How MyNetDiary gives you the best estimate of exercise calorie-burning through METs (Metabolic Equivalents)

  • 2 Minutes Read
Brenda Braslow
Brenda Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

If you're curious about how exercise and physical activity calories are estimated, learn how MyNetDiary uses metabolic equivalent (MET) formulas. Plus, get tips for accurate tracking and maximizing your calorie burning.

Metabolic equivalent MET

What is a metabolic equivalent (MET)?

MyNetDiary’s built-in exercise calculator relies on the best science available to help you estimate calories burned during exercise. Developed at Stanford University, the Adult Compendium of Physical Activities is a standardized way to assign intensity units to physical activity. More specifically, the units featured in the compendium are metabolic equivalents or METs.

MET is the energy ratio expended with a particular activity compared to the resting metabolic rate. One MET is defined as one kcal/kg/hour and is roughly equivalent to the energy cost of sitting quietly. The MET unit applies to various body weights of adults to estimate calories burned with different activities. For example, a 2.3 MET activity (i.e., Hatha yoga) requires two-and-a-third times the metabolic energy of sitting quietly.

Examples of different exercise intensity levels in metabolic equivalents (MET):

Exercise intensity level Exercise MET
Light (requires less than 3 MET) Guitar playing, sitting 2.0
Operating snowblower, walking 2.5
Billiards 2.5
Playing catch football or baseball 2.5
Wall or lawn darts 2.5
Walking 2.0-2.4 mph, slow pace 2.8
Moderate (3-6 MET) Golf, walking, pulling clubs 4.5
Low-impact aerobics 4.8
Resistance training (squats) 5.0
Shoveling snow by hand 5.3
Walking 4.0 mph, a very brisk pace 5.5
Water aerobics 5.5
Vigorous (greater than 6 MET) Tennis, general, moderate effort 6.8
Skiing, general, 7.0
Racquetball 7.0
Bench step class 7.8
Stationary bicycling, rigorous 10.8
Jumping rope, moderate pace 11.0

Of course, MET calculations are estimates and are not 100% accurate. To get a precise number, you would need to go into a science lab that measures your oxygen consumption during a specific exercise. Age, body temperature, fitness level, and even sleep will impact the exact calorie expenditure in the exercise intensity scale. Therefore, we can only rely on the best science-based calculations to estimate calories burned with specific exercises.

Common questions about tracking exercise with MyNetDiary

Should I subtract exercise calories from my calorie budget?

To maximize weight loss, most people turn off the toggle to add exercise calories to the calorie budget in Settings. Also, the simplest way to avoid overestimating your Daily Food Calorie Budget is to set your Activity Level to "sedentary" in the Plan section. The sedentary level accounts for ordinary, everyday activities. You can find additional information on activity levels in this Planning weight and calories article.

What if I can’t find the exact exercise to record in the tracker?

If you cannot find the exact exercise to record, please look for the closest activity for tracking purposes.

How can I track activity most accurately?

To avoid overestimating calories burned, only count your exercise's active time. For example, if you take a 60-minute class, record the minutes you perform cardio or resistance exercises.

Fitness devices offer the best solution for tracking interval workouts because they calculate calories expended based on measured heart rate. MyNetDiary syncs with such fitness trackers as Fitbit, Garmin Connect, and Withings. Also, devices featuring Apple Health or Google Fit sync data directly into the MyNetDiary app, so you do not have to enter the information manually.

How do you use the MyNetDiary Step Bonus feature?

Step Bonus is a feature available with a Premium MyNetDiary membership. This feature allows you to capture extra calories burned for walking more steps than what your Activity Level already includes. To turn on this feature, go to Settings and enter “Step Bonus” in the search bar. You can learn more about Step Bonus here.

How can I bump up exercise intensity to burn more calories?

If you’d like to maximize your fitness and calorie burn, look at the Compendium of Physical Activities tables for ways to increase your metabolic equivalent (MET). For example, you could increase your walking pace from 2.0 mph (MET 2.8) to 4.0 mph (MET 5.5). Or you could increase leisure bicycling from 5.5 mph (MET 3.5) to 10 mph (MET 6.8). You will not only burn extra calories but will also help condition your body and respiratory system. Always check with your healthcare provider to get approval for more strenuous workouts.

Related content

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5 Calorie-burning exercises you can do at home to boost energy and burn fat

Still new to MyNetDiary? Learn more today by downloading the app for FREE.

Exercise->Tips Exercise->Tracking
May 20, 2024
Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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