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Katrina Hodgson, NASM CPT, BS Health Science, has helped thousands reach their goals by designing fitness programs with her workout videos and her website ToneItUp.com. As one of Diet.com’s featured personal trainers she hopes to share her passion for fitness and continue to make a positive impact for the Diet.com community.

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Fitness Expert Katrina
by Katrina Hodgson, Diet.com Fitness Expert

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Should we add the calories we burn during cardio to our intake for the day? For instance, I eat 1300-1400 calories a day. If I burn approximately 400 calories during a cardio session jogging, should I eat 400 more calories that day?

I get this question all the time, and I thought it was a great one because there is a lot that goes into it! It's complicated... but I will do my best!

I understand why people will want to do this. If their main tool to lose weight is DIET, they may reward themselves the calories back after a workout. Exercising has so many benefits other than burning calories. So if someone is eating as little as 1200-1300 calories a day, then they probably are only dieting. The great thing about working out is that you can eat 1600-1800 calories, burn more than 500 calories in a workout and lose weight more quickly without feeling like you are starving yourself. The combination is best. So if you are taking in 1600-1800 calories a day and plan workouts you may be able to lose weight faster… and keep it off.

What I suggest from a "psychological" standpoint - I wouldn’t reward yourself with food. Eat to fuel yourself and workout to get all the benefits for your health. After maybe 10 workouts, reward yourself with a few new songs from iTunes for your workouts, or after a month with some new shorts, and after 4 months a new pair of sneakers. I like to take a day to myself or get a massage or just watch a movie with a friend. This way food does not become such an obsession. We all struggle with that, I think.

I would also calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate).

It is important for you to be aware of your BMR so that you know what your body needs for calories at rest. This way you know what you need for your calorie intake and what to deduct from your diet to lose weight. If you were to stay in bed all day, your basal metabolic rate is the energy that your body needs to maintain itself. To measure this you can use the formula below.

*Details to remember before using the formula is that BMR decreases with age, so make sure to recalculate this ...    Continue

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