You can plug in your running or walking speed, the incline you are walking or running on, your bodyweight, and the amount of time you plan to perform the activity, and it will tell you exactly how many calories you will burn (both net and gross), the metabolic equivalent (MET) and Oxygen requirement ( VO 2).
The interesting stat the tool provides is the net-not gross-calorie expenditure of walking and running. If you've ever been on a treadmill and looked at the "calories" icon on the display board which tells you how many calories you are burning, the equipment is providing GROSS calories burned...you did not REALLY burn the amount of energy displayed. It factors in resting metabolism. People forget they burn calories just sitting around to sustain life and facilitate metabolic processes.
I played around and entered information into the calculator which represents a "typical workout" one in the general population may perform, and is actually what the American College of Sports Medicine and the federal government recommend all of us shoot for each day.
Walking speed: 3.5 mph (brisk walk) Incline: flat surface Weight: standard 150 lb. person Time: 30 minutes
Check out the NET energy expenditure after 30:00...113 whopping calories! If you performed this amount of activity, at this intensity, 7 days weekly, you'd end up expending a little less than 800 calories-less than 1/4 of a pound! It is no wonder why people give up on exercise programs, and then miss out on the metabolic benefits: their perspective is that exercise is a weight loss method...if I had this perspective, I wouldn't exercise either.
What is the take home message from the calculations above? If you relying on an "exercise only" method to lose body fat/weight, you have not only "missed the boat" but have also fallen off the dock and are now drowning :) I can eat 113 calories...about 10 almonds...in 60 seconds. I have to walk briskly for 30 minutes to burn it back off!
GET YOUR NUTRITION IN LINE IF YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT AND FAT! Use exercise as a way to get stronger and function better, but don't rely on it for body re-composition. When it comes to moderately intense exercise and its contribution to cosmetic improvements in the body, it basically allows you a little more leeway with what you are eating...but that's about it, unfortunately.
Need a jump start getting your nutrition in line? Check out The Gourmet Nutrition E-Book HERE!