Friday, May 24, 2013

The Calorie Burning Fairy Tale

courtesy of Favim

Even those of us who only have a cursory understanding of weight loss know that increasing the amount of calories we burn on any given day will help shed unwanted kilos, but it is important to be realistic about just how many we are burning. Many figures we are quoted are tall tales of embellishment and fallacy rather than anything to do with real energy outputs. The fitness world likes to toss about 'general' figures but unfortunately there is no one size fits all amount when it comes to calories burned. You are unique and so it your energy expenditure. There are zillions of aps, tables and guidelines that will give you approximate figures for calories burned on any given exercise. There are nifty little devices on the gym equipment too. Many of these give you a figure you think you can take to the bank when you really should have taken it to the bin along with that donut you think you can have because of the 20 minutes you just did on the treadmill.
Women especially, yeah sister I'm talking to you, are led up the proverbial garden path because many of the quoted figures are based on men with much larger muscle mass.
For example yesterday I went for a walk. Nothing strenuous. I walked for 1 hour and 16 minutes and Runkeeper told me I burned 471 calories - yay for me. The heart rate monitor I was wearing concluded that in fact it was much less - just 330 calories. That is quite a difference!  It could be the difference between you looking good in your bra and knickers or not. Are you picking up what I am putting down? Because what I am putting down is that you may have been misled, lied to, fed a load of rubbish. I once had a spin class teacher tell me I had definitely burned 900 calories in the 45 minute class. I'm very short and small and I've worn heart rate monitors to Spin classes on occasions and I had barely managed half of that. It's a little bit like clothing sizes - there is no regulation, no pinpointing the unique things about your body that put you outside of forementioned size or range. 
For a better idea a heart rate monitor will help you understand your body's unique energy expenditures but unfortunately they aren't cheap. At the very least be mindful of the possibility that the number being handed to you at the end of your workout (whether from human or electronic source) may be staggeringly off the mark.
If you want to be better understand your unique energy needs go here.

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