Nutracheck's 'Activity Level' definitions
It's all very well being asked to define yourself on the Nutracheck site as very active or moderately active, or as partaking in light or heavy intensity exercise, but what do these terms actually mean?
The duration of time spent in the gym isn't a very good indicator of the intensity of your activity levels, because once your body becomes accustomed to the duration of a routine it doesn't need to work so hard. The intensity within the session is a much better guide to rate your training by.
If you do 3 or more fitness sessions a week that feel relatively strenuous (putting more than 6 out of 10 for effort for most of the workout) in terms of volume and intensity, then congratulations - you are a very active person!
If you do around 3 workouts a week that are reasonably comfortable or short (less than 30 minutes in duration), then a more suitable term for you is moderately active.
When using the cardiovascular machines, if you get your heart rate up to around 55-65% of your maximum heart rate (use the formula of 220 minus your age to get your approximate maximum heart rate) your activity level is moderate. If you would class your effort level as 5 or 6 out of 10, you are working at roughly the same intensity.
If you do 1 or 2 gym sessions a week in which you work at an intensity of 3 or 4 out of 10 on a scale of effort, then your sessions can be classed as a light level of activity.
If you switch to a 'light' setting you may short-change yourself slightly in terms of the intensity of your exercise routine. However, you are unlikely to over-approximate and so an inaccuracy from an easier setting would not result in thinking you're burning more calories than you really are. This means there'll be no unexplained weight gain!
Unfortunately our lifestyles rarely allow us to maximise our exercise routines and their consistency, so you should ensure that you do reduce your calorie intake on the days you don't exercise. This is an obvious point but it is just so easy for people to eat exactly the same quantity of calories on 'rest' days and impact on that weight loss balance.