Why Track Your Client’s Caloric Expenditure

June 28, 2016

How many of us have overheard a fellow trainer trying to motivate a client by saying, “Just 10 more minutes of cardio so that you can earn your dessert tonight”? While each trainer needs to work individually with each client to learn their motivational preferences, we want to make sure that our statements are accurate and promoting a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. How do we accurately determine the caloric expenditure of our client’s workouts and make expenditure recommendations for them based on their goals?

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It is helpful to know the caloric expenditure of your client’s workouts so that you can have a better idea of their energy balance. Energy balance (roughly explained) is the relationship between calories in (via food and beverage) versus calories out (via daily metabolic processes and purposeful activity). Your client is in a positive energy balance when they are consuming more calories than they are expending. Conversely, they are in a negative energy balance when they are expending more calories than they are consuming. Finally, they are in a neutral energy balance when they are expending and consuming the same number of calories.  

You need to know your client’s resting metabolic rate (RMR) in order to know how many additional calories they would need to burn through purposeful activity to obtain the appropriate energy balance to match their goals. In theory, if their goal is to lose weight, you would want to direct them to be in a negative energy balance (expending more calories than consuming). If their goal is to maintain weight, you would want to direct them to expend the same number of calories they were consuming.

Although the energy balance equation is not a perfect equation in determining weight loss, weight management, or fitness levels (there are many other factors involved – like sleep and stress), it is a helpful guidepost as you plan your client’s fitness routine and make nutrition recommendations.

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As you are making caloric expenditure recommendations for your clients, keep the following guidelines in mind:

For general health: The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommend a minimum caloric expenditure of 1,000 calories per week.

For promoting and sustaining weight loss:  A caloric expenditure of greater than 2,000 calories per week may be necessary.

For greater health and fitness benefits:  A larger caloric expenditure (between 2,000 – 3,500 calories per week) is beneficial for most adults. Research indicates that the risk of overtraining and injury rise when expending greater than 3,500 calories per week. You can work with your client to find the right expenditure based on their goals.

You can assist your client in tracking their caloric expenditure using the MYZONE App. Both you and your client can view their caloric expenditures via the Activity Report. Take an average weekly caloric expenditure for your client for the duration of a month to monitor your client’s rhythms and discuss their progress toward their goals.  

You can also monitor your client’s caloric intake to assist them in obtaining the right energy balance. Encourage your client to take photos of their caloric intake (meals and snacks) using the MYZONE App. They can then enter their food into a nutrition app to get an idea of their caloric intake. You can then have a discussion with your client around fueling pre and post workout based on their goals. Encourage your client to view food as fuel rather than food as a reward for exercise. The former will promote a healthier relationship with food and exercise and increase adherence to a healthy lifestyle.
Monitor your client’s caloric expenditure using the MYZONE system! Giving them this feedback along with their MEPs and average % of maximal heart rate will make your sessions more meaningful and valuable to them. Encourage your clients to post their workout effort progress to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtags: #myzonemoves #effortrewarded and #foodisfuel. Keep moving forward!

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