Burning off a burger is a tall order - scaling Two IFC, in fact

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 April, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 April, 2005, 12:00am

A gym is trying to encourage members by telling them they would have to walk almost to the top of Hong Kong's tallest skyscraper to burn off a Big Mac meal.

Health professionals say although the information being given out by Fitness First is not scientifically accurate, the comparisons are reasonable.

The gym chain claims a person who has eaten a Big Mac meal would need to climb the equivalent of 82 of Two IFC's 88 floors to burn off the calories. A McDonald's Big Mac meal - comprising the iconic burger, medium fries and cola - has an energy content of 982kcal (kilocalories). The gym says it is also the equivalent of running on a treadmill for 90 minutes, or doing 245 consecutive push-ups.

The estimates are made by Fitness First based on nutritional information on McDonald's Hong Kong website, and are part of the gym's promotion highlighting its new partnership with a local sandwich bar chain.

An independent fitness expert agreed that the estimates were reasonable. 'It's not very scientific, but it's not a bad estimate,' said Stephen Wong Heung-sang, an associate professor in Chinese University's department of sports science and physical education.

He added that the number of calories burned would depend on an individual's metabolism and the speed at which they exercised.

Fitness First made the estimates based on rough rules that one staircase step translates into the use of 1kcal and 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise burns between 200kcal and 250kcal.

And while the new salads on offer at the fast food chain may appear to be the healthier choice, Mr Wong warned: 'The salads may have [fewer] calories but some of the creamier salad dressings have quite high energy values.'

A spokeswoman for McDonald's in Hong Kong would not respond directly to the exercise claims, but pointed out that it had recently launched a campaign to promote physical activity and a healthy lifestyle.

Fitness First is not the first gym in Hong Kong to include a food kiosk within the confines of its clubs. Members of Pure Fitness' IFC club can order from its restaurant.

Meanwhile, California Fitness said its new Jackie Chan Sport Clubs would sell juices that include Chinese remedies.