How accurate is your burn??

cardio

No post in the last couple of days because I have basically been at work the entire time!  I am back in the ICU and the hours and workload are pretty brutal.  Last night, a very young patient “coded” (meaning his heart stopped).  He was VERY sick and we had made the decision earlier in the day to not resuscitate him if this happened, but the family was not totally on board.  There was nothing I could do for him despite the obvious agony of his family members pleading for me to do something.  But there was nothing we could do.  It was a difficult situation, but I feel like the something I did do was let him leave this world in a peaceful way.

On a much lighter note, I want to talk about my favorite activity to relieve all that stress and pent up emotion… CARDIO.  It is so good.

So good. 

We all know that the secret to weight loss is the simple math equation of more calories out than in, or to balance these in order to maintain a healthy weight.  So I was wondering, how accurate is the calorie counter on your usual treadmill or elliptical, even assuming I input the correct age and weight? (Recently, I have started to forget how old I am and have to think embarrassingly hard when inputting my age… but I somehow can’t forget the weight!).

I was actually unable to find any GOOD studies on how accurate this is.  But after reading some smaller studies and interviews with exercise physiologists, it seems that most cardio machines overestimate cardio expenditure.  New machines do this less so because of improved formulas.  To come up with the numbers, companies like LifeFitness use people of both genders with different body type and weight to calculate VO2, which relates to the oxygen consumed by your muscles during exercise and can be used to calculate energy expenditure, or calories burned.  However, the calories are an average. So if you have more or less body fat, are using or not using the hand rails, or are not using the equipment correctly, it will understandably be less accurate.  Treadmills seem generally better at estimating than ellipticals, likely because they can replicate a normal stride and are used similarly by most people.

Bascially, don’t use the machine saying you burned 800 calories as an excuse to eat a cheeseburger!  Exercise until you feel that burn and trust your body.

On that note, I wore some seriously HOT PANTS to do my elliptical and circuit work out tonight.  They are from LuLuLemon and I got them at my bachelorette party –  a cute idea in place of lingerie!   They are so short – and can even tie up shorter if you have that sort of desire.  Don’t worry, I was alone in my home so literally no one saw me in these…. and probably never will!

shorts

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