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FLUFFYWOOL SparkPoints: (1,902)
Fitness Minutes: (946)
Posts: 75
5/30/12 10:41 A

I finally broke down and bought a heart rate monitor, because everything I'd heard made me not trust the machines at the gym or the tracker here. I was really surprised to find that the machine estimate was actually VERY close to what my monitor says - within 5 cals in a 30 minute session. Probably because I always put in my personal info first. They are both a couple hundred less than what the tracker would have me estimate though :) For now I'd go with the lower number, until you decide you're ready to purchase.

Monthly progress:
SW 5/7/12 - 230
6/7/12 - 223.1 (-6.9)
MORGANM0729 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 33
5/30/12 10:36 A

Hello, Ecarson!

Heart rate monitors are definitely a great way to go, but if you don't have the money or don't want the hassle, you can always calculate how many Calories you burned during an exercise with the MET value and your body weight.

I am a Master's Student in Applied Nutrition and Exercise, and I've written a blog detailing the Calories burned in various activities- many of my clients became discourage after having spin teachers tell them they'd "burned 1000 Calories!" during a class but then not see those results on a scale, so this has been a useful tool for them to actually discern an accurate Calorie expenditure/"burn" while exercising-

Best of luck!

HAPPYERIN Posts: 326
5/30/12 8:49 A

Thanks everyone! I guess it's time to do some shopping!

GRACEMCC45 Posts: 1,134
5/30/12 4:47 A


Heart rate monitor.



Lost 65lbs in 15 months to get healthy and in top shape to try to get pregnant, and succeeded! Had our first baby in February 2013!

I only gained 32lbs in my pregnancy (and immediately lost half within a few weeks of his birth). April 1st is my full restart date.
UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
5/30/12 4:18 A

I agree. Spark is very reliable for running, walking and cycling (and probably others), but not so much for elliptical or exercycle, where your only resistance is magnetic, not your own bodyweight. Notice that neither of these activities let you specify resistance.

Use the lower figure ... save up and buy an HRM.

Deb, in New Zealand
DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (58,536)
Fitness Minutes: (14,252)
Posts: 9,692
5/29/12 9:35 P

ACtually, reports here on the message boards indicate that Sparkpeople's estimates may be off by quite a bit for ellipticals... the reports are usually very high, and there's no way to set resistance on them. I think that in this case, I would go with the lower of the two estimates. And invest in a heart rate monitor so I don't have to trust either!

Writer, mother, wife, and breadwinner. I love to run, but running doesn't love me, so I'm switching to my low-impact bike.

I'm not pregnant, just fat: My blog.
SP_COACH_NANCY SparkPoints: (158,833)
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
Posts: 46,222
5/29/12 9:26 P


Below is a link to SparkPeople's Ask the Experts response to your question. I hope this help!

Coach Nancy

HAPPYERIN Posts: 326
5/29/12 8:37 P

I only started tracking my calories burned a few weeks ago and was using Spark's estimations. Tonight I did an hour on the elliptical machine and noted the estimation on the machine for the first time. When I input the exercise into Spark, the machine's total was about 300 calories LOWER than Spark. I'm wondering which to go by?

I know that different machines can give different results. I am not ready to invest in a monitor yet, so I was wondering if those of you that have monitors have noticed whether Spark is pretty accurate? Thanks!

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