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JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
8/15/13 9:00 A

Thanks Coach Jen.

I figured that would make sense that Spark would calculate the calories burned based on the average exerciser in the cardio zone. I think I have outgrown that status and I maintain a steady state at my maximum heart rate. I have a pedometer and it's more for walking/jogging/running and it's cheap so I don't trust the calories burned on it either but the heart rate it gives me is accurate so I just plug it into an online calculator for calories burned based on average heart rate (age, weight, gender, etc) to get a ball park figure.

Anyways, I modified the calories burned for my exercises... slightly. For an average between what Spark gives me and the avg HR calculator gives me. I think I've managed to get a lot closer to how many calories I'm burning during those activities and you're right, I'll just have to experiment and see what the scale is telling me. I'm going to aim for an avg intake of 1650 cals, which should equate to 1 lb/week and make adjustments as needed.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 8/15/2013 (09:07)
SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,898
8/15/13 8:47 A


The calories burned estimates in our database are based on an average person of your same weight doing the workout. It assumes you're working at a level that keeps your heart rate up in the cardio zone, but not necessarily as high as yours is getting. That's where a heart rate monitor can become a very useful tool in estimating calories burned, since everyone is different. Although the database can get you in the ballpark in terms of calories burned, it doesn't work for everyone, especially if you're modifying the workouts to make them more difficult.

Everyone has to experiment to find the right number of calories for them. So if you find you're losing weight too quickly by following the range that SP suggests, then I'd start to slowly increase your calories until you find the level that seems to work best for you. Sometimes that takes some trial and error.

Coach Jen

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
8/14/13 1:59 P

Let's say I'm doing "Aerobics: High Impact" (I do Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism with Jillian Michaels) according to Spark the 45 minute video only burns 250 cals. Does Spark calculate that I'm only working at moderate intensity?

When I do that video I keep my heart rate at 80-85%. I don't do the "strength circuits" and instead do high intensity cardio moves like running on spot, high knees, jump rope, butt kicks, jumping jacks with kickouts and I push really hard the entire video going much quicker and harder than the instructor and demonstrators. It just seems that 250 cals is awfully low for that workout.

Same goes for Coach Nicole's Jump Rope video. I use it mainly to count my intervals but I jog at a moderate pace during rest intervals and push to my maximum heart rate during active intervals.

When I punch my average heart rate into a calories burned by avg heart rate calculator it gives me a much higher number. Not even just a little bit higher, we're talking 2x as high. I'm quite conditioned and can keep my heart rate up in the maximum zone for an entire 50-60 minute workout.

What is the same is when I walk, I usually have an average heart rate of 75-80 bpm and when I put walking at 2.5 mph I get the same calorie burn from Spark as I do from a calories burned based on avg heart rate calculator for the same duration.

So does Spark assume I am only working at moderate intensity for most exercises?

It's important for me to figure out because I've already experienced health problems (amenorrhea), low RHR (42 bpm), bordering on below normal blood pressure, and sudden binge eating/sleep eating even sticking to the upper range of calories Spark gave me (1200-1550 cals, I was averaging between 1400-1500 cals when I started experiencing these symptoms) because it had me assumed as "sedentary". Now with the new feature to enter your activity level, I've corrected that but I'm still worried that I'm burning more than Spark assumes I am. I lose weight way too quickly any time I try to follow Spark's suggested calorie range for me. For example, in my healthy BMI I was losing 2-3 lbs/week eating 1400-1500 cals. I'm just completely confused now on how many calories I should be eating.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 8/14/2013 (14:12)
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