Exercise, fitness tracking and weight loss...myths and facts!

Let's talk about exercise, fitness tracking (calories burned) and weight loss...myths and facts!

First let's start with fitness trackers and calories burned. Why can they be so different? The answer is actually quite complex because of the wonderful human body. Calories in food is static and doesn’t really change but when we look at the human body and calories we burn when we exercise a lot of factors come into play: Sex (male or female), age, body fat %, heart rate, temperature conditions (cold or hot), stress, sleep, what kind of exercise,underlying genetics, general conditioning, general nutrition, etc…

Most fitness trackers estimate your basal calories using a formula based on the Harris-Benedict equation, which includes your height, weight, gender and age but it doesn’t include the other factors listed above. All those things also factor into calories burned but are impossible to put in an easy equation often used by fitness trackers. Some trackers will take bits and pieces of extra data: heart rate, sleep, etc.. and try to add that into the equation too.

What does that mean? Honestly the number you get is a big guesstimate. My best advice is to never use calories burned as a definite end all be all number. It is a gray area guesstimate at best across the different trackers.

Let's take this a step further.... Remember the old saying, “You can’t outrun a bad diet” it really is true.

Let’s say you really wanted to just outrun a bad diet….just how much running would you have to do?
Let’s look at the numbers!
Technically to burn 1 lb of fat you would have to burn 3,500 kcal, so what would that look like exercise wise?

---If you weigh 125lbs it would take 6 hours of continuous running at 6mph (10min/mile pace) or if you prefer to walk it would take 13 hours of continuous walking at 4mph (15min/mile pace)
---If you weigh 155lbs it would take 4.7 hours of continuous running at 6mph/walking 10.5 hours at 4mph
----If you weigh 185lbs it would take 4 hours of continuous running at 6mph / walking 8.75 hours at 4mph

**Another wrench in this equation? The more we exercise, the more conditioned we are and the less calories we actually burn due to our bodies efficiency. There are some studies that say the numbers could even be higher than 3,500 kcal to burn that 1 lb of fat. Always remember exercise is so much more than just calories burned!! Exercise decreases stress, improves sleep, builds strong bones and muscles, conditions your heart and lungs, boosts mood, boosts metabolism, is anti-aging, makes you feel accomplished and strong, etc..(I could seriously go on and on)

What does this all prove?? Never trust calories burned in a fitness tracker and nutrition will take you where you want when it comes to weight loss goals! Next week let's dive into how to take a closer look at your nutrition, simple steps to take.