The machine and a heart rate monitor will be using different methods to estimate calorie burn even with the same heart rate. Calorie burn isn't directly about heart rate, it is a common myth that it is. In a lab, oxygen use is a more common/more accurate way to measure calorie burn. During aerobic exercise, the heart beats faster with exertion in order to supply the muscles with the oxygen they need, but there are other reasons the heart can beat faster that are unrelated.
HRM manufacturers came up with formulas to estimate oxygen use from heart rate and to estimate calorie burn as a result. A HRM usually is factoring in your average heart rate compared to your "maximum" and factoring in your profile stats. I'd probably just use the HRM if correctly set up and you are doing aerobic exercise.
Machines will each use a different formula usually based on distance, WATTS, resistance and maybe your weight/profile stats. It will vary by machine, and some don't actually use heart rate even if they display it. The estimates may be quite different and both are just educated guesses and may be guessing high or low for you.
If you have a good HRM, I would suggest just using it for all your cardio because you will have a consistent means of comparison. If you wore your hrm and used the elliptical one day and did the same on this other machine another day--you might likely find that your HRM credits the more difficult workout higher. And you would be using a consistent method to compare the effect each machine has on your heart. It will be less useful with non-aerobic activity though.
By the way, your calorie burn doesn't sound low to me though--if the elliptical credited more it may have been overestimating. If I work as hard as I can for an hour--I will see about 500 calories burned on my heart rate monitor (the machines often much higher, but my HRM seems more accurate when I eat those calories and compare to my progress). This is so variable by the person as it depends on your size ad a lot of individual factors. It is possibly impossible to have a perfectly accurate estimate, so I think it can help just to use one method of estimation consistently for a while and see how it compares with your results.
I dug out my heart monitor watch...it is almost right on with the hrm on the machine. So I know I'm burning more calories than the machine says.
Oh, and in case anyone wondered what this machine really is...it's an Adaptive Motion Trainer, I've learned. It's so much tougher than an eliptical if you want it to be! It's been kicking my butt the last few days, and the scale has shown it :-) I'm honestly proud of myself when I get through a full workout on this thing, so I'm sticking with it.
Fitness Minutes: (65,208)
8,590 6/19/14 7:32 P
You are probably burning more calories on the Star Trac machine than you are on the elliptical, because you are working harder. Never go by what the machine says you are burning. My HRM says I am burning significantly less calories than the elliptical machine says I am. I know from experience that when I'm "working hard" - running or doing something that gets my heart rate up very high - I burn about 8 to 11 calories per minute. When I'm doing something moderate like the elliptical machine, it's only 5 to 6 calories burned per minute. Just standing up and walking around burns 3 to 4 calories a minute. So these days I generally go by Rate of Perceived Exertion and know that if my heart rate is up there and I'm feeling the burn, that is what counts the most. Not anything a machine tells me.
I'm not familiar with that machine, but I do know that counters on the machines tend to be extremely generic, and the older the machine or more use it gets, the more likely it will be more off. If you want a reasonably accurate count of calories burned, your best bet is to get a heart rate monitor, ideally one with a chest strap. Polar makes some fantastic ones for reasonably budgets.
Starting: 41.1 BMI and extremely sedentary Current: 28.0 BMI with strength-training and low-impact cardio Mini-goal: 29.9 BMI (about 164 lb) - DONE on 8/6/14! I'm no longer obese! Mini-goal: 5K walk or run Mini-goal: 24.9 BMI (about 136 lb) Mini-goal: half-marathon walk or run GOAL: 23 BMI (about 125 pounds), fit and active
current weight: 163.4
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
6/19/14 9:57 A
Rule #1 of cardio machines: the heart rate monitors/calorie counters built in are almost never accurate. A heart rate monitor that you buy yourself will be much more accurate in the long run.
Also, the new machines are probably harder because you're not used to the different mechanics compared to the machines you used to use. I don't like ellipticals for that reason: they force your body to move in a specific way that isn't necessarily natural.
I have a question about whether I should continue using this cardio equipment or not, since my goal is to burn calories and lose weight (I do pilates and strength training to tone up!).
I found these Star Trac elliptical-type things at the gym. I don't know really what they are, there is no name on them except Star Trac. They're not like regular elliptical machines, using them feels like you're trying to run through deep water or mud. It is TOUGH. I have been doing traditional elliptical and crossramp machines, but those have gotten easy...I struggle to get my heart rate up into the aerobic zone even on the highest hill/resistance settings. But on those machines I burn between 550-700 calories in an hour (inputting my age and weight).
On this Star Trac thing, I have to work so hard it's crazy, feels like an awesome workout! But I'm only burning like 170 calories an hour according to the machines. At first I thought the counter on one machine was bad, but I've used about 6 different ones now and they all say the same thing...175-190 calories in 60 minutes when I input my age and weight.
Is it worth it to keep going with this considering I'm burning so many fewer calories? Or do the benefits of having a difficult workout outweigh the lower calories burned, even though weight loss is my #1 goal?
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