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February 10th, 2008

I met Joe today for my workout, and after discussing the subject of the formula to calculate calories burned on the elliptical machine with him, I was more curious than ever about it. As it turns out, of course, it's a little involved, which is probably why most people don't know it, and it's hard to find information about it even on the Web.

I've investigated enough about it now, to be satisfied that my reasoning, at least, to want to include height and potentially even age in the formula, is satisfied by the METS and WATTS elements, which, from all that I've read are making some "average assumptions" in the formulas.



So, the formula is: Calories burned by exercise = ((METs * 3.5 * weight in kg) / 200) * duration in minutes.

METs: Unit of energy expenditure used for exercise prescriptions, defined as the current energy expenditure rate divided by the basal metabolic rate (BMR). In the case of METs, BMR is defined as a VO2 of 3.5, meaning it varies directly with body weight. This is incorrect, as BMR varies with the 2/3-root of body weight. See T-MET.

Or put in laymen's terms: One MET is defined as the energy it takes to sit quietly. For the average adult, this is about one calorie per every 2.2 pounds of body weight per hour someone who weighs 160 pounds would burn approximately 70 calories an hour while sitting or sleeping. Moderate intensity activities are those that get you moving fast enough or strenuously enough to burn off three to six times as much energy per minute as you do when you are sitting quietly, or exercises that clock in at 3-6 METs.

T-MET: A replacement for METs that properly takes body weight into account. A T-MET = watts / kg 2/3 , where watts is power applied to an external machine by the exerciser, and kg is the exerciser's body weight in kilograms.

Watts: The International System unit of power measurement, defined as Joules per second. One watt is roughly equal to 4.2 calories per hour. Watts are commonly used to report workload on exercise bikes, less so on ellipticals, and virtually never on treadmills.



So, now I at least have an idea of what the other (METS and WATTS) indicators mean that show up on this model of elliptical machine I'm using. In all the reading I did in order to summarize the above, I found this the most interesting: "A healthy 50-year-old man should have a capacity of at least 9.2 METs." I'll be curious to note my METS at tomorrow's workout.

Today's workout statistics:
Machine
Type
Minute
Duration
Calories
Burned

Elliptical

60

1033




I attended E-Ching and David's most delightful Chinese New Year Party this afternoon. Excellent, excellent food, and a most diverse group of people—my kind of gathering. There were even other people there who were like me.

I was looking forward to seeing a couple of the other Tech Comm folks there, but none made an appearance during the approximate three hours I was there.

Oh, kudos to E-Ching and David for the cool, calm, and collective response to their power going out for about an hour at probably the height (in terms of the number of people there) of their party. 

FWIW: Though it's The Year of the Rat, personally, I was born in the Year of the CockApropos, I know.



I stopped by Flex for about 30 minutes after leaving E-Ching and David's, where I had an interesting conversation with Robert Fox, "Military Mary," and "the two Alans."

One of the Alan's had worked in one of those "secret shopper" jobs, which I've always been intrigued with, so it was cool to be able to ask him some questions about his experience.



At home, I took a two-hour-or-so nap and later met Kevin (av8rdude) and Kurt at Legends for the 12:30 show.

This was the first time I've seen their new "drag lounge," and I'm ambivalent about it.

What I didn't like about it was that it's too intimate for my taste (read: the drag queens come down off the stage and mingle in the crowd as they perform, which I don't like), but what I absolutely loved about it was that there is no smoking in that lounge.

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