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Calorie Burning

by Tony Bowling on December 4, 2011

I was looking at a blog where people were discussing the subject of calories burned by the body for diet purposes. To me there was a lot of unnecessary importance being given to this.

First of all, this is another area where advice given by “experts” is way too generalized to be of any use. For example:

I have a tread mill that attempts to tell me how many calories I have burned but it doesn’t know anything about me other than how far I have run and at what speed. It does NOT know if I am built like Arnold Schwarzenegger was in the 70s (heavy with muscle) or if I am built like a Kenyan marathon runner and weighing only 120 pounds with almost zero body fat. I can guarantee you that Arnold would have burned a lot more calories than the Kenyan running over the same distance. Right there it shows these charts and advices are problematic.

The other point is why would you want this information even if it was somehow accurate for you?

If you ate a meal containing 500 calories and then exercised enough to burn 500 calories you would have to eat again. You would be hungry again. You might even think “What’s the point of exercising to try and lose weight when it just makes me hungry again”? Well that is a good point.

Exercise Makes You Hungry

The truth is exercising does result in you getting hungry, needing more food but it also results in a fitter, more toned body and a metabolism that speeds up. Usually people who exercise a lot do not have over weight bodies with excess fat but they do have to eat enough to fuel the body to do the exercising. Look at how much Gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps ate for breakfast and he wasn’t over weight at all. His life was burning calories!

What I am trying to help you avoid here is the situation where you eat X amount of calories and then feel guilty, or something, and then try to exercise off that exact X amount of calories based on these charts and advices. Dinner can often be 1200 calories and that exact amount of calorie burning is a lot running according to these charts. Daily or frequent exercise will make you fitter (and healthier if you are eating the right foods) and with that fitness should come a body size and shape that you are happier with. But the likelihood is that you will need more calories to maintain your energy levels.

Winter

By the way: You need more calories in the winter or during the cold. The body uses a lot more to maintain body temperature. Conversely during a hot Arizona summer the amount of bulk food and fats that you need is a lot less. It is because of this you should eat better quality foods in the summer so that you get the nutrients you need from usually a lesserĀ  amount of food.

Calorie Counting

Do not confuse this with the action of calorie counting. There is nothing wrong with sensibly reducing one’s calorie intake as part of a planned weight reduction program if needed. This article is about the inaccuracies of calorie burning advices.

Your body will tell you all that you need to know about calorie burning; hunger and low energy levels being the main signs you have burned your last meal and you need more fuel.

Tony

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