Muscle Matters

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Tips for logging and calculating non-cardio calorie burn.

Some of you have been wondering why we don’t calculate calories burned for strength training, in addition to calculating calories burned by doing cardiovascular exercises. You’re gettin’ ripped, you’re pumped up, and dangit you want some credit. All that sweat and strain must count for something!

The body does burn calories during strength training, but calculating that calorie burn is much trickier than calculating those burned by cardio exercises because so much of the data is subjective and harder to accurately track.

Estimating those calories depends on a variety of factors, including how much weight you lift per repetition, how many reps, how much rest you took between sets, and how vigorously you performed an exercise. And therein lies the rub: assessing one’s own ‘vigorousness’ is difficult, since everyone has a different threshold. With running or biking, for instance, speed and distance are monitored and a hard number is calculated, but with a weight exercise like bench press it just ‘feels hard.’ One person might consider it vigorous if they push themselves to the limit, while another person might think it’s vigorous to push the vending machine button for the sports drink.

One easy way of getting an approximate calorie count is to search our Cardio database for similar exercises, or you can enter the “Strength Training” exercise and receive a rough estimate. Another way is to use a heart-rate monitor to help figure out how many calories you’ve burned, you can then easily create and add custom exercises into your personal profile.

It can be frustrating not to have numbers to add and subtract if you’ve become accustomed to precisely tracking every calorie and step you take. Maybe this is a good time to go old school: If your clothes are feeling tight, or loose in the right places then it must be working! Just make sure to log every day – the more consistently you log your activities, the greater your chances of being successful.

Healthfully,

The MyFitnessPal Team

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