Thursday, July 03, 2008

Q & A

Debstar asked a question:

Do you track how many calories you use up during exercise and on average how many would that be?

The answer is: Nope, I don't record calories from exercise. I have a daily food calorie target - at the moment that's 1500 - and I just aim for that, with the help of Calorie King. Then I go and train my butt off most days. I really don't want to be getting all control-freaky and obsessed over columns of numbers. Logging food is easy once you get the hang of it, and it keeps you honest. But keeping track of exercise too, and then going OMG - it's 11:00pm and I still need to burn another 273 Calories today! - That is just insane.

Plus, your non-exercise activity levels vary constantly, and your metabolism changes over time so continually trying to recalculate calorie needs would give me the irrits. Instead, I'm trying to be intuitive, take note of what my body is telling me (except when it tells me I need to eat that whole packet of Tim Tams... lies! It lies to me all the time!) and just eat a little more when I know I need it. For instance, if I'm tempted to gnaw my own arm off, I can be pretty sure I should eat something, whether it's meal time or not.

As for an 'average' of how many calories I burn in a training session... my bike tells me that in a one-hour tough spin session I burn something like 700-800 calories. But my HRM tells me it's more like 350. Hmm, which is right? Neither? I don't worry about it, any more than I worry about the silly body fat numbers my scale taunts me with. All those machines are programmed with various averages, and I begin to suspect that I'm not really all that average...

So the scales and mirror, plus the intuitive thing should be all that I need to tweak food when needed to stay on track towards my goals. And thus far it's working just fine. :o)


Unknown said...

We have scales that 'calculate' body fat and weight. If I put in my age as '25' then I'm a good 4-5% less body fat than if I tell the truth! Hmmmmmm.......sounds a really accurate calculation to me....NOT!

Kek said...

Yeah, I never get the age thing either, Linda. I htink it has to do with the fact that the scale only does the electrical zappy thing up one leg and down the other, so it only actually assesses body composition on your lower half. Then it factors in whether you're male or female (assuming that all females store more fat on their lower half) and your age not sure. LOL.

Anyway, if you're not a pear-shaped woman, you'll get a number that's way under the reality. And if you're a guy who stores quite a lot of fat on his legs and butt, you'll get a devastatingly high number. So averages only work for 'most' of the population.

Must ponder the age part of the equation....

Debstar said...

Thanks for the reply Kerryn. I've read a few blogs where they place importance on how many calories are used in exercise so I started to think maybe I've been doing it all wrong. Calorie King calculates calories used on the treadmill walking or running at a certain pace but don't allow for interval training, same with cycling. So how do you work that one out? If I'm not doing intervals I'm bored stupid, one pace just doesn't do it for me.

Anyway I've been doing it like you all along because basically I'm just too lazy to work out the exercise/calorie thing. Glad to know I'm basically on the right track. Now if only Teeny Tiny would stop bringing home marshmallows.

Kek said...

Well, some people like to keep spreadsheets of everything and analyse numbers and so on. They must be Type A personalities. And good at maths or computery stuff. LOL.

I've never needed to and I'm not really interested in starting.

If you're training regularly and with a reasonable intensity and not seeing the results you want, then you can bet it's food that's letting you down.

As for interval training - God, I get so booooored with long steady cardio sessions. Blah! Intervals or crazy-mixed-up workouts like the ones I've posted previously are my favourite.

You must have a short attention span like me, Deb. :o)

Kathryn said...

Not recording exercise sounds like a great idea. I have a real problem when I do a big workout in the morning because it makes me think that I have all those extra calories to eat!

One of the trainers at my gym told me that the only value the calorie read out on the equipment has is for comparisions between workouts. I reckon exercise bikes are the worst, they seem to just come up with some random calories.

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