"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 the treadmill reading is wrong anyway. What do you think? Thanks, K "
This is a great question!
When Fat Loss is your goal, your concern will lie 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 percent as it does not account for several variables, such as your body-fat percentage (a person who has a higher percentage of body fat will usually burn fewer calories than a person with more muscle mass) and your fitness level (if you're new to an activity, you'll usually burn more calories than a fit person doing the same activity).
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 fewer calories overall.
Plus, the longer you "do" cardio, the more you put your body at risk of burning lean muscle. Not good for fat loss, because 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 number of calories burned, but the fact that they end up having to do more and more 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.
This is why a balanced fitness program is a must. Not only must you have a concern for supportive nutrition but also a fitness plan that addresses how much lean muscle your body holds.
Resistance training is the heart of a true fat-loss program. It addresses how many calories your body burns 24/7 as resistance training increases your lean muscle (and remember, the more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn).