We are feeling the burn this week! A common area many women want to tighten up is the lower body. This routine works everything from your belly button down: hips, abs, butt, inner and outer thighs.
You know those calorie counters on treadmills or other cardio equipment that tell you how many calories you burned during your workout?
They are big fat liars.
Or how about a well-known informercial that claims you burn up to “1,000 calories!” in one 60 minute workout?
The truth is most generic calorie estimates are ridiculously over-estimated. This leads to a false belief that we’ve burned a ton of calories during exercise and therefore can stuff ourselves with a ton of food and not feel guilty.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Let’s start with the first thing you should know. Calorie burn is actually measured in proportion to the liters of oxygen you consume while performing an activity. Yep. It’s your rate of breathing. The only way to accurately measure this is in a scientific setting.
However, we can estimate how hard you may be breathing while performing an activity by measuring heart rate. This is what heart rate monitors do.
So, moving forward it is important for you to remember that even heart rate monitors provide nothing more than a best estimate of calorie burn, based on your age, height, weight and heart rate.
Got it? Good.
So, using a heart rate monitor during exercise we can get an idea of how hard we are working and how many calories we may have burned.
But beyond exercise, our body burns calories all day long, even while we are sleeping. Have you ever wondered how many calories your body burns in a single day?
As part of my competition prep I need to lose 1/2 pound a week. To do this I need to eat 250 fewer calories a day than I burn. I use my heart rate monitor to gage how much I burn in workout, but wanted to know how many total calories I use in a day. That way I would know where to set my daily calorie intake.
I’ve known for a while I have a slow metabolism. Combine that with a very low resting heart rate (because I’m fit my heart is extremely efficient) and my overall small stature, I don’t burn a lot.
Different online calculators have suggested because I’m so active I need anywhere from 1700-1900 calories a day, even for weight loss. Knowing my body as I do I just felt that was way too high.
In order to know for sure just how much energy I use, I wore my heart rate monitor for a full 24 hours.
I purposely chose a day when I was less active than normal. I did not work out that day, and spent about seven hours working at my computer. The rest of the day I did some cleaning, went grocery shopping, and watched TV.
I wanted to choose a low activity day so I could see how many calories I burn when I am least active.
Checking the monitor before bed I saw I had not yet reached 1000 calories, in 16 hours.
You can see, that’s not very much.
When I woke up in the morning I was anxious to see my final number.
The final verdict: just under 1400 calories in 24 hours. (I was pleasantly surprised to see I burned over 300 calories while sleeping!)
This was actually exactly what I expected, but it was nice to have it confirmed.
Remember, this is an estimate, not an exact calculation but it gives me something to go off of.
It is also important to note a larger person, someone who is less fit or active and someone who has more lean muscle will likely burn many more calories. Little people tend to burn less, that’s just our cross to bear 🙂
Calories in versus calories out is a delicate argument, and certainly not the only rule when it comes to weight loss. However, knowing how your body uses energy can help you understand how to properly fuel it, and bring you closer to your goals.
This week it is all about abs! One of the best way to build core strength and endurance doesn’t involve crunches. Plank variations are extremely effective at sculpting the ab muscles and building a strong core. This week, ad this plank circuit at the end of your workout. Aim for at least 3 days. You’ll be feeling tighter and stronger by the end of the week!
Whether it’s the beach, the pool or the amusement park Summer is all about getting outside and having fun.
The last thing you want to worry about is your diet, right?
The good news is, you can make smart choices even when you’re on the road. Summer fun doesn’t have to mean Fall fat!
Summer Fun Scenario #1: The Road Trip
You’re on the road with friends headed to somewhere exciting. You stop for gas and your stomach is rumbling. The convenience store is full of options, but chips and candy aren’t going to do you any favors.
The best choice: go for a small bag of almonds and a stick of beef jerky. Be careful not to eat too many nuts, just a handful. The protein and healthy fats will keep you full longer and stabilize your blood sugar. Plus you get the added benefits of some nutrients and healthy fats.
Summer Fun Scenario #2: The Amusement Park
There’s no way around it, amusement park food is trouble. You’re going to find lots of temptation here. My advice, pick your poison. Stay away from things like funnel cakes, fried oreos and cotton candy, unless you want a bulging belt and serious stomachache.
The best choice: if you must indulge, do it with a candy apple. Although there is sugar, at least the apple has fiber and vitamins and nutrients. So even though you’re being a little bad, you still get some good stuff your body needs.
Summer Fun Scenario #3: The Backyard Barbecue
When you’re hanging out with friends at a cookout, you actually have a lot more good choices. Off the grill, opt for a hamburger rather than a hot dog, and fill up on fruit and veggies. One place where you can really get into trouble, though, is the side dishes.
The best choice: Forego high fat options like coleslaw and potato salad which are made with mayo, sour cream and cream cheese and have some baked beans instead. All three are made with sugar but the baked beans are much lower in fat and higher in protein. They also have good healthy fiber which most of us don’t get enough in our diets. The beans will give you more bang for your buck without doing as much damage.
Remember, it’s all about making smart choices. You can have fun and enjoy summer without over indulging and blowing your beach bod.
Some days nothing feels better than an intense cardio sweat session, am I right? This week get ready to hop on the treadmill and torch some serious fat. My Calorie Crusher is a cardio interval workout that will have you burning calories for hours after your workout is over. Do this as many as four times this week, by itself or after a weight workout.