Wednesday, December 4, 2013

More Exercise Estimates

How do you calculate you calorie burns from your workouts (or do you not worry about the numbers?) If you've been following my blog at all, you know, I'm a numbers gal. But getting a correct calorie count is tricky. Who do you trust?  I addressed the issue once a couple months ago (Exercise Estimates) and I've continued to try tracking the different variations from workout to workout, and from the different gadgets and machines. 

The picture above is from a 30 minute/2.25 mile treadmill workout. 
The treadmill said 303 calories. 
My Fitbit said 242. 
My HRM said 225. 

I love my elliptical, and I usually get in five 20 minute sessions a day. I do always mark down the numbers from my machine itself. I do NOT always put on my HRM, or start/stop my Fitbit to get a specific reading.  But last week I did try to do just that, so I would have three different estimates for the same workout. It was interesting to see the results.

Machine readouts ... 209, 201, 211
HRM estimates ... 149, 147, 155
Fitbit calculations ... 191, 186, 182

Oh course I had to get the counts for a bike workout again too ...
30 minutes/8 miles
Machine ... 211
HRM ... 192
Fitbit ... 319/158
the Fitbit overestimates when worn on my sock
the second number is my  manual entry using Fitbit's online calculations.

Not really "exercise" ... but I thought I'd compare a 40min Lawn Mow.
The numbers came in pretty darn close!

I do always wear my HRM for my Jillian workouts (30DS, Ripped in 30) and it always comes in significantly higher than the Fitbit - which makes sense, as Fitbit can't calculate for many of the movements during those routines. It is interesting to watch how it can still vary from workout to workout (even when I am doing the exact same video), and how quickly my heart rate can change, going up and down, and which exercises make it go up ...

It was a good exercise for me. While the numbers may "only" be off by 50 calories or so, when you add that up over multiple workouts ... it's a LOT.  Generally for my elliptical workouts, I've just been going by the Fitbit estimate (knowing that the machine was probably overestimating, but not bothering to put on the HRM every single time).  I'm going to continue to try and track and watch for trends and make adjustments in my calorie calculations so that as I look at my numbers, they are as correct as I can get them.

Linking Up with


  1. Wow that's interesting. I just ordered a Polar FT4 and I can't wait to see what it has to say compared to just tracking my activity on MFP!

  2. I used to worry, but I realized it was my Virgo OCD talking, so I stopped worrying. I get in 30-45 minutes of dance, about 6 days a week. How long per day varies. Which day off, varies. Variety, for me re exercise particulars, keeps me sane. But we each gotta do what works for us! :)

  3. I don't count my numbers. I'm too lazy, haha! I admire you for being so diligent. I just workout until I feel worn out.

  4. Interesting how all are different. I try not to eat my calories that I burn so I don't pay too much attention to the numbers usually. I have the fit bit and I enter in the activity in MFP.
    Thanks for linking up! :)


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