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  1. #1
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Calories In Calories Out

    Not sure why I'm posting. The answer is (of course) as simple as "They're wrong".

    Been having trouble keeping up in races lately--I hit my max when I should only be in zone 3 or 4. I thought it might be due to an injury and about 2-weeks off the bike. Then I got on the scale: I had gained about 5-10 lbs. So, back on the Diet Wagon

    In the past, I had kept track of calories on FitDay, but they had made some design changes that I didn't approve of, so I went looking for another solution. I went to Spark People to help keep track. But, I'm thinking it looks too busy, so I'm not 100% happy with it. Then I found Lose It! for my iPhone, and I think I really like it. Could be better, but it's got a solid base to start with.

    Went out for a nice 2-1/2 hour, 45-mile ride this morning. Thought I'd crank up the time and drop some weight. Now here's the info and dilemma(s) I see so far...

    • Lose It! has me on a 2,200 calorie/day goal to drop about 2 lbs. per week. This does not take into account exercise: it's totally based on resting metabolic rate.
    • SparkPeople says I burned 4,342 cals on this morning's ride.
    • Lose It! says I burned 3,640.
    • My data uploading software, Ascent (for Macintosh), says I burned 2,047 cals.
    • Me? I'm a pessimist here, so I think Ascent is more accurate.
    • At this point so far today, I've eaten 1200 cals.
    • Lose It! therefore has me at a deficit for the day of 4,500 cals and if I eat this many cals for the rest of the day, I'll still be on target to lose those 2 lbs. per week. That's a really big dinner!
    and I just don't trust it.

    Anyone else have a problem with these numbers?

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  2. #2
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    A lot of the numbers are wrong. So are our "perceived" sizes of portions.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    Not sure why I'm posting. The answer is (of course) as simple as "They're wrong".

    Been having trouble keeping up in races lately--I hit my max when I should only be in zone 3 or 4. I thought it might be due to an injury and about 2-weeks off the bike. Then I got on the scale: I had gained about 5-10 lbs. So, back on the Diet Wagon

    In the past, I had kept track of calories on FitDay, but they had made some design changes that I didn't approve of, so I went looking for another solution. I went to Spark People to help keep track. But, I'm thinking it looks too busy, so I'm not 100% happy with it. Then I found Lose It! for my iPhone, and I think I really like it. Could be better, but it's got a solid base to start with.

    Went out for a nice 2-1/2 hour, 45-mile ride this morning. Thought I'd crank up the time and drop some weight. Now here's the info and dilemma(s) I see so far...

    • Lose It! has me on a 2,200 calorie/day goal to drop about 2 lbs. per week. This does not take into account exercise: it's totally based on resting metabolic rate.
    • SparkPeople says I burned 4,342 cals on this morning's ride.
    • Lose It! says I burned 3,640.
    • My data uploading software, Ascent (for Macintosh), says I burned 2,047 cals.
    • Me? I'm a pessimist here, so I think Ascent is more accurate.
    • At this point so far today, I've eaten 1200 cals.
    • Lose It! therefore has me at a deficit for the day of 4,500 cals and if I eat this many cals for the rest of the day, I'll still be on target to lose those 2 lbs. per week. That's a really big dinner!
    and I just don't trust it.

    Anyone else have a problem with these numbers?
    It tough for software to know exactly, so they use formulae to determine calorie burn, these formulae are not perfect, they often don't account for hills a long gentle hill, a short steep hill, and a moderately long, moderately steep hill, can all mean different amounts of energy burned, wind, tire rolling resistance (depends on tire width and pressure), bike weight and how efficient the rider is at converting calories into watts -- this is an individual thing, depending on conditioning and genetics.

    The only true way to know is to be tested for your own rate at converting calories into watts, then put a power meter on your bike and track the actual watts out, Then convert watts out to calories out. Of course this has little to do with converting calories in food into calories available for output, which I believe is also an individual thing... Just because a food has 500 calories in it, doesn't mean that 500 calories are available for use.

  4. #4
    member. heh. lambo_vt's Avatar
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    A 2lb/week pace puts you around a 1000 cal deficit per day. If you are in anywhere near decent shape, that's a high rate to lose weight at, and you'll be losing muscle too. Get used to not being able to keep up in races I guess.

  5. #5
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    I've been back to using my HRM to track caloric expenditure, and I've found it to be a reasonable tool. Certainly better than many of the online freebie tracking software, and even more accurate than the built in numbers on the Keyoe Diet Assistant software (which I paid for.)
    At least the caloric intake numbers on Keyoe are spot on to what's listed on the labels for everything I've found, so I trust it for produce and other such items w/o labels.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    Me? I'm a pessimist here, so I think Ascent is more accurate.
    You're probably right. That works out to be about 45 calories/mile. And that may actually be too high a number, even...bikes are a very efficient method of transport!

    Btw, a definition...

    Pessimist: A word used by optimists to describe and deride realists.

  7. #7
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    I weight 327 and have a garmin 705. The garmin is consistently double what my powertap calculates assuming a 18% efficiency (which seems pretty accurate and on the low end). I did an experiment and changed my weight in the garmin and to equal what my powertap calculates I would have to weigh 155 lbs! Don't trust the high caloric counts you are getting IMHO.

  8. #8
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lambo_vt View Post
    A 2lb/week pace puts you around a 1000 cal deficit per day. If you are in anywhere near decent shape, that's a high rate to lose weight at, and you'll be losing muscle too. Get used to not being able to keep up in races I guess.
    Yeah. I'm I'm aiming to eat just BMR amount and anything extra I burn off riding is a bonus. Unfortunately, I don't know my BMR. I should look into it.

    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    I've been back to using my HRM to track caloric expenditure, and I've found it to be a reasonable tool. Certainly better than many of the online freebie tracking software, and even more accurate than the built in numbers on the Keyoe Diet Assistant software (which I paid for.)
    At least the caloric intake numbers on Keyoe are spot on to what's listed on the labels for everything I've found, so I trust it for produce and other such items w/o labels.
    The Ascent software I mentioned utilizes HR to help calculate caloric expenditure. The forums on the software's website indicate that even this isn't accurate and seems to be 2x what power meters register.

    I guess I just need to pony up and get a PowerTap.

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  9. #9
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    A few of us are doing a climbing ride this Saturday. From Encanto park, across Sierra Madre then up GMR to the village. Maybe 60 miles with about 6k of climbing. Join us, you'll lose that 5 lbs!

  10. #10
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    I would lose that much in sweat in the first half!!!!
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  11. #11
    Perma-n00b Askel's Avatar
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    It doesn't matter if it's wrong as long as it's consistently wrong.

    It's all a wild guess- nobody burns the exact same amount of calories in any activity and you're probably not measuring your intake properly anyway.

    Just stick with a routine and you'll find out what's right or wrong soon enough.

  12. #12
    Senior Member cod.peace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    The only true way to know is to be tested for your own rate at converting calories into watts, then put a power meter on your bike and track the actual watts out, Then convert watts out to calories out. Of course this has little to do with converting calories in food into calories available for output, which I believe is also an individual thing... Just because a food has 500 calories in it, doesn't mean that 500 calories are available for use.
    As a thermodynamic engine the human body is around 30% efficient, quoting Bicycle Science from memory. I have to get my copy back from the guy I loaned it to... If you measure 1000 calories expended at the wheel with a power meter (say your avg power output on the ride times the length of the ride), then a wild-ass, throw-a-dart-at-the-wall guess is that it took ~3000 calories of food intake to match.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    Yeah. I'm I'm aiming to eat just BMR amount and anything extra I burn off riding is a bonus. Unfortunately, I don't know my BMR. I should look into it.
    Don't eat just your BMR. The number is mostly academic, as the number basically tells you how many calories you burn if you sat on your couch all day watching TV. If you do a 3 hour ride and burn 2000+ calories, and your BMR is 2500 calories, don't eat just 2500 and expect to be okay. Sure, you will lose weight, but some of that will be lean mass, which will only hurt your racing even more. You will probably want to eat closer to 3800 calories that day, maintaining a 700 calorie deficit, not a 2000 calorie deficit. Scale this according to your weight loss.

    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    -At this point so far today, I've eaten 1200 cals.
    -Lose It! therefore has me at a deficit for the day of 4,500 cals and if I eat this many cals for the rest of the day, I'll still be on target to lose those 2 lbs. per week. That's a really big dinner!
    Eating only 1200 calories on the first half of the day was a big mistake. You can't eat a big 3000 calorie meal at the end of the day, 8 hours after your exercise, and only a few hours before you sleep. You should be having a good breakfast and a proper recovery drink/meal right after the ride. By lunch time you should've had ~2000 calories alone if you rode in the morning. Then spread the rest of the calories over the day, don't ball them into one meal. If that means carrying fruit and energy bars and sandwiches and munching at 1hr intervals all day long, so be it; but get those calories in.

  14. #14
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    Not sure how much you weigh, but my powertap pretty consistently shows 40-50 calories per mile. I believe that a lot of other devices greatly inflate the number of cal burned.

  15. #15
    member. heh. lambo_vt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    Yeah. I'm I'm aiming to eat just BMR amount and anything extra I burn off riding is a bonus. Unfortunately, I don't know my BMR. I should look into it.
    Here's a good place to start: BMR Calculator

    I spent a year without making hardly any strength gains lifting 3x/week and not losing any significant weight. Around January I started eating more and more often, and I've since increased all my lifts by 20-30%, not gained any weight, and my body fat percentage has come down.

    Food intake can be counterintuitive, and so-called "dieting" is counterproductive for people that actually exercise.

  16. #16
    Genetics have failed me Scummer's Avatar
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    I use this calculator to see how many calories I need every day to sustain energy and still loose weight.
    http://www.ahealthyme.com/topic/calneed

    I do exercise at least 4 days/week for more than 1 hour.

    And it's never a diet, it's a change of lifestyle. A diet is temporary and will never succeed, a change in lifestyle is permanent and will keep your weight down.

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  17. #17
    Draft Producer Fastflyingasian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    A few of us are doing a climbing ride this Saturday. From Encanto park, across Sierra Madre then up GMR to the village. Maybe 60 miles with about 6k of climbing. Join us, you'll lose that 5 lbs!
    I dont know how many miles but come out with us on sunday for our epic 4-5 hour mountain bike rides. Come learn how a 2-3k calorie after meal still relates to weight loss .
    "If you never suffered from over training then you've never trained hard enough"

    Some days your the windshield and some days you are the cyclist. either way it doesn't look like its going to be a good day for you.

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  18. #18
    a big man
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    Make sure you're getting enough vitamins.

  19. #19
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fastflyingasian View Post
    I dont know how many miles but come out with us on sunday for our epic 4-5 hour mountain bike rides. Come learn how a 2-3k calorie after meal still relates to weight loss .

    HEY, mkadam is local and I aint flying way out ther for a 4 hour bikeride!

  20. #20
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lambo_vt View Post
    Here's a good place to start: BMR Calculator...
    Quote Originally Posted by Scummer View Post
    I use this calculator to see how many calories I need every day to sustain energy and still loose weight.
    http://www.ahealthyme.com/topic/calneed...
    Well, that's just it. The accuracy of all these are now suspect. How can we know how much to eat & how much to not? I'm almost resigning myself to: if I feel hungry, I'm doing it right.

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  21. #21
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justin70 View Post
    Make sure you're getting enough vitamins.
    Yeah...I (try and remember to) take a multi-vitamin daily. Just to supplement and catch anything I missed

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

  22. #22
    member. heh. lambo_vt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    Well, that's just it. The accuracy of all these are now suspect. How can we know how much to eat & how much to not? I'm almost resigning myself to: if I feel hungry, I'm doing it right.
    One gives me a BMR of 1940 cal/day and the other 2092 before factoring in exercise. Close enough. BMR is a relatively simple calculation and most calculators should give pretty much the same answer. I aim for around 2500 - 2800 cal per day depending on exercise level. This is still a bit low if I want to put on any muscle.

    I find that when I'm working out regularly, if I feel hungry I have not been eating enough.

  23. #23
    Draft Producer Fastflyingasian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    HEY, mkadam is local and I aint flying way out ther for a 4 hour bikeride!
    i wouldnt either. it was more or less an invitation for others hopefully in my area
    "If you never suffered from over training then you've never trained hard enough"

    Some days your the windshield and some days you are the cyclist. either way it doesn't look like its going to be a good day for you.

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  24. #24
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lambo_vt View Post
    One gives me a BMR of 1940 cal/day and the other 2092 before factoring in exercise. Close enough.
    That's a difference of 152 calories. That'd add up over time. An extra 152 calories a day would add about 15 pounds a year. It's not close enough.

    I'd say that you can't trust any of the calculators.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    A few of us are doing a climbing ride this Saturday. From Encanto park, across Sierra Madre then up GMR to the village. Maybe 60 miles with about 6k of climbing. Join us, you'll lose that 5 lbs!
    That's about how I roll. I have a century planned for tomorrow. Want to do it in under 6 hrs.

    Of course, I try to eat sensibly, but I sure don't over-think my food intake issues. Mostly, I just pedal my Sass off.

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