkPeople's algorithm underestimating my capabilities?

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