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Equations for calculating calories burned through exercise


Firstly i would like to apologise for the length of this post, and thank anybody who will take the time to read it!

My name is Tom Ruddock, and i am a final year Computer Science student at the University of the West of England, Bristol. For my final year project i am currently attempting to create a computer program which can be used to create a gym training schedule for gym members.

I am having some trouble finding any information regarding how to calculate the amount of calories burned during a certain exercise for a specific person. There are many programs which do exactly what i would like my program to do, which is simply to take a persons age and weight, and for many different gym exercises create the amount of calories they would burn doing that excercise, given the time spent exercising at whatever level of resistance the machine is set to. I am yet to find any information regarding the equations programs like these would use in order to calculate this.

I realy have become stuck with this so any help anybody could give me with this would be greatly appreciated. If anyone knows of these equations or where i could find them that would be fantastic. Failing that, if anyone could point me in the direction of other information or resources i could use to find this information, that would be just as helpful.

Thanks in advance for anybodys help.

Wed. Feb 28, 11:33am

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Go to google and type "how many calories do I need?"

There are all sorts of websites that include what you will burn with witch activity. Some take into consideration your weight and height.

good luck!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007, 1:01 PM

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Since you have obviously found all of the activity-calorie calculators, I'd suggest looking into (a) the concept of METS and (b) the heartrate as an indicator of exertion. Sorry I can't be more helpful, but I've never had much success in finding out for my own knowledge what factors other than weight are involved in those calculations.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007, 1:23 PM

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I found this:

How Did You Calculate Calories Burned by Exercise?
As you can see from the form above, the formula for calculating calories burned during exercise takes into account several factors:

* the type of exercise performed
* the total duration you performed the exercise in question
* your body weight

In addition, the formula takes into account the so-called METs (metabolic equivalents), which are an expression of how intense each type of exercise is.

If you are curious, the actual formula looks like this:

Calories burned by exercise = ((METs * 3.5 * weight in kg) / 200) * duration in minutes.

One MET equals 3.5 milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute -- which is what our bodies require at rest. The more effort an activity requires, the higher its MET value. (Walking briskly at, say 3.5 miles per hour, burns 3.8 METs per minute.) That value is the same for most of us, regardless of fitness level.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007, 2:40 PM

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...sorry, I see that you were looking for the formula used, not just the websites!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007, 7:29 PM

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Thank you so much for your help. By looking at the DrGily website i was able to find nearly all to find so e very helpful information, and this also lead me to further information, which may be exactly what i need. Thanks again for everyones help, METs was definately the way forward for me.

Saturday, March 03, 2007, 11:35 PM

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...sorry that was supposed to read: "i was able to find some very helpful information"

Saturday, March 03, 2007, 11:37 PM

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ok, sorry, my final post on this matter. Just in case anybody was also interested in this, i was able to find this very helpful information, which can ne used to estimate the amount of calories a person will burn during a massive number of activities. This calculation is done using METs, which i was aware of before, but was unable to find any information detailng MET values for specific activities. However, the University of South Carolina's Compendium of Physical Activities details an enormous amount of these, which was incredibly helpful for me. Than ks to another PeerTrainer user i was able to fond this:

How Do You Calculate Calories Burned by Activity?
There are various resources on the web providing information regarding how many calories are burned by physical activity. While some are better than others, none is as comprehensive as the University of South Carolina's Compendium of Physical Activities. Besides being the most comprehensive, with over 600 types of physical activity included, we found it to be the most accurate, as it used the metabolic equivalents (MET) to assign intensity units to each activity.

Based on the MET value of the activity and the length of time you spent performing it, we calculated the number of calories you burned. Note that we also took into account your weight, as it impacts on the energy expended, too (those of us who are heavier burn more calories than those who are slimmer with the same type of activity).

The actual formula looks like this:

Calories burned by exercise = ((METs * 3.5 * weight in kg) / 200) * duration in minutes.

If you have any suggestions for future improvements or additions to this free exercise calorie counter, please email them to me at

Dr Gily

Saturday, March 03, 2007, 11:47 PM

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Does MET calculation differ for Men Vs Women?

Calories burned by exercise = ((METs * 3.5 * weight in kg) / 200) * duration in minutes.

How does the above equation differ for sex, race etc?

How does the aobve equation differ from BMR equation? Which one these is the best equation for calculating the calories burnt for different activities? Thank you.


Sunday, June 29, 2008, 10:32 PM

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I don't think you'll have much luck finding the answers in this forum, but...

There are two gadgets out there that very accurately measure calories burned: Sensewear and BodyBugg (same gadget really - Sensewear is the FDA approved version...same company and technology though). If I were you, I would try to find out what equations and algorithms they use.

Monday, June 30, 2008, 11:45 AM

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Help with calories burned

Finding your tdee is a great first step. Im also a computer science major : ), I created to help with this very issue!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 11:55 PM

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I used the WebMD Fit-O-Meter for my calculus assignment at college. I'm a third year student at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. I can also share a table of established Metabolic Equivalents with the pdf materials used for my research paper.

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