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How Many Calories Have I Burned?

Jul 5, 2018 | The Pointe

Although there are many benefits to regular aerobic exercise, the benefits most are interested in are weight loss and weight management.  To succeed in any weight management program, a person’s main concern are calories. This concern includes calories consumed and calories burned. In any fitness facility or home gym, the cardio equipment gives users plenty of feedback including time, distance, speed, and most importantly, calories burned.

When using cardio equipment, it is important to properly program the equipment in order to receive accurate feedback. With calories, there are formulas that the equipment’s computer uses to estimate the calories being burned. The most important variable is the user’s body weight. If you want the equipment to estimate the calories burned, you must make sure to program your body weight into the machine. The machine can automatically vary the rate at which calories are burned when speed or intensity are increased, but without an accurate body weight programmed from the start, the final calorie count will be inaccurate.

There are equations that have been developed to estimate calories burned during different activities and during rest. Summarized here are some examples that you can use to estimate the amount of calories you use during exercise. 


Calories per minute = [(speed(mph) x 2.66 + 3.5) x (body weight(lbs)/2200)] x 5

Walking (up a grade)

Calories per minute = {(speed x 2.66 + 3.5) + [(percent grade x speed x 47.88)]} x [(body weight/2200) x 5]

 (Note: percent grade is in decimal form…..5% = .05)

Jogging (5mph and up)

Calories per minute = {[(speed x 5.32) + 3.5] x (body weight/2200)} x 5

Jogging (up a grade)

Calories per minute = {[(speed x 5.32) + 3.5] + [(speed x percent grade) x 23.94]} x [(body weight/2200) x 5]

Although you need to be somewhat of a math whiz, these equations estimate just how many calories you burn during your exercise bouts. 

There is a catch...

Having a general idea of how many calories you consume versus how many calories you expend is an important part of weight management. With respect to calories expended and exercise, it is important to understand the concept of net calories.  Net calories also explain why exercise plays a secondary role to diet when trying to lose weight.  Basically, when you exercise, you are burning calories. If you don’t exercise, however, you will still burn calories. If a treadmill you’ve been walking on estimates that you’ve burned 200 calories, it’s giving you the total calories burned. The actual net calories would be significantly less. If you factor in the calories you would have burned through resting metabolic rate and any other activity performed during that time of “formal” exercise your net calorie loss is less than 200. Another number to keep in mind is 3500, the number of calories in one pound.  Exercise by itself isn’t the solution to weight loss.

Although exercise isn’t the only factor in weight loss, it is part of the equation secondary to diet. This doesn’t mean that it’s useless to exercise for weight loss, but it does help explain why eating less and/or better foods is much more valuable during weight loss. Every little bit helps as far as expended calories, but the process is life long.



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