Getting in Shape

Things That Make Me Curious Tonight

Starting to have lots of more detailed questions about burning calories and tracking the burn. Two for this evening.

1-If you think about the logic behind using your heart rate to determine your 'burn' amount, do you actually burn more calories when working out in hot weather, assuming your heart rate is typically faster?  I did the same workout two or three days ago, but am wondering if today's burn will be higher because my breath is shorter and heart rate is up with this extreme heat.

2. For workouts that don't use your heart rate, how does that work?  I mean, if I ran 10 miles I'd be completely out of breath and my body would be completely over-exerted.  But if a marathoner or ultrarunner did, 10 miles wouldn't be nearly as stressful on their body.  So would we really burn the same amount of calories?  (Assuming same weight and height.)  These 'calorie counters' can't and don't really account for that.


I could probably google these things, but, well, I like conversing with you all better.
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Re: Things That Make Me Curious Tonight

  • anna.oskaranna.oskar member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited June 2012
    Apparently Tk is messing up again. I can't see your OP.

    Found it!

    "Starting to have lots of more detailed questions about burning calories and tracking the burn. Two for this evening.

    1-If you think about the logic behind using your heart rate to determine your 'burn' amount, do you actually burn more calories when working out in hot weather, assuming your heart rate is typically faster? I did the same workout two or three days ago, but am wondering if today's burn will be higher because my breath is shorter and heart rate is up with this extreme heat.

    2. For workouts that don't use your heart rate, how does that work?  I mean, if I ran 10 miles I'd be completely out of breath and my body would be completely over-exerted. But if a marathoner or ultrarunner did, 10 miles wouldn't be nearly as stressful on their body. So would we really burn the same amount of calories? (Assuming same weight and height.) These 'calorie counters' can't and don't really account for that.

    I could probably google these things, but, well, I like conversing with you all better."
  • With regard to #2, from what I understand, in the example you used, no, the 2 people would not burn the same amount of calories.  It's about how efficiently your body can perform a function - the less efficient you are, the more calories you burn.  

    My best friend & workout partner is in amazing shape.  She has done ironmans, triathalons, etc.  She and I take the same classes & she burns less calories.

    I've seen this happen over time with me as I've gotten more accustomed to certain activities.  For instance, when I first started taking spin, I used to burn a TON of calories - sometimes over 1000.  As I've gotten in better shape and now perform spinning more efficiently, I burn less calories.  

    But again - this is just based on my understanding based on what I've heard & read.  So it might not be 100% right : ) 
  • I like talking about these things too!

    For (1): I think exercising in high temperatures does burn more calories--but not a lot more. I don't think the difference is significant, so I wouldn't bother wearing extra clothes to increase your body temperature, for example. Your heart rate doesn't increase as much as you might think, but your perceived effort will be higher. It's better to keep cool and as comfortable (temperature-wise) as possible, since you'll be able to exercise longer, and you will recover more quickly.

    For (2): how many calories you burn depends, in part, on how fit you are, and how hard you are working. I burn more calories if I run 10 miles at 7 min/mile pace than I do if I am running 8 min/mile, but an elite-class runner would burn even fewer than I at that pace. It still comes down somewhat to heart rate. Elite runners can run the same pace that I do at a much lower heart rate, so if they were running 7 min/mile pace for 10 miles, they wouldn't burn as many calories as I would. 

  • 1. It could indeed.  Things like heat, bloating, muscle aches.. they can all force your body to work harder and the harder you work, the more you burn.

    2. Totally right on this one.  If a veteran marathoner was the same size as me, I'd likely burn way more calories because I'm lugging extra weight while their weight is likely muscle that is working for them instead of against.  Calorie burn calculators really aren't accurate.  just good for a basic idea.  i like my heart rate monitor (Polar F7 with cheststrap) because it really lets me get an accurate number on what I've burned.
  • Loving that now I can only see your posts, Anna, and not even mine.  I am foreseeing many of lost posts this evening...

    Thanks for the thoughts!  It just really makes me think how illogical all of these online 'tools' can be.

    Arwo, I did see yours a minute ago (but now I can't, go figure!) - I would never add additional layers for extra burn or whatnot, just wondering as its 5 bajillion degrees here right now.
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  • You know what I find annoying...the more weight I lose and the more in shape I become...the less calories I burn when I am working out.

    1. I feel like there are several factors that could make your body work harder on any given day over another even if say you are running the same distance or same amount of time. Heat, sickness, etc. etc. I don't have a heart rate monitor (I want one but I havent sprung the money for one yet) so I use calorie counter estimations. I don't know how accurate they are but I am going to keep using them until I find I am not seeing results anymore.

    2. If someone is a marathon runner they are probably way more used to pushing their body to that limit than say someone like me who is not. So their body probably doesnt have to work as hard to get there so in turn they would burn less calories.

    I know people mostly answered this the same way but I just wanted to chime in too :)
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_getting-shape_things-that-make-me-curious-tonight?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:238Discussion:e743d668-1a31-4638-9f06-167bec5f22b3Post:231a9776-e6da-4053-8612-7c17aae1f0b0">Re: Things That Make Me Curious Tonight</a>:
    [QUOTE]I agree!  I also know that I can google these things, but it's more fun asking questions.  I can't really contribute much to #1 beyond what other people have said, but here's my thoughts on your second question. At least in regards to running, your heartrate would be higher running 10 miles than a marathoner's would, because their heartrate won't rise as quickly.  But at least with running, you can assume the you burn approximately the same amount regardless of speed.  If you run a 9 minute mile for 10 miles, you'll burn more calories than if you ran a 10 minute mile.  But if you run a 10 minutes mile and still run for 10 miles, you're running ten minutes longer than the person running a 9 minute mile, so you'll catch up some on calories.  When I had my crappy run on Sunday, I burned about the same amount of calories walking back to my car as I did running my first 6 miles, but it took me half an hour longer to do those same 6 miles back.  Does that make any sense? <strong>Here's my calorie question:  as we all know, our bodies burn a certain number of calories just to stay alive.  Assuming a 1200 calorie base, let's say that burn is 50 calories per hour in a 24 hour period.  Should I subtract those 50 calories from my exercise burn?  So if I exercise for an hour and burn 300 calories, shouldn't my net calories burned be 250?</strong>
    Posted by kwitherington[/QUOTE]

    Hmmm....this is a very interesting point! I have never thought about it that way. I suffer from short girl syndrome so 1200 calories for me is almost too much to achieve significant weight loss I think. I struggle to get to 1lb loss a week because the calories to maintain my weight is 1580. Right now at 1200 calories I'm averaging about 1lb loss every 2 weeks. I would like to speed that up a bit since the wedding is now less than 3 months away so I have been toying with bumping my net calories down to 1100 because my deficit isn't that high. And with what you're saying about resting calories burned this makes me think even more I should start reducing a little...
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  • I think the calorie counters account for the daily-use calories when they ask the 'lifestyle' question.  That question dictates what your base calories are for the day - and varies greatly depending on your answer.
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  • edited June 2012
    Few things to keep in mind:

    Question 1- not necessarily.  You will lose more in water weight, but not sustainable.  If you are hotter, the body doesn't have to work as hard to maintain it's "normal" temperature.  It's really a very small difference either way-just stay well hydrated.

    For question 2 above, it's not necessarily based on efficiency (to an extent).  Assuming that you are not in a place to run 10 miles with ease, I would assume you have less lean muscle mass than that of someone who can.  Muscle burns calories much quicker, so therefore their basal metabolic rate (BMR) is higher.

    BMR would be how many calories you burn while sitting still, sleeping, etc.  To the question above with the 50 cal/hour, you would need to figure out what your BMR is (many websites can do a quick and dirty calulation for this).  Once you have figured this out, you want BMR + calories burned in exercise to be greater than calories consumed that day... and that's really all that matters in weight loss. 

    1 lb = 3500 calories.  If BMR is 1200 and you burn 500 at the gym, and only eat 1200 that day, you will be deficient 500 cal/day, which equals 1 lb in one week.

    Sorry for the science lecture.... what else is a girl to do post-workout at 640 AM on a day off??? :)
  • Love the science lecture! thanks biz! :)
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