Calorie counting

code0701
code0701 Posts: 1 Member
Hi!

I use a HRM to check how many calories I burn during working out. I get this is not always super accurate.

My question is if I am eating 1500 calories, burning between 500 and 700 working out should I then "eat back" the additional 500-700 calories?

My net typically is 1000-1100.. should I be eating more?

I do weights 4x per week, cardio 6 days a week.

Replies

  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,203 Member
    Yes, eat back at least some. Net of 1000-1100 is too low for virtually everyone, if avoiding health risks is a goal (which it should be, right?).

    Compare the calories your device gives you for a strength training session with what you'd get if you log the strength session in the MFP cardiovascular exercise area as "Strength training (weight lifting, weight training)". If the MFP estimate is significantly lower, use that instead. HRM are particularly bad at estimating strength training, MFP may be better. If your cardio is steady state (mostly), then the HRM estimate is probably about the best option, though you might check against a sport specific source, if there are any.

    For example, for walk/run, there's this one: https://exrx.net/Calculators/WalkRunMETs

    Pick "net" in the "energy" box.

    If you set MFP's activity level - as its instructions say you should - based on your life before intentional exercise - then you can use methods like the above to make careful estimates, and you should then eat back a fair chunk of those exercise calories, too. Underfueling regular exercise sessions (plus underfueling the rest of daily life!) is a bad plan.

    Personally, I estimated exercise carefully, ate back all those calories, lost weight fine all the way to goal, and have stayed at a healthy weight for 6+ years since, eating all my exercise calories.

    Exercise calories taste best. 😉
  • RockingWithLJ
    RockingWithLJ Posts: 243 Member
    I honestly cannot stand how MyFitnessPal sets their calorie goals.
    https://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html
    According to the calculator I listed above my maintenance calories would be 2350 something and lose a pound a week would be 500 calories less but when I put it in my fitness pal it was calculated my calories to be just shy above 1200 calories. I was getting headaches and I felt awful so I washed my hands in it. Most days I eat close to 2,000 calories and still manage a reasonable weight loss.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,375 Member
    What are you entering into above calculator? Do you chose sendentary and am in fact sedentary, or are you adding exercise? Did you also use a 1lbs loss per week in MFP and used the same activity setting? In MFP you're supposed to log your exercise and eat back the calories you get from those. In a way it is more flexible as you can do one-off workouts, and also log them much more precisely. to be honest, for sedentary I get the same results.

    If I chose light exercise 1-3 per week and chose maintenance I would gain weight. It gives me about 200 calories per day more, which sounds iffy. 200x7 = 1400 calories per week from exercise is barely light. Over 3 days that would be 466 net calories. It's not something most people manage to do in around an hour. Thus for the exercise addition I have serious doubts about the calculator you linked to.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,203 Member
    I honestly cannot stand how MyFitnessPal sets their calorie goals.
    https://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html
    According to the calculator I listed above my maintenance calories would be 2350 something and lose a pound a week would be 500 calories less but when I put it in my fitness pal it was calculated my calories to be just shy above 1200 calories. I was getting headaches and I felt awful so I washed my hands in it. Most days I eat close to 2,000 calories and still manage a reasonable weight loss.

    It's common to get less than ideal results when using a tool in ways different from the way it was really designed to be used. MFP intends for you to eat back exercise calories. That would narrow, maybe close, the gap between 1200 and the other calculator's 2350 minus 500.

    Even then, these are all estimates, based on population averages. We individually need to test out the estimate for a month or so, to learn how close to average we individually are, as you seem to have done with the estimating source you prefer, implicitly if not deliberately.

    The calculator (really estimator) that you linked has 6 activities (not including BMR only, since that's a different thing). That's more levels than some other TDEE estimators offer, and that granularity can be helpful; but it's somewhat unclear in its activity-level descriptions about the fact that both daily life activity and intentional exercise matter when estimating calorie needs. (Job, for many people, is the biggie for daily life calorie needs, but not for everyone.)

    I think this is a more explicit TDEE estimator, that is, it has more levels (10 activity levels), each level somewhat better described; plus the ability to compare multiple research-based estimating formulas:

    https://www.sailrabbit.com/bmr/

    That amount of information and number of choices does make the user interface feel complicated at first, though, which puts some people off.

    Even better, IMO, is a spreadsheet that an MFP-er (@heybales) created, but many people would hesitate to download a spreadsheet recommended by a random internet person like me.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1G7FgNzPq3v5WMjDtH0n93LXSMRY_hjmzNTMJb3aZSxM/edit?usp=sharing

    It's helpful, potentially, though.

    For me, the Sailrabbit estimate is a closer, but still far off, unless I give it a bodyfat estimate - but I don't have high confidence in my BF% estimate. (To maintain, calulator.net says 1911; Sailrabbit estimates 1939-2096 in the formulas without BF%, 2268-2534 with BF% formulas; I can't remember what MFP said (not willing to reset to find out) but I think it'd be around 1800 with typical exercise included. Reality based on logging experience is more like 2100-2300 with typical exercise, based on almost 7 years logging experience.) I know, however, that I'm non-average for my demographic, and suspect BF% is part of that non-averageness.
  • wilson10102018
    wilson10102018 Posts: 1,306 Member
    edited April 3
    Think about what your body does with the the calories besides moving you around and reproducing cells. It keeps a 150 lb poorly insulated bag of mostly water at exactly 98.6 degrees night and day.

    Try doing that in your back yard when it is 50 F out. It is seriously challenging. That's a 25 gallon tub of water.

    So if you live in Chicago and you don't like a lot of layers on when it is 50F out, the calories needed just to keep you warm are an entirely different amount than if you are in Florida and it is 90F out and you are sweating with a T shirt on. Same for inside. My thermostat is set at 77 on the coldest days. My brother's keep his at 60.

    All of that is supposed to be captured in the MFP Goal database but the calculator has no idea where you are or what the temperature is or how you dress or whether you like to be cool or cozy warm.

    Just sayin.