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Do you eat exercise calories in maintenance?

Kittyy1994Kittyy1994 Posts: 96Member Member Posts: 96Member Member
Hi there, recently switched to maintenance on 1930 calories per day lightly active. I am 5’6” and maintaining at 61-62kg. Should I be eating back exercise calories ? I work out 3-4 times a week doing 45min boxing/weights circuit. Not sure how many I am burning as no fit bit - is I should be eating some back how many do people recommend?
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Replies

  • LivingtheLeanDreamLivingtheLeanDream Posts: 12,160Member Member Posts: 12,160Member Member
    Yes you should be eating them back. The amount will be trial and error but go loosely by what MFP gives you for the burn. You can err on the side of caution for a few weeks and eat back 75%.

    Well done on reaching maintenance :)
  • AustinRuadhainAustinRuadhain Posts: 1,489Member Member Posts: 1,489Member Member
    I certainly am eating back most of my exercise calories! As WinoGelato says, there is some trial and error involved in figuring out how much to eat back. I am finding it super helpful to continue to log food and weigh in.
  • cmriversidecmriverside Posts: 28,512Member Member Posts: 28,512Member Member
    That depends.

    If you use myfitnesspal's calculations, then yes. Is that 1930 calories based on your past experience and logging or how did you come to that number? You haven't given us much info.

    Here, this will answer your question in 3 minutes:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10503681/exercise-calories-do-i-eat-these-a-video-explanation/p1



  • Kittyy1994Kittyy1994 Posts: 96Member Member Posts: 96Member Member
    1930 cal is the number MFP Has given me for maintenance. I lost about 3kg eating around 1600 and doing same exercise. I ate at maintenance on my exercise days when losing
  • bigcraddockbigcraddock Posts: 6Member Member Posts: 6Member Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Exercise calories aren't special, really. (The usual MFP process - which it sounds like you didn't follow - just does the arithmetic differently for them.)

    If you want to keep your weight steady, you have to eat all the calories you actually spend: Your tooth-brushing calories, your walking-to-the-bus-stop-calories, your sleeping calories, and - yes - your exercise calories.

    If the process you used to lose weight didn't help you collect data to support estimating your total maintenance calories (including exercise), then you'll need to figure it out now.

    How much weight did you lose on average per week in the last 4-6 weeks of reduced calories? Multiply that number of pounds/fractions by 3500 (approximate calories in a pound), divide by 7 (days in a week), and eat that many more calories daily than you were while you were on reduced calories. That should be approximately right.

    Set a maintenance weight range of several pounds, enough to encompass your typical daily weight fluctuations. (For example, if your weight tends to fluctuate up or down by around 3 otherwise unexplained pounds over the course of a month - so water weight, mostly - set your range as goal weight plus and minus 3 pounds.) If your scale creeps gradually up over the top end of your range, and stays there for a few days, cut back eating by a few calories, or move a little more, until it starts to drop down. If your weight drops down below the lower end of your range, eat a little more or move a little less until it increases. Rinse and repeat.

    If you start eating what you think is the right number of calories (based on good evidence as per above), then you're not going to be far off. For example, if you accidentally eat 100 calories too much every single day, it will take you more than a month to gain a pound. You can lose a pound, because you've been doing it, right?

    Experiment; don't worry. :flowerforyou:

    This is brilliant for me. In the last 4 weeks I lost 9 pounds. How do I work it out? I’m getting confused- the numbers are so high. I’m basically in maintenance as of this week and slowly trying to figure it out.
  • sijomialsijomial Posts: 15,255Member Member Posts: 15,255Member Member
    To maintain weight you MUST be eating enough to cover your exercise (and your daily activity, bodily functions etc. etc.) calorie expenditure. The question isn't what proportion of the actual calorie burns as it must be 100% but rather what proportion of a potentially inaccurate estimate you should eat. And a Fitbit wouldn't be much help for those exercises anyway.

    Whether that is done in the myfitnesspal style of estimating your exercise after the event giving a variable daily allowance or estimating in advance and eating the same every day (average TDEE method) is a personal choice for most. Experimentation over an extended period of time may be required using the feedback loop of what your weight trend does.
    Remember the daily goal MFP gives you is for a non-exercise day only.

    It's one of the (many) reasons when people are losing weight they are advised to learn the skill of estimating exercise calories then rather than use exercise to boost weight loss.
  • Kittyy1994Kittyy1994 Posts: 96Member Member Posts: 96Member Member
    MFP is saying I would burn 496 cal per hour of circuit training. How accurate would this be.... this is why I am hesitant to log exercise as I don’t want to overestimate. Would it be safe to add a lower number - say 300 just in case?
  • Kittyy1994Kittyy1994 Posts: 96Member Member Posts: 96Member Member
    And another question sorry - do you have to eat the calories back that same day as I find I am often not as hungry on days where I do exercise. Would it make any difference if I ate them back the next day instead?
  • LivingtheLeanDreamLivingtheLeanDream Posts: 12,160Member Member Posts: 12,160Member Member
    No, you can use them any day - I am inclined to bank mine for the weekend.
  • sijomialsijomial Posts: 15,255Member Member Posts: 15,255Member Member
    Kittyy1994 wrote: »
    MFP is saying I would burn 496 cal per hour of circuit training. How accurate would this be.... this is why I am hesitant to log exercise as I don’t want to overestimate. Would it be safe to add a lower number - say 300 just in case?

    Depends what you do in that hour, how fit you are and how hard you try.
    Hard for anyone else to judge without any information to go on.

    Don't let fear of over-estimating stop you from estimating! Perfection isn't required to maintain successfully long term. Reasonable is fine.

    It's neither safe or unsafe to go with either 300 or 496, if you are substantially off in your estimates (of which exercise is the minor player) you will get a very slow drift in weight which you can correct.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 11,845Member Member Posts: 11,845Member Member
    Kittyy1994 wrote: »
    MFP is saying I would burn 496 cal per hour of circuit training. How accurate would this be.... this is why I am hesitant to log exercise as I don’t want to overestimate. Would it be safe to add a lower number - say 300 just in case?

    Pick a consistent way of estimating it, and use that same way of estimating every time. So, if you want to use 300 now instead of 496 (roughly 60%), keep using 60%. After 4-6 weeks, evaluate how your weight responded (overall, averaged over that whole time) and adjust accordingly. Unless you're doing very, very unusually huge amounts of exercise, a moderate overestimate will not result in immediate major weight gain**. You might see a gradual weight creep, at worst.

    While losing, some people like to start with 50% of MFP's estimate, and monitor from there, but 60% is fine. Personally, I estimated my exercise calories carefully (sometimes used MFP, sometimes other sources if there were better ones) and ate them all back; I lost weight just fine and have maintained a healthy weight for nearly 4 years since. Just use the same method for a consistent time period, don't keep changing your mind (that just creates poor data).

    Or, use the method I suggested above, where you base your maintenance estimate on your recent weight loss experience (assuming you have a semi-accurate food and scale weight record for the last month or thereabouts).

    There's a thread over in the maintenance area with a lot of commentary about estimating maintenance calories. It sounds like you've used some non-usual processes during weight loss, but maybe something in the thread will help you anyway:

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10638211/how-to-find-your-maintenance-calorie-level/p1

    ** I should point out that if you add 350 or so daily calories to your eating all in one jump, you may see a sudden scale jump of a couple or so pounds because that extra food has physical weight, probably contains carbs (which lead to a small amount of extra water retention), and probably contains sodium (same deal with water retention). This kind of jump is not fat gain, so there's no reason to stress about it. It'll sort itself out.

    Over the weeks of your trial period, you may also find - as some people do - that your energy level picks up so you burn a few more calories in daily life than you expected, so that you get to eat more than you might've thought.

    It's an experimental process. You can do it! :)
    edited August 28
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 11,845Member Member Posts: 11,845Member Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Exercise calories aren't special, really. (The usual MFP process - which it sounds like you didn't follow - just does the arithmetic differently for them.)

    If you want to keep your weight steady, you have to eat all the calories you actually spend: Your tooth-brushing calories, your walking-to-the-bus-stop-calories, your sleeping calories, and - yes - your exercise calories.

    If the process you used to lose weight didn't help you collect data to support estimating your total maintenance calories (including exercise), then you'll need to figure it out now.

    How much weight did you lose on average per week in the last 4-6 weeks of reduced calories? Multiply that number of pounds/fractions by 3500 (approximate calories in a pound), divide by 7 (days in a week), and eat that many more calories daily than you were while you were on reduced calories. That should be approximately right.

    Set a maintenance weight range of several pounds, enough to encompass your typical daily weight fluctuations. (For example, if your weight tends to fluctuate up or down by around 3 otherwise unexplained pounds over the course of a month - so water weight, mostly - set your range as goal weight plus and minus 3 pounds.) If your scale creeps gradually up over the top end of your range, and stays there for a few days, cut back eating by a few calories, or move a little more, until it starts to drop down. If your weight drops down below the lower end of your range, eat a little more or move a little less until it increases. Rinse and repeat.

    If you start eating what you think is the right number of calories (based on good evidence as per above), then you're not going to be far off. For example, if you accidentally eat 100 calories too much every single day, it will take you more than a month to gain a pound. You can lose a pound, because you've been doing it, right?

    Experiment; don't worry. :flowerforyou:

    This is brilliant for me. In the last 4 weeks I lost 9 pounds. How do I work it out? I’m getting confused- the numbers are so high. I’m basically in maintenance as of this week and slowly trying to figure it out.

    9 pounds in 4 weeks is an average of 2.25 pounds per week.

    2.25 pounds is very approximately 7,875 calories worth of weight loss (2.25 pounds X roughly 3500 calories per pound).

    7,875 calories of weight loss per week is about 1,125 calories worth of deficit daily (7,875 calories divided by 7 days in a week). (Why in the heck were you losing so fast all the way to goal? Not really the best plan . . . !).

    The implication is that maintenance is roughly around 1,125 calories per day more than you've been eating daily (on average) for the last 4 weeks. If you add that all back at once, you will see a scale jump from the physical weight of the food, sodium, and carbs, as I described in a post above, but it won't be fat. If that scares you, add it back gradually (which will cause you to lose a little more weight).
    edited August 28
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