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What does sedetary, lightly active, moderate activity levels look like in real life?

Powerclean2deadliftPowerclean2deadlift Posts: 15Member Member Posts: 15Member Member
So I was wondering, what do you guys consider to be sedentary, lightly active, moderate, highly active? Can you give me an example of where you are and what that looks like in terms of training over a week?

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  • COGypsyCOGypsy Posts: 391Member, Premium Member Posts: 391Member, Premium Member
    If you're talking about the MFP settings, none of them apply to training. The MFP formula is calculated based on activity exclusive of purposeful exercise. Whatever your training is would be added in separately and all or at least some of those calories added to your calorie target for the day.
  • Powerclean2deadliftPowerclean2deadlift Posts: 15Member Member Posts: 15Member Member
    COGypsy wrote: »
    If you're talking about the MFP settings, none of them apply to training. The MFP formula is calculated based on activity exclusive of purposeful exercise. Whatever your training is would be added in separately and all or at least some of those calories added to your calorie target for the day.

    No I'm not talking about that. Well I guess im talking about tdee and the different categories but I'm more interested in where people place themselves and what that looks like day to day.
  • _BlahBlah_BlackSheep__BlahBlah_BlackSheep_ Posts: 2,071Member Member Posts: 2,071Member Member
    My office job is sedentary, but if you're strictly talking about training I'd probably put myself in the highly active category. I lift weights and do yoga 3x/week, circuit training 2x/week, run 2-4x/week, and hike on the weekends when I get the chance.
  • spiriteagle99spiriteagle99 Posts: 2,299Member Member Posts: 2,299Member Member
    My every day life is sedentary. I sit most of the day, either at a computer, in the car, watching TV or reading. My exercise is very active as I spend at least two hours a day walking, running, biking, doing yoga or calisthenics. On MFP I am listed as sedentary and I manually log in my deliberate exercise.
  • MavenlyMavenly Posts: 23Member Member Posts: 23Member Member
    For purposes of the MFP categories, I consider myself sedentary since that is my 'steady-state' throughout my day. I sit at a desk 6-8 hours a day, rarely moving, I commute a 90min round trip, I'm asleep 8-9 hours a day etc. Since more than 75% of my day is spent in an unmoving state, then I can't argue I'm anything but a slug.

    In contrast, for awhile I had a job that I was on my feet moving all day. So I commuted a shorter commute, still slept 8 hours - but that was then only less than half my day sedentary so I said I was lightly active.

    I'm trying to get back on the gym bandwagon right now, going 2x week to do HIIT training at OrangeTheory. I log that separately, and do not eat back those calories.
  • sijomialsijomial Posts: 15,038Member Member Posts: 15,038Member Member
    COGypsy wrote: »
    If you're talking about the MFP settings, none of them apply to training. The MFP formula is calculated based on activity exclusive of purposeful exercise. Whatever your training is would be added in separately and all or at least some of those calories added to your calorie target for the day.

    No I'm not talking about that. Well I guess im talking about tdee and the different categories but I'm more interested in where people place themselves and what that looks like day to day.

    That would depend on which TDEE site you picked - some have few categories, some have many and are quite granular (sailrabbit for example).

    For context I'm semi retired but do some part time and physical work, but volume of work varies a lot, always on the go at home especially in summer.
    In exercise terms I do a very high volume as I cycle at lot, biggest month so far this year was 38 hours cycling, plus strength training.

    In general conversational terms I would call myself "active" but that varies hugely day to day, week to week even season to season. My combined activity and exercise BMR multiplier ranges between x1.9 to x2.2 in peak exercise months. According to sailrabbit x1.9 is Extremely Active.

    The variations mean that a same every day average TDEE goal wouldn't work for me.
  • Machka9Machka9 Posts: 14,260Member Member Posts: 14,260Member Member
    My Home > Goals > View Guided Setup

    How would you describe your normal daily activities?
    • Sedentary: Spend most of the day sitting (e.g. bank teller, desk job)
    • Lightly Active: Spend a good part of the day on your feet (e.g. teacher, salesperson)
    • Active: Spend a good part of the day doing some physical activity (e.g. food server, postal carrier)
    • Very Active: Spend most of the day doing heavy physical activity (e.g. bike messenger, carpenter)
  • Machka9Machka9 Posts: 14,260Member Member Posts: 14,260Member Member
    I walk as part of my commute. I walk at lunch. I often climb stairs during breaks at work and of course getting to work in the morning and back to work after lunch. I walk, row and/or cycle in the evenings and on weekends.

    I have a desk job.

    Therefore, I'm sedentary. :)
  • lalalacroixlalalacroix Posts: 720Member Member Posts: 720Member Member
    I consider myself active. My job is about 50% on my feet, but outside of work I'm always running around with errands or helping my daughter build her bus home. I'm also carrying heavy stuff often and often up stairs. It's rare for me to sit around during the day. I almost never watch TV or even take a nap.

    I also trail run, hike, and currently do bodyweight exercises and yoga.
  • Spliner1969Spliner1969 Posts: 3,235Member Member Posts: 3,235Member Member
    COGypsy wrote: »
    If you're talking about the MFP settings, none of them apply to training. The MFP formula is calculated based on activity exclusive of purposeful exercise. Whatever your training is would be added in separately and all or at least some of those calories added to your calorie target for the day.

    No I'm not talking about that. Well I guess im talking about tdee and the different categories but I'm more interested in where people place themselves and what that looks like day to day.

    For me, I consider myself sedentary at all times. The reasoning behind it is that I work a desk job for 8+ hours a day M-F, then when I get home I generally spend my evening hours cooking, eating, and then going to bed with the exception of yard work or house cleaning from time to time. Exercise is logged as I do it (5-6 times a week) and adds extra calories to my diary. The only time I would consider raising my activity level for base calorie calculation would be if I worked a factory job and was on my feet all day, or had a job such as a delivery person who was active all day at work. This is how MFP is designed. Use the wizard and be honest about your activity level, or simply set it as sedentary and allow your device/app/whatever to add steps for calories or add exercise calories as you do them. It'll be more accurate that way and work more consistently for weight loss.

    The biggest mistake, in my opinion, is setting your activity level higher than sedentary, then allowing your tracker/watch/phone/app/whatever to add calories for steps throughout the day. It's double dipping on the calories.

    Just my .02.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 11,489Member Member Posts: 11,489Member Member
    Per MFP definitions, without considering intentional exercise, I'm probably on the lower border of lightly active
    (6000-ish steps daily on average) during my outdoor rowing season (not counting the rowing; just that I move around more during that season), and fully sedentary during the off-season (2000 steps or less sometimes, very rarely over 5000). I'm retired, with sedentary hobbies (outside of exercise). MFP gives me a too-low calorie estimate at this level: I need to set at active (even though I'm not) in order for it to be close (still a little low for base calories). I then eat back all my exercise calories (mostly estimating them from my Garmin Vivoactive 3 exercise calories).

    I usually work out 6 days a week (sometimes a little less in off-season, but still close, most of the time), and it's fairly vigorous. In season, I row on-water 4 days a week for around a hour, go to a spin class 2 days a week, and sometimes add other exercise-ish activities (bike rides, recreational walking, etc.). In the off-season, I still take the 2 spin classes, machine row one or more days (up to 6) usually for less than a hour (but quite intensely), and mix in some other random things (more likely to weight train in off-season, sometimes swim, etc.).

    My non-exercise activity is just lackadaisical housekeeping chores, a little light garden/yard work in summer (rare day of heavy activity logged as exercise), and incidental walking related to shopping, social life, etc. I do hand-carry things that most people would wheel, and use the stairs in my house lots (groceries and everything need to be carried up a full flight).

    If I use Sailrabbit to get a TDEE, and use "Very Active, Heavy Physical Work, Exercise or Sports 6 to 7 Days a Week" (which seems like an oversell, but I do work out 6 days a week, at decent intensity), the Harris-Benedict (old and new) estimates are a little low, and Mifflin St Jeor is even lower. If I add in my wild-guess body fat percent (if I believe my BIA scale, which is a LOL-worthy idea), the Katch-McArdle estimates are in the ballpark of realistic, Cunningham is a couple hundred calories or so high. My guess is that BF% really is somewhere mid-20s, but maybe higher than 26%: Upper body is fairly thin-looking, but waist down is definitely not.

    FWIW, my Garmin's all-day calorie estimate is silly-low, pretty comparable to MFP's estimate at sedentary plus exercise.

    In all cases, I'm assessing against experience from very nearly 4 years of careful MFP logging. I'm technically in maintenance, but usually eat at a small deficit most days, in order to splurge once a week or so.

    I'm statistically weird, for some reason; I don't know why. (As a side note: I manually set my calories on MFP where they need to be, I don't actual use its "active" estimate.)

    This is for 5'5", female, age 63, weight mid-130s (call it 135 for calculator estimate purposes), BIA scale says something like 26-point-something % body fat most days. I'm hypothyroid (but treated to the lower border of TSH), and my friends (I asked a couple of brutally honest ones) say I'm not fidgety generally, but tend to make big gestures when I talk. My eating is probably on the higher end of the TEF scale, but that should be a minor, minor factor.

    FWIW . . . which is probably little, because - like I said - I seem to be odd.
  • sarahertzbergersarahertzberger Posts: 636Member Member Posts: 636Member Member
    I set mine at lightly active, I'm a stay at home mom so I'm up a lot playing with my kids, cleaning the house, cooking, running errands, etc. But, I also homeschool so there's a lot of sitting and reading or just standing in place doing lessons that kind of thing. I do exercise every day I do the elliptical, other cardio, and weights but I don't log it because I don't eat back my exercise calories.
  • heybalesheybales Posts: 16,876Member Member Posts: 16,876Member Member
    When the trackers were first coming on line, and people were discovering they were getting more calories even though set to Sedentary on MFP with a deskjob/commute - it was a lot of people that had family/household duties when they came home - kids, pets, cleaning, long cooking as hobby, lawn/garden, ect.

    Around 4K steps starting taking them out of Sedentary.
    And when you average in the weekend NOT at work - most people that think they are Sedentary just because they have a desk job - really are Lightly Active.

    I know what 4K steps is - 1 day a week I have all day desk job, with little to no walking, and then a 2 hr sit down later that evening, besides sitdown for dinner and relax before bed.
    It is very sedentary.

    So if you come home from long drive commute and long desk job and hit the TV or computer sitting all evening and weekend, no pets or kids or mate with those extra duties related to them - likely Sedentary.

    I've seen some nurses depending on duties come in with enough moving distance they are Lightly-Active, others are doing more at Active level.
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Posts: 36,550Member Member Posts: 36,550Member Member
    As a matter of conversation I would consider myself active (not MFP). I have a sedentary desk job, but I still typically get in around 8-10K steps per day with walking my dog and moving about the office.

    I exercise regularly...I lift ideally 3x per week on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I also cycle 2-3 days per week depending...usually Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday...mileage varies, but most of my rides are 8-16 miles which equates to about 30-60 minutes. Once or twice per month I like to get out on a nice 25-30 mile ride. I would do it more often, but available time is an issue.
  • sgt1372sgt1372 Posts: 3,119Member Member Posts: 3,119Member Member
    I'm more interested in where people place themselves and what that looks like day to day.

    I have been more "active" in the past but I currently consider myself quite sedentary.

    I'm retired, male, 68, 5'8" and am maintaining at 155# on about 1800 cals/day and about 270 cals burned rowing 5k meters/day and by limiting my eating schedule by doing 16:8 to 18:6 IF each day.

    Apart from my rowing activity, I spend the rest of the day (apart from a few hrs when I'm out and about, walking here and there short distances from the car that I sat in to drive there) just sitting in a chair in front of my computer, a TV or stereo system, or while eating in my kitchen, a bar or a restaurant.

    Exept for the rowing, I think that's about as sedentary as it gets. ;)
    edited July 14
  • firef1y72firef1y72 Posts: 1,328Member Member Posts: 1,328Member Member
    COGypsy wrote: »
    If you're talking about the MFP settings, none of them apply to training. The MFP formula is calculated based on activity exclusive of purposeful exercise. Whatever your training is would be added in separately and all or at least some of those calories added to your calorie target for the day.

    No I'm not talking about that. Well I guess im talking about tdee and the different categories but I'm more interested in where people place themselves and what that looks like day to day.

    I consider myself highly active.

    I don't have a car so I run, walk or cycle everywhere, up to 13miles walked a day.
    I also do a lot of purposeful exercise (it's what I enjoy).

    But I have mfp set to sedentary and let it talk to my garmin to work out my calories for the day.
  • lorrpblorrpb Posts: 10,434Member Member Posts: 10,434Member Member
    COGypsy wrote: »
    If you're talking about the MFP settings, none of them apply to training. The MFP formula is calculated based on activity exclusive of purposeful exercise. Whatever your training is would be added in separately and all or at least some of those calories added to your calorie target for the day.

    No I'm not talking about that. Well I guess im talking about tdee and the different categories but I'm more interested in where people place themselves and what that looks like day to day.

    MFP uses NEAT, non exercises activity thermogenesis, not TDEE, total daily exercise expenditure, so MFP activity categories do not apply to your question about TDEE.

    Personally, I keep it as sedentary and allow syncing to do its job of balancing everything out.
    edited July 15
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