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The fallacy of calories: Winter running vs. the gym

2009 winter run in Wausau, WI
I had to face myself this morning.  It was time to get out of the warm cocoon-like confines of the rec center and man up (or for female master competitors, woman up) and head outdoors for a run.

The winter storms had offered a reprieve and it was sunny and 27.  A light layer of winter running apparel was enough.  I ran the plowed greenway sections and then incorporated an around town loop to make up for the woods trails I can't get to.  Ninety minutes later, mission accomplished.

Simple math told me I had to get outdoors.  MyPlate.com does a wonderful job of calculating calories burned via exercise; 90 minutes at a 10 minute pace delivers a whopping 1525 calories.  Add that to my daily 30 minute walk across campus and back and I'm burning 1754 calories.

Now, let's contrast that with a gym workout.  I can sum up elliptical, rowing, stationary bike and/or treadmill and barely crack 1000 calories.  Let's put that as a 500 calorie deficit per day x 7 = 3500 calories.  So, converting to indoor workouts (diet remaining the same) puts a fatty fat fat pound of blubber on me each week.

Grabbed a Men's Health magazine while traveling a couple of weeks ago.  Noted an article from a physician who stated that a person's optimum weight is whatever one weighed when a freshman in high school.  That got the old brain churning...should master man set that mark as a goal for 2011?  My number is 153 pounds.  It would take a huge piece of mind power and a change in body set point to make that journey.

So how close are you to your high school weight?  Any chance we should make a pact and go for it?

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