Weight Loss NHS
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Does burning calories in the gym help with calorie intake?

This may be a bit of a silly question...

I am using myfitnesspal app on my phone, so I can log my calorie intake each day. It has worked out for me that if I want to be my goal weight in 5 weeks time, i need to consume 1200 calories per day.

I go to the gym every day monday-friday for atleast 1 hour. When I am there I will do 30 minutes of cardio and the rest of the time strength exercises.

If like today for example, I did 30 minutes on the step trainer which said I had 'burnt' 450 calories.

When I input this onto myfitnesspal, it then adds 450 calories to the total calorie intake that I can have today (1200+450 = 1650 calories that can be consumed today) .... Will this actually help me to lose the weight that I want because I am still eating a restricted amount of calories (not the normal recommended 2000), or is it just cancelling out my exercise by replacing it with food?

Sorry for such a confusing post! I just don't want to be stuck in a non-weight-losing cycle!

Thank you


7 Replies

Hi Olive165,

I think you've expressed yourself very clearly in your post, and it's a really good question. If you search in the top right-hand-side box which says 'Search HealthUnlocked' and maybe use the phrase 'eating back calories' then you will see a range of previous posts on this very subject.

I have done just that, and found a typical post that has some really good replies, so might be worth a look:


I am sure people will share their own experiences currently, but it can be really helpful to also consult previous posts for some helpful information.

Hope this helps.

Lowcal :-)

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Thank you very much Lowcal :)

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Hi Olive -sound like quite a boot camp you've got going for yourself.

A lot of people do think that MFP overstates the calorie burn from exercise. People who are trying to lose weight may have relatively slow (I.e below average) metabolism to begin with and the App does not take that into account.

The most workable suggestion and the one I adopted came from RuthCanalrunner: basically - eat a bit more if you have done loads and you're hungry. You'll know from weekly weigh ins if you are getting the balance right.

My own goals are mainly around fitness and endurance gains. I input all exercise to MFP but I edit the calorie burn calculated by MFP to add only 50-100 calories per hour's exercise: I don't beat myself up if I eat that but I'd always prefer not to.

Have fun

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Thank you very much! :)


You're really aiming for a net calorie intake of 1200 calories. If you burn off an extra 400 in exercise, then you can eat up to 400 extra without affecting your weight loss (so yes, your allowance for the day would then be 1650). 1200 calories is quite low, so you don't want to burn off too much extra in exercise without eating a little more to make up for it.

I'm another who thinks MFP can assume too many calories burned in exercise though, so I wouldn't go out and eat 450 calories because it says so. As Gonti suggests, find your balance. I would maybe eat half the MFP suggestion, but a little more if you're finding it's not enough.

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Some people are using myfitnesspal to increase their weight. This is why it adds the value on to the totals for the day. I find if you enter the food you want to eat before adding the extra exercise and stick to the original figures its better for you.

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I use myfitnesspal and enter the amount of exercise I do along with my food intake ...

I don't use it to increase the amount of calories I am allowed though,

I just see it as an added bonus to losing weight and getting fit.

I do however get a little glow when I see how many calories I burnt through exercise!

I think really just depends on how you feel about it.

I noticed you can add light or vigorous housework as part of exercising BUT my doctor told me housework is not considered exercise :-(

( I wonder whom cleans his home ;) )


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