# Excercise Calories

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Posts: 17 Member
Why would One want to add exercise calories to the total burn calories calculation? It seems that adding those calories back defeats the purpose of trying to burn them. I really want to input all the data but I'm having a hard time comprehending what it all means. Don't mean to be stupid but...... Can anyone help with the theory of adding back calories burned from exercise when that is what you're trying to burn off?

## Replies

• Posts: 816 Member
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MFP automatically puts you at a deficit. What that means is even if you don't do any exercise and you stay under the calorie goal they set for you, you will still lose weight. When you exercise you burn calories. If you burn more calories than you are bringing in you will lose out on the healthy part of losing weight. You should never eat less than 1200 calories. So lets say you have eaten your 1200 calories but you have also burned 400 calories working out. That puts you at a total of 800 calories for the day. That isn't healthy.
• Posts: 610 Member
edited November 2015
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So when you enter your data into MFP it calculates your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) based on age, height, weight, gender, and daily activity level. Myself as an example: 40, 5'11", 209#, male, and sedentary gives a TDEE of 2370 calories.

Then you set the amount of weight you would like to lose per week ranging from .5 up to 2 pounds per week. MFP uses the simple 500 calorie deficit per pound per day. At 1.5 pounds of weight loss per week my calorie deficit is set at -750 calories, or 1630 calories per day. Now, that is the Net Calories I want to finish the day.

Exercise calories are calories I burn above and beyond my initial settings.

Total Calories minus Exercise Calories = Net Calories

Too great of a calorie deficit is ultimately unhealthy. It can lead to loss of too much lean muscle mass. It can also lead to unsustainable habits. The body and mind won't be able to maintain the extreme deficit because you will feel uncomfortably hungry all the time.

Example:
If I eat 1680 calories then burn an additional 400 calories with exercise, then my net calories are 1280 for the day. This is too low for me to sustain for weeks on end.

• Posts: 816 Member
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Derf you explained that way better than I did.
• Posts: 3,217 Member
edited November 2015
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MFP calculates NEAT, not TDEE. NEAT doesn't include exercise calories so you are supposed to eat those back to keep your deficit where you want it to be.

Many people only eat back 25%-75% of exercise calories because the calorie burn estimates tend to be high.
• Posts: 6,890 Member
edited November 2015
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Personally, my goal is to eat as many calories as I can and still lose weight, not slash calories as low as possible, which leads to being under-fueled, burnout on workouts, lack of energy for daily activities, brittle nails, thinning hair, etc. etc.

As the previous posters have said, the daily goal MFP gives you has you at a deficit already - burn more cals off through exercise and you're creating a HUGE deficit, which is no bueno. You eat back at least a good portion of the burned cals, bringing net cals for the day up to, or at least close to your original goal. you're still in deficit & will lose weight, but you won't asking your body to go harder on minimal fuel.

A small calorie deficit is best for fat loss - slash cals too low and you're sending your body the wrong signals, and you risk losing the nice lean muscle along with some fat, and likely end up with a lighter, yet still soft and squishy version of your heavier self.

Eat your calories, drink water, exercise, take rest days, get good sleep, and have patience. It's worth it to form the habits you can stick for good - temporary changes will get you temporary results, and starting over again and again and again really sucks.

• Posts: 1,847 Member
edited November 2015
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You're not stupid, this is a totally normal feeling to have when you suddenly have all these numbers to worry about on top of trying to keep up your motivation.

Here's an easy example.

1200 is just what you need to go about your normal day and lose weight, no exercise. You could never exercise (not recommended) and eat 1200 calories/day and you would still lose weight. 1200-1200=0 (zero in this case is good.)

So you exercise..... and burn 400 calories. This puts you at NEGATIVE 400, and negative is bad.

If you don't log that exercise, you have netted only 800 calories that day 1200+exercise=GROSS. so 1200-400=800NET

You need to be netting 1200 at the very least to keep your body functioning, so you log the 400, it sets you (just for the day) at 1600, and you need to eat more to net the 1200.

It's about what you net. Even if you eat 1600 calories worth of food, you worked 400 of those away, so it's like they disappear and you still only got to use 1200 for basic daily life, make sense?

• Posts: 610 Member
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seska422 wrote: »
MFP calculates NEAT, not TDEE.
What is a TDEE?
Calculation of the TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) TDEE is the number of calories burnt in a day scaling BMR to level of activity. This is the number of calories you need daily to maintain your current weight and is about the amount you should eat on the days you're not fasting.

MFP has settings to scale your activity level, thus giving you TDEE.
• Posts: 1,847 Member
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Whoops, I see while I was typing others beat me to it:)
• Posts: 3,217 Member
edited November 2015
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seska422 wrote: »
MFP calculates NEAT, not TDEE.
What is a TDEE?
Calculation of the TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) TDEE is the number of calories burnt in a day scaling BMR to level of activity. This is the number of calories you need daily to maintain your current weight and is about the amount you should eat on the days you're not fasting.

MFP has settings to scale your activity level, thus giving you TDEE.
NEAT includes everything that isn't sports-like exercise. MFP uses NEAT. NEAT + sports-like exercise = TDEE.

That's why we enter our general daily activity level when we set our goals (part of NEAT) and then add in exercise separately. If TDEE were being used, daily tweaking for actual calories burned through exercise wouldn't be needed.

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).
• Posts: 610 Member
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I stand by the definition I already provided.
• Posts: 482 Member
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AmyRhubarb wrote: »
Personally, my goal is to eat as many calories as I can and still lose weight, not slash calories as low as possible, which leads to being under-fueled, burnout on workouts, lack of energy for daily activities, brittle nails, thinning hair, etc. etc.

This is exactly why. I can understand not being aware of that, though, so your question is a good one. It's just helpful for those of us who exercise (my husband doesn't, the bum) to make sure that we're getting enough fuel. And also to know when you can have a cookie at the end of the day or when you need to spend half an hour on the treadmill to make up for some treat or other.

• Posts: 3,217 Member
edited November 2015
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I stand by the definition I already provided.
community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/1183428/tdee-vs-neat
community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10004328/mfp-vs-tdee

If you wish to calculate your calorie goal using TDEE, Scooby's Workshop is a good place to do it: scoobysworkshop.com/calorie-calculator/