Tag Archives: energy

Have we MET?

What is a MET and why does it matter?

MET (Metabolic Equivalent):  The amount of oxygen the body consumes per minute to create the energy needed to support body mass and activity. The higher the MET level, the greater the need for energy and oxygen. Therefore, the higher the MET level, the more calories you are burning during the activity.

Your body consumes calories for fuel as you move around every day. You can probably figure out that you are burning more calories on your elliptical than while sitting on the couch, watching one episode of “Once Upon a Time” after another. But it cuts a finer line than that. There is a difference between sitting and simply standing.

Above is a picture of my workspace. Hey – that’s this article right there on the screen. Notice the peculiar lack of a chair? My keyboard is on top of the printer, and the monitor up on the shelf at eye level. I stand while I work.

Does that make a difference?

The formula to find out how many calories are burned during an activity is: 1 MET at rest = 3.5 ml Oxygen per kilogram of weight per minute. Sitting and working is about 1.5 METs.* Standing and working ranges between 2.0 and 2.5 METs.* Your body burns about 5 Calories per liter of oxygen consumed.

We’re not going to make you do the math. We have figured it out for a person of about 150 pounds:

Sitting and working, a 150 lb. (68kg) person will burn about 107 Calories in one hour.

Standing and working, a 150 lb. (68kg) person will burn between 143 and 179 Calories in one hour.

The difference between sitting and standing ranges between 36 and 72 Calories burned in one hour.

It would appear to make a difference! And those Calories burned will increase the longer you stand up!

What activities could you change from sitting to standing? 

*figures for average MET consumption from Harvard School of Public Health

All Calories Are Equal, but Some Are More Equal Than Others

I keep saying that all calories are the same as far as your body’s energy needs and storage capacity are concerned. Your body either burns them as fuel or saves them for later. That’s it.

But we know some food choices are better than others, and that’s where calorie budgeting comes into play.

300 calories in a candy bar are 300 calories.

300 calories in a piece of chicken breast, brown rice, and broccoli are 300 calories.

As far as the energy value – they are identical. If you exceed your recommended caloric intake of that healthy meal by eating it twelve times in one day, those calories will be stored like any other calories.

But I think the difference should be obvious. What is your body going to do with everything that came along with those calories?

Well, it’s going to use the complex carbs for energy. It’s going to use the protein to increase your lean muscle mass. It’s going to provide you with fiber to keep your digestive system rolling along.

There’s not a lot of that going on in the candy bar.

Conclusion – calories are all equal. But the food choices we make to obtain those calories are NOT.

What exactly is your recommended caloric allowance? That depends on many factors: your age, your activity level, your lean body mass, your gender. To find out mine, I asked the man with the plans.  Get your plan and get started today!

A Tale of Two Calories

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There rides a calorie, on a white horse. He stands for all that is good and right in the world. He came from a blueberry, and he is proud. He is a GOOD calorie.

There slinks a calorie through the shadows. He is menacing and grim. He came into town in a peanut butter cup, and he aims to wreck the place. He is a BAD calorie.

Are you on the edge of your seat?

At the end of the movie, our hero and villain make a surprising and heart-warming discovery: they are both exactly the same.

The issue with your calories isn’t where they came from. It’s how many of them you are consuming. As far as the calorie’s role as an energy unit goes, your body has no clue whether those extra calories came from a doughnut or a celery stalk. All it knows is that there are too many of them, and now your body is looking for storage space.

If you take in excessive calories all at once, there is only ONE place in your body they can go: your fat cells. Your muscle cells will turn excess sugar away – they don’t need it. But your fat cells are in essence teeny warehouses for storage of energy, and they will happily take in that extra sugar at any time.

When you eat calories, they have to GO somewhere – they can’t disappear. They will be:

  1. Used
  2. Stored
  3. That’s it. There is no third option.

How do you determine what your daily caloric intake should be? Your best bet is to enlist the help of a personal trainer with years of experience doing just that.

Get started today!