When you’re following a weight loss plan, it’s normal to feel concerned not only with how many calories you consume through your diet, but also calories burned through exercise. You know that you need to run a deficit in order to lose weight. You might have noticed that many of the exercise machines at the gym will offer a total “calories burned” calculation for you, seemingly reducing your own mathematical burden. But can you really “count” on those totals?
The answer: Sort of.
Those numbers are based upon averages. The final figure is calculated based upon the average amount of energy required by an average-weight person, with an average ratio of fat to muscle, to perform certain exercise tasks. If you’re completely average in all areas, then maybe those figures are pretty close to accurate in your case.
But for most people, the “calories burned” figure from exercise machines is just an estimate. It can vary quite significantly based upon a number of factors, so don’t get too attached to that number.
Here’s another reason to avoid counting on that figure too much: Subconsciously, many people see a pleasing “calories burned” number on their exercise machine, and a strange sort of justification begins to form in the brain. “I burned 637 calories on that stationary bike today,” you might think. “I could probably afford to eat a few cookies”. This can be dangerous, because your numbers might not be accurate. And even if they are, do you really want to sabotage your healthy eating plan that way?
On the other hand, if you simply find the number motivating, then it’s fine to continue allowing the machines to calculate your calories burned. What sabotages one person works perfectly well for another, so just analyze the situation for yourself and be aware of what is truly working for you.
For more information on how to balance your incoming calories (through diet) with your calories burned (through exercise), give us a call. We can help you evaluate your plan and make changes that can lead to greater weight loss or fitness success.