Cranking up the calorie burn

I wasn’t thrilled, when this colder weather hit, to find myself increasingly running on a treadmill rather than my favorite jogging trail. But one of the cool things about hopping on a treadmill these days is that I don’t hesitate to plug in my weight to help monitor my calorie burn. And in the process of doing that, I discovered it’s more fun to play the “calorie burn” game than to wearily watch the time or mileage elapse.

It’s really remarkable to see how many more calories you burn by increasing your speed just a little bit. At 4 mph — a 15-minute mile, which translates to either a fast walk or a really slow jog — I burn 260 calories an hour at my current weight. Increasing my speed just 1 mph to a 12-minute mile, still a fairly slow jog, burns more than twice as many calories: 555 calories an hour.

It’s weird to realize that at my starting weight, I would’ve burned 436 calories an hour at 4 mph and a startling 929 calories at 5 mph (though I wouldn‘t have been able to keep the pace). At a more manageable 3 mph, which was how I began my fitness program around this time last year, I was burning 354 calories per hour, according to my “treadmill experiments.”

Since I started playing the calorie burn game, I keep increasing my speed for short bursts to see how quickly I can burn, say, 300 calories. Now instead of watching the clock, slogging along at 11 or even 12 minutes a mile because I feel sorry for myself running on a treadmill, I spend more of my run at 6 mph or more. At 6.5 mph, my calorie burn tops 700 calories per hour — more than 11 calories for every minute I can keep up that pace.

I’m running faster and having more fun in the process. But I still can’t wait to get back outside.

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4 Responses to Cranking up the calorie burn

  1. Tim Bulva says:

    For most of us metabolically challenged reading this blog, it was a lack of pushing ourselves that has led us to looking for the magic answers in TV, books, magazines, and blogs. 51 weeks and 183 lbs. lighter into my own getting healthy journey, I can say with certainty there are no “magic answers”. To be successful in losing weight and keeping it off we have to challenge ourselves daily as you are doing with your calorie burn game. Competing against others is good, competing against the scale is great, competing with yourself will yield the best results. I incorporate a similar strategy in my workouts. As long as I have exceeded my previous workout in time, length, speed, and/or intensity I have succeeded. By the way, 700 calories / hr on a treadmill is exceptional – Congrats!

    • tischcaylor says:

      Hey Tim, thanks for “weighing in.” I think I’ve got so much more to learn from you than you could possibly learn from me, and I look forward to comparing notes here when you can. Just curious how you feel about telling people how much you’ve lost. That was a real struggle for me for a long time. … BTW, that 700 calories/hr. rate lasts for like 2 minutes, at this point. But I’m working on it!

  2. Tim Bulva says:

    I have mixed emotions about sharing my weight loss totals with others. People I have deep personal relationships with and some people I see on a regular basis, I have shared some information.. I really want to help and inspire (if that is possible) others that have struggled with their own weight issues. On the other hand, I am not completely comfortable with doing this openly. Yet, here I am in a public forum documenting my current weight loss numbers for everyone to see. Are you getting an idea of my level of conflict with this issue? I hope one day soon I can discuss ALL my information with everyone. Not for my own ego boost or gain but for the benefit of others.

    • tischcaylor says:

      I guess if you’re uncomfortable with it, you could use just your first name or a pseudonym. (Though I don’t think that that many people are reading this blog at this point.) But if you’re brave enough to talk about it openly — something I’ve also really struggled with — I think it probably does help. And you’re already inspiring people, whether you realize it or not.

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