I played with some numbers to see how many calories I can realistically burn in one hour of exercise versus how much “damage” I can do in one hour of eating. These are real life examples of what I’ve done.
Player 1: Exercise
One of my favorite pieces of equipment for doing “cardio” exercise is the upper-lower body cross trainer.
Realistically, I do a combination of things, but I’ll use this for our example. I go by the “calories per hour” display reading to see what pace I’m going at. I’m sure the amount is grossly overestimated but I use it anyway. The thing people don’t realize is the reason it asks for your weight at the beginning is to estimate your BMR (basal metabolic rate). Your BMR is the amount of calories you’d burn at rest anyway if you weren’t exercising. So the reading you get on-screen is not calories on top of your BMR, it’s calories total. Something to keep in mind.
I’m about 6 foot tall (with shoes), 150 pounds, and pretty well-trained. Going at a vigorous pace (enough to make me feel slightly uncomfortable the whole time) I can burn about 900 calories in one hour on this machine. This is also assuming I use the upper body segment the whole time. I usually get bored after 20 minutes; so 1 hour is pushing it for me.
Result: Exercise = 900 calories burned/hour
Player 2: Eating
This was not a whole day of eating; but ON TOP of my daily intake. It was realistically done within one hour (the only things slowing it down were travel time, waiting, and paying). No names are hidden to protect anybody. This was a true life protocol.
1 Len & Larry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie = 280 calories
1 Kookie Karma Holistic Chocolate Chip = 180 calories
1/2 pound Jimbo’s Mac & Cheese = 375 calories
Cold Stone “Love it” Sinless Sans Fat Sweet Cream (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups + M&M’s mix-ins) = 580 calories
Burger King Small Fries = 220 calories
Burker King Jr. Whopper = 370 calories
Fresh & Easy Mac & Cheese (3 servings) = 750 calories
Fresh & Easy Dark Chocolate Pudding = 140 calories
Fresh & Easy Sweet Green Iced Tea = 20 calories
1 cup OJ = 70 calories
Result: Eating = close to 3000 calories consumed/hour
I can eat over 3 times the amount of calories than I can ever expend in one hour. This was not painful to do, either; I enjoy food a lot :). What it shows you is how food is an efficient fuel source, especially the calorie-dense sources available.
You cannot out-exercise a bad diet. And if you’re trying to lose weight solely through exercise without controlling your caloric intake, you will be royally frustrated.