WGOM Fitness: Chicken Or The Egg

I had a thought as out I was out huffing through the forest: do you burn more calories when you out of shape because you're heavier so your body has to work harder OR do you burn more when you're in better shape because your body can go faster, do more, etc? I mean, like, in the same amount of time, say 30 minutes of jogging.

Also, weather's getting warmer, the forest paths are drying out, and the side trails are more navigable. Happy not to lug around a pound of mud on my shoes when I go running now. What outdoor activities are everyone looking forward to now that things are starting to thaw out?

15 thoughts on “WGOM Fitness: Chicken Or The Egg”

  1. More muscle means you burn more even when you aren't working out. Not sure if that applies in a 30 min run or not. Interesting question.

  2. I love this question. The physics of weight loss are so interesting to me. Energy is expended when you do work. Work is force times distance. Force is mass times acceleration. More mass, or faster performance, or longer runs all equal more joules (which can be converted to calories!).

    I'm not sure what the "right" answer is here, but I kind of love thinking about it. Also, thinking about where all those calories go... (into the air, mostly?)

    Also, I've not fallen off the bandwagon, but my diet progress has stalled. I'm still about 10 pounds down on the year, but stress has been affecting me in negative ways, and finding time to work out or will power to diet has been tough.

    1. The calories turn into carbon dioxide. Trees gain mass by converting air into wood and we lose mass by converting fat into air.

      1. so, basically, we turn fat into wood. Or rising sea levels.

        Really, it's a race between our salvation and our destruction every time we exercise.

        1. Nice. Every pound lost is both time added to an individual life, and time taken away from humanity in general.

  3. I'm looking forward to riding my bicycle. I've had it out a few times, but just for very short trips. Next week is the last day of youth groups for the summer, so I hope to have more time then.

    1. I got out twice last weekend, although both times were with a kid in tow. That extra weight suuuuucks, but it was a good workout even with a shorter trip. This week is calling for a lot of rain, though, so I'm just hoping I can squeeze a solo ride in. This dad bod of mine needs to become a not a dad bod.

  4. I've been thinking about getting a trailer for my bike in order to take the older two with me. Then I get to look for trails in the area that I can bike on. Unfortunately, I'll have to either drive to them or risk biking on sketchy roads first.

  5. Pretty sure the answer to your question is: "Yes."

    I know the equation probably has a ton of nuance, but I think for the exercise period, it will come down to work performed. How much more did the subject weigh prior, and how much farther can he go now in the same time? I'd also think there are other gains in metabolic efficiency...but does that mean you burn (more) calories easier, or that you need to burn less calories to get the same amount of work done...and I'm guessing those kinds of changes end up pretty marginal.

    We've been sprucing up a house to sell for the last month, so working out seems to have been the first thing to cut. I need to get back on the wagon. I'd like to do some hiking under load to prep for my first BWCA trip in June.

    1. I am on board with this.

      There's definitely a tension between metabolic efficiency that comes from being fit and the higher fuel demands of muscle over fat.

  6. I knocked out my first race* event of the season last Saturday, the Falls Duathlon. In overall results, gender and by age, I wasn't first, but I wasn't last either. More interestingly, to me anyway, was that I bettered my 2011 results by more than 3 minutes. It was a beautiful day for running and not as much wind as is typical for the cycling portion of this race, though a bit chilly on the ride.

    Next up is the Bjorklund Half Marathon in June, followed by the run portion of the LifeTime Tri - Minneapolis in mid-July. I pay to participate because otherwise I don't stick with the training. Though I really do enjoy running, in all honesty, my weight loss goals are mostly vanity at this point. The past three summers, I've seen pictures of myself in the pool with the kiddos and felt embarrassed.

    * SelectShow
  7. I signed up for the Tri Loppet this year. It's 7k kayak, 5k run, 13k mountain bike. I did it four years ago and finished, not very high, but I finished.

    I'm not much of a runner so that's what I need to concentrate on in my training. Link below if anyone is interested.


  8. The same thought occurred to me while swimming the other day. What I do know is that i would routinely aim for 30 minutes of lap swim plus a bit of cool down. At first I was getting to about a 1000 yards in the half hour, now I'm getting around 1200 per 30 ish minutes. I'm certainly stronger, but my endurance is what seems to be making the difference.

  9. I hit a milestone this weekend by walking 10 minutes at 4 MPH pace on the treadmill. Hoping to continue ramping up so that I will be able to handle walking extensively by mid-June when the Mrs and I are planning a driving trip to Vancouver to celebrate our 30th.

    But I have lost a lot of fitness ground. I've put on about 8-9 lbs over my pre-surgery weight and have not been able to dent that weight gain despite being (mostly) back to my pre-surgery exercise routine.

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