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JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
5/26/13 9:35 A

This calculator will tell you your calorie needs based on your exercise level instead of activity level. I find it's pretty accurate. It will give you a definition of "intense" vs. regular exercise if you scroll down.

In all honesty because these are all just general estimates, your best bet is to go by your actual results. If you're losing too quickly, eat more. Too slow, increase your exercise... etc.

There's more that goes into how slow/fast you'll lose weight than just age, gender, activity level, weight... there's also your body fat percentage or how much lean muscle you carry (the calculator above has the option to base your calorie needs estimate on your body fat %). If you want to really get technical. I can eat about 100-200 cals extra a day than the average woman my size because I carry a lot of lean muscle.

Spark also automatically sets everyone as "lightly active". Personally, I've always lost weight far more rapidly than Spark predicted I would. So I assume since I've accounted for everything else that it may be due to my activity level. If it was too fast, I just upped my calories. The more muscle I gained, the higher I had to eat in my Spark range. When I first started I ate around 1200-1300 cals to lose weight, now... even at a lighter weight I eat around 1500 cals to lose weight.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 5/26/2013 (09:38)
SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (256,879)
Fitness Minutes: (41,586)
Posts: 27,299
5/26/13 7:22 A

The co-authors of that book appear to be co-authors of other similar-type books. Altho' they appear to be qualified, this makes me wonder if the books are more about money for them rather than others' health. Out of curiosity, what were the other sources you got it from? (Just wondering if there is any connection between those and these authors.)

I wouldn't class what you do as 'light' - if you are particularly worried about sitting all day, you can also incorporate more water and loo stops into your day - that will get you walking more. You can march on the spot while sitting. You can drop your shoulders and roll them - all that takes extra energy and helps with physical relief.


NINA_MAE SparkPoints: (85)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 20
5/26/13 6:53 A

I got it from New Rules of Lifting for Women, and a couple of other sources echo it. It's so that you don't lose weight too quickly, and it's more sustainable, and the weight you lose is fat rather than fat and muscle. I've tried a 500 calorie deficit before and it's just not sustainable for me.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
Fitness Minutes: (15,905)
Posts: 9,717
5/24/13 12:31 P

May I ask where you got the 20% from? That's a technique I haven't heard of before. In general, to lose a pound of fat, you need to create a deficit of 500 calories per day through a combination of diet and exercise. To lose 2 (if you're over 200 lbs or so) then you'd create a deficit of 1,000 calories a day.

Here's how that's calculated:

NINA_MAE SparkPoints: (85)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 20
5/24/13 11:54 A

I don't want to lose weight too quickly - I want something more sustainable over the long term, and I need energy because I don't want my dancing or weightlifting to suffer (I squat 100lbs). So, I'm planning a 20% calorie deficit. Moderate activity means to maintain my weight I would need to deduct that from 2590, light activity means I would deduct it from 2300.

I just don't FEEL particularly moderately active, when all I do is sit on a train, walk up some escalators, sit, lift, sit some more, dance for an hour, sit on a train, sleep. :/

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
Fitness Minutes: (15,905)
Posts: 9,717
5/24/13 11:22 A

Yes, you are moderately active. Being sedentary throughout the day does have its drawbacks, but it doesn't make you inactive. Look into the research behind standing desks; there's some interesting stuff there.

Sitting all day isn't good, but you can do a lot to mitigate it with standing desks, regular standing breaks, throwing in a little exercise here and there. It's certainly not just countered by sitting.

I wouldn't worry overmuch about what "category" you are in, though. You get a good amount of cardio for heart health. What exactly are you estimating for in the first place?

NINA_MAE SparkPoints: (85)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 20
5/24/13 11:03 A

I'm just talking generally, not Spark-specific. :)

ICEDEMETER Posts: 1,332
5/24/13 10:49 A

I'm a little bit confused, too, as I don't recall there being anywhere on Spark that requires a setting for "activity level".

If I remember correctly, Spark sets your original calorie ranges based on BMR x 1.2 (which accounts for basic daily activities such as cooking, housework, errands, walking around at an office job) minus either 500 calories per day (for 1 pound loss per week) or 1000 calories per day (for 2 pound loss per week).

You then need to go in to your Fitness goals and enter in your average amount of calories burned each week doing deliberate exercise (your strength and cardio training). These calories burned are then added in to the equation to get your ideal calorie range for nutrition.

This link is for how they calculate everything:

Hope this helps!

(Edited to fix my math --- obviously I need more coffee this morning!)

Edited by: ICEDEMETER at: 5/24/2013 (11:08)
NINA_MAE SparkPoints: (85)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 20
5/24/13 10:26 A

Hi Everyone,

I'm really not sure which category I would fall into and I'm so confused. I work in an office, so I'm very sedentary between the hours of 9-5pm, and on my commute (except I always walk up the stairs, not just stand on the escalator at the tube stations...if it makes any difference!)

However, at lunch times I go to the gym and lift weights 4 days a week, and I do 5 hours of cardio a week in the form of dance classes and spinning.

This means I'm active 5-6 days a week from minimum 30 minutes to maximum two hours (Saturdays and Thursdays). According to Harris-Benedict, this would put me in the moderate exercise category, but how can this be accurate when it's countered with me sitting on my butt for the best part of every day?

I don't want to overestimate...but I don't want to underestimate either!

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