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MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,443
9/26/12 1:40 A

For stationary bikes and ellipticals, you are really working against the resistance of the machine, rather than your body weight. What matters in terms of calories burned is the combination of speed and resistance settings. At a low resistance setting, you can cruise along at a relatively high speed and not burn all that many calories. Or by cranking up the resistance, you can burn a lot of calories even at a moderate speed.

Online calculators (including Spark) don't know the resistance settings you were using, and tend to use broad averages of exercise intensity.

Unless you are using a fairly high resistance setting, I'd go with the more conservative of the two estimates.


JKSANDS36 SparkPoints: (1,609)
Fitness Minutes: (555)
Posts: 6
9/26/12 1:30 A

thanks for all the responses everyone!
Looks like ill be looking at heart rate monitors next time I go shopping :)

ETHELMERZ Posts: 19,747
9/25/12 10:37 P

It helps in the long run, to not get so danged technical. You will tire of it, and quit, you are making it harder on yourself. Keep it simple!

9/25/12 9:07 P

Even heart rate monitors are based on algorithms which are based on a bell shaped curve meaning that they have a built in error. I recently saw a news article which said ellipticals are on average 30% off in their recordings.

KRISTEN_SAYS SparkPoints: (81,472)
Fitness Minutes: (47,657)
Posts: 5,092
9/25/12 8:41 P

I highly recommend a heart rate monitor! I love mine!

EEE777 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 23
9/25/12 5:53 P

I never trust what the machines tell me. I was on an elliptical machine the other day that claimed I had burned over 1,000 calories in half and hour and didn't even ask me for my weight.

What I've done if I'm looking to get a better estimate of calories is done some research online into what the typical calorie burn is for that exercise per mile/km/etc for someone of my weight at a given speed. In my experience, machines do tend to give a fairly consistent reading so it can be helpful to see if you've burned more calories or fewer calories relative to previous workouts. For example, maybe you normally do 40 minutes at a steady pace but you want to try a shorter workout with some high intensity intervals and compare the relative calorie burn. One other thing, others may not agree, but I like using a heart rate monitor to get a sense of whether I'm getting a similarly challenging workout on one piece of cardio equipment compared to another.

SP_COACH_NANCY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
Posts: 46,222
9/25/12 5:30 P

Hi JK,

Remember all calorie calculators are just estimates based on an algorithm (mathematical formula) so try not to get too concerned about the figure. I will say, exercise equipment can be off by as much as 10% and this is when the equipment is maintained. If you are looking for the most accurate means, you may want to consider investing in a heart rate monitor that calculates calories burned based on your data (gender, age, weight, etc), then you can manually enter in this figure in your My Fitness Tracker.

I hope this helps!

Coach Nancy

JKSANDS36 SparkPoints: (1,609)
Fitness Minutes: (555)
Posts: 6
9/25/12 5:24 P

So I have a exersize bike that tracks your heart rate, calories burned, mileage ect.
& the bikes estimates are way off any calculator I find online (the ones that ask for your weight, distance, speed, ect)

& the 2 diff numbers are WAY off. So how do you tell which ones right?
For my records I just been guessing the lowest calorie or averaging them out but who knows how acurate that is.

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