You Do Know Not to Count All the Time You Are at The Gym Right?

Now why do you suppose you wouldn't want to give yourself credit for every minute you spend at the gym? You work hard when you are there, it should count shouldn't it?

A lot of time spent at the gym is transition time. You move from one machine to another, you rest between reps, then there's the obvious; changing your shoes and maybe showering.....these things shouldn't be counted or you will be off in your calorie burning calculations and it could cause your weight-loss goals to stall.

My typical routine at the gym includes 45 minutes of weight lifting. Now some of that time, I'm loading the weights or resting between reps, or just trying to get access to the station that I want. I am not spending 45 minutes solid working my muscles to exhaustion. For tracking purposes, I only write down 25 minutes to ensure all of that non-active time is accounted for. This is totally a guess and I try to underestimate as a rule. I could pay more attention and give it a more accurate number if I found that I was not losing weight as expected but it's been working out so far.

Trusting the treadmill (or other equipment) to figure the amount of calories you've burned is not going to help your cause either. I'm not sure what formula they program into those things but they are very generous with the numbers. Underestimating the calories you've burned is the easiest way to stay ahead of your goals; overestimating and then eating the extra calories you think you have burned is not going to produce the results you are looking for.

The number of calories you burn does depends on a lot of factors; how much you weigh, how intense you exercise, how long you sustain the activity. There are almost as many formulas out there for figuring calories burned as there are people. I've always used this formula:

  • 4 calories per minute for light exercise like walking
  • 5 calories per minute for a little higher activity like walking fast uphill, the elliptical, weight lifting
  • 7 calories per minute for what I consider high intensity, which means I'm sweating and panting.

Rarely would I (personally- this is Half Assed Fitness remember) do what I would count 10 calories per minute exercise, if you are a runner, you may hit this mark. 10 calories per minute can only be reached after intense, sustained activity. I've done one or two kickboxing classes and had a few Spinning sessions with a super crazy instructor that got me there but I still didn't count the full 10 per minute for the entire class. It probably took me 10 minutes to get to the point where I was burning that much and then there is always the cool down. For an hour long class then I would probably count about 30 minutes at 10 calories per minute and the remaining time at 5. Like I said, I tend to underestimate but it works out well for weight-loss.

If you want an "official" calculation to use, try this one.

Try the Calorie Counter at



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