What it takes to burn off a meal at The Cheesecake Factory

The week of my marathon, I ate at another one of my favorite places: The Cheesecake Factory.  Lets see if I ran enough to burn off my dinner 😉


Again, the purpose of this post is not to bash the Cheesecake Factory.  I love the Cheesecake Factory!  But it is really meant to show you how a weekend splurge can add up in the calorie department, and what that means for your exercise plan.

Appetizer: 1/2 a serving of Avocado Eggrolls – 480 Calories

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Main Course: Pasta Carbonara2130 Calories

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Lets say you had a glass of wine with dinner: 120 Calories

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Dessert: Lets say we split the classic Cheesecake – 355 Calories

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Alright, the grand total is: 3,085 Calories.

Whoo!  What a splurge!  Okay, here is what it takes for a 140 lb woman to burn off a meal at the Cheesecake Factory.

On the treadmill: You would have to run at 5 mph, at a 1% grade for 5.4 hours

  • VO2 = (0.2 . 5 mph . 26.8) + (0.9 . 5 mph . 26.8 . 1% incline) + 3.5 mL. kg-1.min-1 = 30.5 mL . kg-1 . min-1
    • 140 lbs = 63.6 kg
    • 63.6 kg X 30.5 mL . kg-1 . min-1/ 1000 = 1.9
    • 1.9 X 5 = 9.5 calories burned per minute, 570 calories burned per hour

On a stationary bike: You would have to cycle on level 3 resistance, at a cadence of 50 rpm, for 5.7 hours

  • VO2 = 1.8(3 kg . 6 . 50 rpm) / (63.3 kg) + 3.5 mL. kg-1.min-1+ 3.5 mL. kg-1.min-1 = 29.1 mL . kg-1 . min-1
    • 63.6 kg X 29.1 mL . kg-1 . min-1/ 1000 = 1.8
    • 1.8 X 5 = 9 calories burned per minute, 540 calories burned per hour

Those are just two examples, and of course everyones metabolic rate is going to be different.  Working at lower intensities, i.e. walking on the treadmill, or on a flat will take more time to burn those calories, and working at a higher intensity will take less time.

So, simply put, if you are averaging exercise 3-4 days a week for an hour, and you are eating meals out like this at the end of the week, losing weight is going to be very hard, because you are just eating back those excess calories that you’ve worked so hard to burn during the week – and no matter what fad trends are out there, research continues to show that calorie expenditure (be it by burning more, or eating less), is the best way to lose weight.

Final thoughts: ITS OKAY TO SPLURGE!  The purpose of this post is really just to make you splurge smarter.

Happy Splurging!  And sorry for any Cheesecake Factory cravings this may have spawned!


-Juliane, ACSM CEP

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