Calorie: a unit of heat; large calorie the amount of heat needed to raise on kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius, often used to measure the energy value of foods (KCal)
How do I figure out how many calories X workout burns? If I exercise more can I eat more? Why does the digital readout on the treadmill differ with my HRM or Spark allotment? All of these are recurring questions on the various message boards and all seem to garner different answers.
The problem is that the various algorithms for figuring out calorie burn are plagued by variables when it comes to individual readings. This is why ranges are used instead of absolute numbers when it comes to assigning values. Absolute values can only be obtained in laboratory settings. The values given for basal metabolic rate are based on averages but useful as a base line.
To lose weight you have to use the value given for your resting metabolic rate, the requirements for your daily activity and then create a deficit in your caloric intake. The premise that if calories out are less than calories in one will lose weight is a bit misleading since the nature of the calories in is important in determining the value to the body. The ratio of macro nutrients, carbohydrates, proteins and fats, has to be in balance, excluding or creating a deficiency in any one will throw the body metabolism out of sync.
So much for the lecture, how does this apply to someone who wants to lose weight and get fit? My first premise is that it is easier to control intake than attempt to track burn. When a resting metabolic rate and activity metabolic rate are compiled we now have a range of calories we can consume. We now add in a general value range for the non routine things we do in the form of dedicated exercise to determine a deficit to cause weight loss. Remember that eighty percent of weight lose is nutrition not exercise.
Since the calorie value of foods has been determined in a laboratory environment we can assume they are accurate and valid. Using this information we can plan meals and snacks to match our desired calorie intake. Paying attention to portion size and balancing macronutrients is the key to our meal planning. As long as we do the scheduled amount of exercise we can use the general values assigned for each one and do not need to get into a quandary over monitoring them precisely. To monitor them as individuals we use the perceived rate of exertion to determine of we are working at a proper intensity.
Bottom line in my opinion, we can over complicate a straight forward set of computations and get caught up in the paralysis of analysis. There is no need to chase numbers making like a green eye shaded accountant and recording long columns of numbers. We can plan ahead as to what we will eat and get on with the rest of our lives.
Questions and comments are welcome.
It is called WORK-ing out for a reason.
I said getting fit was simple, I did not say it was easy.
Cardio burns calories, strength work burns fat.
Eat well to lose weight, exercise to get fit
You can not build a six pack using twelve packs
Often when we seek a magic bullet for fitness we end up shooting ourselves in the foot.
"I think calories are little germs in food that all moms are afraid of" Dennis the Menace