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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 07-08-12, 10:57 AM   #1
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Clyde Calorie Counting - with exercise

Hello All,

I started down a road I imagine many of us have gone down - calorie counting. I saw a dietician recently and she recommended a smartphone app - MyFitnessPal. It's a standard calorie counter, but one neat feature is a barcode scanner, so instead of keying everything in you can just scan the UPC on an item and it'll most likely have the calories and nutrition information in there already. And ince some people on the internet seem to love entering data, many common fast food items (Jimmy Johns, Starbucks, etc) are already in there.

You enter in some data, like current weight, height, goal weight, fitness goals, and it'll compute your ideal calorie needs. Similar to calories from food, you can enter exercise in your diary, and it'll compute the calorie expenditure.

This is my question: anyone know how accurate the exercise calculations are?

I just finished a 2 hour, 25 mile ride, with an average speed of 12.5. Entering this into MyFitnessPal (120 minutes of cycling 12-14 miles per hour), given my weight, yields a calorie expenditure of 2093 calories.

That figure seems a little extreme - perhaps for someone who is totally out of shape, but I like to think I'm not. I did have a largish breakfast, and stopped part way through for a treat at Starbucks, but I feel like I should be demolished after that - I'm merely a bit tired and hungry.

If these are accurate, well, I guess I have some license to eat a lot, because I just spent 3/4 of my daily calorie needs in 2 hours. If it's not, I need to work on a more accurate measurement. Thoughts?
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Old 07-08-12, 11:13 AM   #2
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Those are notoriously inaccurate. A good rule of thumb that many use is simply to multiply 25-30 calories per mile. Even then, that is an estimate...however it is closer to realistic and far more conservative. That works out to 750-900 calories. That's still an achievement. However, it's easy to eat those away so be careful about looking for permission to eat. That is a large glass of Milk and 2 lemon filled Krispy Kreme donuts.

You will hear many folks say you need a power meter to accurately know your calories expended, and they would be correct, however it would be overkill for most riders.
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Old 07-08-12, 11:18 AM   #3
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I'm in the same boat.

I do a 40 mile round trip commute. I do each leg @ around 1 Hr. 30 Min. According to that means that I have burned 3000 calories. Couple that with what they say is my basic metabolic rate (if that's the right term) I have around 5000 calories to maintain my weight.

Which isn't the goal - but they're saying I can swallow 4k calories and still lose weight. I am a bit suspicious of that claim.

I try to keep it reasonable and keep riding. I'm losing weight and inches. That's good enough for now.
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Old 07-08-12, 03:15 PM   #4
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I use MyFatSecret, and like you are reporting for MyFitnessPal, the exercise Cals. are way high. I now have a Garmin Edge500 w/HRM, and the Cal. readings I get there seem a lot more reasonable.
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Old 07-08-12, 06:49 PM   #5
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The Garmin 500 is the only thing I've ever used that I think even came close to reality. If I work pretty hard, I can get just above 30 cals per mile. If I take it easier, it's more like 25 per mile.
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