The calorie burn world can be a confusing one, we see it more and more every day of people posting pics of their calories after they have done a workout out. I have clients ask me almost daily “Why are their calories burned so much higher than mine?” “Am I not working hard enough?” If you have asked those questions, keep reading! Let’s decode the calorie mystery!
First off let’s talk about active calories vs total calories. Active calories are the calories you burn while working out. This can be walking, running, circuit training etc.
Included in the total calories is the active calories you burned plus the calories your body naturally burns.
How do you track your active and total calories?
Most people use Fitbit’s or Apple Watches to track their calories. Both Fitbit and Apple differentiate between active and total calories in their programs. The difference between the two programs is that apple separates them out (but shows you at the end of the day) whereas; Fitbit calculates them as the day progresses. So, make sure you understand how your smart watch calculates to get a more accurate number.
All calories are calculated according to height, weight, age, gender and health status. This right here means each person will have very different active calorie burns. It’s so individual that its literally impossible to compare yourself to someone else calories unless you clone yourself lol!
What you need to know about Active Calories!
There are so many variables that play into active calories, but the main thing is your heart rate. Here’s why!
Have you ever turned on your watch (calorie counter) and got on a treadmill, bike, rower etc. and the calories on your watch are lower than the calories on the equipment?
Your heart rate is not in “active mode” the second you step on the machine. So, depending on how long it takes to get your heart rate into active mode then it will start your calorie count.
Watch that heart rate!
Your “Max” heart rate calculation is (220 BPM – your age) As a rule of thumb your training zone should be around 70% of that number. If your heart rate is too low your calories burned will be low as well. Keep challenging yourself (in the safe zone) and watch those calories add up!
When it comes to your active calories you can set a goal to burn but remember that there are many other factors then simply just your effort. Showing up, trying your best and staying consistent will get you closer to your goals.
The next time you see those calories burned photos remember it is not just about the effort put into the workout but where that person is in their fitness journey.
Focus on YOUR Calories
I’ve seen people get very discouraged when they compare calories and it seems to devalue the workout they just completed and leaves them feeling like they didn’t work hard enough. Remember there is no such thing as a bad work out! Well, the only bad workout is NO workout at all. Anytime you have “active” calories you’re doing something good for your body!
Remember to Sweat. Rinse. Repeat!