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    5 Reasons Why Calories Burned Shouldn’t Influence Your Workout

    Work Out Smarter

    When planning your next workout, don’t waste your time trying to figure out how many Calories you’ll burn. Working out can be intimidating already, and the last thing you want to do is stress yourself out to become Bill Nye in the gym. With a little re-direction and focus on the bigger picture, you can choose workouts that are actually fun and enjoyable, rather than chasing a number, AND STILL GET MORE RESULTS. Here’s why:

    Mike Clancy Training / Via

    1. The Machine Doesn’t Know You

    Life Fitness

    Exercise machines and equipment perform basic calculations based upon your age and weight to determine how much energy it predicts you should be expending during your workout. The problem? It doesn't account for your body.

    The variables that contribute to your caloric expenditure include your current fitness level, the amount of stored glucose (yes, those carbs) in your liver, and the intensity of the machine relative to your capabilities. Since none of these variables can be measured from any basic exercise equipment, the output reading is pretty much unreliable. At best, it's a guess. FAIL.

    Instead of majoring in the minor - worrying about the number of calories the machine burns - try challenging yourself to outperform your previous workout's summary (intensity, speed, grade, etc.).

    2. Calories Are Already Burning

    Calories, the common unit of energy in the health world, are given the highest precedence when determining the effectiveness of a workout. Calories burned contribute to your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure), which is the overall amount of calories you burn in a 24-hour period. Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) has the largest influence on the amount you burn, yet much of your BMR is pre-determined. Your BMR is yielded by your height, weight, age, body fat, and is the minimum amount of calories you burn just to be alive.

    You're already burning Calories, baby!! Let's drop the calculator for God's sake and focus on the effort, rather than the number.

    3. Focus On Your Hormones

    The real influencers on fat-loss and muscle synthesis comes from the coveted anabolic hormones Testosterone, Growth Hormone, and IGF-1. As testosterone increases, estrogen decreases. As growth hormone elevates, cortisol is suppressed. As Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 rises, catabolism is reduced. It's a beautiful thing - just ask the Russian Olympic Team.

    These hormones are naturally occurring within your body, but the overall amount varies from person-to-person.

    Your workout should be designed to increase anabolism, which contributes in the reduction of body fat and the preservation of lean muscle.

    Workouts that follow High Intensity Interval Training methods, such as CrossFit, Boxing, and Treadmill Pushes, and Time Under Tension methods, such as Weight Training and Calisthenics, are extremely effective for the anabolic effect.

    4. And Your Metabolism Afterwards

    Mark Herreid / Getty Images

    Every living person burns calories at every single second of every single day, but the overall number is the important factor.

    With exercise, the idea is to boost your metabolism not just during, but also after you workout.

    The average SoulCycle class burns around 500-700 calories. Sounds like a lot, right? Compare that against a series of sprints, burns around 250 calories during the activity. The SoulCycle workout seems to be more effective, except that if the intensity is relatively manageable for the exerciser (meaning they did not struggle much during the workout), their metabolism will return back to its maintenance level fairly quickly. On the other hand, the exercise performing the sprints will have their metabolism significantly elevated for hours after their workout, so their overall burn rate will be much higher.

    Sorry, SoulPyschos, you're faking the funk.

    5. Remember, Food & Exercise Are Not Meant To Be Numbers

    Mike Clancy Training / Via

    Food is more than fuel, and much more than a number. Food is a personal connection and expression. The same goes for exercise. Workouts shouldn't be classified and ranked solely based upon the amount of energy you'll typically spend performing it. When choosing your workout, connect it to something more meaningful than a number. Numbers don't yield confidence or encourage continuation.

    Find the right workout, exercise, activity, or movement that allows you to focus on bettering yourself, rather than living in an ongoing mathematical equation. Count your likes on IG, not your Calories on the elliptical.

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