Burning calories Question

How do you prepare for the rigorous physical requirements of high elevation adventure? Strength and endurance are key, but are only part of a more complex equation. How do you prepare for changes in altitude, exposure, diet, etc.? How do you mentally prepare? Learn from others and share what you know about training in advance for outdoor adventures.
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Wandering Daisy
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Re: Burning calories Question

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:19 am

My husband just bought me a Garmin smart watch and it has been fun to track activities and calories (fully aware that these devices can be significantly off). Supposedly I burn about 400-500 calories sleeping (I am a very wiggly sleeper). Amazingly I accumulate nearly 2-3 miles a day simply be doing regular chores, shopping, cleaning, etc. My 3-4 mile dog walks supposedly burn about 700 calories. My "non-exercise" calorie burn exceed my exercise calorie burn unless I do an all-day hike. I guess this really reinforces the idea that being sedentary is a big factor in weight gain. Backpacking puts us in an environment without chairs, which makes us more active even when we are not actually walking.I have yet to see how many calories I burn for a day of yard work or gardening.

Another observation; my I-phone records less miles than the Garmin watch. We have several zones where I walk where cell coverage is poor. I think the I-phone looses miles when switching from cell tracking to satellite tracking. But the I really do not understand how the I-phone calculates its miles. Unfortunately the Garmin watch I have does not have enough battery power to use as a GPS to track my miles while backpacking, unless I buy a solar charger, so I will not be using it to track backpacking.








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longri
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Re: Burning calories Question

Post by longri » Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:26 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:19 am
Supposedly I burn about 400-500 calories sleeping (I am a very wiggly sleeper).
You can roughly estimate that based on weight. It won't be accurate but will get you in the ballpark. If you sleep 8 hours and burn 500 Cal that would suggest you weigh something like 125 lbs, give or take.

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:19 am
Another observation; my I-phone records less miles than the Garmin watch. We have several zones where I walk where cell coverage is poor. I think the I-phone looses miles when switching from cell tracking to satellite tracking. But the I really do not understand how the I-phone calculates its miles. Unfortunately the Garmin watch I have does not have enough battery power to use as a GPS to track my miles while backpacking, unless I buy a solar charger, so I will not be using it to track backpacking.
My wife carries around an altimeter, an iPhone, and a pedometer. Each of them has their own idiosyncrasies and they rarely agree. Sometimes one of them is wildly off. But they are kind of fun toys. And they can be used as metrics for monitoring activity level, just not accurately.

My understanding is that the iPhone Health app uses the GPS chip to determine distance, not the cell signal. So it suffers from the same inaccuracies as other GPS based distance calculations. Way better than a pedometer though.

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Re: Burning calories Question

Post by bobby49 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:26 pm

There is no industry standard or market standard on how a GPS receiver works or how its algorithms determine miles traveled. So, your results will vary from brand to brand and even the usage profile within a single brand. For example, suppose that you are going through a mountain tunnel from Point A to Point B. With some of these, the track sees Point A, the signal is blocked in the tunnel, and then it sees Point B. It makes the assumption that you actually traveled in a straight line from A to B, so it records that distance. With others, it makes the assumption that nothing happened while the signal was lost in the tunnel, so it does not record the tunnel distance. What is important for the user is to learn the particular GPS item in hand and to understand how its algorithms work.

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Re: Burning calories Question

Post by notis » Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:53 am

As a kinesiologist, here's the most accurate way to estimate calories burned (using no fancy equipment). It's a bit of text but really quite simple, as all you need is an explanation of two main concepts: basal metabolic rate and metabolic equivalents.

Concept 1-
Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is basically your energy expenditure to exist--the calories needed to sustain your bodily functions, organs, etc. Think of it as if you were to just lay on the couch for 24 hours, not moving or talking much, eating, etc.

You can calculate this using a simple online calculator. It's based off your height, weight, age, and gender. Any calculator online will be reasonably accurate for our purposes. Here's one: http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/

When you get your number, divide the result by 24. That is how many calories you are burning per hour. My result is 1643 calories per day / 24 hours = 68 calories an hour (to simply exist).

Concept 2-
A metabolic equivalent task (MET) can be thought of as the relationship between an activity and your basal metabolic rate. If an activity, such as fishing, is "3.5 METs" it means that that activity requires 3.5 times the amount of energy than your basal metabolic rate per hour. So, continuing with the example above, if my BMR is 68 calories/hour, and fishing is 3.5 METs, that means for every hour I fish I will burn 68 calories * 3.5 = 238 calories.

MET values for every activity under the sun are found in the Compendium of Physical Activity, under the "activity categories" tab: https://sites.google.com/site/compendiu ... ities/home

UTILITY FOR BACKPACKING:
Backpacking, generally, is approximately 7 METs. I can calculate the calories needed for a day's hiking:

- I will backpack for 8 hours today. Backpacking is 7 METs.
- My basal metabolic rate is 68 calories/hour.

68 calories/hour * 7 METs for backpacking = 476 calories per hour of backpacking.
476 calories / hour * 8 hours of backpacking = 3,808 calories needed!

You can really do this for any activity, like you mentioned in the original post, Wandering Daisy--walking the dog, vacuuming, etc. :)

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Re: Burning calories Question

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:58 pm

Basal metabolism off a chart may be fairly accurate in town, however, if keeping warm in colder than room temperature is part of basal metabolism, then you need to factor that in. I am also very skeptical of charts of calories burned for any specific activity. We all do things differently, with different "gusto" and efficiency (or struggle). The better you get at something, the less energy it takes to do it. I am very efficient going up hills because I have been well trained in techniques that minimize the effort. Backpacking in particular would be very difficult to characterize because we all are so different in our styles, weight carried, altitude of the trip. It is well known that stop-and-go backpacking is much less efficient (burns more calories) than a slow steady pace. I would think heartbeat rate would be a more accurate measure of calories used. A lot of the fitness tracking devices do that.

I have recorded about two months of data now and tend to burn about 2000-2200 calories per day, walking on the average about 5-7 miles a day mostly on flat terrain, at about 3.5 mph. This makes sense, because I ration about this same amount when backpacking, and over a season, will lose 5 to 10 pounds given about 50-60 days of backpacking. The extra calories burned while backpacking have more to do with carrying a pack, elevation gain and rougher terrain, than the miles walked, since most of my trips I only do 5-8 miles per day and mostly off trail. I do not track my calories eaten at home, but am gaining about 2 pounds per month- totally intended - to get back to my "winter weight". It is not that I cannot eat more calories when backpacking so that I do not lose weight, but I simply do not want to carry that much food! The only reason I care about calories burned while backpacking is so I can take the right amount of food.

All very interesting. Probably those charts would be fine for most people. Fitness tracking devices are more "fluff", however, quite fun to use and I admit, I am definitely a sucker for being more motivated once I started tracking my activities. Plus, the Garmin really does have a good GPS and I now know the mileages and elevation gains for all my urban hiking routes. Pace, however, is totally dependent on how much the dog decides to sniff things.

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