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Status:Closed    Asked:Jun 19, 2013 - 10:27 AM

What is the formula for calculating energy expenditure?

Just looking for the formula to calculate energy expenditure in adults please.

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I prefer using a simple equation published by the American Heart Association and cited in ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal (1). This formula is for calculating estimated caloric expenditure using METS:

[(MET value) x 3.5 x (weight in kg)]/200 = calories burned per minute.

The Compendium of Physical Activities provides MET values for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities as well as activities of daily living. (2) Table 11-6 in the ACE Personal Trainer Manual, 4th edition, also lists MET values for common light, moderate, and vigorous activities.

Let’s walk through an example for a 150 lb. (68 kg) woman who runs for 30 minutes at a 6 mph pace (10 METs).

[(10 mets) x 3.5 x (68 kg)]/200 = 2380/200 = 11.9 calories burned per minute

11.9 calories/min x 30 min = 357 calories burned per 30 minute run.

This equation is not gender-specific. Keep in mind that many factors affect the number of calories burned by an individual in any given workout; thus, calculating energy expenditure offers an estimate of calories burned.

The ACE Personal Trainer Manual offers an alternate equation to use when VO2 is known:

Caloric expenditure = [VO2(ml/kg/min) x body weight (kg)/1000] x 5 kcal/L/min
For formulas specific to walking, running, stepping, leg cycling, and arm cycling, check out Table 7.3 in ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 9th edition.

For a fast and easy way to determine calories burned, use the ACE Physical Activity Calorie Counter.

1. Humphrey R, The Exercise Caloric Challenge, Clinical Applications, ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, March/April 2006, Vol. 10, No. 2 pp.40-41
2. Ainsworth B, Haskell WL, White MC, et al. Compendium of physical activities: an update of activity codes and MET intensities. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000;32(suppl):S498-S504



Jun 19, 2013 - 10:29 AM

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What is the formula for calculating energy expenditure?
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