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What should my activity level be set to?

Hi,

What would you advise I set my activity level to?

I have a office job so sitting most of the day while working.
I do have 3 children so when not working i am looking after them. So still on my feet.

I workout 5-6 times a week for anything between 30-50 minutes doing weights, cardio etc.

Thanks for your help 😊

Replies

  • nighthawk584
    nighthawk584 Posts: 1,979 Member
    agree with kickass...I've always kept mine at sedentary to offset any discrepancy in calories and exercise. Works for me.
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,244 Member
    I would say sedentary or lightly active, then eat back most of the exercise calories. If your children are quite young, so you're running around after them and picking them up and carrying them around the house, then the lightly active could apply. If they are older and you're just cooking and cleaning, then sedentary or lightly active could still apply. Do you know how many steps you average apart from your deliberate exercise?
  • I’ve had the best results with sedentary. That way I know I’m not risking accidentally factoring in some assumption that may be wrong.

    I’ve also found that monitoring closely week over week and adjusting accordingly (maybe 10%?) if Im not getting what I want. This of course assumes that you are tracking accurately.

  • Dogmom1978
    Dogmom1978 Posts: 1,583 Member
    Whichever you choose: sedentary or lightly active, you eat exercise calories back (just want to make sure that was clear) or at least a portion of them.

    Also, whichever you choose, give it 4-6 weeks and see how the weight loss is going. If you opt for sedentary and then you are hungry all the time and losing faster than anticipated then switch to lightly active. If you start at lightly active but don’t lose anything or slower than anticipated (and you are sure you are weighing correctly and choosing proper data base entries) then you would try to switch it to sedentary.

    For me, I go with sedentary. I have a desk job also. I do take care of 7 dogs after work and almost always go over 6k min steps even when I don’t work out, BUT I still lose only 1 lb a week (which is what I have mfp set to).
  • Heatherloulou87
    Heatherloulou87 Posts: 12 Member
    Thanks for the advice!

    So basically, I should set my activity to sedentary and eat my exercise calories back?

    Thanks 😊
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 19,330 Member
    No.

    You have 3 kids - you are not sedentary in daily life outside of exercise.
  • Jthanmyfitnesspal
    Jthanmyfitnesspal Posts: 3,038 Member
    So basically, I should set my activity to sedentary and eat my exercise calories back?
    😊

    Well, it pays to be a little conservative in eating them back.

    The estimates given in the MFP app are very crude. Estimates from a gym-quality exercise machine (e.g., elliptical trainer) are pretty good. Estimates from a fitness tracker linked to MFP can be OK if most of your exercise is steps, walking, and/or running. (You can add other activities so long as you alert the tracker, e.g., if you ride an indoor bike).

    In any case, a little judgement should be applied when eating the calories back. Best of luck!
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 22,392 Member
    So basically, I should set my activity to sedentary and eat my exercise calories back?
    😊

    Well, it pays to be a little conservative in eating them back.

    The estimates given in the MFP app are very crude. Estimates from a gym-quality exercise machine (e.g., elliptical trainer) are pretty good. Estimates from a fitness tracker linked to MFP can be OK if most of your exercise is steps, walking, and/or running. (You can add other activities so long as you alert the tracker, e.g., if you ride an indoor bike).

    In any case, a little judgement should be applied when eating the calories back. Best of luck!

    You have a lot more confidence in machines and trackers than I do - just saying. If you're close to average, the calculators (MFP, TDEE calculators, etc.) will be close for you. If you're not, they won't. Until you get experience, you don't know. (Yes, they're close for most: Conceptually, tall, narrow bell curve.)

    For me, MFP and my good brand/model tracker (one that's accurate for others, per posts here) are off by 25-30%. It happens. (They're low, BTW, so it's not that I'm lowballing food estimates, or overestimating exercise.)

    As for MFP exercise estimates, some are better than others; generally they should back out BMR from the METS-based estimate, but don't - in most cases, that's not a huge big deal, arithmetically speaking.)

    Machines are pretty much a crapshoot, without knowing details (calibrated? accurately measures watts? knows your weight? knows your actual HR range and fitness level, if using HR to estimate? etc.).

    Heather, set your activity level to your best guess, not including exercise. (Heybales has a point. Most moms aren't sedentary.) Log your exercise using the most accurate calorie-estimating method you can identify. (MFP's "strength training" estimate under "cardiovascular" is good for standard rep/set lifting with rests between sets. Say what you're doing as cardio, and folks will suggest the better estimating approaches).

    Follow the calorie goal that way for 4-6 weeks (compare the same relative point in successive menstrual cycles). Use the average weekly results on the scale to adjust your calorie goal. Rinse and repeat.

    That will work for the overwhelming majority of people. It's like a fun science fair experiment for grown-ups. 😉
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,076 Member
    Thanks for the advice!

    So basically, I should set my activity to sedentary and eat my exercise calories back?

    Thanks 😊

    No - not sedentary.
    ("I do have 3 children so when not working i am looking after them. So still on my feet.")
    The skill of estimating is in making your best estimate and then adjusting if necessary based on results - not in deliberately making a bad estimate to achieve an outcome.

    Yes - eat back a sensible/reasonable amount of your exercise calories.