Many of you have probably heard the famous quote from Bill Gates that goes like this,
“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”
Being that it’s Work It Wednesday when I normally share about fitness strategies to overcome diabetes and insulin resistance, I thought to share my own version,
“Most people overestimate what they accomplish in a single workout and underestimate what they’ll accomplish in a year of regular workouts.”
If you do a search online for “overestimating calories burned” you will find tens of thousands of results covering exposes on the inaccuracies of calories burned with fitness trackers and gym equipment, to class action lawsuits, and more. You will even find articles that seek to help you correct the incorrect calculations.
A quick aside, I have found that in the two years that I’ve been using the My Fitness Pal app, as referenced in You can’t control what you can’t measure, it has been steadily reducing the calculated calorie burn attributable to my movement. I wish I could say that this was because I was steadily losing weight the whole time but I can’t…Moving on!
With generally flawed inputs like those referenced above it is no wonder that most people overestimate the effect of their exercise. Even worse, it is so easy to put in the work and then start looking for some reward (e.g. King Size Snickers bar) since “you’ve earned it.” I’ve been caught in this trap a time or two. And once in a while isn’t the end of the world, as I shared in Perfectly Human. Still it can become an invisible trap if we’re not mindful of it. (oh, and substitute a fun size Snickers)
When it comes to your personal health, I think it’s better to overestimate your intake and underestimate your output. That’s probably a good framework for learning, listening and a lot more.
To close, I believe the following,
The best estimators in the world are wrong 108 percent of the time.
Maybe if someone reading this knows Bill Gates they could slip it to him 🙂
Please share, like and comment below. I’d love to hear what methods you use for correctly accounting your workouts. Have a good one!
For more Work It Wednesday posts, check out the following:
I measure my workouts by the week. I feel good when I meet that weekly goal. Having exercise sessions scheduled is the only thing that works for me. The exercise appointment is as important as other appointments.
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