If you are trying to lose weight, chances are you know weight loss comes down to one thing: calories in versus calories out.
We all tend to overestimate how many calories we’ve burned and underestimate the amount of calories we consume. This is an issue because when these numbers are off, so is our progress. To accurately track the amount of calories you consume, measure everything and use a food tracker like MyFitnessPal to calculate your calories and macronutrients. Read on to find out the four reasons you may be off of your calories out estimate.
Your cardio equipment is lying to you
Most cardio machines use The Compendium of Physical Activities to calculate calorie burn. This assigns a value to a variety of activities like riding a bike and shoveling snow. This may be a good reference guide to compare the difficulty of different exercises, but it is hardly a reliable source to determine an individual’s calorie burn. Calorie burn is unique for everyone, which is why I don’t state how many calories my workout videos burn. A person’s body weight, activity level, heart rate, age and whether or not they are working hard are the factors that truly determine calorie burn.
You’re an active couch potato
Having an amazing hour-long workout each morning is great, but all that hard work is wasted when you spend all day sitting at a desk and then all night lying on the couch. You may think you are an active person because you workout, but you need to be an active person in addition to working out. They are two different things; one without the other results in minimal calorie burn. Check out this blog post I wrote earlier this year about how to increase your steps each day. These tips will help limit your couch potato tendencies.
You’re getting stronger
As you get continue to get stronger, the workouts you are accustomed to doing won’t burn as many calories as they used to. This is why it is important to continuously challenge yourself in your workouts. Lift heavier weights, do more reps, complete an extra set or try new movements. Getting stronger is a great thing, but it means you need to do more to burn the same amount of calories.
You’ve lost weight
As you lose weight, your body burns fewer calories doing the same workouts. Have you ever noticed that it is far easier for someone who weighs more than you to lose five pounds? This is because the more weight you have, the more energy it takes to do basic movements. It takes way more energy (calories) for a 400-pound male to walk up a flight of stairs than it does for a 170-pound male. In my online weight loss programs I encourage users to increase the resistance and speed as they progress each week because their weight is inevitably changing if they are following the program. As your body weight goes down, your workouts need to become harder to have the same calorie-burning effect.