Calories Burned and Activity Calculator
Use this calculator to estimate how many calories you will burn for any activity.
The amount of energy you consume when exercising is dependent upon your weight, height, and intensity of the workout.
This calculator uses a table of established mets (or Metabolic Equivalents) per activity to determine your individual energy burn. The ‘Level’ can be applied to the macro calculator to more accurately assess your activity level when you are counting macros.
A 30 year old woman, 150 pounds in weight, height 5 foot 5 inches.
If she exercised for 30 minutes a day, doing general bicycling, she would burn an extra 217 calories per day. This would be considered ‘Light’ on the macronutrient calculator.
If she changed this to 45 minutes per day and exercised using a stationary rowing machine (with vigorous effort), this would change to 368 calories per day (a Moderate setting on the macro calculator).
What is the Activity Level?
If you are using this calculator in conjunction with the our calculator, this will help you better estimate your exercise level. This can be “< LIGHT", LIGHT, MODERATE, or EXTREME. If your activity shows "< LIGHT” , you may want to choose SEDENTARY on the macro calculator.
Exercise energy is difficult to assess, but this provides a pretty reliable estimate.
Generally, we tend to overestimate our exercise level, and unless we have a physical job, most of us will fall into the sedentary category if we purposely don’t go to the gym or engage in other forms of exercise that are more than 20 minutes in duration.
What About Wearable Exercise Trackers?
Wearable exercise trackers can be a great motivator to move more but because of the limited metrics they measure, they tend to over-estimate calorie burn.
For those tracking steps, this can be even further off target because casual steps around the home or office burn very little energy, while purposeful steps (i.e. running, walking fast, walking up stairs or hills etc.) burn more energy. Trackers don’t do a great job of differentiating the two, even if they have a built-in heart rate monitor.
One investigation from Stanford showed that wearables overestimated a person’s calorie burn by 27-93 percent depending on the device.
The most accurate way to measure calorie burn is to measure heart rate and oxygen uptake during an activity, which is how the Metabolic Equivalents used for this calculator were established.
What is a MET?
One MET can be defined as 1 kcal per kg of body weight per hour and is roughly equivalent to the energy cost of sitting quietly. This can also be measured in oxygen uptake where one MET is the equivalent of 3.5 ml per kg of body weight per minute.
- Ainsworth, B. E., Haskell, W. L., Herrmann, S. D., Meckes, N., Bassett Jr, D. R., Tudor-Locke, C., … & Leon, A. S. (2011). 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities: a second update of codes and MET values. Medicine & science in sports & exercise, 43(8), 1575-1581. (link)
- Compendium of Physical Activities (link)
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