Last week I was doing some stationary cycling before lifting weights. Next to me were two people chatting away while riding stationary bikes. It’s great that they are using the buddy system to stay fit; but, I couldn’t help but notice there was a lot more chatting than sweating.
They finished their 30-minute ride and when they got off the bikes, they planned to treat themselves to a café mocha and a scone. The indication was that they burned enough calories pedaling the bikes to be a fair trade-off for a scone and mocha.
I don’t know where they planned to dine, but taking the calorie content from the Starbuck’s site, I found a Café Mocha (grande, with whip) to have 360 calories. A blueberry scone has 460 calories. Their treat total is 820 calories.
Let's compare that to the calories they burned on the stationary bikes. For calorie burn, below is a handy chart from Nutristrategy:
Calories burned per hour of bike riding
Type of Riding
Body weight of 140 lbs
Body weight of 195 lbs
Calories burned per pound of body weight
Bicycling, 10-11.9 mph, light effort
Bicycling, 12-13.9 mph, moderate effort
Bicycling, 14-15.9 mph, vigorous effort
Bicycling, 16-19 mph, very fast, racing
Bicycling, >20 mph, racing
Bicycling, Mountain or BMX
Bicycling, stationary, general
Bicycling, stationary, very light effort
Bicycling, stationary, light effort
Bicycling, stationary, moderate effort
Bicycling, stationary, vigorous effort
Bicycling, stationary, very vigorous effort
The people riding were probably in the 140-150 pound range for body weight. At only 30 minutes of a very light effort, they burned around 95 to 100 calories. Assuming they did nothing else for exercise and the coffee/bakery treat was a reward for exercise, they might be heading the wrong direction. At an extra 720 calories per day, and assuming they did this every day, in just five days they would pack on an extra pound of body weight (3600 calories per pound). It wouldn't take long for their exercise reward program to pack on several pounds.
Are you over-rewarding yourself for exercise?