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Thread: Calorie calculator for hiking

  1. #1
    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    Calorie calculator for hiking

    https://www.outsideonline.com/239493...mn5byjr4QV08fQ

    The Army just came up with a new calorie calculator for hiking.

    You need your weight (add in the weight of your backpack!), the distance in feet (5,280 feet per mile), the elevation gain in feet, the time moving, and average speed.

    The calculator wants average grade. That is elevation gain (in feet) over distance (in feet).

    Okay, it takes a piece of paper and a calculator before you can enter the data, but whatever.

    I just did a Pemi Loop. From Lincoln Woods to Garfield, Strava had me at 17.35 miles (91,608 feet) with 5,325 feet elevation gain, and an average speed of two miles an hour.

    5,325 / 91,608 = 5.8% grade

    The website had me burning roughly 398 calories per hour.

    It took me 10.75 moving hours.

    398 * 10.74 = 4,279 calories for the hike.

    Add another 1,250 for the rest of the day (which I suspect is way too low), and we get roughly 5,500 calories for the day.

    Whatever. But the bigger point is that it really sends home the importance of every every hour while on the trail in order to keep some fuel constantly in the furnace, and the traditional three meals a day model simply is not going to cut it.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Interesting.

    There are some simpler (and probably less accurate) estimators in the 3rd edition of Freedom of the Hills (1974).

    It would be more accurate to break the hike into uniform-condition segments and add the expenditures of the segments rather than just looking the endpoints of large segments. But also a lot more effort...

    Doug

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    Interesting.

    There are some simpler (and probably less accurate) estimators in the 3rd edition of Freedom of the Hills (1974).

    It would be more accurate to break the hike into uniform-condition segments and add the expenditures of the segments rather than just looking the endpoints of large segments. But also a lot more effort...

    Doug
    I would think without an individual's baseline metabolic data being established before plugging into this formula end results would be skewed.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    I would think without an individual's baseline metabolic data being established before plugging into this formula end results would be skewed.
    Hummm. Not sure how that would effect the calculation.

    I assume this formula is designed to provide some guidelines on nutrition requirements over the course of a physical activity: chasing bad guys, hiking the Pemi, etc.

    As such only the work done needs to be taken into account, right? Given that the distance, elevation gain/loss, time, and weight moved are enough to calculate the work accomplished. Then a conversion for work units (Ergs, Joules?) to calories can be made.

    I think that means an out-of-shape n overweight guy like me will expend the same calories as svelte and fit Skiguy if we do the same hike in the same amount of time (and he carries a heavier pack to match my weight)!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    I assume this formula is designed to provide some guidelines on nutrition requirements over the course of a physical activity: chasing bad guys, hiking the Pemi, etc.
    Because the body stores calories in the form of glycogen and fat, the formula does not accurately calculate the calories that must be consumed during the activity. I usually eat little while hiking and make up for the deficit afterwards. If I run low on energy during a hike, I'll sing a song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5tK-_yxLms

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    Did you have an exercise watch and how did this compare.

    The only thing I am certain of is that formulas, calories in food (corn is a good example), calories indicated by exercise equipment are not very accurate. I have kept five years of diet data on a phone app, and , for me, there is objective evidence that 1000 calories of protein do not provide the same energy and do not affect body weight the same way as 1000 calories of carbs or fat. Or 1000 calories of carbs with alot water does not have the same effect on the body as 1000 calories with minimal water.

    Perhaps the day will come when non-intrusive measurements of blood sugar and CO2 levels can be displayed on the wrist for those who want to improve their hiking efficiency.

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    Won't temperature affect results? And your initial condition, how much you exerted yourself prior to the hike?

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    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Remix View Post

    The only thing I am certain of is that formulas, calories in food (corn is a good example), calories indicated by exercise equipment are not very accurate. I have kept five years of diet data on a phone app, and , for me, there is objective evidence that 1000 calories of protein do not provide the same energy and do not affect body weight the same way as 1000 calories of carbs or fat. Or 1000 calories of carbs with alot water does not have the same effect on the body as 1000 calories with minimal water.
    This formula is for calories burned while moving. That is a different thing from calories that go in the mouth, or the calories that go in the mouth that are consumed by the body.

    While a bit off topic, Outside Magazine's podcast just did a nice job of explaining the difference between burning cabs and burning protein while exercising intensely. It's worth a listen if one is interested in the subject.
    https://www.outsideonline.com/2394960/keto-conundrum

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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Before he left us, Paradox had some gizmo that calculated calories burned based on weight and heart rate.

    I think heart rate would be important. If I was out of shape, and you were not, you would burn fewer calories than I would.
    Tom Rankin
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