Friday, July 27, 2012

caloric points of comparison

if you're like me, i suspect that you're following the Olympic games in London and are awaiting the opening ceremonies. i'll probably be inspired to write some posts in response to Olympic events, as i am every time to what is probably one of the greatest global sports phenomenon in the modern era (if not all time).

one thing that i thought might be interesting for everyone to consider--and to have for Olympics-viewing discussion--is the energy requirements of different sports.  it came to my attention as a result of a recent news item on National Public Radio (NPR).  they offered the following chart comparing the calorie consumption by Olympic athletes by sport:
 this might give endurance athletes some room for smug satisfaction, since it shows us as demanding--and hence expending--the greatest amount of energy. but i want to remind everyone that this is due to the time requirements of endurance events, not just in terms of training but in the actual events themselves, which typically last much longer than other competitive sports. i suspect that if we looked at the intensity of energy expenditure in terms of calorie per minute we'd find different results.

having said that, it is interesting to see which sports require more calories. it probably hints at which sports are more appropriate for those trying to lose weight--although, it should be observed, calories expended have to be greater than calories consumed in order for their to be weight loss.

given the contrast in the sports covered in the NPR article, i decided to see if there was information on other sports. i found these:
interesting, huh? at least now we have some data for discussion.

i'll issue a caveat and say that no amount of calories will ever necessarily translate directly into athletic performance. it's not just about how much energy you take in or expend out; it's about how you translate that energy into performance. which is where skill comes in. so it's not only about training volume responsible for these caloric quantities, but also about training quality converting these calories into results.

but in the meantime you can still feed good about telling everyone how endurance sports and endurance athletes rank in terms of working hard and eating lots. have at it, kiddies!

No comments: