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About the tracking of exercise calories

Retroguy2000Retroguy2000 Member Posts: 41 Member Member Posts: 41 Member
So I add the calories from exercise, and things have been going well for many months. I was thinking about this scenario today:

Let's say I burn 250 calories in half an hour on the exercise bike. And say my TDEE is around 2200 calories, which is about 90 per hour on average, to make it easy let's call that 100 per waking hour which is 50 per half hour.

Therefore I may have done 250 calories on the bike, but isn't that just 200 more than watching Netflix? Why then do we add the full 250 exercise estimate to get a new daily goal, instead of the 200 delta?

Replies

  • ButterMeMuffinzButterMeMuffinz Member Posts: 33 Member Member Posts: 33 Member
    I think that your TDEE changes from day to day depending on your physical activity.

    For example, I can net about 1850 a day to stay at my current weight -- without any extra exercise; so that's me just going about my normal business and then sitting on the couch when I get home. So if I were to burn that 250 calories on the bike instead of just lounging, then that means I could theoretically eat an extra 250 than normal, since now I've burned more than normal. That would also mean that my TDEE for today would change from 1850 to 2100.

    When you set up your profile, what did you set your physical activity level at? I put mine at sedentary so that every time I exercise I can add it in and not overshoot the mark.
  • LietchiLietchi Member Posts: 1,777 Member Member Posts: 1,777 Member
    So I add the calories from exercise, and things have been going well for many months. I was thinking about this scenario today:

    Let's say I burn 250 calories in half an hour on the exercise bike. And say my TDEE is around 2200 calories, which is about 90 per hour on average, to make it easy let's call that 100 per waking hour which is 50 per half hour.

    Therefore I may have done 250 calories on the bike, but isn't that just 200 more than watching Netflix? Why then do we add the full 250 exercise estimate to get a new daily goal, instead of the 200 delta?

    That is the difference between gross and net exercise calories. Gross includes your BMR and net doesn't. So when estimating exercise calories, it's the net calories burned you want to add to MFP. It's really going to depend on what your source is for those 250 calories.
    I don't use the MFP exercise database (I have a synced fitness tracker) but from what I've read MFP estimates for exercise sometimes (or always?) include BMR calories. Not a problem for shorter exercise sessions, but for longer periods (for example going for a walk for a few hours) it can become problematic.

    If you've been losing weight at your intended rate of loss, it obviously can't be far off for you 🙂
  • sijomialsijomial Member, Premium Posts: 17,932 Member Member, Premium Posts: 17,932 Member
    It depends on how you / your bike are getting that estimate.

    Most commonly bikes and apps (and the MFP database) give people gross calorie estimates which as you point out includes the calories you would have burned anyway.
    But if your bike has a power meter and is using that data correctly it's giving a very accurate net calorie estimate of JUST the actual effort you are putting through the pedals.

    If your bike tells you your average watts were close to 140w then you have a very good net calorie estimate.

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