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CASERET
SparkPoints: (32,537)
Fitness Minutes: (15,817)
Posts: 34
2/7/12 9:33 P

Coach Dean -
Wow!
Talk about a comprehensive answer!
My husband is glad to hear that the heart rate monitor he bought me for Christmas isn't at fault, and I was (am!) very impressed with your well thought out answer.

You've given me some further research to look into as well!

I'd like to say that I am very impressed with the speed, thoroughness, and thoughtfulness of your response.

Thanks for the help!
Caseret



SP_COACH_DEAN
SparkPoints: (91,406)
Fitness Minutes: (144,332)
Posts: 15,060
2/3/12 5:40 P

Hi, C

There's no way to tell how close to reality those calorie burning numbers are from your data. There is a linear relationship between heart rate and calorie expenditure, but it's different for every person and for every activity that person does. In order to use heart rate to accurately estimate energy expenditure, you'd have to actually measure (a) how many calories you burn while performing that activity at heart rate x, and (b) how many you burn at heart rate y. Then you could use that info to predict how many calories you'd burn doing that same activity at any other heart rate. But you'd have to do the same thing for every different activity that you do, because each activates a different number of muscle fibers. Oviously, heart rate monitors don't have all this info, so they use some generic formulas derived from the results obtained in studies involving small groups of people who actually had their calorie expenditure measured while exercising. Unfortunately, most of us don't resemble the people in these study groups (often male college-age athletes) all that closely, and a lot of our activities tend to be quite a bit different from the activities actually studied. So, the numbers that a heart rate monitor gives us may be relatively close--or may not. They'll tend to be closer when the activity involved is one that's been studied a lot--walking, running, swimming, biking--and the populations studied are more diverse in terms of their general fitness level and efficiency with the specific activity involved. When your activity is a specific exercise class or video that hasn't been studied, it's very hard to guess how accurate the numbers might be.

One way you could get a better idea which set of numbers comes closest to reality for you is to get familiar with the concept of METs (metabolic equivalents) and with estimating how your heart rate corresponds to the MET level of your exercise. You'll need to google MET or metabolic equivalents to read up on this, but basically 1 MET is the amount of energy you expend per minute while at rest, based on your body size. You can estimate what this number is for you by starting with your BMR, and doing the math to turn that into a calories per minute number. For example, if my BMR for a 24-hour day is 2400, then I burn 100 calories per hour, or 1.67 /minute at rest. If my activity or exercise raises my MET level to, say, 6, then I burn 6 times that amount or 10 calories/minute during that activity. There are studies which have been used to assign MET levels for various common physical activities, and compare these to heart rate. For example, a heart rate of 65% of your estimated age-based maximum might correspond to 6 METS. So, when you're exercising at an average heart rate of 65% of your max, your calorie expenditure should be about 6 times your resting rate. This won't be perfectly accurate, either, but it might give you a way to doublecheck the estimates you get from your heart rate monitor or an exercise tracker. Obviously, if the monitor says you're burning 12 calories/minute, but you'd have to be operating at 12 METS to do that, there's something wrong with monitor's estimate, because the capacity to work out at 12 METs would put you up in to same category with Olympic athletes. For most of us ordinary mortals, moderate cardio exercise puts us in the 3-6 MET range, and high intensity (75-85% of heart rate max) is up to 9 METS.

Here's a link to some more info about METs. It also includes a link to a Compendium which provides typical MET values for a lot of common activities.



en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metabolic_equivalent



Hope this helps.

Coach Dean


PS I wouldn't junk your heart rate monitor--as long as it seems accurate as far as your heart rate is concerned. As far as I know, there isn't any brand of HRM which is significantly better than others at estimating calorie burn--even the best has the same inherent limitations I mentioned above.

Edited by: SP_COACH_DEAN at: 2/3/2012 (18:15)


CASERET
SparkPoints: (32,537)
Fitness Minutes: (15,817)
Posts: 34
2/3/12 11:08 A

Coach Dean:
I know I asked this question some time ago, but since then I've gotten a heart rate monitor.(It has a chest strap with a watch that shows the data.)
So, you said "All trackers tend to overestimate calories burned"
However, my heart rate monitor shows that I'm burning MORE calories than the tracker shows emoticon
I've never had a heart rate monitor before, so I'm wondering if it's accurate?

I've kept a log of the data for the past week - can you tell if it's accurate by the data given?

M T W Th F
Workout Tone & Burn Dance Mat Cardio Burst
Tone & Burn 80’s aerobics Cardio Sculpt
Total time 41 50 50 30 32
Time “in zone” 26 27 32 12 21
Calories
burned 508 611 638 336 395
Avg heart rate 133 130 136 120 132
Highest heart
rate 168 173 176 157 166

I know the formatting's a little off, but hopefully you can figure out the data from it emoticon
Also, I'm often not turning the heart rate monitor off until I'm done with my post-workout stretch - but I've checked the calories before and after stretching, and that doesn't seem to add a substantial amount.

Oh - and you might need to know: I'm 39, female, current weight 186

Or if you could point me to a page that show the calculations to figure calorie burn?

I'd like to know if you think the monitor is accurate, or if I should try to exchange the heart rate monitor??? ("try" because it was a Christmas present and my husband threw away the receipt.)


I'd like the calorie count to be accurate so that my nutrition tracker gives me accurate advice.

Thanks!



CASERET
SparkPoints: (32,537)
Fitness Minutes: (15,817)
Posts: 34
11/16/11 12:26 P


"if your main concern is getting a reasonable estimate of how many calories you're burning from the exercise tracker" - That would be what I'm looking for.

Thank you!

Also, this is my first time asking a question on a sparkpeople forum - and I'm amazed by your speedy response.

So once again, thanks, Coach Dean!

Edited by: CASERET at: 11/16/2011 (12:59)


SP_COACH_DEAN
SparkPoints: (91,406)
Fitness Minutes: (144,332)
Posts: 15,060
11/16/11 11:56 A

Hi, C

How to handle the warm up and cool down minutes depends on what you're trying to keep track of--minutes spent doing any physical activity, your time in your "aerobic zone," or your calorie burn. If you want to know your total minutes, you can include all the time associated with your exercise, including the warmup and cool down--that's fine as far as your total fitness minutes is concerned here at SP. If you want to know how much time you're spending with your heart rate up in your aerobic training zone, I wouldn't count the warm ups and cool downs. And if your main concern is getting a reasonable estimate of how many calories you're burning from the exercise tracker, I'd say leave out the warm-up/cool down time when you enter your minutes. All trackers tend to overestimate calories burned, so leaving those minutes out will probably get you a more accurate number.

Hope this helps.

Coach Dean



CASERET
SparkPoints: (32,537)
Fitness Minutes: (15,817)
Posts: 34
11/16/11 11:22 A

But how many minutes do I enter into the tracker when using the Cardio Blast CD?

This may seem like a stupid question, but hear me out, please:
When I do one "10 minute work-out" I am really doing about 20 minutes of exercising, IF I add in the warm up and cool down.
When I do, say, the combination of 3 cardio work outs, for a "30 minute work out", the DVD adds in the warm up and cool down sessions (which it should, I'm not arguing with that!) for an approximate total of 40 minutes altogether.

So, when tracking, do I include any part of the warm up and cool down in my cardio minutes, or not???

To further confuse the matter, the 15 minute "bonus cardio" workout on the "Fit, Firm and Fired Up" DVD IS 15 minutes, including short warm up and cool down sections.

Help! I don't want to enter more minutes than I should, but neither do I want to enter less than I should . . .

emoticon



CHAZ27
SparkPoints: (6,962)
Fitness Minutes: (5,178)
Posts: 20
6/18/11 4:40 P

Thanks coach, I suspected as much--just needed an affirmation.



SP_COACH_DEAN
SparkPoints: (91,406)
Fitness Minutes: (144,332)
Posts: 15,060
6/18/11 9:47 A

Hi, C

The cardio tracker doesn't work the same as the strength tracker--no boxes to check off the specific exercises you do. With cardio, you just enter the activity and time (and calories burned if you estimate that yourself) each time you workout. You can choose the activity from your own favorites list, or browse our list of exercises, or manually type in whatever you want. After you hit the enter button, the info will automatically be added to your daily and weekly tracking total, but you have to hit the close button on the page where you entered it first.

Hope this helps.

Coach Dean



CHAZ27
SparkPoints: (6,962)
Fitness Minutes: (5,178)
Posts: 20
6/18/11 9:34 A

I'm not quite clear on the difference between having set up my exercises and them being checked off as complete. The cardio and strength training programs have set up well. I can see a box to check off for strength training but I am not sure when I have indicated the cardio is done. Is there a frame that shows my cardio fitness inputs are made? What a great system/program, with the work-out room in my neighborhood and the sparkpeople fitness program I am having a blast--thanks!



 
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