Weight Loss Support - I don't think it's bad to not count exercise.... right??




GotothegymOKAY
01-23-2012, 05:40 PM
I know there's been a HUUUUGE debate over this for years. :) BUT...

I have great workouts every day- I run a lot and do weights and cardio and burn about 700-900 per session. And I still eat about 1300 a day. Yes.... I know people are probably gasping because my net calories could somedays be 400 calories, but is that necessarily bad? Don't a lot of people not count exercise? I just don't want to make myself eat like 2000 calories just because I go to the gym.

Help! I need opinions on this one! Thanks a bunch :)


JohnP
01-23-2012, 05:50 PM
The answer is ... it depends.

If you're working on vanity pounds then you're headed for a big train wreck as you're creating too big of a deficit and sooner or later you will have a serious problem. When you have only a little to lose you need to lose it slowly to prevent hormonal problems.

On the other hand if you're someone who has 100lbs to lose than your body has tons of energy reserves to draw from as so long as you feel alright and are taking at least a day or two a week off to rest than you're probably not going to have any problems.

Somewhere between those ... it depends.

aliasihaya
01-23-2012, 05:57 PM
I don't count it but I'm definitely not exercising as hard as you are. I go to the gym twice a week for some cardio and a little bit of weights and then my trainer once a week who puts me through whatever she wants. That's about 3 hours a week. I'm fighting motivation problems so I'm trying not to overwhelm myself by doing too much at once. But I don't feel like I'm doing enough to warrant taking it off my calories for the day. I think if I go down that road then I'll be making any excuse to do that going forward. ie, I went down the stairs today so I can add on 5 calories. :-)

As JohnP said in the end it probably depends on what weight you're at and how you feel. You're body does need a certain amount of fuel. As long as you're getting that then it probably doesn't matter.


sacha
01-23-2012, 06:42 PM
At your height and weight, you would probably collapse at such a calorie burn and calorie count, particularly at 145ish pounds. Yes, you do cardio and weights but at your weight, burning up to 900 calories would involve an activity such as running 9.0mph on a treadmill (or 7.0mph at 700 calories) for an hour straight without stopping. That is not sustainable at 1300 calories. Even most runners/athletes can't do that WITH a calorie surplus.

I guess my point is this - yes, it's fine to not count exercise because the vast majority of people overestimate their calories burned. Just make sure you are getting enough nutrition, stay consistent in the gym, and you'll be fine.

Lori Bell
01-23-2012, 07:57 PM
I totally agree with Sacha. In order for someone your size to burn that many calories, you would have to be at the gym for several hours a day, or go at full speed for an hour or more. You probably are not burning near the calories you think you are... But, I'd have a blood panel run to be on the safe side, Ask your doctor his/her opinion and ask him/her to check your vitamin and mineral levels, just to make sure you are not starving your body. None of us can really answer this question for you except a dietary specialist.

ennay
01-24-2012, 12:35 PM
1. It is totally possible to burn that much. I do regularly and more. Being an exercise junkie myself, I would be more likely to question the accuracy of intake than the accuracy of expenditure (I'm not questioning it, just saying that would be my inclination because I could totally burn 1200 calories in exercise, but I struggle with the concept of only eating 1300 day in and day out). Although depending on what you are using to estimate the numbers can be way off. Gym readouts are insanely off. From experience I know that Fitday is way low in some exercises and way high in others.

2. It's debatable. As you said. And it depends on your goals. If your primary focus is weight loss, there is a limit to the rate you will effectively lose. Eventually you are playing a negative sum game as the body will start to fight back. If your goal is performance, you will hit the negative sum game faster.

I think better in terms of deficit rather than "net". Depending on your age, you probably are running a 1300-1400 calorie deficit on the days you hit 900. Realistically at that deficit you are probably going to hit "fight back" at some point. The question is where and if it is going to manifest as muscle loss which is manageable or hormone fatigue which can take a VERY long time to recover from. Which it is is dependent on genetics to some extent but mostly to exercise intensity. If you are a physical laborer burning 900 calories extra spread out over 8 hours it isnt going to hit you as hard as trying to burn 900 calories in 1-2 hours.


3. There is a world of room between 1300 calories and 2000 calories. This isnt either/or

4. Why does every day have to be the same? Will a 1300 deficit Tuesday hurt you? No. But MTWTHFSS will What if you cycled your calories and or your burn. Or both. I dont necessarily do them on the same day. I actually tend to eat LESS on my big burn days. I eat the most on my low burn days.

A couple good options:

a) Figure out your non-exercising maintenance level. For you probably around 1700 calories, and aim for that each day.

b) Figure out a more reasonable baseline of exercise...say 400 calories. Dont compensate for that. Compensate when you go above - so if you have a 900 calorie burn day add back 500 calories

c) divide your exercise in 2. Add back 50 for every 100 you burn.

d) Pick a couple days a week to eat a LOT more.

cherrypie
01-24-2012, 12:43 PM
I would never in a million years trust the calorie counts of exercising. It seems any source you look at says something different. So I never count it.

Trail Runner
01-24-2012, 12:55 PM
I'm a runner. And not just a marathon runner, but an ultra marathon runner. I run 50-60 miles per week. On the weekends, I'll run 20 miles on Saturday and then 10 miles on Sunday. I eat A LOT of food. A lot of food. And yes, I can still lose weight by doing this.

I'm curious how you spread out your 1400 calories. If I don't eat enough during the day, my running suffers when I try to run at 5pm. If I don't eat enough after I run, I wake up in the middle of the night starving. I routinely burn 700-900 calories a day or more and there's no way I could survive on just 1400 calories. 1400 NET calories, sure, but not 1400 overall. It's possible to do this for a short time frame, but I think you're going to burn out really quickly.

ennay
01-24-2012, 12:57 PM
I would never in a million years trust the calorie counts of exercising. It seems any source you look at says something different. So I never count it.

But at some point at least a rough estimate has to be taken in to account. If you are doing a "normal" amount of exercise, no. Dont count it. If you are doing an above normal amount as I do and the OP says she does, you need to pay attention.

Right now can I go on 1500 calories avg. Probably. I'm pushing that envelope, but my goal until March 31 is loss, then it switches to performance and no way. By this summer when I am hopefully approaching a peak and running 60-70 miles a week and 2-3 serious weight sessions, 2 yoga sessions, and the rowing and elliptical I need to support the running...yeah 1500 would be a recipe for disaster. Thats probably at least 10K of burn a week. Does it mean I am going to sit down and intentionally eat 10K extra? No. Truthfully at some point the body gets more efficient and how much you burn changes. But I will pay serious attention.

You need to know where you are to get where you want to go.

I originally came back on to propose a 5th option which is cycling not on a daily basis but taking a 3-4 weeks of hardcore burn and following it up with a couple weeks of lighter exercise and higher food.

JudgeDread
01-24-2012, 01:15 PM
All good things said. And question is, what your doing is it working for you? If you have too much of a deficit you may go into "starvation mode" which actually stalls weight loss.

You should aim to loose 1-2 lbs a week, as it is a healthy pace. Remember it only takes a 500 calorie deficit a day for a week to loose that 3500 (1 lb). So if you only eat 1500 and burn 500 you would be at 1000...To me it seems like much but as long as you are getting the right nutrients you should be ok.

And yes, are you sure you are burning that many at the gym? Those machines lie, lieeeeeeeee like crazy. I always take away at least 50 calories from the counter...and recently I read it should be more like 30% less. So if you burn 100 on the machine, in reality it's only 70...yikes! It seems a heart rate moniter would be your best bet to calculate. I always guess less calories that way I don't overeat..

Lori Bell
01-26-2012, 10:42 AM
Right now can I go on 1500 calories avg. Probably. I'm pushing that envelope, but my goal until March 31 is loss, then it switches to performance and no way. By this summer when I am hopefully approaching a peak and running 60-70 miles a week and 2-3 serious weight sessions, 2 yoga sessions, and the rowing and elliptical I need to support the running...yeah 1500 would be a recipe for disaster.

OMG, you must spend HOURS a day exercising. You obviously have a great support system to allow you to spend so much time for yourself...with small kids and all. WOW, I'm jealous. I barely have time to breath much less run 70 miles a week...;) How many hours does that take??

ma26
01-26-2012, 11:31 AM
Sorry to be off topic!
Trail Runner- I am so in awe of you! I love running and even more love trail running. I am no where close to your level though. But, especially as of late, have begun to aspire to longer distance, both mileage and veritcal feet. I am toying with the idea of doing a 50k trail run here near where I live. It's in august and I'm only back up to 6 miles lately. The vertical is crazy and realistically I'm probably more near a year and 8 months, not just 8 months away, to be ready for this.

Anyways wondering how long a journey it was to go from half marathons to small ultra trail runs, like a 50 k.

As far as excercise. I don't actively think "I will eat back X amount of calories because I ran an hour today". But then again I haven't successfully kept my calories low yet. So for me I already know I am eating plenty to fuel my runs, and if I become better at keeping down to my goal range in calories, I would judge by how my body feels. If I run 6 miles one week and 5 is too difficult to finish the next week, I would add calories. I want to lose weight. But more than that I want to run great. I also daily weigh and am starting to track those weight on a graph. So if I am not seeing some movement down (and I'm ok with slow), I know I am overcompensating.

Eliana
01-26-2012, 11:56 AM
So in awe of you guys!

Ma, pray tell, who schedules a 50K in AUGUST?! :D This is something I would on try March-May. August? Really?! Stick with it though, you'll get there.

I get some crazy burn in, but I'm more of a gym rat, less of a runner. This whole topic stresses me out, frankly. I've tried the eat more thing and the exercise less thing and the exercise more thing and the eat less thing...:dizzy: Right now I'm in full "exercise 'til you drop" mode. I'm eating around 1200 calories, all good, nutritious foods. I've cut out chocolate! I mean come on!

MiZTaCCen
01-26-2012, 12:03 PM
I don't think it's bad I don't count how much I burn with my workouts. I eat a certain amount of calories and workout (I don't have a bodybugg and I don't really go on machines lots to help me. So I don't feel like estimating how much I burned when I could be completely wrong.) Saying that though, I listen to my body. I've gotten to the point where I can tell the difference between "boredom hunger" and "omfg feed me now hunger" to beable to say if I worked out for 2 hours today and already reached my 1500 calorie limit. I feel hungry I will still grab something small to eat to satify me EVEN if I'm at my calorie limit.

ennay
01-26-2012, 12:07 PM
OMG, you must spend HOURS a day exercising. You obviously have a great support system to allow you to spend so much time for yourself...with small kids and all. WOW, I'm jealous. I barely have time to breath much less run 70 miles a week...;) How many hours does that take??

I'm not at 70 right now. Frankly I am too slow right now for 70 - but when I am ready it will be around 11-12 hours a week of running . I will probably stay closer to 50 - 60 the majority of the time. When I am in good shape my body is happier with high volume although I am toying this go round with maintaining high Xtraining and keeping the running volume down. But total workout time it is not unusual for me to hit 20 hours per week.

I do have good support, but mostly I just get up crazy early. 85% of my working out is done while everyone in my house is still asleep. I've come home from a 4 hr run before they are up. I've seen a lot of sunrises in the summer and i am far enough north that the sun rises damn early.


Ma, pray tell, who schedules a 50K in AUGUST?! :D This is something I would on try March-May. August? Really?! Stick with it though, you'll get there.!


Ha! I would think the same thing. I hate my one 10K that I do in August. HATE heat. I was considering an 8K this summer just because it would be an easy PR since the last 8K I did I was just barely running. But it is in July. At 10 am. ick.

Ma - have you run a marathon yet? It might be nice to take that intermediate step between half and 50K. Because while it seems like "not that much more than a marathon", the difference is more than the miles. (i.e. the old saying that 20miles is the mid point of a marathon, a marathon is the midpoint of a 50K)

ma26
01-26-2012, 12:26 PM
ennay- You are probably very right about the marathon first. My issue I suppose, is my hatred of flat races. Most all of the marathons around here are relatively flat. I have done slight decline flat half marathons and I have done (my favorite) 8 miles up 5 miles down races. I would take the hills over flat any day. The flat long run feels like i am beating myself with this steady stream of pounding. The changes in difficulty and fact that trial runs mean you run in the mountains and foothills mean that during the race you get mini challenges and rewards. Climbing is hard and for me quite slow, but when I get to the top I get a beautiful view AND I get to go downhill, which after a climb feels like I am not running at all. I have done only one relatively flat half marathon in my life. I hated it more than any race I have ever done and will never sign up for a half that doesnt have some good hills ever again! Sorry I get all worked up but I truely hate flat running for more than 4 miles (I use varying incline on treadmill workouts). And I'm blessed to live where mountains and hills are very plentiful. Unless the race is in a city, like Boise or Twin falls or Idaho Falls, then you get hills. My favorite racing venue is the Sun Valley Area. Absolutely gorgeous.

I think I will make it a goal for 2013. And yes August sounds crazy, but it's an early start time and actually it doesnt get that hot where the race is. It's nicely nestled in the rocky mountains and even in the hottest time in summer gets cold at night and in the morning. Plus I have hiked the trails where the race is and lots of tree cover and shade.

But anyways I do need to find a stepping stone between. And like your saying I havent ever run a longer race than a half. I'll do some research. There has got to be a trail running marathon distance somewere close by.

It just seems for trail runs you have 10k 12k and 50k and 50 miles. Kinda crazy, but I'll do more research :).

ennay
01-26-2012, 12:40 PM
Probably a convo to move to the running thread but....

heh...well I have a hilly marathon for you!!! Nashville, November. It is KILLER hilly, not rollers though. And it isnt trail.

But yeah...I hear you on that. There are some trail marathons but you have to travel. I know we have a 25K here...which again isnt much of a stepping stone.

And, well, nobody says you actually have to participate in the marathon. Train as if you were training for a marathon. Skip the actual marathon. Racing requires WAY more recovery than training. Take the taper 3 weeks to recover and then start doing your ultra training. If you take the much wiser 20 month plan, you could even get through two marathon training cycles with a solid 1-2 months in between each before hitting ultra training. (for a 50K the training isnt THAT much different, more back to back long runs) Each time you go through a training cycle you get stronger and without the damage of racing less step back.

bellona
01-26-2012, 12:42 PM
The first person to answer said "it depends," and I completely agree.

I have never counted "calories burned." I don't workout on cardio machines at all, so I don't even really know how much I burn during workouts. I have been doing at least 1-1 1/2 hours of intense or semi intense exercise 6 times/ week since I started losing, and that doesn't include some long evening walks, bike/dirtbike riding sessions/playing tennis/etc. That's just strictly "workout" time.

At first, when I weighed a lot more, I could be fine on 1200 calories a day. Now, I'm starting to notice that the same workout seems much, much harder on days I try to keep calorie intake low. I "bonk" more easily (to use the words of Tony Horton!). But if I just go for a jog and do some yoga, I don't have to worry much about my low calorie intake. If I'm doing HIIT or sprints or plyometrics or weight lifting, yes, I need to up my calories some. Not THAT much, like maybe 1700-1800 calories instead of 1200 or 1300.

Just pay attention to how you feel. You love to workout, so you'll know if your performance is suffering. You could notice your times lagging, not being able to lift as much weight or do as many reps, or you just don't get that same "high" and feel like you're dragging. Just add an extra 100 or 200 calorie snack, see how you feel for a week, and then add more if needed.

ValRock
01-26-2012, 01:19 PM
I doubt you're truly burning 900 calories a session. Those machines grossly overestimate your calorie burn. There are a lot of factors there.

That said, No, I don't count it... that's a slippery slope - for me at least.

Sunshine73
01-26-2012, 01:22 PM
I don't count calories burned in my workouts. According to the monitor on my little tracker thingie (technical term) I burn about 400 - 450 calories in my 45 minute cardio/strength training sessions every day. I figure they're a bit of a bonus boost to my body and not something I can accurately count on.