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Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, United States
A guy finding out if life really does begin at 50.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Burning Up

So it's been hot lately. I've been burning up in this heat. I've never liked the heat and humidity we have here in the south even though I've grown up with it. All the heat has made it difficult to run in the evening. It was still 85F (29.44C) at 9PM last night, so I've been running on a tread mill I purchased from Larry a couple years ago before he moved to Arkansas. It's a good, powerful, full size tread mill and it easily handles me. It has some nice features:
  • digital speed and incline controls
  • time and distance traveled
  • calorie burned
It also allows you to set a calorie burn goal, and when you reach your goal the belt slows, and in a few seconds, stops. Since my favorite part of exercise is when it is over, I like anything that will get me to my favorite part. So I set the burn goal for a whole box of mac & cheese (2 servings, or 500 calories) and started jogging. I was surprised when the thread mill shut off in about 25 minutes, way short of the 40 minutes I was expecting.

So is the 75 calorie for 6 minutes of jogging I used wrong, or is it the calorie counter on the tread mill? Well they are both wrong, and probably for the same reason. Both assume some weight value and chances are I'm not that weight. Well there are calorie calculators all over the web. But very few provide the formula. I found a formula that most scholarly pages site is from Energy Expenditure of Walking and Running, from Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise, Dec. 2004.
Your Total Calorie Burn/Mile Your Net Calorie Burn/Mile
Running (>5mph) .75 x your weight (in lbs.) .63 x your weight
Walking (3-4mph) .53 x your weight .30 x your weight
Total Calorie Burned (TCB) includes your basal metabolism (what you burn just sitting there), and the Net Calorie Burned (NCB) is just what the exercise burned and is what typically gets shown by calculators.

So just how long do I have to spend on the tread mill to burn up 500 (total) calories? Ever how long it takes me to go 3.12 miles if I run, or 4.4 miles if I walk. So 37.5 minutes based on 12 minutes per mile pace which is about right or me. When walking your center of gravity does not move (up and down) as much as when you run, so you don't burn as many calories. That is an overly simple explanation. How Many Calories are You Really Burning? is a good place to start reading if you want specifics. Also exercising on a tread mill or on a track is about the same. But a flat track and the hills in your neighborhood are of course, different. Proving once again your mileage will vary!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What would you do for some Macaroni & Cheese?

So, I'm trying to lose a few pounds (a stone or so for you Brits, not money) and was wondering what was a calorie that I see on those labels all the time. I knew that a calorie was a unit of energy so with a little searching I found a handy California Energy Commission web page What is Energy?
The California Energy Commission web page says a piece of buttered toast contains about 315 kilojoules (315,000 joules, or 75.28 food calories) of energy. With that energy the web page says you could:
  • Jog for 6 minutes
  • Bicycle for 10 minutes
  • Walk briskly for 15 minutes
  • Sleep for 1-1/2 hours
  • Run a car for 7 seconds at 80 kilometers per hour (about 50 miles per hour)
  • Light a 60-watt light bulb for 1-1/2 hours
  • Or lift that 5 lb (2.26 kg) sack of sugar from the floor to the counter 21,000 times!
Sort of helps you picture just how much effort it takes to burn off a 250 calories candy bar - like lift that sack of sugar 70,000 times.
I can't confirm or explain their numbers. I did the metric-English conversions for this post, but I've heard before that running a hour is about 700-800 calories burned, so I suspect they are in the ball park (on the pitch). I suspect 75 calories is low for a piece of butter toast, but 315K joules is 75.28 kilo-calories (aka food calories).
I think on food labels they should put "Jog 20 minutes after eating this" or other depressing (but meaningful) warnings on the labels.
For me? What will I do for mac & cheese? I'll just take a 5 hour nap.

Monday, July 12, 2010

2010 Peachtree

Peachtree 2010
I'm sure you all noticed I've not posted much this year. Not a lot going on. Just work mostly. I did run in the Peachtree this year. This was the 2nd time for me. I cut 10 minutes off my time this year. Mostly because it was cooler and much less humid. That and I drank more before and during the race. I think last time I struggled because I got a bit dehydrated.