How Accurate Are Gym Calorie Counters?

Many of us rely on the inbuilt calorie counters in treadmills, cross trainers, stationary bikes and stair machines to give us an indication of how much less we can hate ourselves in the shower afterwards. The better versions of these calorie counters will ask you for your age, weight and gender before giving readings – but even these aren’t quite as reliable as you may have thought.

Stationary Bike

The bike supports more of your weight than any other cardio equipment. Because of this you are using only your legs to keep the machine going, which makes it easy to standardize calorie expenditure, making the stationary bike the most accurate cardio equipment with respect to burn rate calculations.

The only way to vary the burn rate is by changing your pedalling technique. For instance it is harder to stand on the pedals than it is to sit down with the same resistance as the seat is no longer supporting your weight. This is a popular routine in spinning classes as it provides a simulation of uphill mountain biking.


The calorie counter on the treadmill is recognized as being one of the most reliable cardio machines, second only to the stationary bike. This is because you can’t easily cheat by adjusting posture or varying your gait, the treadmill will mercilessly keep you pumping away without offering a way to decrease the load. The only way to deceive the calorie counter is to decrease your weight by holding onto the rails. Gyms should consider high voltage handrails to avoid this temptation.

The treadmill is easier than running outdoors, but running on concrete will wear away at your joints over time. To compensate for this decreased difficulty just increase the incline by a few percent or run for a bit longer.

Cross Trainer

The cross trainer has a clear advantage over the treadmill, namely that you don’t wear out your knees and spine, due to the zero-impact motion. However, a recent study shows that the cross trainer is possibly the least accurate when it comes to estimating your energy expenditure, with some machines giving read-outs up to 40% higher than true values.

One possible reason for this inaccuracy is that the movements we make on the cross trainer aren’t as natural as those on the treadmill.

Cross trainers also vary greatly between brands, with different resistances and ranges of motion, making standard calculations even more difficult.

Furthermore, whilst on the cross trainer we use a combination of leg and arm movement to increase our heart rate. Yet the cardiovascular benefit of using your legs or arms are very different. Your arms weigh much less than your legs, hipps and glutes, which means that the more you rely on your arms to keep the cross trainer going the less calories you burn.

Stair Machine

The main problem people have with the stair machine is posture and technique. As soon as we get tired we have a tendency to lean forward and take shorter, faster steps, instead of pressing the pedals all the way to the floor. When you lean forward this way you are handing over a lot of your weight to the machine and are therefore working less to move your body up and down. However, the machine doesn’t know that you’re cheating in this way, and so will overestimate your calorie expenditure.

To get the most out of stair machines, keep your back straight and eyes forward, and don’t lean on the handrails. Also don’t cheat yourself with the range of motion – take long and deliberate steps. Don’t worry if you find you can’t do as much as before, at least now you’re doing it properly and you can build honest fitness over time.

In general you shouldn’t rely to heavily on calorie counters, as even the most accurate tend to overestimate. A better way to get an idea of exertion is to use a heart rate monitor and aim to keep your heart rate within the margin as dictated by your age. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor then this old rule works quite well: you should be able to talk whilst working out without getting too winded, but if you can sing you’re not working hard enough.


High Intensity Interval Training

High intensity interval training or HIIT is any cardio regime in which the heart rate is elevated to (close to) its maximum for a certain period of time and then decreased to a resting state. These cycles of high and low intensity training are repeated at regular intervals throughout the training session. The idea behind HIIT is that it is meant to increase the body’s threshold at which lactic acid is released in the muscles. This is beneficial as it is the release of lactic acid that causes the onset of failure at the end of a set during weight training. Therefore a lot of trainers prescribe interval training as a means of increasing this threshold and reaching new heights in muscle workouts.

There are many variations of HIIT, all of which change the length of time taken for the high and low intensity phases, as well as the overall time of the workout. For instance, Tabata is a type of high intensity interval training in which the intervals of high and low intensity are particularly short. Usually the high intensity workout phase lasts 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This is repeated for 4 minutes.

One advantage of interval training is that you don’t have to spend as much time to burn the same amount of calories as you would with regular flat heart rate cardio. HIIT can also increase your explosive power, your running speed and as already mentioned, it can increase your stamina in both cardio and weight training.

If you are training for an endurance event, such as a marathon or triathlon, you should not depend exclusively on HIIT to increase stamina. When training for endurance sports the best method is to practice with endurance cardio. This means longer periods of time spent at medium to medium-high heart rates. HIIT should form a part of this training, but your focus should be on flat heart rate cardio.

Gym Etiquette

Gym Etiquette

A gym is not just a place to go and vent frustration and excess energy. It’s also a place in which we work to strengthen our bodies and concentrate. It’s important to remember that we share the gym floor with like-minded people who are there for the same reason as you. The gym is meant to offer respite from the stress of the outside world, and this is only possible if we follow some basic codes of conduct.

Gym Etiquette

Use a Towel

When working out on any machine, or lying on any bench, make sure to use a towel to separate your sweat from the surface. Using a piece of equipment that is covered in sweat is not conducive to a pleasant gym session.

Don’t Hog

When you rest, get up and allow others to jump in before your next set. Don’t sit resting on a machine, as this is time in which someone else could be doing something useful. If someone is standing close to your workout area, be aware of them and offer to change places between each set.

Keep Your Mouth Shut

Don’t shout or laugh with your friends in the gym. You’re there to work, not have a good time. You’re disturbing other people’s concentration.

Also don’t offer unsolicited advice to people – nobody likes this. You may very well know a more effective way of performing the exercise, but nobody asked you, so keep your guidance to those who ask for it.

Don’t approach women on the gym floor looking for a date – it’s not a singles bar, and she’s there to work out.

Finally, although it is advisable to exhale strongly at each rep, it’s not necessary to moan and scream like a woman in labour.

Put it Back

This is an obvious one: when you’re done with a set of weights, put them back where you found them. Don’t just leave them lying next to where you were using them, or it will take the next guy much longer to find them.

Running vs Cross Training

running versus cross training

Running burns a lot of calories compared to other forms of cardio such as swimming and cycling because you are carrying your entire body weight at each step. But it is exactly for this same reason that running can also have negative effects on your body.

Every time one of your feet hits the ground the impact sends a shock wave up your leg and into your spine. This is why marathon runners commonly develop knee and lower back problems. In order to minimize damage you need to obtain proper running shoes and perhaps ask your physician about orthopedic knee support straps. You should try to take deliberately long strides while running so that you land on your heels. The stride should then ‘roll’ from your heel to the ball of your foot where it is lifted off the ground again. This rolling motion will translate some of the vertical momentum into horizontal momentum – reducing the stress on the rest of the body. Also make sure you run with a straight back, your head up and your eyes fixed ahead of you. This way you will run as efficiently as possible and reduce the negative effects.

running versus cross training

However, no matter how good your shoes and your technique are, you will never eliminate the impact felt at each stride to zero during running. This is why you might want to consider switching to the cross trainer. This is an effective simulation of a running motion, but with none of the impact stress. In addition, you are working your arms, which means you are targeting more muscle groups and burning more calories. You can also vary the motion on a cross trainer from a cross-country skiing stride to a stair-climbing stride. In summary, cross training will yield all the benefits of running, without any of the negative aspects.

Does Muscle Turn Into Fat?

does muscle turn into fat

No – this is an urban myth. One type of cell (or substance for that matter) cannot turn into another. A fat cell is a fat cell, and a muscle cell is a muscle cell. Muscle does not turn into fat.

does muscle turn into fat

The reason this myth is so prevalent is because the external symptoms seen when a bodybuilder stops working out seem to agree with the idea that muscle turns into fat. If you work out for long enough you will build muscle mass through weight lifting and lose fat through cardio and a healthy diet. If you then stop this routine, a number of things will happen. The muscles you built will no longer be of any use to your body and it will begin to break it down and absorb it. The body does not keep excess muscle as it is just extra weight and requires extra energy. You will also likely start to gain fat as you are not doing regular cardio. If you start eating badly in addition you will gain fat at a faster pace. This may even happen rather naturally, as bodybuilders tend to become depressed when they stop a regular workout routine. This depression may result in an increased appetite. This in turn will cause an increased food intake and thereby a faster fat gain. This positive feedback loop is difficult to get out of and the best way to avoid it is to not stop working out.

We can see that the above processes in combination may look like the muscle is ‘turning into’ fat when you stop a workout routine. However, this is not the case, as there are two simultaneous and independent processes going on – the loss of muscle and the increase in body fat percentage.

How Many Calories Do You Burn By Walking?

How Many Calories Do You Burn By Walking

Walking is one of the easiest and most common forms of exercise you can do. Although it is not physically strenuous in small doses, it can have significant benefits to health and well being. But exactly how many calories do you burn by walking? In order to answer this question, we will subdivide into categories according to weight and pace.

To begin with, walking at a medium pace, such as on a busy street, burns about 240 calories per hour if you weigh 150 pounds. At 175 pounds you will burn closer to 280 kcal/hour. At 200 pounds, you can expect to burn around 320 calories/hour.

How Many Calories Do You Burn By Walking

We can then use these values to answer common questions such as, how many calories do you burn by walking a mile?

For a 150 pound person, one mile of walking will burn close to 80 kcal for every mile walked at a medium pace. A 175 person will burn just above 90 calories, and a 200 pounder (that’s a whole lot of meat!) will expend around 100 calories from walking a mile. Well done so far. If you walk a mile you’ve earned a medium to large size banana.

Walking may seem like a very simple and mundane activity, but there is actually a lot of bio-mechanical precision that goes into keeping you upright and balanced. You can read more about the science of walking here:

So how many calories do you burn by walking 2 miles? That’s easily answered using the above. At 150 pounds, you will burn 160 calories during your 2-mile walk at a medium pace. For a 175 person, this becomes 180 calories. If you weigh 200 pounds, 2 miles of walking will yield 200 calories of effort. This is now reaching a significant amount, and you can equate your 2 mile walk with a tall to grande latte, depending on your weight.

However, there is some evidence emerging that walking is not as effective an exercise as was assumed. The study claims that walking alone will not give you the health benefits associated with more strenuous cardiovascular exercise such as swimming and cycling: See this article on the BBC for more in depth information:

Other common questions submitted by our readers pertain to the time spent walking and the related calorific expenditure. To answer these, we will take the two extremes of walking at a very slow pace (2 mph) and a very fast pace (5 mph).

How many calories do you burn by walking for 30 minutes? At a slow pace a 150 pound person will burn 70 calories in this time. At a fast pace the same person will burn 270 kcal. This huge increase goes to show that picking up the pace, even by 10-20% could be the difference in your walking workout. At 175 pounds you can expect to burn 80 calories and 320 calories for a slow and fast 30 minute walk. At 200 pounds, these values lie closer to 90 kcal and 365 kcal.

How many calories do you burn by walking for 45 minutes? A slow walking 150 pound person will use 105 kcal. The same 150 pound person will increase his effort to 305 calories at a fast pace. At 175 pounds, a slow and fast pace give 120 kcal and 480 kcal, respectively. Our 200 pound man will burn 135 and 550 calories for a slow and fast 45 minute walk.

How many calories do you burn by walking for 1 hour? Slow and fast paces will give 140 kcal and 540 kcal for a human weighing 150 pounds, 160 calories and 640 calories for 175 pounds, and 180 calories and 730 calories at 200 pounds.

How Many Calories Do You Burn By Kayaking?

How Many Calories Do You Burn By Kayaking

Kayaking is a lot of fun in the right weather and water conditions, and can also be a good way to burn some of those daily calories. You may spend your time in a kayak sitting, but this is more than compensated for by the continuous motion of your arms, and the effort in your core and hips in keeping yourself and the boat upright. So how many calories do you burn by kayaking? Keep reading to find out the answer in detail.

How Many Calories Do You Burn By Kayaking

The calories burned kayaking will depend on your weight. At 150 pounds, the calories burned while kayaking turn out to be around 360 calories per hour. At 175 pounds, this increases to 420 kcal per hour. If you weigh 200 pounds, you can expect to burn in the region of 480 kcal in an hour.

The kayaking calories per hour will of course also be affected by the conditions in the water. In still conditions, such as in a lake at low winds, the values will be less. Similarly, in rough condition, and white water rivers the calories burnt kayaking will be much higher.

If you are considering kayaking weight loss as your program of choice, then make sure to seek out a qualified instructor if you are a beginner. There have been many accidents involving overconfident individuals that think they can tackle an expert course the first time round. You should also always wear head protection when out on the water. Kayaks are very light boats and can turn over easily. This can result in you hitting your head on rocks that were not visible above the surface of the water.

The most effective way to turn your kayaking session into a workout, is to make sure that you alternate the side on which you stroke the paddle. This will ensure that you are not workout one side of your body more than the other. Tacking alternating sides will also allow your shoulders and arms enough rest, so that you can keep going for longer.

How Many Calories Do You Burn By Jumping On a Trampoline?

How Many Calories Do You Burn By Jumping On a Trampoline

If you’ve just purchased your new exercise trampoline, you may have asked the question: how many calories do you burn by jumping on a trampoline? Find out the answer below.

If you weigh 150 pounds, you burn around 220 calories (kcal) per hour jumping on a trampoline. At 175 pounds, you burn around 270 calories/hour and at 200 pounds, the number jumps to 310 cal/hour.

How Many Calories Do You Burn By Jumping On a Trampoline

You will notice that these numbers are not particularly high, compared to other types of cardio workouts. Also, spending an hour on a trampoline will get extremely boring, and may make you dizzy. When it comes to trampoline workouts, its better to approach it as something that’s fun to do once in a while, to complement your other exercise activities.

Jumping on a trampoline trains all the major muscles in your legs. You use your calf muscles, quads and hamstrings to propel yourself into the air, and again to absorb the impact upon landing. In addition, you use your hips and your core to stabilize yourself throughout the motion. Even your arms benefit a little from jumping on a trampoline, but mostly they are used only for balance purposes.

How Many Calories Do You Burn Running A Mile

calories burnt running

Generally speaking, running is one of the best cardiovascular exercises to improve fitness and lose weight. However, if you are a beginner it is important to learn correct running technique in order to avoid injury and maximize benefit. One mistake that people often make whilst running is that they take strides that are too short. The effect of this is that one lands directly on the sole of the foot, which creates an unhealthy impact on the ankles and knees at every stride. One should therefore focus on taking deliberately longer strides, in order to land on the heel and ‘roll’ towards the front of the foot, in order to reduce said impact.

Another common mistake is not investing in the correct equipment prior to beginning an exercise regime. It is important to research the best running shoes, as these will help to reduce stress on the joints, and will improve overall efficiency. It should also be noted that running on asphalt creates a very sharp impact at every stride. Therefore, it is better to find a running path on grass, or to run on a treadmill at the gym. If you are just starting out, then attempt shorter runs to begin with and build your stamina slowly. This will have positive effects on your long-term fitness. The amount of calories you burn running for 20 minutes several times a week will be higher than the calories burnt taking longer runs less frequently.

calories burnt running

If you have ever asked yourself: how many calories do you burn running a mile, then you can rest assured that this is one of the best-studied statistics in modern sports science and physiology. There is a generally accepted formula, by which 3/4 of one’s weight (in pounds) will equal the total amount of calories burnt per mile. However, it is important to remember that this quantity includes calories that would have been burnt even in a resting state, due to the energy required for basic metabolic processes. The calories burnt just from the action of running a mile (i.e. the net calories), is actually closer to 2/3 of one’s weight. It may be of interest to compare this to the number of calories burnt walking a mile at approximately 3 miles per hour. In this case, the total and net numbers of calories burnt are about 1/2 and 1/3 of one’s weight, respectively.

As with any exercise, it is advisable to build stamina slowly and not attempt to run too vigorously in the beginning stages. The difference in how many calories you burn running for six miles, rather than five, is not that important. It is more valuable to run regularly than to run fast or far. Similarly, the positive effects of how many calories you burn running for an hour, may well be outweighed by the negative effects of over-exertion. The goal is to find a routine that will allow you to persevere. This involves planning your run around work and other obligations to minimize stress.

Inner Thigh Exercises

inner thigh exercises

It is hard to lose thigh fat. You need to combine a healthy fat loss diet and a good exercise regime. The diet will cause the fat to drop, exposing skinnier thighs. This is when you add these inner thigh exercises to your workout. They will tone your inner thighs and complement the rest of the leg exercises in your workout.

inner thigh exercises

1. Sumo Deadlifts
Sumo deadlifts are similiar to standard deadlifts except that it involves a much wider leg stance with the toes pointing outwards. Basic deadlift execution can be found on this post on the best hamstring exercises.

2. Wide-Stance Squats.
This is just like the standard squat except that it is executed with a wider stance. If you need more instruction on executing a squat, please my post on the best leg exercises.

You only need two exercises at maximum, in a single week. If you do want more, you can try adding these:

3. Side lying leg raises with Ankle Weights
4. Lateral Lunges

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