Wednesday 11 September 2013


On a normal week, I burn quite a few calories through exercise.  I won't profess to be an expert and I'm sure this isn't an exact science, but I plug my age, height, weight and gender into the gadgets I use to track my running and this is the rate of calorie burn that they tell me.

Until this week, a typical week for me might go something like this:

Monday: Running 4.45 miles, 629 calories
Tuesday: rest & injection
Wednesday: Running 3.29 miles, 471 calories
Thursday: Swimming 50 lengths (0.75 miles), 195 calories
Friday: rest & beer
Saturday: Running 4.00 miles, 579 calories
Swimming: Swimming 50 lengths (0.75 miles), 192 calories

(since the problems with my knee over the summer, I've also reduced my running mileage somewhat from the 20-ish miles per week I was managing before, with the addition of a long sunday run).

That totals 2,066 calories.  I also do two or three short sessions in the gym doing some leg exercises, which probably burns off a few more.  Apparently the average man needs about 2,500 calories per day to maintain his weight, so I'm basically doing enough exercise to eat another day's worth of food every week (not to mention that there's also apparently a "halo effect" after exercise where you continue to burn calories at an elevated rate for another couple of hours).

This energy burn is one of the reasons why I basically eat what I want and I'm still relatively thin.

I've started cycling to work last week, and for the last five working days I've commuted on my bike instead of hopping in the car.  It feels pretty good, to be honest.  I've been getting to work for 06:30 this week (for various reasons), and after the shock of the alarm, it's actually been really nice getting on my bike and riding to work just as it starts to get light.  The route is a shade under four miles and takes me about twenty minutes, which is not much slower than using the car.  It's also an awful lot easier cycling to the gym along the canal than it is driving there through the centre of town in rush hour.

I am, of course, burning more calories.  I haven't been swimming this week because of my new tattoo, but here's what's happened since last Thursday when I started cycling to the office:

cycle home -> work.  4.24 miles, 238 calories
cycle work -> gym. 3.79 miles, 232 calories
swimming. 50 lengths (0.75 miles), 314 calories
cycle gym -> home.  1.96 miles, 109 calories
cycle home -> work.  3.67 miles, 189 calories
cycle work -> home (via the barber): 4.84 miles, 267 calories
Saturday: tattoo
cycle ride.  28.01 miles, 1,603 calories
cycle home -> work. 3.96 miles, 230 calories
cycle work -> gym. 3.76 miles, 233 calories
running club. 4.39 miles, 626 calories
cycle gym -> home. 2.22 miles, 120 calories
cycle home -> work. 3.94 miles, 204 calories
cycle work -> home (via osteopath). 5.80 miles, 326 calories
cycle home -> work. 3.93 miles, 201 calories
lunchtime run. 3.32 miles, 488 calories
cycle work -> home. 4.01 miles, 233 calories.

Even without the big cycle on Sunday, that adds up to 4,903 calories: two days' worth of food .  With Sunday's ride that total is 6,506.  It looks like adding cycling to my daily routine will double the amount of calories I burn through exercise.  I didn't go for my usual run on Saturday either.


I take this data with a pinch of salt, of course.  But even so....I think I might need to start eating more.

In possibly related news, I'm buying a pair of padded cycling shorts.

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