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The truth about calories you burn exercising

The truth about calories you burn exercising

Calorie claims include calories you would burn resting.

The calorie counts on most exercise machines (treadmills, stationary bikes, etc.) and online calorie calculators are estimates of the total calories burned during exercise, not the net calories burned.

Total calories, calories burned at rest, and net calories

Total calories

Total calories burned = the calories you would have burned at rest + the additional calories you burned during exercise.

Calories burned at rest

Calories burned at rest = the calories you would have burned resting, for example sitting and watching TV.

You burn calories all day long whether you are resting or moving. The calories you burn at rest make up your resting metabolism.

Net calories

Net calories burned = the total calories burned during exercise – the calories you would have burned at rest.

Net calories are the calories you burn during exercise above and beyond what you would have burned at rest (if you sat watching TV).

Your body uses additional energy during exercise (burns additional calories) to meet the increased demands of your heart, lungs, and muscles while performing the exercise.

Example of net calorie burn

Here is an example for someone who weighs 200 lbs and walks a 20-minute mile. We’ll call him Bob. The treadmill shows that Bob burned 160 calories during exercise although his net calorie burn was 110 calories.

110 net calorie burn

Bob burned 110 calories above and beyond what he would have burned watching TV.

  • Total calories burned = 160
  • Net calories burned = 110

You can still use calorie calculators; just know that they are estimating the total calories burned during exercise, and not the net calories burned. How many calories (total) do I burn exercising?

 




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Stephanie Averkamp

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FitnessforWeightLoss.com was created by Stephanie Averkamp, a recognized health and fitness professional and sole-author of the content on this website. Stephanie's approach to weight loss emphasizes making small, realistic, and permanent lifestyle changes. Read more...

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