METs, MET minutes and FITIV points
We all want to know if we are being active enough. Physical activity is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. It makes you happier, healthier and more energetic. It keeps your heart, muscles and joints healthy. We know what the benefits are, but how do you know you are being active enough? Are you working out enough to get those benefits at all? How can you make sure you’re not just wasting your time?
Calories — as you probably know — are a measurement of energy. Your body will always use up calories, just to function. Everything your body does – breathing, digesting, thinking – needs fuel. Even when you are sitting at rest your body is using up a number of calories. This number depends on factors like your age, weight and gender. Sometimes people use calories to figure out if they are working out enough, but this has a few issues. Because different people burn different amounts of calories they really aren’t a good way to compare the activity of different people. People who are heavier, younger or male will burn many more calories than older, lighter or female athletes, which can be discouraging. If calories aren’t a good way to compare your intensity, what should you use instead?
Want to learn more about what calories are? Click here!
There’s a better way to see your intensity!
METs are a great way of comparing your activity to others without having to worry about differences in age, weight or gender. METs is an acronym meaning ‘metabolic equivalent of task’. While that might sound complicated once you’ve wrapped your head around the idea of burning calories while resting METs are pretty easy to understand. METs just describe a ratio of the energy you are using in physical activity compared to the energy you would use at rest. So, if you are burning twice the number of calories you would at rest the metabolic equivalent is 2.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say we do the math and figure out that a person burns 5 calories every minute while completely at rest. That means that burning 5 calories per minute is equivalent to 1 MET for this person.
If this person then goes for a brisk walk he will be burning many more calories than he would at rest. Let’s say that while he’s walking he’s burning 25 calories per minute instead of the 5 he would be burning if he wasn’t walking.
25 calories per minute is 5 times more calories than he would be burning at rest. That means that this activity is 5 METs.
If, instead, he decided to sprint as fast as he could he might be burning 50 calories every minute. That’s 10 times as many calories as he would burn at rest, meaning that he would be at 10 METs.
So, what does this mean? What kinds of goals should I set?
We can set goals using METs by multiplying the METs value of your activity by the number of minutes. This gives you your MET minutes!
So, if you went for a walk that averaged 5 METs for 30 minutes you would earn 150 MET minutes. If you went for an intense run for 30 minutes instead that averaged 10 METs you would earn 300 MET minutes!
If you’re aiming for 1000 MET minutes per week you should aim for 30 minutes of activity five days per week at about an average of 7 METs. This can be achieved by activities like jogging, rowing or biking for 30 minutes per day.
To learn more about MET guidelines click here!
Guidelines say that you should aim for a minimum of 500 MET minutes per week, but you should aim for at least 1000 MET minutes per week to stay healthy.
What’s so great about METs?
There are many reasons why METs are becoming a more popular tool in the fitness industry. MET minutes are a great way to ‘level the playing field’ between people. This makes it easier to classify your own effort and compare it to your peers.
Think about it this way: the calories you burn during exercise change depending on a lot of factors. An older, shorter woman may find herself working out at her highest possible intensity but still burning a fraction of the calories a younger, heavier man would burn during a brisk walk.
METs work by showing your intensity relative to your own resting calories. Be rewarded for your intensity when you are tracking with METs. Two people of dramatically different sizes and ages will get the same number of METs minutes for workout for the same time at the same intensity. This means that no matter your size, weight, or fitness level MET minutes is a great way of telling if you are working out enough.
How do I use METs with FITIV Pulse?
We are proud to introduce FITIV Points, a new way of leveraging MET minutes to track your workouts, compete with others, and set weekly workout goals.
FITIV Points are calculated based on MET minutes, you can display a score for your workout and track your workouts over time to give you cumulative data on your FITIV dashboard. Each FITIV Point is equivalent to one MET minute, giving you an easy way of quantifying and understanding your data.
In addition to your MET minute score FITIV Pulse will also give you an average MET score for your workout. This give you the insight you need to push yourself further in-workout, and a great way to tell which workouts are pushing you to your limits.
MET minutes also give you a great way to compete with other athletes on the FITIV leaderboards. It’s hard to compare workouts between different athletes. Workout time doesn’t take intensity into consideration, and calories vary wildly depending on the person. Because of this FITIV Points are now included in all FITIV leaderboards to level the playing field between athletes!
MET minutes will revolutionize the way you compete with others on the FITIV leaderboard, and will add new goal features to help further your fitness!