Throughout yesterday and today, I have had something repeatedly come to mind. I’ve been thinking about how much we can underestimate our metabolism and daily activities and think that our daily calorie burn is much less than the reality. Yesterday I didn’t get in a formal workout, but I know my leisurely hike got my body moving. Today, I spent a little over an hour cleaning our downstairs. I also did laundry and chased after Makenzie while she “helped”.
When I came to the end of my cleaning spree, I know I probably burned close to what I did during my morning spin class. But how easy is it to just ignore that fact? And think that the only activity that “counts” is what you put in at the gym, on the pavement, or with a Jillian Michaels/Cathe/Turbojam DVD?
Before I go any further, please note that I do not try to tally how many calories I burn in a day. I actually don’t care. What does sadden me though, and leads me to this post, is when I see people focused on a reaching a calorie burned goal during a workout or equating how much they worked out with how much they should eat for a day. There is so much more to our activity than our workouts.
Everything burns calories. From breathing to digesting to studying to running to sleeping to laughing. It all adds up. We need to begin focusing on our lifestyles as a whole. Our daily workouts probably only account for about 20% of our total daily burn. That is 80% from other factors. We need to recognize those other factors so as to give our body adequate fuel. Underestimating what we need to maintain is only detrimental to our health. Who wants a lower metabolism when they could have a higher one? Who wouldn’t want to be able to eat even more of their favorite healthy meals and provide more nutrition to their body?
I used to be in the same boat. I swore up and down that my maintenance calories were around 1800. Then, I got to borrow a nifty little contraption from a friend. It’s called the Go Wear Fit and it is an armband you wear that calculates your activity, calorie burn, sleep, etc.
While I don’t care for this item anymore because I prefer being intuitive and not worrying about any numbers, it was interesting information to see. Turns out I was burning close to 2300 calories….on my rest days. Workout days were closer to 2800. And then when I got to more intense training days for the competition (two-a-days) I was generally always over 3000. Now, I consume on average 2500/day. That is a guesstimate since I don’t track and just figured in my head around how much I eat on any given day. I easily maintain my weight of around 135 lbs. And I am happy to provide my body with more fuel because I know it can handle it and needs it.
I want to be clear that I understand some have more sedentary jobs and their workouts are a big part of their activity for the day. I am not saying formal workouts are unnecessary. I also am not saying that what I found for my body applies to everyone. What I am saying is to be aware of all that your body does for you and fuel it properly. Your body is an amazing machine. It needs ample food supply to work efficiently. Give it what it needs. Recognize ALL the ways it works for you, not just when sitting on a spin bike. Honor your body, your health, and your hunger and eat up as much as you possibly can. 🙂