Calculate Calories Burnt

How to Calculate Calories Burned

Metabolic equivalent

The metabolic equivalent of task (MET), or simply metabolic equivalent, is a physiological
concept expressing the energy cost of physical activities[1] as multiples of resting metabolic rate (RMR) and is defined as the ratio of metabolic rate (and therefore the rate of energy consumption) during a specific physical activity to a reference rate of metabolic rate at rest, set by convention to 3.5 ml O2·kg-1·min-1 or equivalently 1 kcal·kg-1· h-1 or 4.184 kJ·kg-1·h-1. By convention 1 MET is considered as the resting metabolic rate obtained during quiet sitting.[2][3] MET values of physical activities range from 0.9 (sleeping) to 18 (running at 17.5 km/h).

Although the RMR of any specific person may deviate significantly from the above mentioned conventional reference value,[4][5] MET values of physical activities provide a rough indication of the intensity of physical activities such as manual labour or exercise. MET is actually an index number and not an energy unit: a physical activity with a MET value of 2, such as walking at a slow pace (e.g., 3 km/h) would require for a specific person twice the energy that person consumes at rest (e.g., sitting quietly).

More specifically, MET is used as a practical means of expressing the intensity and energy expenditure of physical activities in a way comparable among persons of different weight. Actual energy expenditure (e.g., in calories or joules) during a physical activity depends on the person’s body mass, therefore the
energy cost of the same physical activity will be different for persons of different weight. However, since the RMR is also dependent on body mass in a similar way, it is assumed that the ratio of this energy cost to the RMR of each person will remain more or less stable for the specific physical activity and thus independent of each person’s weight.

The 1-MET reference value of 1 kcal·kg-1·h-1, is used by convention and refers to a typical metabolism at rest of an “average” individual. Even so, it must not be confused or misused as an approximation of basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the minimum metabolic rate obtained under specified conditions. This is illustrated by the fact that sleeping for instance has a MET of 0.9, while normal sleeping metabolism may be greater than the BMR.

Scope of usage of the MET concept

Epidemiology and public health

The MET concept is implicitly based on a statistical approach and has been primarily designed to be used in epidemiological surveys, where survey respondents answer the amount of time they spend for specific physical activities.[6]

Moreover MET is used to provide general medical thresholds and guidelines to a population.[7][8] Since MET is a measure of intensity and rate, the concept of MET-minute can be used to quantify the total amount of physical activity in a way comparable across different persons and types of activities. Thus brisk walking at 5 km/h for half an hour (a moderate intensity activity of 3.3 MET) accounts for about 100 MET-min and is in this aspect equivalent to running at 10 km/h for ten minutes (a vigorous intensity activity of 10 MET). This way the total effort expended in different activities over a period of time can be accumulated: health benefits of physical activity increase with increasing levels of activity and do not plateau until quite high levels.

Formula / Equation

(kcal burned) = (MET value) X (BMR/24) X (duration of activity in hours)

(kcal burned) = (MET value) X (BMR/1440 minutes per day) X (duration of activity in minutes)

Calculate Calories Burned


Maintaining health, fitness and losing weight are reasons why most people exercise. If exercising for weight loss, be conscious of how many calories are expended for each type of activity. Be aware of the number of calories burned through daily activities as well. The two added together help determine the amount of calories you burn in a day.

Step 1

Calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR). This is the amount of energy expended while at rest throughout the day. Use these formulas to calculate BMR (w = weight in kg; h = height in cm; a = age):

Men: BMR = (13.75 x w) + (5 x h) – (6.76 x a) + 66

Women: BMR = (9.56 x w) + (1.85 x h) – (4.68 x a) + 655

Step 2

Estimate the metabolic equivalent of your favourite activities. Metabolic equivalents (MET) are multiples of the resting metabolic rate. At rest, one MET or 3.5 calories per kg of body weight (1 kg = 2.2 lbs).
All other activities can be expressed in METS. For example, doing the laundry is 2.07 METS; biking is 8 METS; and softball is 5 METS.

Calculate Ideal Weight With the Ideal Weight Calculator And Maintain an Ideal Body Weight


Step 3

Calculate the number of calories you burn for your chosen activity using a metabolic equivalent chart (see Resources). Apply the MET equivalent to the following formula:

Calories burned by exercise = (METs x 3.5 x weight in kg) / 200 x duration in minutes

For instance, a 180 lb. man (81 kg) playing softball at 5 METS for 60 minutes = (5 x 3.5 x 81)/200 x 60 = 425 calories

Step 4

Add the MET equivalent of activities to BMR to determine how many calories are burned in a day. Keep in mind that both BMR and MET calculations are rough estimates.

Step 5

Fine tune your fitness or weight loss goals by calculating the amount of weight you’d like to lose in a given period of time. In order to lose 1 lb. of body fat (3500 Kcal) in a week, you must expend 500 calories per day (3500/7 = 500). This can be achieved in one session, or be divided into more. Using the softball example above, you can lose 1 lb. of fat a week if you play an hour of softball (or its equivalent activity) every day.

Read more:

BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)

Your BMR, or basal metabolic rate (metabolism), is the energy (measured in calories) expended by the body at rest to maintain normal bodily functions. This continual work makes up about 60-70% of the calories we use (“burn” or expend) and includes the beating of our heart, respiration, and the maintenance of body temperature. Your BMR is influenced by a number of factors, including age, weight, height, gender,
environmental temperature, dieting, and exercise habits.

Because of the increased activity of cells undergoing division, the younger the person, the higher (faster) the metabolism. And the taller and heavier a person is, the faster their metabolism. Because of the greater percentage of lean muscle tissue in the male body, men generally have a 10-15% faster BMR than women. Restrictive and traditional diets may cause your BMR to drop as much as 20%. People living in tropical or very cold environments generally have BMR’s 5-20% higher than those living in more temperate climates.
In general, depending on the intensity and duration, consistent exercise will also increase your BMR.

Note:BMR calculators should only be used to provide a rough guideline on daily energy expended. Actual
values cannot be attained using such calculators, and may be quite inaccurate depending on several factors such as geographic location, body-type, diet, body composition, supplementation and some genetic factors. Values which extend +/- 15% above and below your calculated BMR may be a more accurate representation of your actual BMR range as daily fluctuations are constant and your BMR is rarely the same on a daily basis.

AMR (Active Metabolic Rate)

To maintain normal bodily functions, your body “burns” more calories throughout the day than at rest. Once you have calculated your BMR above, you can enter the average minutes you spend in a variety of activities each day. This will help you calculate your AMR or Active Metabolic Rate. Your AMR is is the total amount of calories you expend through different types of activities throughout the day whether it’s reading or walking, dancing or swimming. They keyword here is “active” meaning you are consciously aware of your activity. We have divided these into five levels (above) from very light to very heavy and included a few examples of each category to allow you to gauge where a given activity might fit. The
result is only an estimate, but should give you an rough idea of your daily caloric needs. Once you’ve inputted all relevant fields, click the “Calculate” button to generate your daily “Daily Energy Requirement” which is the sum of your BMR and AMR results.

Weight Loss & Total Energy Requirement (BMR + AMR)

Both in theory and practice, weight loss can be as easy as following simple physical principles. You must not ingest more calories than you expend in order to maintain or reduce your body mass. If you learn how to effectively apply this principle to your energy requirements, it is a physiological certainty that you will not gain weight. As simple as this sounds, it is our sedentary society, work environments, poor nutrition and lack of exercise that makes this simple physical principle an extremely difficult and painful process for many.

Many people concerned about weight loss become overly preoccupied about the types of foods they eat. Although it is more beneficial for your long-term health to maintain a healthy balanced diet comprised of fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meats/fish and complex carbohydrates, your body does not differentiate between these foods when comes to storing extra calories as fat. If you maintain a daily calorie surplus, that is, if you ingest more calories than you expend, you will gain weight regardless of the types of
calories you ingest.

For example, lets say your total energy requirement (calculation above) is equal to 2000 calories per day and you’ve ingested 2012 calories per day. This means you’ve ingested 12 calories more than you’ve expended. Regardless of what types of foods these extra 12 calories consist of, whether it be a liquid or
solid, fat or protein, fruit or chocolate bar, salad or french fries, your body will turn these extra calories into fat. Your body will then store this fat until it is needed for energy.

In theory, if you continue to maintain this calorie surplus daily, you would end up storing an additional 84 calories per week, 336 calories per month and 4368 calories per year (that’s over 1 pound of fat). Keep in mind that this calculation is based on exceeding your daily energy expenditure by only 12 calories. That’s equivalent to just over 1 cup of lettuce, 2 cups of plain black coffee, 1 M&M peanut or 1 glass of Kool-Aid. Since most people exceed their calorie expenditure by far more than 12 calories per day, it’s no surprise that obesity is becoming the number one health problem in developed nations.

By calculating your total energy requirement (BMR + AMR) above, you will be able to roughly assess your daily calorie expenditure and calculate the amount of calories you require to maintain a daily calorie deficit. A daily calorie deficit, that is, expending more calories than you ingest, will allow you to lose weight regardless of the type of calories. Most experts agree that a 300-500 calorie daily deficit is safe and will allow for permanent weight loss provided a daily modest daily exercise program is followed. (More details on Fitness Fundamentals)

If you find yourself ingesting more calories than your daily total energy requirement, you need to either reduce the amount of calories, increase the amount of daily physical activity, or preferably both. Both are preferential because increasing your BMR through daily physical activity will effectually allow you to burn more calories in the long-term. If you consistently decrease your calorie intake (through dieting) without increasing your physical activity levels, you risk reducing your BMR levels, forcing your body to burn less
calories, which may eventually lead to further long-term weight gain and make it more difficult to lose the weight you’ve gained. Unfortunately, this is the scenario that most dieters face as they continue their desperate attempts to lose weight through dieting without physical activity. As we age, those who solely depend on dieting as a method of weight loss become even more frustrated since BMR levels naturally decline as we get older.

So how do you avoid falling into this vicious cycle? If your between 20 – 55 years of age, your AMR should consist of at least 120 – 200 minutes of moderate or heavy physical activity weekly. To prevent injuries and enhance recovery, the older you are, the more you will have to stay in the lower end of this range. If you’re 55+, you should seek the guidance of an Exercise Specialist and your Physician for an appropriate guideline according to your health and fitness level.

Building muscle via strength conditioning is probably the easiest way to naturally increase your BMR. By incorporating weight training in your fitness regimen, your body will maintain or build more muscle which will burn more calories at rest, increasing your total daily energy expenditure. Cardiovascular exercise, eating small portions more frequently, supplementation, increasing protein intake, moving to a warmer climate and adequate sleep are other ways to increase your BMR.

There are no quick fixes, pills or easy one-step diet solutions that will keep you fit and at a healthy weight. It’s a lifestyle and requires programming, hard work and dedication. Inevitably, those who don’t have time for such a lifestyle will soon have to make time for mental and physical illness. Prevention works and your health depend on it!

Physical Activity MET
Light Intensity Activities
sleeping 0.9
watching television 1.0
writing, desk work, typing 1.8
walking, less than 2.0 mph (3.2 km/h), level ground, strolling, very slow 2.0
Moderate Intensity Activities 3 to 6
bicycling, stationary, 50 watts, very light effort 3.0
calisthenics, home exercise, light or moderate effort, general 3.5
bicycling, <10 mph (16 km/h), leisure, to work or for pleasure 4.0
bicycling, stationary, 100 watts, light effort 5.5
Vigorous Intensity Activities >6
jogging, general 7.0
calisthenics (e.g. pushups, situps, pullups,jumping jacks), heavy, vigorous effort 8.0
running jogging, in place 8.0
rope jumping 10.0

Limitations in the usage of
MET to calculate actual energy expenditure

It must be noted
that published MET values (or exercise calorie calculators on web sites, which are based on such values) for specific activities are experimentally and statistically derived from a sample of persons and are in fact indicative averages. Obviously the level of intensity at which a specific person performs a specific physical activity (e.g., the pace of walking, the speed of running, etc.) will deviate from the representative experimental conditions used for the calculation of the standard MET values, but moreover, as is explained in the following, the actual energy expenditure and the RMR will differ according to the person’s overall fitness level and other factors.

The same holds for MET (or kcal) values indicated in modern fitness exercise equipment, which are
based on statistical models and are of indicative value only. In this case, even if the MET value indicated is a better statistical prediction than published tables, there is no way to account for the person’s actual RMR and thus energy expenditure (e.g., Kcal). In short, a person can use the MET concept to plan or monitor physical activity levels or get an indication of the aerobic intensity and order of magnitude of energy expenditure for a specific activity, but not use the MET concept to calculate actual energy expenditure or
a daily energy input-output balance.

More specifically, from a strictly scientific point of view, statistically estimated predictions, such as MET or BMI, are inaccurate when used for specific persons, and MET values must be treated as indicative only, taking into account that both RMR and actual energy consumption are highly dependent on physical and environmental factors such as adiposity, physical fitness level, cardiovascular health, or even ambient temperature.

Moreover, even the definition of MET is problematic when used for specific persons.[9][10] By convention, 1 MET is considered equivalent to the consumption of 3.5 ml O2·kg-1·min-1 (or 3.5 ml of oxygen per kilogram of body mass per minute) and is roughly equivalent to the expenditure of 1 kcal per kilogram of body weight per hour. This value was first experimentally derived from the resting oxygen consumption of a particular subject (a healthy 40-year-old, 70 kg man) and must therefore be treated as a convention. Since the RMR of a person depends mainly on lean body mass (and not total weight) and other physiological factors such as health status, age, etc., actual RMR (and thus 1-MET energy equivalents) may vary significantly from the kcal/(kg·h) rule of thumb. RMR measurements by calorimetry in medical
surveys have shown that the conventional 1-MET value overestimates the actual resting O2 consumption and energy expenditures by about 20% to 30% on the average, whereas body composition (ratio of body fat to lean body mass) accounted for most of the variance.

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