How accurate are the calories burned on a treadmill?
It is hard for me to reconcile that when I was doing a longer cardio workout it would say I burned 500 calories and now when I do the short burst intervals for 15 to 20 minutes it says I only burned 160 calories. A few people told me that the treadmill reading is wrong anyway. What do you think?
When fat loss is your goal, your concern will be in boosting your metabolism so your body burns more calories 24-7. A lot of women fall prey to the number of calories burned on a treadmill for it is immediate feedback. However, this number can be off by as much as 30% as it does not account for several variable… such as:
Your body fat percentage
A person who has a higher percentage of body fat will usually burn less calories then a person with more muscle mass.
Your fitness level
If you are new to an activity, you’ll usually burn more calories then a fit person doing the same activity before.
To further the issue, the typical mindset is – the more calories I burn, the faster I will lose weight, the more weight I will lose.
That is great, however, immediate calorie burn is not what makes a difference on your body’s ability to burn more fat and calories all day long. The elevated calorie burn you see on a treadmill diminishes and goes back to “normal” shortly after the cardio session ends. This means your body is burning less overall calories.
Plus, the longer you “do” cardio, the more you put your body at risk of burning lean muscle. Not good for fat loss, for muscle is the foundation of your calorie burn. The more lean muscle you have – the more calories you burn – all day, all night… not just when you are exercising.
So in essence – women find themselves doing more and more cardio based on the # of calories burned and the fact that they end up having to do more and more since the entire process ends up backfiring and slowing down their metabolism. It is very common for women to end up doing long bouts of cardio just to maintain a body they are not happy with, feeling nothing works and there is no other option.
That is why cardio workout must come with a balance diet program. Not only must you have a concern for nutrition but also a fitness workout schedule that addresses how much lean muscle you need to work out.
Resistance Training is the heart of a true fat loss program for it addresses how many calories your body burns 24-7 as resistance training increase your lean muscle. The short burst intervals that you perform are not going to show a huge increase in calories while you perform them. How ever, due to the intensity and nature of the workout, your metabolism will continue to stay elevated for 24 to 36 hours afterwards.
Traditional cardio – while yes has some benefits – will not give you advantage to faster and more effective fat loss results. Plus intervals are short. As busy people, we just do not have the time to spend hours every week on the treadmill. Short intervals not only allow you to use your time more effectively, but also boost your metabolism.
So my advice is not to base your success around this feature on the treadmill. You will get results simply by following a good fitness program and focus on your cardio sessions on short, but intense intervals to help you see faster fat loss results.
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