Author: Sorting Last Post on Top Message:
UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
3/5/12 1:01 P

GEEKLING, now you're in a position to be much more accurate in future for all of your workouts. :)

Just remember, HRMs are for cardio only.

RACHELG1987 Posts: 96
3/5/12 6:59 A

That game sounds AWESOME!!!! thanks so much for sharing, I totally have to swipe hubby's android this spring and try it out. Now to invest in a jogging/running stroller lol

GEEKLING Posts: 601
3/5/12 3:01 A

OK, HRM acquired.

So just for fun, let's see how the numbers stack up. :)

Mission 5- Paul Revere in wimp mode. (aka 28 minutes on the elliptical in the comfort of my own living room, no random zombies chasing me, just the bare bones mission.)

Sparkpeople fitness tracker: 509 Calories burned
The elliptical: 144 Calories burned
HRM: 376 Calories burned.

So yes, SP is over estimating, but not as much as the built in thingy in the machine itself. I suspect that one use some kind of default assumption that you're a 60 kg person using it. Not closer to double that.

But on the other hand, the test walk with the HRM yesterday showed that for me, SP tracker under estimates calories burned for walking. So I guess on the whole, it evens out.

Edited by: GEEKLING at: 3/5/2012 (03:52)
DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,313)
Fitness Minutes: (15,545)
Posts: 9,713
3/3/12 6:59 P

Geekling, as a suggestion: I got an inexpensive watch-style HRM at WAlmart for $30 - it's probably not as spot-on accurate as the high dollar ones, but it's much better than trying to fiddle with the contacts on an elliptical!

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
3/3/12 2:55 P

LOL, well, most activities will burn around 6-10 calories per minute. Elliptical is relatively full body and can be quite intense if you're pushing yourself, so feel free to estimate that nearer 10 is okay. If you're getting figures of 14, 18, even 20 calories per minute, those are probably inaccurate.

Until and unless you get to buy and wear an HRM, I would suggest tracking it however makes most sense to you. I would suggest not exceeding 10 cal per minute though without a definite HRM confirmation that you're really burning that much (so ie, use 300 cal for a 30 minute session).

GEEKLING Posts: 601
3/3/12 2:42 P

"Also, google for "calories burned on elliptical" and see what other sites are saying. Average it out. "

Ohh the plot thickens!
- gives a slightly higher estimate than the SP one.
- a somewhat lower.
- both a higher or a lower depending on if you guestimate your 'effort' as light, moderate, or vigorous and what 'level' (1) you use.

(1) Mine don't have levels... But I'm guessing they mean how tightly you wind the resistance dial.

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
3/3/12 2:19 P

Buy an HRM... :)

If it's any help, I compared the elliptical at my gym to my HRM and to Spark. IIRC it was roughly something like HRM was 1.2-1.3 * what the machine says, and Spark was about 2.5 * what the machine says. So Spark was WELL over the HRM figure, and the machine was definitely lower than the HRM, but it was much closer.

Maybe log the machine times 1.3 or something? Also, google for "calories burned on elliptical" and see what other sites are saying. Average it out.

GEEKLING Posts: 601
3/3/12 2:07 P

Well I dunno...

Did double check the number for calories burned I got from the elliptical... According to it a 30 minute session that left me dripping with sweat and breathing heavier than a porn-star. Burned less calories than a moderately brisk 30 minute walk. And I sure don't end up in that state from a little walk.

So I trust that number even less than the SP calculation. Guess actual calories burned will remain a mystery. :)

Edited by: GEEKLING at: 3/3/2012 (14:18)
UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
3/3/12 1:59 P

Spark's more reliable than some machines, like treadmills. But less on others, like elliptical. Notice that for Spark's treadmill figures you can enter speed and incline, but for it's one single entry for elliptical, you can't. It'll give you the same burn whether you spent 20 minutes at level 1 and 50 rpm or 20 minutes at level 15 and 90 rpm.

Spark also doesn't cope well with secure web pages. Are you sure it's httpS??? If you don't put http on your URL, Spark does it for you, so since your link didn't start with that you get it, and it's http://https://.... I don't know if there's a way around that for secure URLs.

GEEKLING Posts: 601
3/3/12 5:43 A


Thank you. I will double check with the numbers the machine spit out. Didn't think about that. For some reason I've always figured they'd be even less than reliable than the SP tracker.


It is true, I'm not quite at the point where I'm running outside *yet*. But merely simulating running on one of those infernal contraptions all in the comfort of my own home.


As CHRISTINA791 said, it is indeed the 'Zombies, Run!' game. And for me, it's amazing, anything that can make me look forward to getting all sweaty and still don't involve well, ermmm.. sex. That's a freaking miracle.

CHRISTINA791 SparkPoints: (70,921)
Fitness Minutes: (121,901)
Posts: 789
3/2/12 10:34 P

Zombies, Run!

It's actually pretty awesome (though I just got it yesterday, so I've only done one mission). It's basically a running app combined with a zombie story/game, and it'll work with any pace. I think it's only available for iPhone right now, but it should be out for Android soon.

edit: Hm, for some reason SP isn't recognizing the colon in the URL. It's at

Edited by: CHRISTINA791 at: 3/2/2012 (22:36)
DONNARAEJ SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (1,104)
Posts: 227
3/2/12 10:14 P

What is this zombies game?

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
3/2/12 8:41 P

If you read the subsequent posts, she does say she's using the elliptical, not running.

Unfortunately, Spark's figures for the elliptical are MASSIVELY over stated. I don't know where they got their data from and I wish they'd get rid of it. You're probably not burning half as much as you think you are.

Definitely buy an HRM if you can. If you can't, does the machine itself have a figure? For that type of machine it'll be far more accurate than Spark.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,313)
Fitness Minutes: (15,545)
Posts: 9,713
3/2/12 8:02 P

Okay, here's the thing... if you're running, and using the game I think you are... it's very possible you're doing that much. If you're running, speeding up, then slowing down, etc... you're going to burn quite a bit, although it will take some effort. :)

GEEKLING Posts: 601
3/2/12 6:02 P

A heart rate monitor... Ummm... How do I put this. I'm one of those people who pre the release of this game considered running a dirty word.

(and after playing mission one started getting up an hour earlier so I can squeeze in one more mission as runner five into the day.)

CHRISTINA791 SparkPoints: (70,921)
Fitness Minutes: (121,901)
Posts: 789
3/2/12 5:45 P

Do you have a heart rate monitor? That might give you a more accurate count if you're starting to move into heavier or longer workouts.

I actually got into the habit of adjusting all my numbers every month while I was actively losing. It was helpful for two reasons: I was losing weight, so that changed my needs slightly, plus it let me set an exercise goal that was reasonable (I can try any level of activity for 30 days, and then adjust up or down based on how I feel). I found I had good luck with making small tweaks along the way, and that monthly update was a good check-in for myself.

PS... my zombies chased me up a hill yesterday, and I still beat my fastest 5k record. Crazy!

GEEKLING Posts: 601
3/2/12 5:35 P

Thank you coach Jen.

That number burned for this week just don't seem real. From the SP fitness tracker, I just put in the X minutes of Y -kind of thing. (Mostly sessions on the elliptical while playing 'Zombies, Run!')

I'm rather sceptical about it, which is, I guess why I'm hesitant about adjusting the calorie range yet, just based on this past week. Even if it does look very probable that I'll keep the exercise up for a while at least. Hopefully for a very long time, even.

But would rather like to see how it pans out over a few weeks to get a better average before starting to mess with the calories too much.

Jumping from eating 1200 calories to 1880 is a pretty big change.

SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,581
3/2/12 9:27 A

If you're really burning 5000 calories a week, I'd start eating above your calorie range now. Maybe see what your new range would be with that information, and you can eat towards the lower end of that and see how it goes (weight loss progress, feeling like you have enough energy, etc.) Then if you know you are going to be exercising this way on a regular basis, you can permanently change your goals to reflect that change.

Hope that helps,

Coach Jen

GEEKLING Posts: 601
3/2/12 1:51 A

OK, so I've been doing this whole standard 1200-1500 calories thing for a few months by now, with only sporadic bursts of exercise thrown in. And I've gotten settled in, adjusted to my eating plan. All that.

But I've so far not really accounted for exercise. Simply because I've not been at it other than sporadic bursts now and then. Not really worth doing any adjustments for that odd day, or odd week now and then when the days and weeks between the fitness tracker shows nothing of significance.

All well and good. So far.

Then there is this week. Where a new game entered the stage... That's messing things up a bit.

I'f I'm to believe the calories burned portion of the SP fitness tracker - and I'm not really believing those numbers that seems like an awfully big number for only an hour or two of cardio per day. I'm currently looking at well over 5000 calories 'burned' by the end of the week. And the game's still as fun as I tied on those shoes for my first mission as runner five. So in all it has every potential to keep being in that sort of range for a while longer.

Now, even I realise that if this continues, I am going to have to adjust my calorie intake to compensate the expenditure.

I'm just not quite sure when.

On one hand, I realise that this isn't sustainable, if it keeps up for a longer period than say a week or three.
On the other hand... I'd rather not start messing with my nutrition goals and get used to eating more, in case it doesn't keep up for more than a week or three. And exercise again turns into a brain dribbling out of ears from boredom kind of activity. Because I know going back down on the calorie range again isn't easy.

So yeah, this is a blatant 'reassure me it'll be OK' kind of post.

And just being curious. If you change your exercise habits, how long would you wait before adjusting the nutritional goals?

Page: 1 of (1)  

Other Diet and Nutrition Topics:

Topics: Last Post:
consistency 8/10/2016 5:36:04 PM
Diabetes and Gluten 10/5/2016 6:54:48 AM
need to eat more prtein 8/5/2016 11:23:14 AM
Why does Sparkpeople think I'm pregnant? 6/3/2016 8:39:06 AM
Calories for one-pot homecooked meals? 12/14/2016 10:00:01 AM