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MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,289
4/13/13 6:55 A

Thanks. I hike and backpack regularly in the mountains, and want to get a good idea of how many calories I am burning to balance with what I am eating.


DOUGLYE Posts: 1,541
4/13/13 1:15 A

Mapmywalk adds 20 calories to the static distance calculator (348 vs 368 calories). I am not convinced that mapmywalk takes elevation into account.

. . . and like you. . . I am not convinced that 648 calories is 100% accurate either ;-)

It is interesting though, that the smart phone app 'endomondo' comes very close to the HRM reading WITHOUT the HRM attached. As is suggested elsewhere, workout equipment (and maybe workout apps) invariably estimates higher calories than actual.
My main interest in the HRM was not to pinpoint a calorie count, but rather to periodically check and ensure I get a proper aerobic workout.

By the way - . . . impressive calculations (I mean that sincerely)

SIMONEKP Posts: 2,617
4/11/13 10:39 A

Personally, I find that my HRM is a better estimator of calorie expenditure than the online calculators because I don't know all the factors the calculators are using.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,289
4/11/13 2:42 A


I'm pretty sure Spark assumes a flat gradient, and certainly climbing does burn more calories. But 642 calories for an hour of walking is a LOT.

Naismith's Rule suggests a vertical meter is equivalent in effort to 8 horizontal meters - 170 m ascent would be the equivalent of walking an extra 1.3 km, or an additional 22%. 22% in addition to 348 would be 425 calories.

Using a treadmill at 5% incline for 30 minutes at 6.4 kmh would give a vertical climb of 160 meters over 3.2 km, and burn 281 calories, compared with 30 minutes at the same speed on the level burning 168 calories, or a total of 449.

I'm not disputing that is what your HRM told you, but 648 calories seems significantly higher than other estimates.

Also, I believe that the calorie counter in takes into account elevation changes.


DOUGLYE Posts: 1,541
4/11/13 1:23 A

The area I walk for exercise have lots of hills. I am going to take a wild guess and say the Sparks fitness tracker estimates a flat grade, therefore their calorie estimate will be significantly lower than actual for me.

I JUST received a Zephyr Heart Rate Monitor which links with the app Endomondo on my smart phone. My walk today was 6.12 km (3.8 miles) in 1 hour. The altitude change was 110 meters (360 feet) and the cumulative ascent (up and down and up and down etc) was 170 meters (557 feet).

Spark Fitness tracker said I burnt 348 calories.
My HR monitor said it was 642.

Either one is better than sitting on the sofa watching TV, but the HR monitor probably closer resembles my calories burnt.

Rather than presuming my HR monitor is a precise science instrument, I am using it to ensure my heart rate is at the correct intensity for an aerobic workout. Any workout becomes easier over time and I want to ensure that I continue to get a good aerobic workout.

It's my personal interval trainer in a box

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,289
3/25/13 6:46 A

Activities like walking and running are pretty well studied and understood, and online calculators produce pretty reasonable estimates of calories burned. An HRM is likely to be of only limited additional value for such activities.

But for other forms of exercise, such as general aerobics, make it much harder to objectively judge the intensity, and HRM's can be a good way to measure how many calories are burned.

However, blind faith in HRM's is not always justified - some medications, or high blood pressure, can lead to an increased heart rate over what the exercise justifies, and can lead to an overestimate of the calories burned.


SP_COACH_NANCY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
Posts: 46,222
3/24/13 9:58 P

Hi Les,

Remember all these devices are just estimates of calories burn, however a HRM is a better estimate versus the calorie expenditure calculators as they use your heart rate as feedback. And we do know there is a linear relationship to heart rate and oxygen consumption--which is how calories are expended. Calories expended are based on the amount of oxygen one consumes in relation to large muscle activation which in turn leads to an increase in heart rate in order to get the oxygen and nutrients your muscles need to keep moving. That said, heart rate alone is not an indication of calories burn, but is a factor when measured in conjunction with muscle activation.

I hope this helps!

Coach Nancy

GETAGRIP4 SparkPoints: (1,930)
Fitness Minutes: (956)
Posts: 12
3/24/13 9:49 P

I am trying to find out if a HR monitor is the most accurate way to know how many calories you burn with exercise or not? I wear one for my cardio but want to know if the numbers it puts out are accurate, would love some input.

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