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Another case of "scrutinize what you read on the web"…

16 Aug

I read an article today for endurance athletes (however, this could also apply to weight loss) – The article’s title questioned “Are you eating enough?” and went on to recommend online resources to determine individual daily calorie requirements. Also recommended was a heart rate monitor to track calories burned during exercise. That’s all fine and dandy, BUT I have 2 problems with their advice:

1) Websites use formulas based on age, weight and body fat (if you are privy to your body fat %) to determine RMR (resting metabolism rate – that is what you body needs to survive at rest). There’s also a couple formulas for the thermic effect one’s body goes through to digest, heat/cool, etc. and activity level (sedentary job vs. highly active lifestyle). These formulas are great as a guesstimate, but when calories in and out are of utmost importance, a guesstimate isn’t good enough. A scientific RMR test is best (these can be done at a local university or in Columbus, OH. at Baseline Fitness). As an example, my RMR would be underestimated by these websites by several hundred calories a day!

2) Like the RMR formula, a heart rate monitor is limiting unless the individual has a VO2 Max or Submax test to determine their Anaerobic threshold. HRM’s are great training tools for anyone, but when it comes to endurance training or weight loss training, having an accurate log of calories burned and average and max heart rate is very important. In weight loss, most people tend to overestimate calories burned. With endurance training, total daily calorie burn can be underestimated. Both situations hinder goals.

If you can afford $150 or so, it’s worth investing in the RMR, body fat and VO2 max/submax tests to give you the exact info you need to reach your goal, be it weight loss or taking in enough fuel for endurance activities.