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MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,451
2/7/08 7:02 P

Most exercise or activity calculators include your total calorie burn, which includes what you would naturally burn with your normal bodily functions. At rest, this is probably 50-80 calories per hour, so there is an element of double counting. This is not a big issue for focussed exercise as it is probably only 30-60 minutes. But when you talk about an entire shift, this is several hours worth of double counting of your BMR, and starts to become more significant.

So an incremental calorie burn of 120-150 calories per hour rather than a total of 200 is probably a better way to think of it. Also, your body adapts to and becomes more efficient at activities you do regularly, so after a few weeks, this would probably drop significantly.


Edited by: MOTIVATED@LAST at: 2/7/2008 (19:05)
2/7/08 2:14 P

Yeah, it's hard to eat carefully with such crazy hours. I would try to start my shift with a salad, sandwich or bowl of soup, and I'd keep a bag of almonds or something around to munch on throughout my shift. One job cocktail waitressing until 2 am was so busy with such long shifts that I'd have to sneak in power bars during my bathroom breaks.

TERSH79 Posts: 87
2/7/08 2:06 P

I thought about wearing a pedometer, but the one i got is pretty cheap and did a really bad job counting steps accurately. I guess i could spring for a more expensive one! I think being a waitress is part of my weight loss problem- i work weird hours, so i often end up eating dinner at 11 at night and going to bed at 12, and i know how bad it is, but after a 7 hour shift i'm starving! I've been tracking my calories on Spark here and it seems even when i try hard to eat i'm still only eating about 1500 calories a day. If you figure i may work a 7 hour shift and if what i have seen is true (that waiting tables burns 200 cals an hour) that's 1400 calories i burn at work alone, and if i'm only eating 1500 a day i'm definitely screwing up my metabolism. I guess I need to figure out how to eat more!!

2/7/08 9:30 A

Hi! I don't know how many calories exactly, but I waited tables for 12 years and as soon as I switched to a desk job, the pounds piled on -- fast. And a bartender friend of mine once wore a pedometer during a Saturday night shift and discovered she had "walked" over 5 miles behind the bar!

So, while I wouldn't count it as cardio (since you really don't get your heart rate up that high), you are burning more calories than most people at work.

SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,753
2/7/08 6:45 A


Although I wouldn't count this activity as your exercise, when SP calculates your calorie range, it assumes you'll be doing some activity throughout the day- like walking to your car, carrying groceries, etc. You are doing more than the average amount of activity, so I would consider bumping up your calorie range by 200 or so to account for this. Then you can add your workouts and know that you're eating enough for your activity level, while still gaining fitness through exercise.

I hope that helps! Let me know if you have more questions!

Coach Jen

DREAVG Posts: 3,215
2/7/08 2:39 A


For any activity to count as cardio, you have to use your big muscles (arms and legs, not fingers or just hands) so that your heart rate raised to 60-80% of your max (220- your age) continuously for a min of 10 (no stopping) and more time is better.

For any activity to count as strength training, you need to repeat a movement for 8-12 repetitions until you reach muscle failure (not one more rep in good form).

I hope that guideline helps,

TERSH79 Posts: 87
2/7/08 12:45 A

Hi there, I was wondering if anyone had a rough estimate of how many calories waiters burn in an hour? I know i do a lot of walking and lifting (trays full of plates can weigh a lot, i'd estimate 10-20 lbs easy, and i bet i carry 30-50+ trays of stuff a night) and I've seen that it can be about 200 calories an hour, but i don't know how accurate that could be? If it's true, then i'm worried i'm burning 1000+ calories in a shift and i'm not eating enough to support my caloric needs enough for my metabolism to start burning off fat... any thoughts? Thanks!

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