How Do I Count Calories Burned?

How Do I Count Calories Burned?

Counting calorie consumption has never been a problem for those people that wanted too. There are plenty of online databases of hundreds of food items that allow us to determine with a considerable amount of accuracy how many calories we have inputted into our bodies. But what about the calories we expend?

How many times have you heard or read about doing 15 minutes of cardio at the end of each of your strength training workouts or to go for a 15 minute walk, twice a day.

Well, one way to get a rough estimate of the calories you burn in many activities is with a simple formula developed by physiologists using a yardstick known as the Metabolic Equivalent or MET.

A single MET represents the amount of energy used at rest.

The University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health maintains what it calls the Compendium of Physical Activities, which gives the MET value of an array of sports, exercises and everyday tasks.

It’s basically a list of how much extra energy gets used if you run a 10-minute mile or spend time raking leaves.

The list can be downloaded from

To estimate calorie usage, find your activity (or something similar to it) on the list and multiply its MET value by your weight. For example, take a woman who weighs 60kg and uses a stationary bicycle at moderate effort, which has a MET value of 7 for 45 minutes or 0.75hr. Multiply the three numbers together (60 x 7 x 0.75) and you’ll learn that 45 minutes on that bike would burn about 315 calories or 5.25 calories per minute.

MET values are drawn from population studies and don’t account for the individual differences that determine actual calorie usage.

Happy counting your burned calories!