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Calorie Wake-Up Call

Published On: Jul 18 2013 04:21:23 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 18 2013 07:26:15 PM EDT

Do you ever eat something fattening and think 'I'll just work it off at the gym?' Do you think exercise gives you license to eat what you want?


Do you ever eat something fattening and think 'I'll just work it off at the gym?'  Do  you think exercise gives you license to eat what you want?

" I'm all about the all you can eat buffets.  I'm all about the french fries and hamburgers," said Aaron Clary.  He, like many folks, loves high calorie meals including cheeseburgers and french fries.

We wanted to find out just how much you have to work out to burn off a high calorie meal. 

We start with a quarter pound cheeseburger which is 420 calories. and add a small order of french fries for a total of 760 calories.

We posed the question to several people.  'How long do you think you would have to workout to burn off that cheeseburger and french fries? '

"Gosh I would say an hour of doing cardio," said Omar Abdulhamid.

Sheila Blevins said she didn't know, but then went on to say she doesn't eat fast food.

Clary admits he does eat fast food.  His answer: "I  would have to say at least 2 or three hours at the least," said Clary.  The day we spoke to Clary he was in the gym working out.

We enlisted Leonard Jones, a certified personal trainer at the Roanoke Athletic Club to help us find just how much time working up a sweat at the gym it takes to burn off that cheeseburger and french fries.  Here is the answer.

"You're looking at a two hour workout . Are you prepared to work out for two hours?" said Jones.

So are you?    Jones  says when it comes to your weight, working out is a small part of the picture. "Diet is 80 percent of it," Jones said.

His message: what you eat matters big time.

Let's look at the calorie count of another popular summer meal.   A chili dog is 370 calories and an order of onion rings is 410 for a total of 780.

How long would you have to run on the treadmill to work that off? The answer, according to Jones is an hour an half at a moderate pace.  That statistic might make you think before ordering that meal.

The bottom line is fairly simple: working out is not an excuse for pigging out.  "I could bring you into the gym and I could work you out all day five days a week but if you leave the gym go home and pig out and eat bad food then it's then it's killing everything we've done in the gym," said Jones.

Here is something to consider: Not everyone burns calories equally. A larger person burns more calories than a smaller person doing the same workout.  Another thing to think about is that  a person who is in good physical condition may have to work with more intensity to burn more calories.  It takes an out of condition person more energy and more calories to be physically active than a conditioned person.