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6/20/09 11:28 P

I just recently bought a heart rate monitor, which transmits via wireless to the arc trainer. I noticed before buying the heart rate monitor that the arc trainer readings for calories burned were much higher than, say, when i felt i was working at about the same intensity on an elliptical.
Now that I have the monitor, which I believe to be more or less accurate, I do find that I am able to burn more calories on the arc trainer. I know it's a big investment (mine was about $90) but it has been really helpful for me to track calories burned because I like going to the gym, but I also like exercising at home with videos and I'm able to tell how much I'm burning then.

7/12/08 11:54 A

I definitely think the machine overestimates the calories burned. I don't even put in my actual weight (so it "thinks" I weigh 60+ pounds less than I do), and it still overestimates the calories burned by 100-150 per half hour as compared to my HRM. That being said, I am obsessed with the arc trainer - I think it is the coolest thing ever. I love that you can change both the resistance and the incline - it's kind of like the best of the treadmill, elliptical and stair climber all rolled into one low-impact session. And according to my HRM, I burn a lot of calories on it - just nowhere near what the machine tells me I burned.

KIMK75 Posts: 1,756
7/12/08 12:42 A

I find that the Arc overestimates my calories burned (compared to my HRM) by at least 50%. So if my HRM says I burned 300, the machine will say at least 450. For me it's the least accurate cardio machine at the gym.

SP_COACH_DEAN SparkPoints: (116,630)
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7/11/08 11:48 P

There are quite a few factors involved in determining how many calories you use up with exercise, which is why it's almost impossible to come up with a way to estimate this accurately. But there are ways to get a pretty good idea of whether a particular machine or estimator is coming reasonably close.

One good way that I use a lot is to compare the number you get from a machine (or tracker like ours) to what you'd expect to burn with running. For example: it's pretty well established that most people who are average in size (around 160 pounds, give or take a little) and who aren't elite level athletes can expect to burn approximately 100 gross calories traveling one mile on a flat surface, whether they are running or walking. So, in order to burn 800 calories in a half hour, this person would have to run about 8 miles in 30 minutes, or at a pace of 16 miles per hour. I don't know about you, but I can't even come close to that. I might go that fast on my bike without enormous effort, but definitely not on foot.

Since running uses a lot of your larger muscles, it's pretty fair to think that you'd have to be working at this same intensity level to burn that many calories with most other similar activities, like working out on an elliptical machine or arc trainer.

Of course, you can't use speed or distance as the only factor, because you can add resistance on machines, or run uphill, which will significantly increase your rate of calorie burning per minute or per distance. But still, if you know you're not fit enough to run 16 miles per hour on flat ground for 30 minutes, it's reasonably save to assume you also can't burn 800 calories in 30 minutes with something you can do for that long.

So, using this approach, I would have to say that burning 800 calories in 35 minutes on the arc trainer is probably not realistic--for anyone. Depending on how fit and efficent you are, it could easily be close to double the actual amount, give or take a little.

Hope this helps.

Coach Dean

SARAH_VW Posts: 7,113
7/11/08 10:45 P

You are correct that the machine is not giving you an accurate readout. Inputting your stats does take some of the inaccuracy out of the equation, but even with your stats these machines are still notorious for overestimating calories burned.

One machine doesn't really burn more calories than another, it has to do with the intensity at which you are exercising and your heart rate. That seems like an awfully big number of calories burned for only 35 minutes of exercise. I would be wary of whether that number is accurate or not. I would get a heart rate monitor for the most accurate estimate of calories burned.

68TOGO SparkPoints: (0)
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7/11/08 8:49 P

When I use cardio machines that require you to input your stats- age, weight, etc., I don't believe the calorie burned that is mentioned is accurate. I usually take 50 - 100 calories off the final number. Example if the machines says I burned 600 calories after 60 minutes, I estimate my calorie burn to be around 500- 550.

Using the Arc Trainer today, on a high intensity for 35 minutes, it said I burned 800 calories. Even if I subtract 200 calories, that is A LOT of calories burned in 35 minutes.

Does the Arc Trainer really burn a lot of calories?

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