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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

Am I double-counting my calories due to my metabolism?

Hi there, I was wondering whether Nutracheck calorie totals for exercise (e.g. 455kcal per hour for jogging) took into account the body's ?normal calorie burning? during the hour(s) spent exercising. It's a bit hard to explain, but basically I am now spending quite a few hours a week (maybe 15-20?) exercising, from walking to intense cardio, and obviously my exercise calories burnt each week is pretty high as a result. However I wondered whether I'm ?double-counting? because of course if I just sat at my desk for those same 15-20 hours my body would still be doing its underlying calorie burning just to keep going. Should I be subtracting these calories from my total or is it built in to the exercise figures on Nutracheck?

A.

Our expert says...

Hi,

Your question is a good one but rest assured that the approximate calorie expenditure for daily living (termed our basal/resting metabolic rate) is considered without the need for members to do any further calculation or deduction for these processes. The metabolic rate, (or basal or resting metabolic rate = BMR or RMR as we refer to it), is only one element of daily requirements, as exercise is only one element of calorie expenditure. As well as the estimated calorie expenditure burned for a particular workout, there are other processes not included in 'metabolic rate' that affect calorie expenditure on a daily basis and that contribute to our 'metabolic rate' figure. The thermic effect of food is one and is the increase in metabolic rate we experience when we eat and the calories burning through the digestive process which means that as we break down food the process releases heat and our metabolic rate increases. This is why small, regular meals are generally recommended because of the benefit to maintaining a relatively high and constant metabolic rate.

Hydration also affects metabolism, though to a smaller degree then nutrition. In order to encourage the liver to focus on firing the metabolism rather than water retention, it is advised that you stay well hydrated and consume around 2 litres of water a day (plus more if exercising).

The more lean muscle tissue we have on our body, the higher our metabolic rate level is as muscle tissue is metabolically active and requires energy 24/7 just to exist. As we get older our metabolic rate is essentially more prone to actually decreasing as lean muscle mass decreases, (physiologically being replaced with more dormant connective tissue) and our lifestyles generally become less active, (relating to occupational hazards and families). Recent research is highlighting that the, magnitude of the decrease is very dependent on lifestyle factors and the middle age spread that has been suggested is not an inevitable occurrence if people remain active, maintain lean muscle tissue and maintain a healthy diet.

So just focus on entering the calories burnt through your various activities throughout the week and rest assured the body’s normal metabolic rate for daily functioning is incorporated into Nutracheck’s system so you don’t need to consider it.

Hope this helps,

Kelly

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