# Training & Nutrition - Caloric confusion

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View Full Version : Caloric confusion

rousseau
07-31-06, 08:22 PM
Okay, I've decided that I need to get more serious about counting calories in and out. Three months of serious daily cycling has seen me drop from 240 lbs to 230, but I just talked to this guy who, when I told him my mileage, said I should have dropped far more weight by now.

I know, I know, it was just some guy. But he got me to thinking, so I came home and worked out my basal metabolic rate and the calories I tend to burn each day on average:

BMR = 3,385
Cycling = 1,859
Total daily average calories expended: 5,244

Can this be true? Thing is, there's no way I eat 5,000 calories a day. No way. Am I missing something here?

I work at home at my computer 14 hours a day. I ride my bike 1 hour per day at a high speed (used Kreuzotter's program to figure out caloric output). I eat quite healthily, though during summer I enjoy a nice big bowl of full-fat ice cream once or twice a week. But I barely drink alcohol anymore, maybe two pints every second or third Saturday.

Am I fooling myself somewhere here? Do I need to do a real daily log of what I actually eat and add everything up? I mean, as far as I can tell, with a daily output of 5,244 calories I should have been losing about 5 pounds per week for the past three months. Or is something not right about my calculations?

mattmelcher
07-31-06, 08:41 PM
Do a daily log for a couple of weeks, and be honest. Especially when it comes to portions. You'll be surprised.

Also - Your BMR seems kinda high for someone that works 14 hours a day at a computer.

My guestimation of my BMR is about 2500 - add 1000 every other day for cycling. Been consuming an average of 2400 calories a day for the last few weeks. Lost 3 pounds in the last 3 weeks. Wasn't keeping track before that and was seeing my weight stagnate or creep back up from a low of 208 in Feb. Was up to 220 and now am down to 208 again.

For me it was consuming more calories than I thought and not burning as many as it seemed.

Keeping track of it has made a huge difference, and while I don't want to do it everyday, I will track it until I get to my (doctors) goal of 185.

rousseau
07-31-06, 09:12 PM
Do a daily log for a couple of weeks, and be honest. Especially when it comes to portions. You'll be surprised.

Also - Your BMR seems kinda high for someone that works 14 hours a day at a computer.
You're right. I did it again with a different set of calculations, and came up with 2,538. Still, that means that today I burned 4,397 calories, and I just don't see how I've eaten that much.

But I'm setting up an Excel file in order to keep track of these things, so perhaps I'll surprise myself.

Jarery
07-31-06, 09:36 PM
Fitday.com

its free and fairly accurate. Just remember to add sleep in the activites or it calculates you burning more since it thinks your active 24 hrs a day.

rousseau
07-31-06, 10:19 PM
Now that I've gone over everything more closely, today I come up with a caloric input of 2,778 and an output of 2,539 TDEE + 1,156 cycling = 4,054.

That means a caloric deficit today of -1,276. If I did this every day for the next week, I'd lose, what...2.5 pounds?

I guess I'm getting the hang of this. Tomorrow I won't eat any ice cream!

cchandler
08-01-06, 05:40 AM
Cycling = 1,859 cal. in 1 hour seems high. You must be doing about 25mph the whole time. :eek:

08-01-06, 05:54 AM
Am I fooling myself somewhere here? Do I need to do a real daily log of what I actually eat and add everything up?

Yes, and Yes,
Portions my man, portions. Weigh or measure your food. You will be amazed at how little one serving really is.

rousseau
08-01-06, 08:24 AM
Cycling = 1,859 cal. in 1 hour seems high. You must be doing about 25mph the whole time. :eek:
Yeah, I went back to the site and checked it again, this time with the proper inputs in metric. Turns out I actually burned 1,156 calories averaging 27 km/h.

TMB
08-01-06, 03:38 PM
Yeah, I went back to the site and checked it again, this time with the proper inputs in metric. Turns out I actually burned 1,156 calories averaging 27 km/h.

What site is this - because frankly, even that number seems high.

branman1986
08-01-06, 04:34 PM
sounds about right to me...at 230 lbs you're burning a lot more calories than if you were 175 lbs assuming you're not going completely flat the whole time

rousseau
08-01-06, 04:43 PM
http://www.kreuzotter.de/english/espeed.htm

ericgu
08-01-06, 10:16 PM
What site is this - because frankly, even that number seems high.

I agree. It's pretty hard to burn more than 1000 cal/hour while riding.

rousseau
08-01-06, 11:54 PM
I agree. It's pretty hard to burn more than 1000 cal/hour while riding.
I'm 230 lbs. I rode for 1 1/2 hours at 27 km/h. Not hard at all.

krazygluon
08-02-06, 07:31 AM
My only issue with fitday is that height/weight chart. it says the upper limit of healthy weight for me is 180lbs for my height (6 feet) I've had one doctor and one nutritionist/phys ed prof tell me that getting under 200 would probably be underweight given my bone and muscle structure.

Pat
08-02-06, 08:38 AM
Well, you want to lose weight.

Now we know that losing weight is simple. Just burn more calories than you are taking in.

From the looks of things, you are doing fine at burning calories. So the place to go to work is your calorie intake. I would suggest that you get a book on calorie counts (something that tells you just how many calories are in everything and also keep track of grams of protein, fat, saturated fat, and carbohydrate consumed (you can split carbs in complex and simple too). The trick is to get rid of "empty calories". Empty calories are generally yummy and high calorie foods that are easy to consume in amazingly amounts of calories and include things like butter, ice cream, chips, french fries etc.

If you are exercising and you dump your empty calories, you should be able to lose weight. It takes some doing to consume 4000 plus calories in lean meat, vegetables and whole grains. It can be done but it isn't done easily. You don't have to get fanatical about it but it is good to think before consuming empty calories.

MikeBike311
08-02-06, 03:12 PM
[QUOTE=Pat]It takes some doing to consume 4000 plus calories in lean meat, vegetables and whole grains. It can be done but it isn't done easily.QUOTE]

Definately true. I'm still stuffed from eating my ~450 calorie lunch of a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, a banana and a couple servings of baby carrots (I'm no small guy 6'3" 247). Lunch was 4 hours ago.

blue_nose
08-02-06, 04:05 PM
Here is a good article on calories burned while cycling:

http://www.bicyclesource.com/body/training/calorie-burn-rate.shtml

rousseau
08-02-06, 04:07 PM
If you are exercising and you dump your empty calories, you should be able to lose weight. It takes some doing to consume 4000 plus calories in lean meat, vegetables and whole grains. It can be done but it isn't done easily. You don't have to get fanatical about it but it is good to think before consuming empty calories.
You're right about the fanatical part. That, and will-power. I've set myself up with an Excel to count calories coming in and going out. From Monday to today, so far, I've got a deficit of 3,168 calories.

Actually, so far today I've got a deficit of 1,008 calories, and I haven't eaten dinner or gone for a ride yet. If I get in a good ride I should be able to keep that deficit at close to 1,000 for today. My goal is to keep the deficit between 500 and 1,000 each day. I'm thinking between 4,000 and 6,000 per week should do the trick.

I hear you about dropping the empty calories. It's tough, because I do love ice cream, especially in the summer, but I'll have to bend my mind to it. I'm also going to allow myself to indulge in ice cream and beer on Saturdays, just to keep myself sane.

SSP
08-03-06, 02:11 PM
Be careful not to "reward" yourself with food after a bike ride or workout. It's way too easy to eat more calories than you burn in exercise with a few poor food choices each week.

If you drink sugared sodas or coffee drinks...quit right now. They're evil and useless calories.

Try to identify your "problem foods" (e.g., ice cream), and try really hard to cut back or eliminate them.

Most experts recommend a deficit of around 500 calories per day for long term weight loss sucess. This should result in losing about 1 lb per week.

Best of luck...sounds like you're on the right track.

Roody
08-04-06, 12:08 PM
Try some different energy expenditure calculators. They're all over the web. They almost always give a much lower value than the one you're using. 600-700 calories/hour is more typical.

For losing weight, caloric intake is more easily regulated than exercise. For most people, that is. so you should get better results if you concentrate on eating less, IMO.

And you can overeat even if you are eating only "good" food like whole grains, veggies and lean protein. I do it quite frequently.

LowCel
08-04-06, 12:26 PM
What site is this - because frankly, even that number seems high.

I agree, when racing mountain bikes with an average heart rate of 168 bpm I only burn 1460 calories in 2:09. I don't burn anywhere close to that many calories an hour on a road bike. On a three hour road ride going 43 miles with a lot of climbing I only burn 1,860 calories.

barleyrocket
08-04-06, 12:28 PM
I'll still dissagree with burning that may callories at not quite 17mph. If you riding uphill at 17mph then I would agree. I'm 230# and my polar HR monitor (using hr and wieght to calculate calories burned) would come up with about 800 cals/hr for that speed.
Also if your not losing wieght then you don't have as big of a deficit as you think. Good luck as you go forward.

rousseau
08-04-06, 02:55 PM
I'll still dissagree with burning that may callories at not quite 17mph. If you riding uphill at 17mph then I would agree. I'm 230# and my polar HR monitor (using hr and wieght to calculate calories burned) would come up with about 800 cals/hr for that speed.
Also if your not losing wieght then you don't have as big of a deficit as you think. Good luck as you go forward.
Well, I obviously don't want to fool myself. I suppose the proof will be in the pudding when/if I actually do drop as many pounds in a week as my calculations would indicate.

According to the link a few posts above I'm pretty much on track, so that makes two references which confirm my calculations. To wit:

27.4 km/h: 0.0675 calories/lb multiplied by number of minutes rode and adding 22 calories/hour for each 100 ft of elevation above sea level.

For me, then: 230 pounds x 0.0675 = 15.525 x 60 minutes = 931.50 + (22 x 11) = 1,173.50.

I don't know that much about all this, though, so I'd welcome any critiques of the calculations or reasoning here.

Pedal Wench
08-04-06, 07:06 PM
I put your numbers into that calculator you linked to (http://www.kreuzotter.de/english/espeed.htm), rounded up your speed even, and it still didn't come to 800 calories per hour. Even worse, I only came up with 352 calories/hour for myself.:o

GreenRiver
08-04-06, 07:25 PM
I used this BMR calculator when I was training for the MS150. I found a link to the site in a thread here on Bike Forums. I'm 53, 6'6". I was 240 Lbs in Feb., 230 Lbs for the ride in Apr, and am at 220 Lbs now. I use the Harris-Benedict Equation (see the "Resources" section on the webpage) to determine my caloric intake for the day. I use a postal scale to weigh my portions, and keep up with my daily totals on Excel. Good luck.

http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/

rousseau
08-04-06, 09:31 PM
I put your numbers into that calculator you linked to (http://www.kreuzotter.de/english/espeed.htm), rounded up your speed even, and it still didn't come to 800 calories per hour. Even worse, I only came up with 352 calories/hour for myself.:o

You didn't have all of the numbers, obviously. Here's what I did today.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j209/rousseau1901/Aug04-2006_ride.jpg

rousseau
08-04-06, 09:36 PM
Another interesting thing: I started this thread on Monday of this week (July 31), which was when I started using my custom Excel file to keep track of my calories. According to my calculations I am currently, at midnight Friday after five days, at -6,927 calories.

I've also lost 2 pounds this week. Coincidence? I think not!

But each day the deficit was wildly different, which I'm thinking means that I don't really have a good handle on this diet (as in "the food you eat") thing yet. I think I need to fine-tune my approach to what I eat, which is something I've never done in my 40 years on this earth.

I also haven't eaten ice cream since I mentioned it in this thread, god help me.

jkmartin
08-05-06, 05:26 AM
A 2 pound weight loss at your current weight is within the margin of error of most scales. It could also be explained by when you used the restroom last or whether you were sitting, standing, or laying immediately before weighing yourself.

I put in your exact numbers but changed the wind speed to 0. This dropped power to 190 watts and Calories to 667. At around 12-15mph more energy is being used to overcome wind resistance than gravity and I'm going to assume that you don't have a constant headwind. This is also closer to my general rule of 30-40 Calories/mile. All these programs suffer from wanting constants and averages and actual road and weather conditions rarely oblige.

Cycling is a good way to burn calories but diet remains the most important consideration. I recently completed a 20 day, 1100 mile tour and managed to gain weight.

Good luck.

rousseau
08-05-06, 01:57 PM
A 2 pound weight loss at your current weight is within the margin of error of most scales. It could also be explained by when you used the restroom last or whether you were sitting, standing, or laying immediately before weighing yourself.

I put in your exact numbers but changed the wind speed to 0. This dropped power to 190 watts and Calories to 667. At around 12-15mph more energy is being used to overcome wind resistance than gravity and I'm going to assume that you don't have a constant headwind. This is also closer to my general rule of 30-40 Calories/mile. All these programs suffer from wanting constants and averages and actual road and weather conditions rarely oblige.

Cycling is a good way to burn calories but diet remains the most important consideration. I recently completed a 20 day, 1100 mile tour and managed to gain weight.

Good luck.

I've actually been weighing myself at the same time each morning, so there has been consistency there. I do understand that you drop a number of pounds after a hard ride, etc. Again, the proof in the pudding will be whether I'm a further 2 pounds lighter by next weekend. We went to an Indian restaurant today, and I managed to hold myself to half of my plate of butter chicken and chickpeas, getting the rest in a doggie bag. It was a revelation to come out of that place without feeling uncomfortably gorged, but I still calculated the meal at close to 900 calories--today will be my "splurge day," then.

The winds here are regularly between 20 and 40 km/h. I admit the way I've been using the wind is inexact, because I divide it by 1/3 in order to "even it out" over my whole ride, which starts and finishes at the same point. Hmmm...am I fooling myself on this score? Thing is, it is really windy in southwestern Ontario. I count a grand total of four days in my ride log over the last five months which could be considered somewhat calm, i.e. the wind speed was below 20 km/h. So I know that over a 30 or 40 km ride I'm expending a serious amount of energy to keep my averages up to what they are.

<shrug>

Kathy_Green
08-06-06, 02:42 PM
You were given some really good advice by other members. It essential that you complete a food diary and be 100% honest. The only way to do this is by measuring your food to know exactly what you take in over the course of the day. A calorie isn't just a calorie. Carbs and protein contain 4 calories per gram ingested. Fat on the other hand contains 9 calories per gram and alcohol contains 7 calories per gram. Small changes that take place over time usually will be more effective than trying to change diet all at once. One small change that I can recommend is switching ice cream to low fat frozen yogurt. It isn't as tramatic as you might think. Focusing on the positive aspect of the changes you make, makes it easier than focusing on deprivation.

There is no clear way to determine an actual BMR for each person, it can only be estimated. What I do is figure what I want to weigh using the following formulas.

Female 5'=100 pounds add 5 pounds per inch over 5' tall and has a standard deviation of +/- 10%
Example I am 5'3" which would equal 115 pounds, +/- 10% gives a range of 104-126 pounds. My current weight is 122 pounds so I am on the heavier end. My body fat percentage is 20%. I know this to be correct since I have had body composition done by using hydrostatic weighing and DEXA.

Sorry guys I don't remember what the men's formula is off the top of my head, but if you are interested I will look it up for you.

mugaliens
08-09-06, 06:52 AM
I think that sounds about right. When I work out hard on the gym's fanciest cycling machine, complete with Polar HM receiver, it tells me I'm burning more than 900 cal/hr, which is close to the calculated 1077 that Cycling Magazine says I'm burning according to their formula.

LowCel
08-09-06, 01:27 PM
I think that sounds about right. When I work out hard on the gym's fanciest cycling machine, complete with Polar HM receiver, it tells me I'm burning more than 900 cal/hr, which is close to the calculated 1077 that Cycling Magazine says I'm burning according to their formula.

If that is right then I need to quit riding real bikes and start riding cycling machines. I can't even burn that many calories an hour going all out during a race. :(

C Law
08-09-06, 03:02 PM
It looks to me as if the power number is too high on that calculation. From just playing around with the calculator, the 'Hands on the tops' option throws the whole calculation off. Try the hands on the drops option

I threw in my ride from this morning and it says my power is just shy of 400 for a three hour ride with my hands on the tops. . While I would love to believe that, It just ain't so.

With the hands in the drops clicked, it brings me more towards the high two's, which is closer to accurate.

Anyway, I would use a figure of 25 calories per Kilometer for a bigger guy like yourself and maybe 19 calories per kilometer for a smaller rider. It would be closer to accurate that that calculator at least.

LowCel
08-09-06, 03:17 PM
Wow, I didn't even notice the wattage. I would love to be able to put out that kind of wattage. Tomorrow I'll try to remember to enter my information into that chart and see what it comes up for me as far as wattage goes then I'll compare it to what my powertap says.

LowCel
08-10-06, 05:50 AM
OK, did a little comparison. I much prefer the numbers I get from kreuzotter. It has me with an average wattage of 238 watts compared to 168 watts that my powertap shows. It also has me as burning 1,646 calories compared to 1,214 from my powertap.

Here are a couple of screen shots.
http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b148/LowCel/wattage.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b148/LowCel/wattage2.jpg

rousseau
08-10-06, 12:03 PM
The whole "wattage" thing is completely beyond me, I'll admit. I would have assumed that the guy who set up the program knew a thing or two about it, but I'm certainly not in the least bit knowledgeable about it.

The calculations lower down on the page certainly do look impressive, though!

I don't have anything to monitor my heart rate, power, etc. Maybe down the road I'll get into that. But a question and a comment, first:

Is 330 watts of power for a 225-pound guy doing 27.62 kms over 58 minutes completely beyond the realm of possibility? My bike, a Giant Kronos with a chro-moly frame from the previous millenium, weighs 12.7 kgs/28 pounds. You skinny guys might be doing a lot of "spinning" out there, but for me to average 27-28 km/h over an hour is a serious, full-on effort with only one or two 20-second stages down hills where I can coast for a bit. Not to mention that I live in a very windy part of North America, so I'm getting that average with punishing winds for between 1/4 and 1/3 of my rides.

Just curious, is all. But that ties in with this:

I started this thread on Monday, July 31, which was ten days ago. That was the day I made up a table in Excel to track the calories I'm eating and burning. I'm basing this on a BMR calculator and the site in question at www.kreuzotter.de/english/espeed.htm (http://www.kreuzotter.de/english/espeed.htm). According to my calculations, I'm running a deficit of 14,462 calories over the last ten days. I'm also 5 pounds lighter over that period.

This, it seems to me, pretty darn accurate!

I'm not trying to be argumentative whatsoever, because I'm an absolute beginner at all of this. I'd like to see some definitive proof of errors in the numbers. It's just that, well, it seems to be working out on my end.

SSP
08-10-06, 12:25 PM
According to my calculations, I'm running a deficit of 14,462 calories over the last ten days. I'm also 5 pounds lighter over that period.

The proof, they say, is in the pudding.

That said, don't expect to keep losing at that rate. Some of it may be water loss, especially if you've been cutting back on carbs.

Longer term, a loss rate of 0.5-1.5 lbs per week (on average) is desirable. This rate of loss is considered reasonable by most experts, and it's easier to achieve and maintain over time.

You might also want to track your abdominal circumference over time...it's considered by some to be a better indicator of fat loss than the weight on the scale, and has been strongly identified with health status.

Best of luck, and congrats on your success to date.

LowCel
08-10-06, 12:48 PM
I'm glad to hear you are losing weight, that's great. As long as you are losing weight the accuracy of the numbers don't mean jack I guess, just keep doing what you are doing. I hope it continues to work out for you.

As for putting out 330 watts for an hour that would be a pretty impressive number no matter what you weigh. I do know that I used to weigh 220 pounds, now weigh about 170. My power has remained about the same (maybe going up a little the past few months) however my power / weight ratio has increased. I have never been able to put out 330 watts for over fifteen minutes. I'm just a cat 4 / sport racer though so not sure what this actually proves. :(