Weightlifting calories?

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Hello! This may be a stupid question, but does anyone know why there is no Calories Burned that shows up for strength training? I KNOW I’m burning calories, because I’m sweating, red faced and my heart is racing!

Newbie to lifting here, so forgive my ignorance! 😉

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  • Jthanmyfitnesspal
    Jthanmyfitnesspal Posts: 3,522 Member
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    Weightlifting only burns significant calories if you do circuit training, where you take essentially no rests. There is an entry for circuit training under cardio, if you want to use it. The way to tell if you are getting an aerobic benefit in addition to strength it to check your heart rate-- if it is getting significant elevated, you are burning significant calories.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,796 Member
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    Weightlifting only burns significant calories if you do circuit training, where you take essentially no rests. There is an entry for circuit training under cardio, if you want to use it. The way to tell if you are getting an aerobic benefit in addition to strength it to check your heart rate-- if it is getting significant elevated, you are burning significant calories.

    Many people will experience an elevated heart rate during strength training, even non-circuit strength training. It doesn't indicate higher calorie burn than the same weight work at lower heart rate.

    Because of the underlying causes, there's a reasonable potential for heart-rate-based calorie estimates to overestimate workouts with a significant strength component (like circuit training, among other things . . . though true circuit training will typically burn more calories per minute than regular classic rep/set training).

    This is a good read on the reasons why HR estimates strength work unreliably, still true even though written a while back:

    https://www.myfitnesspal.com/blog/Azdak/view/hrms-cannot-count-calories-during-strength-training-17698

    OP, what sijomial said is a good way to go, to get a calorie estimate . . . likely to be better than a HR-based estimate, for standard reps/sets kind of strength training.
  • Jthanmyfitnesspal
    Jthanmyfitnesspal Posts: 3,522 Member
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    Clearly, the range of effort while resistance training is very broad. Checking your HR during your workout is only a guideline. It may be all you have as an indicator of effort.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,796 Member
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    METS estimates are likely to be closer for weight training than HR estimates, IMO. Using MFP's estimate for classic reps/sets formats is one example of METS-based estimating. Different methods are likely to be more accurate tor different activities.

    I love my HR-based fitness tracker, but recognize its limitations.
  • Candy_lilacs
    Candy_lilacs Posts: 21 Member
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    I have an Apple Watch and it gives me credit for strength training based on my heart rate.
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,763 Member
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    MrsMayKC wrote: »
    I have an Apple Watch and it gives me credit for strength training based on my heart rate.

    Heart rate isn't a good way to estimate calories burnt while weight lifting, unfortunately.
  • EliseTK1
    EliseTK1 Posts: 483 Member
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    My Apple watch is connected to MFP, so when I do a weight lifting workout, it comes up as cardio with calories burned. Before I had the watch I would just add the standard one @sijomial mentioned. {Add exercise -> cardio -> strength training (weight lifting, weight training)} Based on a large amount of data (more than a year of logging calories in + out, weight trending, plus metabolic testing) I've found that the watch is pretty accurate for me. Incidentally, my watch says I burn more than the standard MFP exercise does which is surprising. Usually the MFP standard calorie burn is overestimated, not underestimated.

    When I first started, I would only eat back about half my exercise calories just to be safe. I adjusted up if I got too hungry. It worked- I've lost 21-22 lbs and put on loads of muscle.

    Congrats on getting started on lifting! If you keep it up, you will find yourself capable of things you never thought possible. Best wishes to you!
  • imfornd70
    imfornd70 Posts: 552 Member
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    I put mine under cardio if I log - I take 45 seconds between set so its almost like HIIT
  • H_Ock12
    H_Ock12 Posts: 1,152 Member
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    The cardio side will log your calories burned. I find them to be negligible in the long run and don't log weight lifting unless I'm in one of the MFP Challenges that counts exercise logged.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,796 Member
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    EliseTK1 wrote: »
    My Apple watch is connected to MFP, so when I do a weight lifting workout, it comes up as cardio with calories burned. Before I had the watch I would just add the standard one @sijomial mentioned. {Add exercise -> cardio -> strength training (weight lifting, weight training)} Based on a large amount of data (more than a year of logging calories in + out, weight trending, plus metabolic testing) I've found that the watch is pretty accurate for me. Incidentally, my watch says I burn more than the standard MFP exercise does which is surprising. Usually the MFP standard calorie burn is overestimated, not underestimated.

    When I first started, I would only eat back about half my exercise calories just to be safe. I adjusted up if I got too hungry. It worked- I've lost 21-22 lbs and put on loads of muscle.

    Congrats on getting started on lifting! If you keep it up, you will find yourself capable of things you never thought possible. Best wishes to you!

    No, not really surprising. Heart rate increases during strength training for reasons that have nothing to do with calorie expenditure (loosely, strain/pressure related things - the link I included a few posts above explains why, in detail). The fundamental problem with heart-rate-based estimates of strength training is that it's usually going to be an overestimate.

    I'm sure it's close enough for MFP tracking purposes, for many of us, for managing weight loss. For most of us, our exercise calories are only a modest fraction (arithmetically speaking) of our total daily calorie expenditure, and what's most important is to have a consistent way of estimating the exercise calories that's somewhere in the ballpark, especially if one is doing the same exercises on pretty much the same schedule routinely, and adjusting intake if needed based on results. Everything about the calorie counting process is an estimate! :)

    In that sense, a fitness tracker can be a very useful guide, despite its theoretical limitations. I use mine (Garmin, not Apple) regularly, but will use the MFP estimate for strength training (my tracker estimates some things reasonably ballpark-right, others not so much, based on comparisons with more accurate methods).

    Good on you for weight training regularly, and encouraging others to do likewise: It's definitely great for a body, and it sounds like it's been a very successful thing for you! :flowerforyou:

    Best wishes!