Get a good Heart Rate Monitor like Polar, it tells you how many calories you've really burned, and you can do fitness tests along the way to adjust. Also, it is great while working out, because it shows you your target and current heart rate so you know when you need to pick up the pace! I also love that I can keep walking untill I've burned my "goal" calories!
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Before I had a heart rate monitor I was totally overestimating my calorie burn and underestimating my calorie intake. My heart rate monitor detects how many cals I burn, what my heart rate is at so I can make sure to stay in my fat burning zone, and I know how many more or less calories I should/shouldn't eat! I highly recommend one!
The heart rate monitors and calorie counters on exercise machines aren't very accurate. I have a heart rate monitor that has an alarm when I'm not in the target zone for cardio and it counts calories. It's like having a personal trainer to tell you to push harder without the cost of one!
I bought myself a heart rate monitor and wear it whenever I exercise -- even when I am just walking. In addition to measuring my heart rate, the monitor keeps track of the time spent and calories burned. It even stores the information -- and it doubles as a watch. (It's from Polar.)
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