When I refer to my "zone" I am talking about what my heart rate should be. I agree about the levels, that is why I asked for suggestions. It definitely isn't accurate if you don't take in to account the level (1 vs 15). Thanks for your input.
1/30/13 1:33 P
I would take an average of what the machine is telling you and what SP is. No calorie count is going to be completely accurate but it will give you an idea at least.
Fitness Minutes: (15,322)
449 1/30/13 1:19 P
I go by my heart rate monitor. Never use the machines.
It does have a counter, but as you pointed out, unless I want to take the time to program in my height, weight, etc. it doesn't take that in to account. I know that with treadmill workouts, SP has me at easily 1/3 or more calories burned than what the machine says( because I AM short and heavy). I like your idea of averaging the two together...that might work. As for heart rate, I check my heart rate on the machine and know that I am working in my "zone" and I also use a nike fit band. But the Nike Band works better with walking/running. It can't discern if I am walking slowly or doing elliptical, lol.
Does the machine give you a count? I usually workout at home, but once a week during my daughters' gymnastics classes I have access to the fitness equipment that gym has, so I use their elliptical while my girls are there, and bonus, it over looks part of the gym, so I usually get to see them for at least part of their classes. Anyway, I use resitance and incline on that machine, and it gives me a calorie count higher than SP's. I typically average the two numbers and call it ok, since the machine doesn't have my height/weight/gender, but it does know my intensity/workout level and SP knows my height/weight/gender, but doesn't know my intensity, so I figure the average is probably a good guesstimate. If you don't have that info from the machine, and you are using it on the lowest setting, I think I'd just go with SP's number. You could also try to calculator over at caloriersperhour.com and see what you get there.
Fitness Minutes: (69,867)
3,526 1/30/13 11:25 A
if it is at all possible, I would invest in a heart rate monitor. I adore mine. It not only gives me a decent calorie readout, it also helps keep me "in zone" when I am doing my cardio.
If that is not possible, I would look at what the machine says your burned, what Spark says you burned, and average them together.
I am normally a "treadmill junky" because I can so easily find what I am doing when I go to log my fitness. However, recently I have tried the elliptical machine at my gym and find that it does seem to give me a harder workout. The problem is, when I go to log it, there is not the ability to personalize it for the workout. No variety of levels or speed to choose from. It is just by minutes on the machine. As a result, I don't know that the calories burned that my Sparkpeople log is telling me is at all accurate. I am working on the lowest setting. Is there a way to figure it out based on distance in miles the machine tells me I have gone in a certain period of time?