Gym Notes #3

Making Calories Count

[Note that the numbers and data presented here are my subjective values. All people are not the same. Your numbers will NOT match mine]

——Jennifer Peters made a good point in Gym Notes #2 about calories relating to a person’s body characteristics. Paraphrasing a bit, her point was that exercise builds lean muscles and lean muscles burn more energy by just being lean than adipose (fatty) tissue does.

——Sleeping Metabolic Rate is a term used to quantify the number of calories required just to be alive: heart beating, lungs pumping, etc.  Here is a quote from a Mayo Clinic article on weight loss and metabolism: “The bodies of people who have more muscle burn more calories, even at rest.” That means if you weigh 175 pounds and have 20% body fat, you will burn more calories while sleeping than a person at the same weight but 30% body fat lying in the next bed.

——I was making the point that pumping iron increases muscle mass but does not burn significant calories regarding short-term weight reduction. Jenn’s point is that the increased muscle mass burns more calories and that happens 24/7.

——From that same article: “Although your metabolism influences your body’s basic energy needs, it’s your food and beverage intake and your physical activity that ultimately determine how much you weigh.” I am eighty years old, stand 5’8”, and currently weigh 200 pounds. Before you gasp at my borderline obesity, let me tell you that I once topped out over 240. You can find a handful of formulae and Internet on-line calculators that will tell you that to maintain 200 my body requires I consume 1,570 calories, ± which calculator is used.

——I have shed the 40 pounds by simply “taking in fewer calories than my physical activity requires.” I’m not a fan of the word, but you can call it dieting if you want. I eat what I want. Last night, dinner was a grilled pork loin steak and garlic mashed potatoes — with a dab of butter on the ‘taters. I eat what I want, just less than I used to and less than I need. I treat myself to an occasional dine out, like maybe once every two or three weeks. Last week, I indulged in a Carl’s Jr. Double Jack with a side of Onion Rings.

——Based on my Fitness Pal iPad App, my current daily calorie budget is 1,320. I’ll say more about Fitness Pal in another post. Were I to stick to the budget I would be intaking 250 calories per day less than my calculated metabolic requirement. A pound of fat is generally considered as 3200-3500 calories. Lard, for some reason, is reported on one site as a whopping 4,250. I’ll just use 3,200 for illustration here. If I were to get credit for burning up 250 calories per day just by sticking faithfully to my calorie budget I would lose one pound ever 12 days, 19 hours, 12 minutes.

——Everything I’ve said so far would be reasonably accurate if all I did was watch TV or nap between feedings. Fortunately, I am, for my age and ambition mildly to semi active during the day. Except for when I’m at the gym, I’m doing something. Something other than napping between meals, although I am addicted to afternoon snoozes. My daily activity, mild as it may be, counts as calorie burning activities, even preparing those three meals and then loading the silverware into the dishwasher count.

——I wandered about in the proverbial plethora of Internet sites and discovered it is too tedious, if not impossible, to catalog and quantify specifically one day’s activities. Daily I do not sweep floors, wash clothes, empty trash, comb my hair (just kidding), shop for groceries, etc… Rounding up a few notable suggestions and then subtracting my basic metabolic rate, I’m guessing that I ‘work’ off another 300 calories doing chores. Remember, I said you are different; you cannot apply my figures to your situation. Three days per week at the gym is good for another daily 95(average over a week) calorie burn credit.

——Adding up 250+300+95=645 total calories burned per day. Now, if I keep that pace, I should slough off a pound of fat in very close to five days. GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL!