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WINNIIIE Posts: 396
1/15/13 2:48 P

I think that it is great that you're really focused on your weight loss and are looking to use the tools at your disposal (calorie counters, food trackers etc) correctly.
The best advice I can give is to not become too consumed with trying to make an exact science out of the whole process, it can start to drive you crazy. I do think it is extremely important to track calories/track calories burned, but I got to a point where I was obsessing about possibly being 80 calories under my daily calorie burn goal, or not meeting my weekly goal, over exercising etc.

A "GOOD" workout for me is based on the following
- I get my butt to the gym!
- I am able to complete at least 30-45 minutes of cardio where I feel like I
a) Put in 100% of my effort
b) Focused on a different small goal- slightly steeper incline, interval training, running an extra 5 minutes etc.
c) Leave the gym feeling happy, confident and proud of what I accomplished.
- I am sweaty, red faced and looking forward to a long rewarding shower

Don't focus so much on the calories you are burning at the gym, but on how it makes you feel, the goals you are accomplishing, the uplifting and mood improving bonus etc. Focusing on other goals other than just calorie burn will help you make it through plateaus, tough times when you feel like the gym is your worst enemy etc.
Although I do believe it is important to track, don't drive yourself crazy striving for a perfect number or a perfect deficit. If you are eating healthy like you said and are being active the weight WILL COME OFF!!!

LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 26,681
1/15/13 8:15 A

"I just don't have much cardio experience for weight loss '

Several people have mentioned that cardio is NOT as important as you think for weigh loss.....
Focus on nutrition and strength training!

1/14/13 11:53 P

No one has bothered to mention the truism, "you can not out run a bad diest". Nutrition (diet) is 80% of the equations and that is what causes fat loss not exercise, exercise helps by getting us fit. There is no machine, formula or heart rate monitor which can give you anything close to an accurate calorie burn, that can only be done in a laboratory setting. All the algorithms are based on averages and none of us fit the average paradigm exactly.

Do not depend on cardio for your exercise it is the least important and effective form for ensuring weight loss, strength training is more effective and has more long term benefits. Bottom line monitor you calorie intake not your calorie outgo and use exercise to get healthy and fit..

Edited by: SERGEANTMAJOR at: 1/15/2013 (11:43)
MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,456
1/14/13 11:48 P

Calories burned is a function of duration, intensity, your current size and current fitness level.

As the last two aren't controllable in the short term, calories burned isn't a great way of assessing what is a 'good' workout or not.

A good cardio workout can probably best be said to be about 30-40 minutes in duration, and get your heart rate up to 70-85% of its maximum (and maximum is defined as 220 minus your age).

But in answer to your question, someone who is just starting out may burn 200 calories in that time, while a fitter person may burn 500 calories in that time.


35BYMAY SparkPoints: (1,477)
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1/14/13 11:23 P

thanks for all that! I think I follow... and funny you mention being a nurse, because I just graduated nursing school and will be one very shortly lol. I guess this is all just a process of trying things out... My metabolism is in the gutter right now, so I will go for 1500 cals/day and 500 cals/day at the gym and see where that gets me... I will report back in a couple of weeks lol

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
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1/14/13 11:13 P

"thanks for all the info dragonchild... its good to put numbers like "500-1000 calorie deficit per day". That means I can burn 500 at the gym and lose 500 from my old diet and should see some results :)"

Actually... not quite. :) The calculations are a *bit* more complicated than that.

Here's what you need to know right here:

I'll break it down. First, you'll need to know your BMR. For most people, this is around 2,000 calories per day. That means this is how much you eat just to stay right where you are. (yours may be higher or lower. You're around the same weight as me, so I'll use my numbers as a base here.)

Mine is 1900.

This means that if I do NOTHING all day... I burn 1900 calories per day. I eat 1800-2000, I stay right where I'm at. :)

However, we don't sit and do nothing, do we? So, we have to account for daily activity. SP uses a base modifier of 1.2 for sedentary living. Yours may be more if you're very active. I'm not that active outside of the gym, so I use the 1.2. That gives me a burn daily ofr about 2280.

Getting confused yet? Toldja it wasn't quite that simple. ;)

So, if I go to the gym, and burn 500 calories (tough, but doable in boot camp or with some intervals) that bumps up my calorie burn to 2780 for the day.

So. If I eat only 1500 calories? That gives me a HUGE deficit of 1280 - more than necessary, and over time, this can backfire. Eating too little can slow your metabolism!

This also doesn't take into account any other activity you may have, the strength training you may do, or anything else (Nurses, for example, would need to eat even more to stay properly fueled - I'm pretty inactive)! So be cautious before assuming you need to just burn 500 and eat 1500... that may actually not be enough for you, especially if you burn more. More is not better when it comes to fitness. :)

And in fact, I lose anywhere in that 1500-1800 range for me. Yes, that means that I can eat 1800 calories a day and still lose. This will, however, change as I lose weight. The closer you get to your goal, the less of a deficit you can sustain. In about 10-20 lbs, you'll find 2 lbs as a goal is too tough, and nearly impossible to achieve regularly. You can attempt to lose roughly 3% of your remaining weight loss goal (or 1% of your body total). As I said before, our bodies are not calculators, and sometimes, even when the math is PERFECT, our bodies (and that damn scale) aren't quite behaving the way we expect them to.

Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 1/14/2013 (23:17)
DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
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1/14/13 11:06 P

Ah, but you see? You MUST have room in your goals for error. That is because this is not a journey of perfection! You will not, I'm afraid, progress at 1-2 lbs per week from start to finish with no bumps or problems. Our bodies are fickle things, and even if the math is all perfect, our bodies aren't calculators. The vast majority of people will have up weeks, down weeks, and weeks of standstill. It's all normal, and you have to prepare for this and accept it. :) Remember... there is no room for perfection in this!

It takes more than eating healthy... you can still eat too much on healthy foods, and conversely, still eat too little and sabotage your efforts! At 192 lbs (right there with you, sister!) you will find that as you lose, it will be harder and harder to lose 2 lbs per week. That's because the closer you get, the slower you lose.

Cardio helps, but it's not really how we lose weight. And in fact, it's the LEAST important thing we do! It's all about what we eat. And in fact, if you're not strength training, you should start! Strength training will have a greater effect on your overall calorie burn (lean muscle burns more than fat!) and will help you look and feel better in the skin you're in!

35BYMAY SparkPoints: (1,477)
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1/14/13 11:02 P

thanks for all the info dragonchild... its good to put numbers like "500-1000 calorie deficit per day". That means I can burn 500 at the gym and lose 500 from my old diet and should see some results :)

35BYMAY SparkPoints: (1,477)
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1/14/13 11:00 P

thanks... maybe I was asking something a little beyond what I was looking for in an answer lol. I am not used to gyms, and am trying to lose 2lbs a week, eating 1500 cals per day... I burn about 500 cals/day at the gym right now, 5 days/week, and just wanted to see if other people set the same calorie burn goals as me for 1-2 lb weight loss per week, or if I should stay longer and burn a little more :) Nutrition is not an issue, I know exactly what to eat to be healthy, I just don't have much cardio experience for weight loss and I want to make sure I am doing as much as other successful people, as I have no room for error in my goals :) I get that my question is a little impossible to answer though lol

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
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1/14/13 10:49 P

Losing weight is not about how many calories you burn in the gym. Because you adjust your diet based on that number, the real weight loss happens in the kitchen.

It doesn't matter whether you burn 200 calories, or 1500... you have to adjust your intake to account for that, either up to support your higher levels of activity and decrease the calorie deficit, or down to increase the deficit.

All the exercise in the world won't help you lose weight if you don't get your diet under control.

The goal is to create an approximately 500-1000 calorie deficit per day. This is including your BMR (base metabolic rate), calories eaten, and calories burned. That provides an approximate 1-2 pound per week weight loss. It's easiest when you exercise, but whether you exercise or not, you'll still need to create the same deficit. This could make the difference in needing to eat 1200 calories to lose, or being able to eat 1800 and lose. I like working out a lot so I can have a larger range. I don't do well on 1200 calories. LOL.

What other people burn won't help you lose weight. You need to determine how often you want to work out, set up your fitness tracker here to account for that, and eat within your calorie ranges. That will help you lose weight... not knowing how many calories I aim for. :)

the best workout for you is the one you'll do. Intense tabatas and HIIT will give you the fastest calorie burn, but if you hate doing them, or are incapable of doing so, or get burned out, they're not helpful to you. Do what you enjoy, figure out how many calories it burns, and work from there. Aiming for an arbitrary number won't help you get fit nor thin.

Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 1/14/2013 (22:54)
BRITOMART Posts: 8,305
1/14/13 10:27 P

I think a 'good' cardio workout is one where you remain in your cardio zone for a time that is appropriate to your level of fitness and health. That's going to be different for each person--and for any person at different stages in her journey. Counting calories--in the gym or elsewhere--is only one measure of progress, and not always the best one imo.

I go by minutes, distance, intensity. And I use a heart rate monitor--because that measures ME and my effort.

35BYMAY SparkPoints: (1,477)
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1/14/13 10:23 P

Nutrition was assumed in this post Luanne, I'm on the sparkpeople program :) And thanks hokie for the tips on the calorie counting, it makes sense, and I will likely go the conservative route as well... SP doesn't have incline training at greater than 15% so I can't even track it properly on here :( such a bummer, because at 25-30% incline, it's apparently a huge difference in calorie burn than at 15%, so I would like to get some accurate numbers... oh well, such is life :)

LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 26,681
1/14/13 9:11 P

"And is that providing you with good numbers on the scale"
Cardio is not what I rely on for weight loss... because weight loss is 80% nutrition!

H0KIE_GIRL SparkPoints: (3,588)
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1/14/13 9:01 P

I have my silly way of calculating things. If I see 250 on the treadmill and SP is telling me like 225 I tend to knock in down to 200. The one part of SP I really don't like if how much calories they're telling me I'm burning in a 20 minute dumbbell routine. One clocked in at 100 calories for 20 minutes and I don't feel myself really "warm up" so I tend to do it twice and then keep the 100 calories or keep the minutes tracked and just bring the calories down to 50.

After awhile you're going to be able to tell how much you feel like you're working and you'll be able to judge how much you wanna take off to be on the safe side.

35BYMAY SparkPoints: (1,477)
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1/14/13 8:58 P

I know what you mean about accurate calories... even websites where I punch in my average bpm (170 for 30 mins) gives me numbers from 550-350 depending on the site... and the incline trainer reads 450... I dont know who to trust

H0KIE_GIRL SparkPoints: (3,588)
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1/14/13 8:52 P

For me I'm normally averaging 400 calories an hour and that's me substantially taking away from what the machines say because I truly don't trust them. And even when I do my Les Mill classes and people say theyre burning 600-700 calories that hour I still only track 400 because I'm the person that would rather underestimate to get my 3500 calories burned a week goal than overestimate and be cheating myself.

35BYMAY SparkPoints: (1,477)
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1/14/13 8:51 P

I will rephrase then, lol... when you guys go to the gym for a cardio workout, and you are in a weight loss phase, do you have a number of calories you like to achieve while you are there? And is that providing you with good numbers on the scale

ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (199,480)
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1/14/13 8:48 P

Online Now  • ))
I don't know how I'd measure a "good" workout, but I don't measure it by calories burned. A "good" workout can burn 200 calories, or it can burn 1500.

35BYMAY SparkPoints: (1,477)
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1/14/13 8:43 P

I'm totally new to the gym thing.. will be going 5 days per week... for those losing weight or doing cardio for weight loss, what is your idea of a quality workout-measured in calories? How many calories do you like to burn in one trip to the gym (on cardio days)

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