Calories Burned Calculator

Table of contents:
Have you ever wanted to estimate the calories you have burned? Well thanks to this calculator, the process has been simplified. Many activities – from walking to playing billiards – are taken into consideration, along with your weight and activity duration. Once these values are entered into the calculator, it approximates how many calories have been burned, and the potential weight loss it brings. As well as this, the following guide will further explore calories, offer fitness advice, and describe the health benefits available.

Calories: What are they?

In the simplest of terms, calories are used as a measure of energy. While it was once a well-known unit of energy, these days’ calories are almost exclusively used to describe nutrition and a food’s energy content. As for the scientific definition, this is: 1 calorie is equal to 4.18 joules. Why are calories so strongly linked to nutrition and health? Well, this is because calories and body fat are closely related. The body stores energy, aka calories, for times of necessity, and this is done with body fat. Obviously, when those additional calories are not burnt off, the fat remains.          
Although when it comes to nutrition, you’re dealing with kilocalories, which are often abbreviated as kcal. A single kcal is the equivalent to a 1,000 ‘small’ calories. Plus as you’d expect from the previous definition, 1 kcal = 4.18 kilojoule. For simplicity, however, kilocalories will be described as calories for this guide.

Calculating burnt calories

When you consider that calories are essentially energy, the process of burning calories becomes clear: the body needs to use energy. With this in mind, the general assumption is some form of exercise is needed to remove calories. However, even when we’re doing ‘nothing’, our body’s still function and consume energy. This includes via processing food, pumping blood through the body, and even thinking. Speaking of the latter, the brain is responsible for burning approximately 20% of our daily calories. As a result, do not feel too guilty when you’re overeating on the couch! 
Understandably, each exercise consumes a different amount of energy. For example, you will burn more calories swimming when compared to walking. The expenditure of energy is expressed by the Metabolic Equivalent of a Task (MET). This measures the number of calories burnt per hour from activity, and per kilogram of body weight. 
The MET value differs depending on the activity. These are all included as part of the calculator, so it is easy to check the values. For instance, watching television has a MET value of 1, while dancing scores much higher with a MET of 4.5. 
The question is: What is 1 MET exactly? Well, it is the ratio of energy expended per unit time during a certain physical activity, all of which is to a reference value of 3.5 ml O₂/(kg·min). It is important to remember that, while MET values offer the chance to compare activities, they cannot directly measure energy. Consequently, you need to take millimeters of oxygen and convert to calories for the final formula, which is:
calories = T * MET * 3.5 * W / (200 * 60)
T is the activity’s duration in hours. W is your body weight in kilograms. This is the formula used by our calorie burn calculator. If you want to solve the equation by hand, this simplified version is the way to go: 
calories = MET * T * W
This equation, however, uses an approximation. It considers 1 MET = 1 kcal / (kg * h), but this isn’t entirely correct as the true equivalence is actually 1 kcal/(kg * h) = 1.05 MET. With that said, a small 5% difference is viewed as an acceptable penalty.

How to use the calorie burn calculator

To help demonstrate the calorie burn calculator, here’s a little guide explaining how it is used. Swimming will be the example for these step-by-step instructions, although this can be replaced with any other activity. 
1.	Choose an activity for its MET value. As previously said, we’re going with swimming in this case, which is MET 8. 
2.	Then input your weight. We’ll just assume this is 80kg. 
3.	Finally, determine how long you participated in the activity. For this, we will say for two hours. 
Now let’s go back to the calories burnt formula: 
calories = T * 60 * MET * 3.5 * W / 200
Below, you will see the aforementioned figures and how they are inputted into the formula: 
calories = 2 * 60 * 8 * 3.5 * 80 / 200 = 1,344 kcal
There is still one final step. You take the value obtained from the above formula and divide it by 7,700: 
1,344/7,700 = 0.175kg
Note: If you’re wondering where the 7,700 figure comes from, this is the approximate number of kcal that each kg of body fat stores. 
As you can see, your two hours of swimming helped to lose almost 0.2 kilograms!

A closer look at the calorie calculator’s MET

If you have ever cycled or went on a run, you will know this simple fact: the intensity of an exercise can vary significantly based on the effort put in. For instance, there’s a notable difference between a leisurely jog with the family to competing in a marathon. As intensity isn’t taken into account, the big question is: How is the calorie burn calculator’s MET accurately calculated? 
Well, you have to understand MET is an approximation. It’s not a precise measurement. Although the MET used as part of our tool is as accurate as possible, taking into account typical values and averages of the standard person. If you’re confident editing the MET to better fit your needs, this can also be done. 
Ultimately, MET values should be taken with a dash of salt. However, they do provide an accurate representation of the effectiveness of different activities and exercises.

How to burn more calories

Now that you have a greater understanding of the calculator, it’s time to analyze how to burn more calories. The activity section of the calculator lists a number of things you can do. Nevertheless, there are two main ways to burn calories, and this depends on the time you have available. 
If you are not restricted by time, the answer is simple: exercise for longer. As the calculator shows, the more time dedicated to exercising, the more calories burnt. What if you have a restricted schedule? Well, it is a case of going with a more intensive training routine. Because the harder you exercise, the bigger amount of calories you’ll burn. 
With that said, an intensive approach is one that’s tough to maintain. This is why High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is so popular at the moment. HIIT is a method where you can have a high intensive workout – as its name implies – yet maintains this for an extended period of time. This is done by utilizing rest periods in between high-intensity bursts of exercise. 
HIIT also brings to the table another advantage. As the exercise develops healthy micro-damage to muscles that are later repaired during the ‘rest’ period, HIIT is aan excellent way to increase BMR. Speaking of resting and BMR

BMR and burning calories without doing anything

BMR, aka the Basal Metabolic Rate, is known as the measurement of our metabolism when resting. In other words, it is the calorie burning rate when we’re essentially doing ‘nothing’ activity wise, such as watching television. In most people, the value of burnt calories is surprisingly high. It’s often over 1,000kcal for standard people, although it can be greater than 3x that figure for professional athletes. 
Why do professional athletes have higher BMR? Well, the value varies from person to person, and it generally benefits those that have a more active lifestyle. The reason behind this is, not only do we require more calories to match the extra expenditure from activity, but the body is also more active during the rest period. It’s more productive because it has to rebuild muscle tissue and energy stores.
As the BMR is typically high for standard people, surely weight loss can be achieved easily by limiting calorie intake? Well, this isn’t the case. When the body recognizes a calorie deficiency, it will act accordingly and enter ‘starvation mode.’ If it enters this state, the BMR is reduced as much as possible so it saves the limited calories it possesses. Not to mention a reduced calorie intake can result in nutrient deficiency and the possibility of health risks.

Is sex the answer?

After all, it is the answer to most things. You’ll be happy to know, yes, sex does count as an activity. Any action that involves motion burns calories, and sex isn’t an exception. The only issue you might face is finding a partner to join in your activities. 
How many calories do you burn from sex? Well, there is no definitive answer. It burns calories at different rates, and this is due to aspects such as your weight, time spent and intensity involved. For example, if you weigh 80kg’s and have the endurance to last 20 minutes, you’re looking at burning around 160 calories. This is a solid total when looked at exclusively, but when you consider the average person has sex once a week, it’s not enough for a significant calorie burning plan. Consider it a nice bonus to supplement your other activity. Well, unless you can convince your partner to up their sexual output!

Burning calories = additional health benefits

When the typical person thinks of burning calories and exercising, the purpose is mostly focused on weight loss and improved fitness. This is only the start of the benefits when you start a fitness regime. Aside from quitting smoking, it’s the best thing you can do for your health. 
One of the advantages of exercising is increased happiness and psychological wellbeing. Burning calories is the gateway to releasing endorphins, which help make you feel happier. Other positives include a higher bone density, improved immune system, and less chance of suffering from heart disease. The latter is particularly pertinent when you consider heart disease is a leading cause of death. 
However, what if intensive exercise such as HIIT is not for you? Well don’t worry: our bodies are not fussy about the activity we choose. Walking, ice skating, gymnastics… Anything that gets our bodies moving is a positive.

You even lose weight while sleeping!

Even though it seems to be something of a mystery, it’s common knowledge that we are lighter on the scales in the morning when compared to the night before. It’s not a mystery – we actually lose weight overnight due to breathing.

That’s right. It’s not due to sweating. It is not even anything to do with the mass-energy equivalence equation by Einstein. Breathing is the answer. While this might seem shocking on the surface, it’s not when you break it down with science. You see, we exhale a larger mass of carbon dioxide compared to the oxygen we inhale. Admittedly it’s only 12 au per molecule, which is barely anything. Yet when you contemplate all the breathing you do while asleep, it quickly adds up by the time you wake up.

A look at calories in food

Moving away from calories we burn, let’s look at the number of calories we consume. Everything we consume has energy and thus calories. This includes anything from an apple to a glass of water. That said, the body cannot process and then acquire the energy from everything. That’s why we now have ‘dietary calories.’ 
“Dietary calories” denotes the way our body consumes energy from edible products. Water, for example, features no dietary calories. All of its energy is stored within chemical bonds, and our body cannot access such energy. Thankfully food manufacturers only ever state the dietary calories of each product they produce, and not the overall amount of calories/energy! 
When analyzing calories in a broad sense, the typical assumption is that we find the value by calculating calories in (from edible goods) minus calories out (from activities). That’s how we determine weight loss or gain, right? However, this is not the case. There are three caloric states to contemplate:

	Caloric balance
	Caloric surplus
	Caloric deficit

Caloric balance, as the name suggests, is where the calorie intake is equal to the number of calories burnt off. If you’re already at an ideal weight, this is what you should be aiming towards as you are perfectly balanced. You don’t gain weight and you don’t lose weight. 
A caloric surplus occurs when you take on more calories than you burn. This state is mainly associated with people who are overweight, although it is also a common practice in the fitness industry for those bulking up. 
As you will have guessed by now, a caloric deficit is when you burn off more calories than you take in. This can be accomplished if you exercise more, eat less, or a combination of both.

Should certain calories be avoided?

When asking that question, there’s usually one food type in mind: fat. After all, its name gives off a certain negative connotation. Nevertheless, our bodies need a varied mix of nutrients for a healthy diet – and this includes fat. Other nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. 
However, when you look at it from a calorie point of view, you will no doubt analyze those calorie numbers with a microscope. You could eat, say, a giant bowl of salad which would be equal to a couple of slices of pizza. This is a treacherous path to head down. It’s important to keep check of calorie numbers, yes. Along with the point above on nutrition, there’s also the hormonal aspect of eating to take into account. Certain hormones promote different body functions – like fat burning and changes to BMR – and it’s important not to avoid these with your food intake. If you target only the lowest calorie foods, you can lose sight of these points. 
If you want to lose weight, remember it’s not only about calories burned in comparison to calories eaten. You need to have a balanced diet, where fresh and healthy produce is a priority. Also, don’t avoid certain food types merely because they possess more calories.

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