This blog has attracted a few comments – any suggestion that exercise is not going to make a person slim usually does!
I also did a circular to some journalists recently and used a phrase that I have often used to make a point: “we can eat in one minute what can take an hour to burn off”. I gave the example that I could spend an hour in the gym and then have a cappuccino in the cafe and, in terms of calories, I would have not used up as many as I consumed. “Really?” said one journalist. It is meant to be an estimation to make a point, but I thought I’d try it out on my own stats…
This is a good site to use for calories burned doing different things. I find it quite easy to use, it has many activities listed and it helpfully will retain the last activity you put in, so that you can build up a few, as desired. That last bit was particularly helpful for this analysis:
For me – weight 110lbs, I would do the following in an hour in a gym (trying to remember what I did when I last went to a gym about 10-15 years ago!)
– 5 mins stretching
– 10 minutes on the exercise bike
– 10 mins power walking on the treadmill
– 30 mins on the various machines/free weights etc around the gym
– 5 mins stretching
(No time allowed for chatting, drinking and trying to lip read Sky News!)
This would add up to 195 calories (heavier people would clock up more).
A cappuccino (proper milk, chocolate on top) can easily be 200 cals and hence I would not even use up the drink.
PLUS – here’s the killer point that I only worked out last year (and which was the purpose of the original “Exercise – personal experience” blog) – all calculations on calorie burn calculators take into account BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) – what your body would burn anyway if you were lying in bed all day dying of swine flu. Hence exercise has to be viewed as the difference (the extra) between what you would have been doing anyway and what you did do.
If I wrote at the PC for an hour, I would burn 90 calories. Hence I would burn an extra 105 by going to the gym and drink almost double this afterwards and then people think they’ve earned a 300-400 calorie muffin – forget it!
Don’t worry – none of this has much to do with weight loss. Weight loss is about breaking down triglyceride (body fat), which has everything to do with glucose (and hence carbs) and not much to do with calories (unless those calories are empty processed food calories – especially processed carbs).
Eat real food, stay low enough in carb/glucose/glycogen to let you body burn it’s own fat for fuel and then give it no reason not to. That’s what weight loss is about.