Oxygen consumption is the best way to assess calorie burn, but this is hard to measure. Generally (but not always), your heart rate increases in a predictable fashion as it works harder to pump the oxygen from your lungs to the muscles that need it.
If you are mixing the pace up a bit, an HRM is probably the only way to assess this.
However, people with high blood pressure, or taking certain medications, will see their HR increase much faster than the exercise truly warrants, and the heart rate method will not produce accurate results.
Not only will you get there a lot faster on level 1, but you'll also not feel very challenged by that. So you'll work out less hard, for much less time.
Doing it at level 20 will take much longer and also be much harder to do. So you'll spend way more time exercising, and at a much higher intensity.
So the burn will be vastly different.
Ellipticals and stationary bikes are the devil to approximate! If you want to be anything like remotely realistic, you really do need to buy and wear an HRM. No other technique works because there just aren't enough variables you can plug into any estimator for resistance and speed.
Fitness Minutes: (7,729)
9/22/12 4:30 P
How does one calculate calories burned from HR?
Fitness Minutes: (40,628)
9/22/12 4:00 P
DRAGONCHILDE is correct. Calories burned in an elliptical workout can vary drastically. It is best to wear a HRM during the workout and use that calories burned estimate.
Fitness Minutes: (14,252)
9,692 9/22/12 3:35 P
Not really; the elliptical gets most of its calorie burn from resistance. You can use the estimates here, but they tend to be a bit high, and don't take that into account. I generally use my HRM to estimate elliptical calories burn. At no resistance, you wouldn't burn more than walking. But at a high resistance... you could easily burn much more than you could running traditionally!
Fitness Minutes: (7,729)
9/22/12 3:10 P
Is it possible to figure out how many calories you've burned by distance on the elliptical machine?
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