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Nah, I’m not talking about something that happens when both competitors in a boxing or wrestling match end up outside the ring for a count of 10.
I’m talking about a little mistake in ‘tracking’ energy expenditure that can easily derail our attempts at weight loss.
To explain the ‘mistake’ I need to start at the beginning.
Now, are you sitting comfortably?
———— It’ll only take a minute actually —————
Calorie requirements calculations start by working out your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate).
Your body’s energy requirements at rest.
How much you’d use if you spent the whole day in bed.
Based primarily of your size and, perhaps, age and body composition (how much is fat, muscle, etc if known).
There are different formulas for this, but they’re not drastically different.
Right at the end (after the next step) it’ll add what’s called the ‘Thermic Effect of Food’ – how much energy your body uses processing your food.
Or that’ll be factored into BMR in the first place.
Now comes the kicker…………..
That number will be multiplied by a factor relevant to ‘activity levels’.
Here are some commonly used numbers.
Sedentary (little to no exercise + work a desk job) = 1.2
Lightly Active (light exercise 1-3 days / week) = 1.375
Moderately Active (moderate exercise 3-5 days / week) = 1.55
Very Active (heavy exercise 6-7 days / week) = 1.725
Extremely Active (very heavy exercise, hard labor job, training 2x / day) = 1.9
MyFitnessPal gives you the options of:
Sedentary: Spend most of the day sitting (e.g. bank teller, desk job) = 1.25
Lightly Active: Spend a good part of the day on your feet (e.g. teacher, salesperson) = 1.4
Active: Spend a good part of the day doing some physical activity (e.g. food server, postal carrier) = 1.6
Very Active: Spend most of the day doing heavy physical activity (e.g. bike messenger, carpenter) = 1.75
The mistake comes where people consider their activity levels including exercise……………..
AND then add in exercise calories used, either manually or from a wearable tracker.
Their BMR is 1,500 calories.
They select Active as they do some exercise three or more times per week, giving them a daily requirement of 2,400.
They plan to lose at, let’s say one pound per week (500 cals per day) which gives them a target of 1,900.
There exercise tracker (or manual input) adds on 500 calories, going back to 2,400 which is what they then eat.
Leaving what, on paper looks like weight loss, to actually be maintenance.
You can, of course, change any of these numbers for other, more appropriate ones.
But you get the idea.
Don’t ‘count out’ your results by, essentially, double counting exercise energy usage.
Personally I don’t add exercise calories.
They’re usually over estimated and not particularly accurate.
They can quite easily be a few hundred out.
I’d consider exercise as the, excuse the choice of proverb, ‘icing on the cake’.
It’ll get you there a little quicker, perhaps.
And, ultimately, a mindset of exercise being good for health, fitness, energy levels, mental health and so on…………..
And eating better being good for weight loss (amongst other things)………….
Usually serves us better.
———- Check out https://buff.ly/2GlhB0l if you like the idea of having fun while getting all those benefits of exercise and getting help and support with the other stuff outside of that ———–
If you want to add on exercise calories, make sure the activity multiplier chosen reflects what you do outside of exercise, and you should be good
Jon ‘Two falls to a finish’ Hall and Matt ‘KO’ Nicholson
The Academy Group Transformation Centre Macclesfield - buff.ly/2EhYTcx
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