It’s been very fashionable for a few decades to track calories “burned” during exercise, whether the exercise is low intensity or high intensity (*nudge nudge* foreshadowing!). Sometimes the treadmill will tell you how many calories you burned, or sometimes the wearable on your wrist will. But there are two main problems with these ways of measuring caloric expenditure:
They are gross estimations based off averages
They (inadvertently) mislead you into thinking the calories you burned during your workout is all that matters
Addressing the first problem, these measurements do not and cannot take into account things like air pressure or gas exchange, which absolutely matter. For every individual these rates will differ, depending on metabolism, fitness level, and age, among other variables. Unless you’re tracking calories accurately, you’re just making an approximation based on the average population that may be nothing like you.
There are ways to be more precise about measuring your calories, for instance observing respiratory quotient by wearing a gas mask-like apparatus as you exercise (to monitor carbon dioxide exhaled versus oxygen inhaled), but who’s willing to go through this effort to get an accurate picture? Thus you’re stuck working off a ballpark number and you don’t really have an idea of how it compares to you. Ask yourself, are you an average? Or are you a unique individual with your own genetics, body, and lifestyle? I know what I am!
Addressing the second problem with simply looking at calories, the amount of calories expended during exercise isn’t the whole picture. How bout the type of exercise, does that matter? What if with some types of exercise, you actually burned far more calories after the workout than during the workout itself? More matters than calories burned during exercise. This a key concept that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Understand, we’re not here to rain on your parade. Rather we’re shedding light on the subject to provide a true understanding of exercise concepts, cut through the noise, and take down some sacred cows (if you’ve been reading our blog for any significant amount of time you should know this by now ^_^). Given that, in Part II of this series, we’ll provide solutions to these two problems. We’ll dive super deep into how to get a true measurement of calories and what else matters besides the calories burned during your workout. If you don’t want to wait, then join our program, the Full Body Lift Off, to start getting the results you want.