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KAPELAKIN Posts: 1,984
2/19/12 12:19 A

I never pay attention to "distance" on the elliptical. For whatever it's worth, I've found that on the PreCor machine at the gym, using the arm levers throughout the workout, I need to be at about resistance level 12 and running about 120 RPMs to hit the same estimated calorie burn per minute as what Spark calculates for me. If you're going less than this, the Spark estimates are probably too high per minute.

VPGIRL06 Posts: 942
2/18/12 9:33 P

When you run, you use more of your body to propel yourself, as well as absorb the impact that running entails. You burn more calories running the same distance as you did on the elliptical *unless you were at a high high level of resistance*

Basically-don't use running calories. The calories on the elliptical were more accurate, if you just want a general idea. If you want a more accurate measure of how hard you work, get a heart rate monitor , to ensure that you are at 60-80∞ of your max HR.

MARATHONDAD SparkPoints: (28,046)
Fitness Minutes: (18,075)
Posts: 1,260
2/18/12 9:24 P

I always use my garmen watch for running ill take those numbers before sp numbers

HALFMARATHON20 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (21,783)
Posts: 44
2/18/12 8:19 P

I agree a heart rate monitor works great. I do not trust the ones on the equipment however. It is best to invest in a watch or a heart strap. They are much more economical these days.

MARATHONDAD SparkPoints: (28,046)
Fitness Minutes: (18,075)
Posts: 1,260
2/18/12 8:04 A

I just use the milleage from the machine but I guess if you are going to use their milleage or calories just use that all the time then

MPLANE37 SparkPoints: (78,144)
Fitness Minutes: (74,377)
Posts: 2,170
2/18/12 6:42 A

Actually it all depends on the resistance setting used. When I set the resistance to max on the elliptical, at every stride I notice that I lift myself up, because the wheel would not turn so easily due to a high resistance at the wheel. In this high resistance setting, the work done is two fold. One is the work done turning the wheel, and the other is work done by lifting your body up. So in this setting, actually one can end up burning far more than even running per unit time. When the resistance is not set so high, you don't lift yourself up with every stride, instead, your body weight fixes you and your legs work against the resistance of the wheel, which is the only work being done. Consequently, on an elliptical, everything is a question of resistance set. SP assumes moderate resistance setting during the elliptical workout. In order to be accurate, I would use a heart rate monitor, but for me I have seen that SP prediction coincides with the heart rate monitor prediction when the resistance is set at medium intensity. The fact that it also partially depends on your weight implies that when you set a resistance at which you lift yourself up slightly, your calories burned should coincide with the SP prediction. That means, you can set it at medium or slightly higher than medium setting, and accept the predicted calories burned by the SP fitness tracker.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,430
2/18/12 2:53 A

Running burns more calories than walking, because you are actually airborne for part of each stride. But with an elliptical, you are not getting airborne, and tracking this as 'running' will likely be an overestimate.

With the elliptical, you are working against the resistance of the machine, not against your own bodyweight. Spark's calorie calculations assume heavier people burn more calories - this is true for weight-bearing exercises like walking, running, cardio DVD's, but doesn't hold for resistance-based activities like the elliptical. With 60+ pounds to lose, Spark is probably overestimating the calories you are burning. (No personal judgement intended here - I'm just talking about the math).

The actual calories burned on the elliptical will depend on the resistance level you set. Burning 800 calories per hour on the elliptical is possible, but you would need a fairly high speed and resistance combination, and a pretty good level of fitness to maintain this level of intensity for 30 minutes or an hour.

I'd go with the more conservative of Spark's estimate and the machine's estimate.


COLUMBINE2 Posts: 2,201
2/18/12 1:09 A

I'm not really answering your question because papamikie did a good job.

I just want to encourage you to invest in a heart rate monitor. It is absolutely my greatest motivator. It does give more accurate feedback but there's a better benefit. I play "mind games" with it & greatly increase my workout and intensity.

When I near the end of a mile, I may have burned 278 calories. My brain says, "I'm so close; why not go for a nice round 300 calories?"

I try to not look at it and overshoot 300 calories. Next time I look at it, I may be nearing 1.5 miles. And I think," Gosh I'd really like to enter 2 miles on my tracker and I'm almost there."

So I'll go further and try not to watch the heart rate monitor. Well guess what I overshot the 2 miles and I'm at 320 calories. I'd really like to track 350 calories, "so I'll just go a little further or up the intensity."

The darn device will "trick" me into shoveling for an hour longer & burning 600 calories. I started out just shoveling a little path & I've ended up doing the whole driveway & burning 600 calories at 70% of my maximum heart rate. What a great tool!

PAPAMIKIE SparkPoints: (48,308)
Fitness Minutes: (108,468)
Posts: 3,984
2/18/12 12:55 A

A 160 pound male will burn approximately 100 calories per mile running. A heart rate monitor can help to at least give you consistent feedback on your workout. You can also use a percieve rate of effort. Most trackers will be within the ball park. The error in the math is about 10 to 15 percent, so even the best estimator is not too accurate.

An eliptical is difficult to assess because you are using a resistance setting, incline, etc to adjust the amount of effort require. When I was at the gym there was a gentle man about my age and we started out about the same weight. We both often used the same eliptical devices, however my was typically set at a resistance of 16, while his was set at 2 or 3. I typically did about 10km per hour he typically did about 3.5 so given the same amount of work out time our calorie burn would be very different. Because there was no way of knowing what is going on behind the math the calorie burn on a particular machine does not tell us too much about what is happening or how we could compare the estimates to other similar machine, or other workouts. What ever estimates you use, do some real world testing. are you loosing weight, or inches, are you feeling stronger, fitter, etc.

This is not even close to an exact science.

JOANNE222 Posts: 44
2/18/12 12:23 A

I'm wondering how people track their exercise. The elliptical machine that I use at the gym tracks both distance and calories burned (as do most exercise machines) but I noticed that they don't give the same results. For example, today I was on the elliptical for 33 mins and the machine said I burned 112 calories, however when I updated my results on the site I decided to put in the miles I "ran". The machine indicated it was 1.88 miles so I added that to the mileage tracking portion of the site and it said I burned 195 calories instead!!! Now, I'm all for going with tracking mileage because it makes me look better BUT which one is correct? And why the difference?
Also, I noticed that selecting Elliptical from the list of exercises says you'll burn over 400 calories in 30 minutes. I've never been able to reach that number...Why are there so many different end results?

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