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SIMONEKP Posts: 2,760
6/19/13 2:54 P

They are not completely accurate but I find them to be more accurate than online calculators

6/18/13 11:06 P

My HRM with the chest strap always tells me I burn WAY more calories than SP does. For example, an hour on the stationary bike--HRM tells me I burn about 1200 calories! I can't find my HRM since I moved. I use SP's calories, b/c right now I am losing weight, but if I stopped losing, I would try putting in those on my HRM (which would require me to up my calorie intake) and see if that made a difference. While I'm not sure I burn as much as my HRM says, I'm fairly sure I do burn more than SP says. My weight comes off more than what my "calories-in-calories-out" equation amounts to, by quite a bit, but I'm fine underestimating calories burned as long as it doesn't interfere with my weight loss. Now, if I find I'm hungry, even while eating nutritious foods, I don't hesitate to eat more food, even if it means going over my calorie range (after all, I am NOT starving myself!), which probably helps keep my metabolism from slowing down when I'm burning more than SP says.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,443
6/17/13 8:55 P

Running and walking are well-studied and understood activities, and online calculators usually produce reasonable estimates for these. The major variables in calories burned are bodyweight and total distance covered, and these are easily incorporated into the calculation.

HRM's do have an advantage in being more realiable when the intensity of an exercise is hard to objectively measure eg. aerobics.

However, high blood pressure and some medications can lead to an accelerated heart rate over what the exercise itself justifies, which can lead the HRM to overestimating the calories burned, even though it is accurately counting the number of heart beats.

467 does seem high for 1.87 miles (especially for a fairly slow running pace). Most people work out in the range of 6-10 calories per minute, although more vigorous exercise can get to 10-12 cal/min. A fit person really pushing themselves might burn 12-14 cal/min. A figure of 16+ is not really feasible.

I note that the HRM estimate is nearly 25% higher than the online estimate for running/walking, but 100% higher for cycling. The cycling likely reflects the hills (online calculators assume level ground), and in this case there is good reason to believe it is higher than the online estimate. Scaling back the cycling by 20-25% would give you low 300s in terms of calories.


SKINMINA SparkPoints: (41,489)
Fitness Minutes: (13,635)
Posts: 741
6/17/13 6:45 P

My HRM usually calculates closest, in my opinion.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,313)
Fitness Minutes: (15,545)
Posts: 9,713
6/17/13 5:14 P

Remember that SP uses general estimates based only on your weight; your HRM knows your actual intensity and effort. Usually HRMs are about the closest estimate you can get outside of a lab. With that said, if you have unusually high heart rates, it can throw things off a bit. Your burn does seem high, but depending on where you are, what you're doing, and what kind of intensity we're talking, that's not out of the range of abnormal. I'd go with the HRM, personally; SP doesn't take things like hills into account. :)

CHEETARA79 SparkPoints: (107,420)
Fitness Minutes: (107,832)
Posts: 3,878
6/17/13 4:32 P

I'd go with the HRM if it has a chest strap.

MWOOD8 SparkPoints: (2,978)
Fitness Minutes: (2,308)
Posts: 14
6/17/13 3:22 P

I have a mid-grade HRM with a chest strap that I've been using for about a month now with running, bicycling and working out with DVDs. It seems to be pretty accurate, I've taken my heartrate manually a few times during resting and exercising, and it seems to be calculating accurately. My question is with calorie burn-it's always reading higher than sparkpeople calculator.

For a 29 minute run/walk, 1.87 miles, 15.30min/mile
SP says 366 cals
RunDouble app says 393 cals
HRM says 467 cals

28 minute bike ride in a really hilly area, 3.6 miles
SP says 197 cals
HRM says 398 cals

Which one should I trust? Both SP and my HRM have my weight and height inputted in. I know it's not a huge deal, but I'd still like to get an idea.

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