My favorite tool for tracking how much of that cheesecake you actually used up during your workout
Most people cringe at the thought of calorie counting (including myself). I am not a calorie counter and I do not encourage it, however after 12 years as a personal trainer I have observed that most people are really clueless about the relationship between the energy they consume and the energy they expend. Yes, we all know to eat less and move more but that is the depth of most people’s understanding and we have no sense of a measurable relationship between the two.
One of the most powerful ways I have found to help my clients relate their workouts and daily physical activity levels to how much they eat is using a Polar Heart Rate monitor that tracks calories. The HRM has a feature that tracks energy expenditure (calories) based on your weight and activity intensity (heart rate). Each workout or bout of activity can be recorded in a journal right on the sports watch.
The effects are very powerful
My clients report becoming more label savvy since they have a better understanding of exactly how hard or long they have to be active to burn off that chocolate chip cookie in their hand.
People feel they are more investigative and contemplative when making food choices.For example they will make a conscious effort to seek out lower calorie snacks instead of taking whatever is most convenient, especially if it means saving 1, 2 or 300 calories.
My Clients report better portion control and have an easier time saying no to seconds. They recognize that those extra scoops or spoonfuls really add up at the end of the day and they can link those few calories exactly to what they have to do during their workouts.
They also report greater control over their calorie consumption on “off days” where they are not able to fit in their physical activity. They can put a number to the amount of energy they are NOT using up and are better informed to adjust portions and overall food accordingly.
Do you use a Polar Heart Rate monitor to track calories?
Has this been successful for you?
Do you use a different device to track calorie expenditure?
Do you know how much physical activity it takes to burn off your favorite treat?