How Many Calories Are You Really Burning?


Written by Andy Chasse’ in Exercise
Viewed by 7 readers since 06-26-2009

Honestly, who knows? Attempting to calculate the exact amount of calories burned during exercise and during various other activities throughout the day may be compared to finding a needle in a haystack. Lame reference, sure – but it’s just not going to happen. However, it is possible to come up with a ballpark idea.

First off, the word metabolism must be defined. Metabolism, in the most basic sense, refers to the various chemical reactions and activities that the body performs to maintain life. With that being said, it is a key component in the amount of calories burned. There are multiple ways that calories may be burned, though.

1) Resting Metabolism. This constitutes the number of calories burned no matter what is eaten or done throughout a particular day. This resting metabolic rate may account for up to 80% of total calories burned each day. It is important to realize that the resting metabolism may be drastically influenced by both food intake and daily activity. In other words, increasing the level of activity and increasing food intake will boost the resting metabolism. Therefore, more calories will be burned throughout the day. By the same logic, less activity and less food may drastically decrease the resting metabolism, resulting in less calories burned. In addition, resting metabolism declines as age increases. A 60 year old man will not burn near as many calories resting as a 20 year old man will.

2) Daily activities. These aren’t necessarily exercise-related. Understand that every single movement made burns some amount of calories. These actions may be anything from reaching over to slap the alarm clock off the nightstand, stumbling into the shower on an early morning, or brushing your teeth before a big date. As far as resistance training is concerned, a harder workout generally leads to an increased amount of calories burned immediately following the workout. The longer and harder the workout, the more calories that will burn following it.

3) Thermic effect. Calories are actually burned during digestion of food due to the thermic effect. This is one of the most overlooked parts of the diet. With a few changes in food choice here and there, it is quite possible to burn a few extra hundred calories each week. This is due to the fact that different foods have different thermic effects and may account for differing amounts of calories burned. This thermic effect is also magnified by a difficult workout. This is where meal timing comes in. Remember to take in a hefty amount of food right after a tough workout. More calories are sure to be burned.

So there it is – there are actually more ways of burning calories than adding more and more physical activity. Although it may be difficult to understand, increasing food intake is likely to burn additional calories throughout the week, thanks to the complicated concept of resting metabolism. For those looking to pack on the pounds and stay lean, food is a better friend than you think. Eat loads of healthy food, and high-protein food to increase the resting metabolism, and watch the pounds add up and the fat fall off.


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