One of the reasons that many of us exercise is for the sake of calorie burn. You need to burn calories to stay lean and if you are trying to lose weight, you definitely want to be burning calories through exercise….right?
But one workout class MAYYY not do as much as you think it does, calorie torching wise, on the grand scale of an entire day. Workouts definitely will make a dent, but not as huge as you may think.
Let me take it back a sec….
Workouts are imperative to a healthy body, a strong heart and muscle building …not working out will definitely slow you down on that front…which is not good. A consistent workout regimine will keep your body in its best shape internally, as well as externally (as long as you are eating well too)…but I do think that people assume they burn MORE calories per logged workout than they actually do.
I can’t even count the amount of times I have heard people use a spin class as an excuse to have a cookie or have an extra slice of pizza, or polish off a plate of fries and wash it down with a beer. And that’s just not right. I mean, yes we all need to treat ourselves every now and then, but using a workout as an excuse to eat bad food will get you nowhere REAL fast. And chances are- if you are working out and putting in the time to achieve a healthy fit body, you want results. Real results come with healthy food choices- food is really most of the battle here. Period.
But as far as burning calories on a daily basis, your workout is only a very small fraction in the big picture.
I wear a Fitbit Fitness Tracker that tracks my heart rate. I am obsessed with it, and if you’ve been following my blog for a bit, you know I love my Fitbit. ( I use the new Fitbit Charge HR 2 by the way). I have started setting it to record my heart rate during ALL of my workouts, so I could know exactly how much of a dent these workout were putting in my day….and I have been surprised.
My hour long, intense weight lifting workouts rarely set me back more than 450 calories. Typically I will burn about 350-400 calories in a 45-60 minute workout (unless I am running- which I have found to be the best way to torch calories).
And while burning those calories is good, its really not THAT much in the scheme of the day and when you think about how many calories are in the foods we love to eat. And it is WAY less than I thought I was burning. So you can see how indulging in a cheese burger and fries after a workout like that would basically just negate it right? And then add more calories in top of that. Sort of a bad idea…like whats the point in putting in the hard work if you’re just going to ruin it with a bad food choice?
Additionally, what I have found, is that how much you move and walk around on a daily basis affects your daily calorie burn more than that single spin class you took in the morning. On days when I take my dog on extra long walks or do a hike or a walk in the neighborhood, I burn a serious number of calories- more than you would think from just walking around. I was sort of surprised when I came to this conclusion, because I always assumed I was burning WAY more when I worked out…and I was actually sort of disappointed to learn that it wasn’t as much as I had hoped OR as much as a fitness studio or a piece of workout equipment will often advertise. Few people are burning “1,000 CALORIES PER CLASS!” Sorry. Calling bullshit on that. Unless you are a very large person.
And the idea of just walking more, taking the stairs more etc is pretty basic, and it’s very easy to do. Much easier than an intense workout class. Reaching your weight and health goals CAN be as simple as just moving more very day. Don’t stop working out though! Cardio and strength training are essential for a strong heart, strong bones and great muscle definition, which all become more and more important as we get older. The more we can do now to stay fit and healthy, the better off we will be, health-wise, for many many years to come.
So get out there and walk more, take the stairs, walk to the store instead of driving. Taking the initiative to move more every day will pay off in big ways, believe me!