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SHARBEAR100 Posts: 107
5/15/13 4:58 P

Hi! I just rewrote my whole reply after reading all of your replies so far. Ha! Pays to read all the way through before jumping in.

I have a Polar FT60 and to figure out my maximum heart rate to plug into the watch I calculated all of the formulas on the web site:, and used the most common answer. Your maximum heart rate may be higher than the formula the watch is currectly using.

Also just saw your last post on resting heart rate. Resting heart rate means you've been sitting or laying down quietly with no movement and nothing interrupting you like TV, kids, phones, etc. That's why doctors leave us waiting so long after the nurse shows us in the room, so we can sit and our heart rate can calm down. Try taking your heart rate first thing in the morning after sitting quietly for a few minutes and see what it is. This will also make a difference in the number of calories the watch calculates. The heart rate you saw just before your work out reflects all the motion you made getting ready to work out, getting dressed, putting on the monitor, getting your water, etc. All motion and emotions will increase your heart rate.

It sounds like you're doing great though! If you aren't totally disgusted with heart rate monitors now you might consider the FT 60. I've had mine for 3 years and still absolutely love it.

Edited by: SHARBEAR100 at: 5/15/2013 (17:20)
MBRANDO SparkPoints: (79,315)
Fitness Minutes: (53,120)
Posts: 918
5/15/13 12:24 A


I did wet the sensors, doused them in water to make sure. My resting HR is 73 manually but when I put the HRM on again today it registered btw 97 and 102 before beginning my workout so I am returning the freaking thing. I am sure it is a user error somehow...

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,461
5/14/13 10:57 P


My apologies - I did misunderstand what you meant.


SLYSAM SparkPoints: (43,184)
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Posts: 1,474
5/14/13 10:15 P

MBrando some treadmills with HRMs built in will read a heart rate from your chest strap if you are close enough to the treadmill. So that may not be an issue if you were wearing the HRM. However, some HRM's do pick up interference my old Nike did all the time. My current Polar does not. I can't get my heart rate to 180 (maybe if running literally for my life?). But my resting heart rate is in the 50's and heart rate just varies a bit some people run higher and some lower. I think your heart rate monitor is "assuming" you are doing very intense anaerobic exercise based on your heart rate. I agree it is a good idea to manually check it to be sure. Also are you wetting the sensors before putting it on? They need moisture to conduct the signal.

TURQUOISEBIKE SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 55
5/14/13 2:11 P

I would need to have a very large, very vicious animal running after me to keep my heart rate at 180 for 45 minutes, but if I did, I would expect to see 600 calories plus on my HRM afterwards - it doesn't seem like a crazy number if you were working hard. Walking up an inclines doesn't place the strain on muscles and joints that running does, but it does require a fair bit of fuel.

It might be interesting to try the Polar HRM during some outdoor exercise where you won't encounter any intereference from the gym machines and see what sort of numbers you get.

SIMONEKP Posts: 2,764
5/14/13 1:37 P

MOTIVATED@LAST, point taken but I am not referring to classic circuit training (weightlifting with little or no rest between sets) I am referring to more of a boot camp style workout. I say circuit training because that is how SparkPeople characterizes those workouts.

MBRANDO SparkPoints: (79,315)
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Posts: 918
5/14/13 9:03 A

UPDATE: I got on the TM again this morning with the HRM attached and noticed that the HRM on the TM started giving readings and I wasn't even touching the sensors, did not have them attached, so I think I have interference btw the two playing into this. I have calculated my resting HR and it averages 73. I am going to manually calc my HR during my workout, taking a break of course. However, I am leaning towards returning the HRM but will perform some more tests before jumping the gun...

I am in reasonably good shape despite the extra pounds, don't take blood pressure meds although I do take folic acid, b-12 and triphala. I do pilates 3 times a week and am no stranger to walking but have never bothered with calc my HR before or anything beyond taking the calorie count from the TM reading and deducting 30%.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,461
5/14/13 6:14 A

180 is a seriously high heart rate - little wonder that your HRM is reporting 500 calories.

Perhaps on your next workout, stop for 10 seconds and check your pulse manually (and multiply by 6), and see if this matches with what your HRM is recording. If it does, then you know it is fitting correctly.

But high blood pressure and some medications can lead to an accelerated heart rate above what the exercise justifies. And the algorithms that HRM's use are based on broad statistical averages - some people are just natural outliers. 180 seems too high for just walking (even at an incline), so I suspect that that is what is happenning here.


MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,461
5/13/13 7:38 P


HRM's are based on the assumption that it is cardio exercise, as your heart rate responds in a predictable way for cardio.

However, your heart rate does not respond in a predictable way for strength training, and your HRM will not produce an accurate result for a ST-based workout such as circuit training.


MBRANDO SparkPoints: (79,315)
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Posts: 918
5/13/13 1:26 P

Thanks for the replies folks! The range set on it is a max of 159 and I was averaging 180 for most of it except the warm up and cool down periods. I am going to change the range and see what difference that makes, if any. If I am actually burning 500 a workout that is some serious motivation right there!

I also thought perhaps I was wearing the chest strap too tight or in the wrong position. I put the chest strap just under my breasts but I did have it pretty tight and was wondering if that skewed my results.

Edited by: MBRANDO at: 5/13/2013 (13:28)
SIMONEKP Posts: 2,764
5/13/13 12:55 P

It really depends on what you're doing on the TM. I burn 500-600 calories during a 45min circuit training workout.

SLYSAM SparkPoints: (43,184)
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5/13/13 12:49 P

I think a lot of hrm's really rely on the "maximum heart rate" being correct. They report whether you are in whatever zone based on what percent of your maximum heart rate you reach. This also has something to do with the calorie burn estimates. I read in a book on hrm training that the formulas commonly used to estimate maximum heart rate are incorrect for a lot of people, they work on average but are too high or too low for at least 20% of people. Apparently your real maximum heart rate is largely genetic. If you find you can effortlessly or easlity achieve your maximum heart rate (or higher) while comfortably exercising than the formula estimated too low for you. This could give an inflated calorie burn estimate as it may be based on teh assumption you worked at 90% of your maximum heart rate for forty five minutes or something like that (which is not likely in reality). I have a different Polar, an F11 and it uses maximum heart rate, resting heart rate and Vo2max in its calculations. The resting hr and vo2max are estimated from a non-exertive test, and the default maximum heart rate is from a standard formula which estimates too high for me personally. I actually ended up tweaking my max heart rate so my zones match my perceived exertion. It took a little trial and error to find it for me since I didn't have access to professional lab testing to determine it for me. But now, if I walk or run, my hrm calorie burn pretty much matches this sites calculator for walking or running specific distances at specific speeds. I haven't compared it to Spark lately to see how it compares, I am not sure how to factor in incline though and that will increase the intensity significantly and probably the calorie burn too.<

CUDA440 SparkPoints: (87,076)
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5/13/13 10:09 A

I know on my old polar F4 you could enter your 30% and 70% max heart rates instead of taking the gerneral numbers. Which I had to first track my resting heart rate, and then I think Spark has a calculator to figure out your percentage points. Your resting heart rate could be a lot lower than standard if you have been working out for a period of time.
This might give you a different number.

Keep using it for a few weeks and see if things change. Could just be a fluke on this day.

Heres the calculator.


Edited by: CUDA440 at: 5/13/2013 (10:11)
MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,461
5/13/13 2:42 A

At 5% incline, you will burn about 50% more than walking the same distance on the flat.

I came up with 259 calories at 2 mph, and 361 at 3 mph, assuming 200 lbs bodyweight. 2.5 mph will be somewhere in between,

When someone's HRM comes in double what you would expect, my first suspicion is the metric/imperial issue, but it sounds like you have already checked this.

Poor contact between skin and device is another common problem. Perhaps you could briefly manually check your pulse during a workout (stop and count your pulse for 10 seconds, then multiply by 6) and compare this with the readout of the machine.

Another problem can be a flat battery, but this seems unlikely with a brand new HRM.

Even when operating normally, HRM's are not always the best measure of exercise intensity and calories burned. High blood pressure and some medications can lead to a faster heart rate than the exercise itself actually warrants. This can lead to the HRM accurately counting your heart rate, but overestimating the calories. Can you remember what heart rate your HRM was recording?


HUNNA13 Posts: 180
5/12/13 9:47 P

I also have the Polar FT4- I usually burn 500-600 calories in 45 minutes depending on what I am doing (running, HIIT, sprinting, etc.) I am also 5'7''. I compare my numbers with someone else who is about the same size as me (not height wise) -look her up on Facebook- Fluff to Buff. She usually burns 800+ in an hour and some odd minutes. I'd say its pretty accurate. The machines in the gym are usually formulated for a fit male (so I've heard.)

MBRANDO SparkPoints: (79,315)
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Posts: 918
5/12/13 6:20 P

Thanks for responding. I did check that actually because I thought maybe I picked metric instead of imperial or something crazy but no, it has my gender, weight, height and age correct. Also did pick imperial. But yeah I cannot imagine I burned 560 calories in 45 minutes on the treadmill.

You are correct, it does say on average, I misspoke there but I always err on the side of caution so I deduct 30%. I went 45 minutes for 2.5 miles and an average incline of 5, the incline goes up to 15 I believe. I am five foot seven and let's just say I want to lose about 50 pounds to get to my fighting weight.

Edited by: MBRANDO at: 5/12/2013 (18:23)
DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
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Posts: 9,717
5/12/13 6:18 P

Check your HRM's settings; sometimes, a miscommunication can happen between your HRM and the strap. How long did you go, and how far, at what speed? How much do you weigh? It's tough to say which is closer without knowing more about the actual workout. :) SP doesn't say that all treadmills *are* 30% higher, just that they can be off by as much as 30%.

WHOLENEWME79 Posts: 951
5/12/13 6:11 P

It could be- It is taking your heart rate into account, and in a way that is much more effective and accurate than you will get with any fitness machine (this has to do with taking the pulse at the palmer arch, which is faint and sweating and movement will render inaccurate, VS a chest strap where the heart rate is strong and taken actually AT your heart).

However, since that number seems awfully high, I'd check to make sure you entered your personal information correctly- Height, weight sex, age, etc. If there is something wonky with the numbers, that would be the most likely culprit.

MBRANDO SparkPoints: (79,315)
Fitness Minutes: (53,120)
Posts: 918
5/12/13 6:02 P

Just got a HRM, a polar FT4 and used it for the first time. Something is very screwy. My treadmill said I burned 360 calories, which SP says is usually about 30% higher than what I have actually burned but my stinking hear rate monitor says I burned almost 600 calories so that CANNOT be even close to correct can it? I feel like I just wasted $70 and am extremely annoyed. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

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