Thursday, June 10, 2010

Calories In vs. Calories Out

RPE vs. METs.  Bodybugg vs. heart rate monitor.

It's all Greek to me.

So the question arose the other day: how many calories do you burn doing Zumba?  Good question seeing how the instructors and infomericals tout that you can burn 800-1000 calories doing Zumba.  Um yeah.  What they neglect to tell you is that you can burn that if you weigh in at least 250 lbs.

But the question still looms.  How do you determine if you're exercising within the limits for caloric burn or does it really?  Yeah, it matters because for every 3,500 weekly deficit that equals 1 lb of weight loss.  And isn't that the point of exercise and healthy eating? Yup.

Enter BodyBugg vs. Heart Rate Monitor.  I don't have either. Why? 1) BodyBugg is a bit spendy.  Even on sale at $175 for the monitor and another $100 for the display. 2) I can't quite comprehend which heart rate monitor is better. The watch vs. the strap. 3) I don't need to add any additional strap-ons during my workout (doubling down on sports bras is enough at the moment). 4) If I'm going to spend money (btw, I haven't spent 1 unnecessary dime this month so far), I'd rather buy new workout clothes over electronics that will get lost in my gym bag. If you've got an extra $250 to drop on the BodyBugg, you can order them online at 24 Hour Fitness.

There's bound to be a cost-effective way to measure this, right?  Well, LaShaune, yes there is. It's call METs. WTH does baseball have to do with calorie deficits?  Not the NY Mets, but Metabolic Equivalent Task (MET) based upon oxygen intake while performing certain activities.  A little googling provided a formula almost as complicated at Calculus 1 during the summer at 8am (who the heck is up for that punishment?  If it's you dear reader, click here: Peer Trainer). If you want the simple, computer generated way to calculate it, click here: drgrily.

Yes, it's good to know how many calories you burn while performing certain activities, especially if you over did it on your meal plan (damn those chalupas, chips/salsa/guac and mojitos) the day before or are planning to throw caution to the wind and treat yourself (did someone say all-you-can-eat Gelato?). But how do you know if you are working out hard enough, just right, or need to get your rear in gear?

Come on over RPE aka Rate of Perceived Exertion, which is kinda like RPMs for the body. Some folks think of it as the "Talk Test". If you can carry on a normal convo, you need to kick it up 3-4 notches because your butt is slacking.  If you can't breathe, slow your ass down before you pass out.  If you can only sing every other word to the song currently playing on your iPod, you're in the zone!  But if you need so see the full Borg list (yeah, it's Trekkie), click here, here, or here.

I use my Zumba day as my fat-burning day (where I can sing most of the song lyrics in very bad Spanish).  Kickboxing is mos-def high-intensity cardio (can only sing 1 liners of most songs).

How do you measure your caloric burn?


Lindsay @ said...

I use a Garmin for my outdoor runs to monitor my caloric burn when I run, but you can't turn off the GPS so I can't use it inside. I'm going to break down and buy one that doesn't use GPS so I can have an adequate reading.

Fashion Meets Food said...

I really need something to figure out my calorie burn... maybe it would push me harder.

xo enjoy your weekend!