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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Calories Burned per Stair while Stairclimbing

I kept finding site that quoted the number of calories burned per minute while climbing stairs... which I find to be completely useless. Someone who climbs faster will obviously burn more than a slow-poke!

Finally I stumbled on this article:

So an average person of average weight burns:
  • 0.11 calories per step going up
  • 0.05 calories per step going down

Add a bit if you're big, subtract a bit if you're small... but at least it's a good ballpark.

I figured it out for a 10 stories of stairs I climb in my office building, and it was around 20 calories. Doesn't sound like a lot, but I go up at least 3 times a day. That's 60 calories... and if I go down as well, that's another 30, almost 100 per day!

Not bad for virtually no investment in time.

36 comments:

Brian said...

Who cares about 100 calories? Not to be facetious, but it won't make a difference. You'll either work up an appetite and eat more, or you'll have less energy for other things. It's a mug's game. Now, if you want to go up the stairs to build muscular endurance, that's a goal I can get enthusiastic about. If you're worried about weight gain, don't worry about energy in/energy out. Weight gain and loss doesn't work that way. It's a hormonal-metabolic function.

Love the blog, btw. You're experience has inspired me to work toward IMC 2012.

jonovision_man said...

Hey Brian, appreciate the comment.

You're right that if you eat more to compensate, then yes, you won't lose... but that pretty much applies to anything you do. When I was training for Ironman, I actually *gained* weight - thousands and thousands of calories burned every week, yet my appetite and intake was so high it overcame it. I've found that I only maintain/lose if I'm counting calories, so I do... 100/day would mean about an extra pound of loss a month.

Brian said...

Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. It's not surprising that you gained weight training for the Ironman. There is scant evidence that exercise helps us lose weight. The existence of fat marathoners, or indeed fat Ironman competitors (I saw quite a few when I did body marking last year at IMC) should be proof enough. See Taubes' article in the Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/oct/28/healthandwellbeing.features1) for a good discussion of the reasons. I'd also suggest his most recent book "Why We Get Fat" for a more in-depth discussion of the science.

jonovision_man said...

It's not complicated - calories in vs calories out. Done. Anyone tells you different, don't buy their book/dvd!

Brian said...

Actually, it is pretty complicated. Calories in/calories out is a restatement of the first law of thermodynamics. But it's not an explanation for why we get fat. As Taubes says, if you asked someone why a room was crowded and he responded by saying 'more people entered than left' you'd think he was making fun of you. It's a true statement, but it didn't really answer your question. Taubes doesn't deny the first law of thermodynamics, but he explains by going over the last hundred years of research into diet, nutrition and endocrinology why it is that some people get fat and others don't, and even more interestingly why the generally accepted wisdom surrounding diet is wrong. I know from reading your blog that you've struggled with your weight. Taubes doesn't spend much time with advice, but what little he offers is pretty consistent with Joe Friel and Loren Cordain in their book, the Paleo Diet. Really -- give it a try. It's not quackery. Taubes is an investigator in health policy research at Berkeley. You can see a lecture of his here: http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=4362041487661765149#

Reading Taubes' book 'Good Calories, Bad Calories' completely changed my life a few years ago. My brother, who has his PhD in molecular biology from U of T, read the book at my suggestion and it completely changed his views, too.

jonovision_man said...

I'll check it out... but I'm a huge skeptic in this area, as there are a lot of claims but generally scant evidence. I've read about the Paleo diet - could be accurate, could be another fad, only time will tell.

Ultimately I know what works for me... eating less than I burn! I've been at a healthy weight for a few years now by watching calories... now my only struggle is to get to "race weight". :)

Brian said...

I'm as skeptical as the next guy, probably more so (I even had a subscription to The Skeptical Inquirer when I was younger -- I'm not kidding). Getting into running and triathlon has upped my levels of skepticism, if anything ("these wheels will make you go faster", "these compression socks will help you recover quicker", "this electrolyte solution will alleviate your cramps", etc.). I have a scientific background and I think I approach most of these claims with an open, but skeptical mind. (Here's an interesting post on that very topic: http://www.sportsscientists.com/2011/01/scientific-literacy-or-dont-believe.html)

What's great about reading Gary Taubes' books is that he's not selling anything, he's not talking about his own original research, he's not worried about funding, or drug company money, or toeing the political line. His books (Good Calories, Bad Calories especially) are a combination of basic science and the history of scientific inquiry into diet and nutrition. He's also quite interested in bad science (he wrote a book about the cold fusion fiasco) and he explains in painstaking detail why the science of diet and nutrition is rife with bad science. Start with his latest book, Why We Get Fat. It's only 217 pages and is an easy read. If it doesn't convince you, then forget you ever read this comment, or alternatively, move on to Good Calories, Bad Calories, a much longer, more dense, more detailed account.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that I believe it will not only change the way you eat, but it will fundamentally change the way you look at our society, from impoverished fat people all the way up to the scientific establishment and the government agencies who are supposed to safeguard our health. I think it's probably the best book I've read in the last decade.

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jonovision_man said...

So I've read this book now, not quite at the end but most of the way through it.

I find some of his arguments compelling, but ultimately he's ignored a LOT of studies that don't back up his claims. Most studies comparing low-fat to low-carb diets show them equally effective, and there are several that demonstrate that they *both* work by calorie reduction ultimately.

I know enough people who have done Atkins and gained it back. On the other hand, I've only concentrated on reducing overall calories and I'm down 65 pounds - weight I've kept off for *years*.

I think if you rely on simply changing your diet without looking at overall intake, you will not succeed in the long run. It's hard to cut out those foods and people inevitably go back to them and fail.

IMO. :)

Brian said...

Hi Jon,

So, the more I read the more I become convinced that this whole topic is incredibly complex, probably far more than is currently being acknowledged by writers and researchers. I'm also very aware of confirmation bias, both in my own case and with respect to writers like Taubes. It's difficult to guard against as it's pretty much hard-wired.

Like you, I, too, lost about 60 pounds. I was 240 at my peak and then about six years ago I decided I'd had enough and brought myself down to about 180, which is where I've stayed (plus/minus 3-4 pounds) since then. I did it on a low-carb diet, although in retrospect it wasn't all that low. I'm 6'1" and my bf% is probably around 13%. I'm a bit older than you (born in '67), and my running times aren't quite up to yours, although respectable (48:30 for the 10k, 1:48 for the half marathon). I've battled through a couple of marathons, but had muscle cramping issues both times. I don't count calories, or worry about how much I'm eating. I eat until I'm satiated, but I'm pretty careful about what I eat.

What Taubes made really clear to me in Why We Get Fat (WWGF) is that the calories-in/calories-out paradigm is only useful ex-post. If someone lost weight, they burned off more than they took in, and vice-versa. It's not a useful paradigm ex-ante, though, as demonstrated by the remarkably high failure rate of most dieters. Obviously, calorie restriction (CR) will lead to weight loss. Nobody is arguing that prisoners of war, for example, don't lose weight on starvation rations. But if you practice CR you get hungry, grumpy and lethargic. I've seen the studies comparing low-carb diets with others (I'll comment more on them in the next paragraph), but the really interesting thing about the way they set those experiments up is that they do NOT restrict the calories of the low-carb dieters. So, why do they end up eating less? That's an important question. Also, body composition is an important issue and weight loss alone might not be so good if you're losing a lot of muscle, or doing damage to your internal organs. Another problem with calories-in/calories-out is that it ignores the body's incredibly fine-tuned homeostasis mechanisms. Our bodies are hormonally tuned to "defend" a certain fat mass. Like the Zucker mice mentioned in Taubes first book, Good Calories Bad Calories (GCBC) our bodies will do whatever is necessary to hold on to body fat unless our "set-point" changes. (Did you see the study last week that showed that women who get liposuction get the fat back within a year?) Both humans and animals on CR will do whatever they can to reduce caloric expenditure including lowering of body temperature, and general lethargy. This has been demonstrated in metabolic chambers numerous times. I think the main point you can take from Taubes is that our fat stores are controlled hormonally, and the only hormone over which we yield significant control is insulin.

Brian said...



I would highly recommend viewing the lecture by Christopher Gardner of Stanford (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eREuZEdMAVo). He's a lifelong vegan who went out of his way to explore different diets, including Atkins, worried that Atkins was a dangerous 'fad'. As Taubes mentions in WWGF, Gardner found that the partipants on Atkins did better on every single measure. But he talks quite a bit about the limitations of these sorts of studies. I've tracked down quite a few of the original papers that compare low-carb diets to other diets and one thing that jumps out at me is that the diets often aren't particularly low-carb. Compliance is difficult.

I've been exploring the world of nutrition blogs and I've come across two that are really good:

1) http://www.archevore.org/ -- this is written by a neuroradiologist and I really like his approach. He outlines what he thinks (based on his reading of the research) is the problem with the modern diet. Chief among his concerns are gluten grains, fructose, industrial seed oils. He does not advocate any particular ratio of carbs, fats, protein, but he does distinguish between healthy carbs and unhealthy carbs, and between healthy fats, and unhealthy fats. It's very well written. Start with the 'diet' tab: http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

2) http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/ -- this is written by a neurobiologist at the University of Washington. Incredibly interesting stuff here, but lots and lots and not summarized.

Good luck in your summer races. I still follow your blog regularly and enjoy reading your race previews/reports. I'm hoping to follow your lead and do IM Canada in 2012, but I have to figure out this cramping problem first.

All the best, Brian

Brando87 said...

I'd have to disagree with you Brian. 100 calories most certainly will make a difference. Assuming he changes nothing else that's an additional 500 calories per week burned. Granted, there are other aspects at play, but the fact that he is stair climbing daily will only serve to maintain a higher aerobic capacity and lean body mass - keeping him fitter down the line.

Brian said...

The science seems to show that it's not nearly as easy as "hike up some stairs and burn a pound a month". The body exquisitely adjusts by increasing or decreasing body heat, increasing or decreasing non-essential motion (e.g. fidgeting), etc. A study of kids getting an extra PE class each week showed that they actually (sub-consciously) adjusted by not doing as much outside school, and their net expenditure was the same. The nature of your diet is so much more important in terms of staying lean. If you want to lose fat mass pay attention to diet. Hike up the stairs, by all means -- I do it all the time -- but don't kid yourself. You will not lose pounds by making that kind of change.

jonovision_man said...

I count calories when I'm trying to lose weight (ie. now) so I know what's going in. If I add to what is going out, then the net result is faster weight loss.

Your point holds true if you eat back those calories, which if you aren't counting then you might very well do. I've never had much success just upping my exercise without changing my diet, it needs to be both.

Brian said...

For six weeks I too have been counting my calories, including the macro-nutrient breakdown and also the trace element content (with an eye on the typical electrolytes). I started this after have a DEXA scan and deciding to lower my body fat percentage. The question I think most people who are losing weight should ask is "am I losing fat, muscle or some combination?" Most people don't have a clue. I won't know for sure until I go back for a followup DEXA scan. I'm following a diet that Dr. Peter Attia himself uses. He doesn't necessarily advocate this diet, but he did lose a significant amount of body fat on it, while preserving his lean muscle mass. I'm down 14 pounds, and hopefully it's mostly fat. I'll find out soon.

jonovision_man said...

One other benefit of climbing stairs... you can kick ass at the CN tower stair climb! ;) 37/2318! http://www.marshmallowman2ironman.com/2011/10/climb-report-cn-tower-stair-climb.html Good luck with the weight loss Brian, always a battle. As long as weight loss is moderate (1-2lbs/week) and you keep using your muscles, the weight you lose should be fat!

Brian said...

While I don't actually like climbing stairs (I get dizzy turning around repeatedly), my favourite exercise of all is doing the Grouse Grind (800 meter vertical rise). I find I never get injured, as opposed to running.

My weight loss has been pretty steady, averaging around 0.23 pounds per day. I was reasonably slim to begin with, but the goal was to get under 10 per cent body fat. Many calorie-deficit diets actually result in as much muscle loss as fat loss. That's why I chose a very low carb diet (40g carb, 120g protein, unlimited fat).

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

It's a ludicrous claim to say exercise does not help one lose weight. It depends on the person, yes. For some people it's more about diet; for example, some people don't digest certain foods as well as others. But I made no change to my diet and started biking uphill for only 20 minutes every day and I lost 15 pounds in one month. Same as when I was at my heaviest. I started walking every day, sometimes for up to an hour. I lost 20 pounds in a month. There is no way that is a strange coincidence.

Debra Davis said...

I think it's all about personal metabolism. I know that I have had a new job for 5 months that requires climbing up to 3000 stairs some days, mostly 2000 stairs a day at a water plant. We are very busy and in a constant state of movement. I have lost 30 pounds in 5 months, and I am known as the "chow-hound" of the plant, but most everything I eat is healthy, and a variety...lots of fruits, veggies, yogurt, healthy proteins (except for the occasional P-B-&J on 100 cal multi-grain) and whole grain pastas, rice, sweet potatoes, whole grain crackers, oats, etc. I'm almost 55 years old and my body is feeling all those stairs, so please don't take away the health benefits of doing that (there are several buildings that have two handed rails, and I actually run up those ones for safety...I call that my Jane-Fonda work-out for the day) I can actually feel-the-burn all over after my first-rounds-into every building on the plant. I agree with 'Anonymous' who said it ludicrous to say that exercise does not help one shed weight.

Anonymous said...

i can't agree with Jon, i am following the same pattern and i am seeing difference. there is a law called "conseration of energy" i believe brian missed it.

swiss chocolate said...

Hi I'm 34 and am a mother of a 3 month old. I weigh 78 kg n need to loose atleast 18kg and some of it is pregnancy weight, but rest isn't. My height is 5'4. how do I go about it. how do we weigh food as in aspect of grams, carbs, proteins, calories. need help, so please get back. thanksff

Mike said...

Kudos on getting your life and health back. I love reading stories like this as it shows me that my goal of just dropping 10Kg and getting more physically fit is more than doable.

As for the people touting the Paleo "Caveman" diet or any other -- they all have some merits, but as most ex-dieters will tell you, restrictive diets are doomed unless you can truly give up a significant amount of your favorite foods. Work out regularly, keep a control on your caloric intake, eat the healthy stuff first before going for less healthy options...and you'll do fine.

Regarding the calories in-calories out debate, as you say, there is no debate. And the poster who said that exercise is not the key to weight loss is also correct...partially. You can ingest 1500 calories in about 3 slices of extra pepperoni pizza, but it's a rare individual who will burn that off in hours of exercise. If you want to lose weight, you also need to control calories. This includes getting less for more by eating metabolically complex protein rich foods that actually require about 30% of their own caloric load just to digest!

But exercise is not just about calories. And you, as a guy who had truly "been there, done that," can attest to the psychological benefit of exercise. Exercise gives us mental strength. It gives us a feeling of control. It makes it easier to say no to pizza and yes to a can of tuna in veggie salsa that it would be if we had just been sitting on the couch all day. I think that boost is more important than any other.

OK, this is getting long. And to think I found this just to find how many calories I burn per step!!

Max Sarazin said...

From my experience it all depends on your body composure, on the type of body you have. I worked out 6 days a week. 1 day strengh training and the next day HIIT interval training. And I lowered my calorie intake and changed my eating habits. I lost 70 pounds in 6 months. Most of it was fat and in the meanwhile gained a lot of muscle. I bulked up. Everybody at the gym, at worked noticed it. My strategies was to focus on body fat and not bodyweight but eventually I lost tons of both while bulking up. I was very active, climbing stairs when I could, walking a lot etc.

Anonymous said...

It takes a woman 2 years to fully recover after the childbirth, so right now concentrate on NOT gaining weight by adapting healthy food choice:
*set up alarm to have a glass of water every 2 h. ,
* eat more lean protein (chicken, fish, shrimps, humus) to be satisfied longer, and veggies (ex sals, soup, salad)
* and wholegrain ( try to slowely reduce sugar and eat wholegrain only during the first part of the day) to get plenty of fiber
*BE AWARE of your stress level, lack of rest and sleep. Keeping calm and taking every opportunity for self awareness IS THE KEY.
* Breast feed as long as possible
* Use light therapy lamp daily
* Take your child for a stroll on fresh air 1-2 times daily. If weather is bad stroll in the shopping mall without purpose of shopping but with calming music in headphones
* consentrate on building a habbit for exercising without actually exercising , but fitting at least one 30 day walk a day and one1 min marching in front of tv (advance every month by adding 1-2 min and adding weights or jog or jumping jacks)

To sum it up: keep calm at all causes, make healthy food choice, breastfeed, get into an easy routine, drink water, and keep postpartum down by getting vitamin D, avoiding sugar and getting support from moms with babies of same age, learn to ask and accept help. Sing and smile to your baby often, read kids stories out loud from really young age. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

How the calories are burned is important to me. Energy should be used wisely. Toning leg muscles or cardio exercise for example, is a much better use of energy versus storing it as fat or burning it through fidgeting.

Anton Terence Dsilva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anton Terence Dsilva said...

When you see that 10 outta 10 athletes standing in the starting line of a 100m running finals in the Olympics are not fat, and are indeed athletic, (this would apply to most athletes of the track and field event), you gotta believe that burning calories will reduce fat.

Can't understand why a kenenisa bekele or an Usain Bolt wouldn't be fat if there is much more to fat loss than the calories equation.

Stop counting calories, run well 4 days a week and run like crazy on Sundays and eat healthy ... lotsa vegetables and fruits and some meat ... avoid carb for dinner ... sue me if you don't lose a pound every week.

Daniel said...

This is for Brian. Every post you did made me die a little on the inside. I am a 5th year senior at Iowa State University and I am majoring in exercise science. Almost every single thing you said was wrong. To lose weight all you have to do is burn more calories than you consume. 3,600 calories in a pound of fat, so if you burn an extra 100 calories a day and do not increase calorie intake then you will lose about a pound of fat in a month. I do not know where you are getting your "facts" but please make sure they are from credible sources.

Phil Crawford said...

Daniel & Others,

I appreciate Jonovision's friendliness, but Brian is on the ball. As to Daniel (Iowa student), I'm appalled to see that somebody majoring in the science of nutrition would settle for such a simplistic view. Your logic is flawed.

You say that "All you have to do is burn more calories than you consume." This statement is true. But you're applying it without sense.

I think everybody here agrees that one's body weight can be summed up like a huge balance sheet - plus calories, and minus calories. But what Daniel is missing is that THE FACTORS ARE INTERRELATED.

As in, you can't just climb 100 calories worth of stairs, hold everything else equal, and consider it a gain of +100 calories burned. As Brian alluded, when you climb stairs, your body's propensity for fidgeting goes down. Your body temperature decreases later in the day. Your appetite increases. Some of these factors are involuntary and uncontrollable, and others are subconscious and only controllable through unrealistic will power and over-awareness.

The point is, climbing those stairs will burn 100 calories, and reduce your total calorie "intake" by 100. But it will also decrease the amount of calories that would have been burned through other means.

Daniel - you say that if you increase calorie expenditure by 100, and do not increase intake, you'll lose pounds of weight (let's not even talk about whether that weight is fat). This is incomplete, and in many cases wrong.

An actual exercise scientist or applied nutritionist would make this statement instead: "if you increase calorie intake by 100, without adversely impacting normal metabolism and other activity related to calorie expenditure/burning, you will likely lose weight in the short-term."

Hormones adapt in the longer term, body temperature changes, and other factors adjust.

By the way, to call the problem simple doesn't reflect well on the depth of your studies, and also takes away your own credibility - unless you think you have the human body figured out, there's a lot more complexity to understand - don't undersell your own area of concentration.

Last comment - it seems that people like Brian, who are most aware of the extreme context in which all nutritional and exercise-related questions must be placed, rarely become nutritionists or exercise scientists themselves. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because much of the research done is simplistic, and the analysis lackluster, and that one can be just as "educated" in human nutrition as those studying in it, as long as one is willing to look at the actual research, and use solid logic to draw real conclusions. Exercise scientists, as Daniel is trying to become, are only hurting themselves by trying to boil things down to simple extremes that don't exist, and that don't connect all the dots.

The only professionals I've ever been impressed with are Alan Aragon and Lyle MacDonald. Others, take note.

Anonymous said...

that number is too low. you burn a lot more than .11 calories per stair. At that rate you would burn the same number of calories climbing stairs as walking on flat ground.

andrew said...

major flaw of the low calorie diet is that the body responds the same way as brian and others point out it responds to exercise. the body conserves when it believes it is being starved, which leads to muscle loss. the best way is to cut some fat, some carb, and exercise. with moderation and will power the body will lose weight properly. besides that it has been shown that extremely quick weight loss isn't good for the body anyway.

Anonymous said...

When all of you, especially Brian are out of medical school, please let me know. The process of losing weight is 95% calories in vs calories out. I'm not talking about fat or muscle or anything else, just pure weight. This is a fact and no amount of internet research or new amazing book will change that. This is what you learn in med school, after all reputable studies have been taken into account. It is 95% so yes there are other factors at play but they are so small and often insignificant that it doesn't really matter. Take in less calories than you use and you WILL lose weight, when that net amount gets to -3500 you will have lost a pound of weight, although this may not show due to water weight at different times of day, weight of waste in the body, even weight of food eaten but it's 100% true. Anyone who claims this isn't true. Show me a study where they said it wasn't and I'm willing to bet it's not reputable (for starters it better be in a peer-reviewed journal or don't even both posting it, it's already faulty).

Anonymous said...

Brain, you are an idiot. just stop commenting. Reducing calorie intake as well as increasing calories burn will cause you to lose weight, simple as that... tard

Anonymous said...

I read all of the comments after simply wanting to know how many calories per stair step.

IMHO (as a physicist, industrial engineer, former body builder and overall fit person), I find the funny part of the raging debate is that both sides of the argument are correct. The main problem in this and many other debates is that causal relationships can be complex. As humans, our brains are very adept at boiling the world down to simple facts - even it the resulting interpretation is flawed.

In this case, here's my explanation of the situation:

1. The first law of thermodynamics is correct and applies to all systems including human bodies. Therefore, the argument of calories burned-calories in = lbs reduced is correct. Simple enough, no getting around it.

2. The equation above is a simple deterministic relationship. The problem with the human body (and behaviors) is that we are probabilistic machine, not deterministic. Therefore, while the equation above is correct, the many underlying factors contributing to calories in and burned are complex and variable.

3. One of the variables in the equation is the amount of calories converted to fat per calories ingested. The conversion rate varies by type of food, individual digestive efficiency, accompanying foods (and liquids), time of day, etc. in other words many variables.

4. On the fat burning side, the number of FAT calories burned performing work (aka exercise) varies greatly depending on many factors such as time of day, time and composition of last meal (e.g. if you consume simple carbs and then exercise, your body will burn the simple carbs in your digestive track first, then start expending other stores (again varies by person)), body compositions, metabolic efficiency (dependent on hormonal factors and more) and probably other factors.

5. Behaviors: As Brain points out, how individuals responds (conscientiously or not)to exercise and eating varies.

To sum up, on AVERAGE, people that exercise more will be fitter. People who eat less will be thinner.

hopefully everyone can now see that the entire problem is not simple and deterministic, but rather complex and probabilistic. Accordingly, in equating calories consumed or burned to weight loss should be stated in terms of probability - like predicting the weather.

In summary, I say that taking the stairs MAY result in weight loss in some people some of the time.

Finis!

Anonymous said...

I am overweight, but that's not why I am climbing stairs. I am dieting as well (eating healthy) because I do want to lose weight, but my reason for the stair climbing is that I would get slightly out of breath just walking up to the second floor of my house. I have a vacation coming up in 11 months that will have a short uphill hike and I want to be able to handle it without getting out of breath. I started going up and down the stairs 3 times in a row without stopping and then I'd wait an hour and do it again. After less than a week, I increased it to 4 times, then later to 5, then to 6, etc. I only walk up to the landing which is 12 steps. If I went all the way up, it would be 16. I found a website that gave me the calories burned based on your weight and the number of stairs instead of time - because just like you said, some people walk quickly and some... not so much! If you weigh 150 pounds, you burn 15 calories by going up 12 stairs 3 times. (36 stairs) Going down is 60 percent of that. So the formula (per stair) for going up is: 15 calories * steps up / 150 lbs * current weight / 36 (3 sets of 12 stairs.) Then take that answer and multiply it * .6 for going down. A simpler way to figure this is to take your constants (15 calories, 150 lbs, and 36 stairs) and do the math for that and multiply that times your weight and the number of stairs. You will get the same answer. So the formula is .002778 * weight * stairs. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you can see that .002778 x 150 x 36 = 15.0012. You burn 60 percent of that going back down those same steps. Since I do this at home, I always go back down (no elevator). I made an excel spread sheet and used that formula and it works beautifully. I put in my weight (175) and then put in the number of stairs and it tells me the answers for both up and down and a total for the two answers. So if I go up and down the 12 stairs 6 times in a row and do this 4 times a day, I can put in 288 stairs (12*6*4) * 175*.002778 and I've burned 140 calories going up and 84 going down (60% of 140) for a total of 224 calories. Plus I am gaining endurance and hopefully, the ability to do that uphill hike without embarrassing myself!

This formula does not take metabolism into consideration and it does not give different calories based on gender. As far as I could tell from my research, metabolism could influence the number of calories burned, but gender either doesn't or it is a negligible difference.