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Don’t believe machines

All too often I hear people explaining to me that they burned a certain number of calories on a piece of cardio equipment at the gym.

Usually I respond by asking the person “..how do you know that’s how many calories you burned?” The typical response is “that’s what the machine said”. Now this frustrates me!!

Sure, the machine will prompt you to enter your age, height and weight; but even with this information the number popping up on the screen is still just an estimate. The machine doesn’t know about other variables that may affect your individual metabolic rate such as lifestyle habits, genetics and medication. The number on the cardio machine could potentially be off by as many as hundreds of calories! And FYI for the ladies- most of the time, cardiovascular machine manufacturers test their equipment on men who weigh much more than us!

If you really need to see how many calories you are burning while exercising, invest in a good heart rate monitor that includes a caloric expenditure reading. At the end of the day however, you shouldn’t feel that you can eat a certain amount of food because you burned “X” amount of calories. That’s not the right mind-set to have. Fat loss occurs with a caloric deficit which needs to be manipulated on BOTH sides of the equation: intake as well as expenditure.