Meljones, I agree with other, this isn't worth being "frustrated" about.
" can not figure out how many calories I am burning. I was using online calculators and then I bought a watch that measures your time, weight, age, HR...etc and the only bad thing about it is that you have to determine how intense your workout is and select 1 - 5 (1 easy 5 extreme). I think I am somewhere around 3 when I am done...I can still breathe but I am winded and sweating. After a 30 minute workout (treadmill or circuit training) if I enter the intensity at 3 it says I burn around 430 calories and I just think that is WAY to much. I would guess it to be around 250 for treadmill and 350 for circuit training. My heart rate is around 140. Is there a more accurate way to find out how many calories I really am burning?"
The difference between what your device says and what you believe you burned probably isn't big enough to ruin your results. And it is quite possible that both are not exact. Calorie burn estimates are just estimates--hopefully educated estimates based on objective criteria but even then they are not always exact or correct. It doesn't matter that much since your body knows the truth. I would probably log your heart rate monitor watch results because it should be consistent and directly responding to your exertion in that workout. I would probably also note the heart rate for the workout in the notes in the log (if you aren't logging it elsewhere) as that can show you improvements in aerobic fitness when you notice the same workout starts to result in a lower heart rate and lower hrm estimated calorie burn. Using a fairly generic estimate from a database is probably just based on your weight and average calorie burns for that activity. So it won't give you clues to improvements in your fitness or whether you were working harder one day or phoning it in another day.
Does your heart rate monitor have a chest strap or a way to monitor your heart rate continuously? Or do you have to press a sensor for the pulse? I ask because when you press a sensor it will be based only on your heart rate at that time so may not be as accurate as one that is constantly monitoring. The information on your pulse during a workout can still be beneficial and useful though.
I guess my advice is to consistently log based on what tools you have--I would probably use your hrm even if it isn't ideal (for cardio exercise anyway). And of course continue to exercise and include exercise for your muscles (strength), stretching and exercise for your heart and lungs (cardio) and work at a level that challenges you a little. Stay consistent and exercise for fitness. Then use your diet for the weigh loss aspect.
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