If you can afford it, I would spring for a good heart rate monitor. It's still not perfect, but much more accurate because you get a continuous, accurate reading on your individual heart rate. I like Polar and have used this brand for years. It is also compatible with the machines at most gyms.
What I have found is that the calorie burns on most machines are incredibly off, even if you enter your age and weight. As your body becomes more efficient at an exercise, you burn far fewer calories. Cycling, since my body is most adapted to that, is usually off by more than a third. The treadmill used to be closer to my actual burn, but as I've adapted to that, it gets more and more off.
You also can better gauge your calorie burn with other activities as well. I never even come close to burning the calories it says I should from Zumba. If you are basing your calorie input on these imprecise measures, you could end up consuming hundreds of extra calories. If you do decide to make the investment, get the type with the strap for continuous monitoring. It's an excellent investment.
On spark if you entered just the time and distance, then absolutely it's not taking account of your incline, or your sporadic bursts of speed. It would assume consistent pace and flat surface.
In this instance, because there is information Spark is not privvy to, I would use the treadmill's value.
Deb, in New Zealand
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
46,222 1/21/13 8:45 P
Remember all calorie calculators, including those on the machines themselves are just estimates of calories burn. However, machines have been noted to have a large margin of error especially if they are not well-maintained. My thought is it is always better to underestimate calories burn, although if find yourself getting hungry with the current number (as one of the factors used to determine your calorie range is your calorie burn figure) you may need to make some adjustments down the road.
I always feel cheated too. I just accept the fact and feel good about my workout anyway. I do a HIIT on my treadmill hoping that will help me feel better about the whole thing. I also like doing it too.
Fitness Minutes: (1,417)
1/21/13 8:34 P
I don't know what I should do for my calories burned. I average on my treadmill 220, but when I enter the 3.5 walk it gives me less calories burned? Is this because it's not taking into account the incline that I might use or that I do burst at 4.3 mph? Should I just use the lesser of the calories? I kinda feel cheated, lol.
SparkPeople, SparkCoach, SparkPages, SparkPoints, SparkDiet, SparkAmerica, SparkRecipes, DailySpark, and other marks are trademarks of SparkPeople, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
SPARKPEOPLE is a registered trademark of SparkPeople, Inc. in the United States, European Union, Canada, and Australia. All rights reserved.