How many times do you hear the saying, “you burn (fill in the blank) amount of calories doing (fill in the blank)?” I think it is safe to say that we all hear this all the time and when we do, it is said or read as a blanket statement – that every person burns the same amount of calories doing the specific activity. This could not be further from the truth! The realityis that each person burns a different amount of calories for each activity depending on the persons weight, size and intensity. A smaller person has less calories to burn then an overweight person however, both size people may put in entirely different intensities into the workout. See how this can vary?! With that, it is important to check what your expected burn is for your specific measurements and the activity you are doing.
When you know how many calories you are burning during the day for your fitness activities, you can add those calories to your total calorie intake on your diet if you are working to maintain your weight. Obviously if you are burning hundreds of calories in a workout, it is important to replenish your body with those lost calories with clean and healthy food sources. If you don’t know how many calories you need to replenish, you could chance not consuming enough thus causing your body to go into starvation mode and start holding onto fat, or you could overeat and create an unbalanced deficit leading to weight gain. When you know what you are burning for your workouts, you can plan your diet around it accordingly. On the flip side, if you are trying to lose weight, then you know how many extra calories you are burning over what you have already consumed (3500 calories = 1 pound). Either way, it is crucial to know where you are at with your burn to keep track on where you are at nutritionally and ultimately, with your weight.
I have found a great recourses that I use to figure out my calorie burn for various activities that I find extremely helpful: Sparkpeople.com. I keep this site bookmarked on my IPad and laptop so I can check you calorie burn anytime/anywhere. (I haven’t found an app that I love yet for this…I will keep my eyes out though!)
After a while, you shouldn’t need to check every time as you will start to remember how many calories you burn for activities you do often. Of course, please know that these tools are only as accurate as the information that you put in it. If you try to get a quote for calorie burn of an ‘intense weight train’ when you know your energy level during your training was only moderate, it will obviously quote more then you actually burned. Be honest with yourself to get honest results. If you are looking for a 100% accurate way of tracking calorie burn, there are tools such as the 24 Hour Fitness Bodybugg and others similar that you actually wear on your arm to calculate every single calorie you burn throughout the day. Although these devices are amazing, they are also pricey. If you are not looking to lose serious weight, you should be fine just using the SparkPeople calculator (again this is as long as you are accurate!).
Happy Calorie tracking!