Calorie Counters - Exercise and calorie counting?

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02-14-2010, 01:37 PM
I am having trouble with exercise and calorie counting. It has been bothering me since I started counting and I can't seem to find an easy answer.

My basic schedule allows me 1400 - 1500 calories most days and 1700 calories on Sunday. Let's say one day I eat 1500 calories and work out. My heart rate monitor tells me I have burned 550 calories during my workout which would means my body as only had 950 calories after exercise. This number seems too low and it leaves me starving afterward. Should I be eating 550 extra calories that day to bring my total back to 1500? Basically, when I burn extra calories, should I replace them, and if so how much should I replace? I workout 3-5 days a week and don't want to leave my totals so low but I also don't like the idea of replacing all the calories I just worked so hard to burn.

It all seems a little confusing :?: I hope my question is clear :)

Thanks for the help

02-14-2010, 01:51 PM
What is your weight loss like? If you are losing 1-2 lbs a week, keep doing what you are doing--and if you are losing more than that, eat more.

There are so many guesstimates when it comes to calories burned (and, to some degree, calories consumed) that I think it's pointless to try to be too precise. It's much simpler to look at your results.

02-14-2010, 03:43 PM
you have to look at it calories in vs. calories out. period. After you create a 3500 calorie deficit you will lose 1 pound.

If your days all looked like this:
Eat 1500 cals
Burn 500 Cals from workout
BMR: 1650 (i just used my BMR)

BMR = the calories you burn by just existing... doing NOTHING. You can get that here:

BMR + Calories Burned = 2150
2150 - Calories Eaten = 650

I have a 650 deficit for the day. At that rate i will lose a little over a pound in about 6 days. (650 x 6 = 3900)

HOpe that makes sense.

02-14-2010, 03:51 PM
Just thought I'd point out that BMR calculators don't work for every individual. For example, mine is 1800 calories. Even with working out I can't eat 1800 and lose weight.

02-14-2010, 06:25 PM
I too would suggest looking at your results and going from there.

Another thing is that I am a firm believer that you should NEVER go hungry. It's a recipe for disaster, you WILL end up binging. The only question is WHEN you do. You can't deprive yourself. If you're meeting/exceeding your daily calories and you're still hungry examine areas in your diet where you can cut calories, but not the quantity of food. Are you eating bread that's 100 calories per piece? Switch to a "health" bread made with whole grains that will allow you to eat two pieces for that same number of calories. Add a good full cup of broccoli to your dinner instead of another side that contains more calories (broccoli is only about 30 cal per cup!). So on and so forth...

Also take a look at what kind of calories you're eating. Fiber and protein are filling and have better "stick with you" power. Carbs and sugar do not.

02-15-2010, 11:57 AM
Thanks for the help :) I have been pretty good about not going hungry. Usually after a workout I need to eat a little more healthy food. That is why I wanted to ask the question because if my goal is 1500 calories for the day and I eat extra after a workout, does it count since I just burned a bunch of calories. I get what everyone is saying. I need to tweak my calories to include my workouts because I just can't live on 1500 when I am burning so much. I am also skeptical about some of the bmr calculators, the more of them I check, the more confused I become.

02-15-2010, 04:44 PM
As long as you're eating at least 1200 calories or more a day I wouldn't sweat "eating back" your exercise. I never eat back the calories I burn from working out.

If you are truly hungry, which working out can definitely make you more hungry since you're expending energy, then yeah eat an extra snack or something.

I think people get way too caught up in the calories they burn during exercise. Eat within your caloric intake range and let the exercise be a bonus. If you are physically still hungry then eat. An extra 200 calories now and then is not going to blow you off track.

02-15-2010, 07:55 PM
Hey sweetnlow, maybe have a whey protein shake after your workout, they are about 100 cals and the protein and fluid will fill you up.
Since I exercise at night I think of my protein shake as my dessert after my workout.
I do calculate my shake into my daily caloric intake though.

As someone else mentioned, the main thing is where your cals are coming from, if you get enough fiber and protein you won't be hungry, also be sure to chug some water in case it is thirst you are mistaking for hunger.

I agree with MotoMichelle, if you are trying to lose weight you definitely do not want to eat back your cals.
Try the protein, fiber and more veggies idea throughout the day and see if you are still hungry at night.

Good luck, wish you the best!