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UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
1/31/13 1:35 P

What exercise value is your goal calories burned on spark? Is it what spark says you burn in the activities you log, or is it what your other values come out to?

If you're losing more than planned, work out whether either exercise value gives you the results you're actually getting. That one is more realistic.

And yes, don't forget to account for breastfeeding! It can make quite a difference, though since you're not exclusively breast milk right now it would be less than fully breastfeeding, but still significant! :)

JACARD SparkPoints: (4,352)
Fitness Minutes: (3,269)
Posts: 98
1/31/13 12:03 P

I hear you.

The funny thing is that my BMR is actually not low at all. I was tested about two years ago and came in at just a tad above normal.

Also, albeit there are a lot of factors that could impact this, but my weight loss is actually a bit more than expected right now. Maybe it's the getting geared up factor, but I'd think that wears off after a week or two. Regardless, I set my goal ranges based on 2 lbs a week and am actually losing more like 3. According to SparkPeople, I am burning more calories than my range, but according to the HRM much less.

The other factor is that I am still nursing my one year old. However, even when you're providing a baby's sole nutrition, that's only an extra 600 or so calories a day. I'm at work all day and I don't pump anymore, so I'm only nursing really twice a day -- and my son is a huge eater (a whole banana and 8 ounces of yogurt after his morning nurse). So I can't imagine I'm even coming close to half that in milk, which would account for only 1/2 pound extra a week.

NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
1/31/13 10:40 A

I can't give you an answer but I have long thought that my abnormally low BMR is likely due to my low resting heart rate and my very slow breathing (when my husband and I are cuddling, I notice that I take one breath to his two!). I have no proof of this but all the results-based evidence says that I should be losing weight at a rate significantly faster that I actually can, but when I have cut my calories to around 800/day, I lose weight at the "normal" rate (2 lbs/week when I was morbidly obese and exercising 3 hours/day). I eat more than that now, and exercise less, and I'm not obese, but my BMR still appears to be very low compared to all the online estimates. So... if my theory is true, then you may in fact need to work harder and longer to get the same result as a person with a normal pulse, I sure do.

SP_COACH_NANCY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
Posts: 46,222
1/31/13 9:41 A


It's about the amount of oxygen your body needs for a particular activity, which in turn elevates your heart rate. The more one weighs, the more oxygen your body needs/consumes for doing an activity--you are carrying more weight. Also the newer you are do an activity, your body is not very efficient at doing the activity so your body burns more calories. However, the longer you keep doing the same activity your body becomes more efficient, therefore you burn fewer calories--and if you weigh less, you are carrying less weight around so you burn fewer calories.

Remember all calorie calculators, including heart rate monitors are just estimates of calories expended. They use an algorithm (mathematical equation) based on your data and determine your calories burn figure based on the feedback. Outside a lab setting any number you get will be a estimate--as to which one you should go by--I would err on the side of the HRM as the feedback is based on the one factor--heart rate.

I hope this helps!

Coach Nancy

JACARD SparkPoints: (4,352)
Fitness Minutes: (3,269)
Posts: 98
1/31/13 7:50 A

Thank you Coach Nancy --

To answer your questions, I am not taking any medications that could affect my heart rate, I would say I could answer in short bursts but could not talk normally, and the video was 10 minutes of kickboxing.

I get the same discrepancy with other activities. For example, I walked a mile in 15 minutes. According to the heart rate monitor, I burned about 80 calories. According to Spark's calculator, that's 159.

The fundamental question is whether the calorie burn is determined by the amount of work (i.e., moving 300 lbs at a 4 mph speed for 15 minutes) or how fit my lungs/heart. I want to think it's the amount of work but I just don't know.

Edited by: JACARD at: 1/31/2013 (07:51)
SP_COACH_NANCY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
Posts: 46,222
1/30/13 8:56 P


Heart rate alone does not measure calories expended.

Calories expended is based on the amount of oxygen one consumes in relation to large muscle activation which in turn leads to an increased heart rate in order for the working muscles to get the oxygen and nutrients they need to keep you going.

Are you taking any medications that could affect your heart rate? How were you breathing during your workout--were you able to carry on a conversation or only answer using short sentences? How long with the video and what type of exercises were you doing? All these things can affect your heart rate which could affect the calories burn readout on your monitor.

Coach Nancy

JACARD SparkPoints: (4,352)
Fitness Minutes: (3,269)
Posts: 98
1/30/13 8:17 P

So despite the fact that I am hugely overweight (BMI 44) and don't get a huge amount of exercise, my resting heart rate is below 50 bpm. My blood pressure, incidentally, usually measures around 95-105/55-70 (four pregnancies in 6 years = lots of blood pressure measurements!)

I just bought a HRM to calculate calorie burns. I did Coach Nicole's kickboxing video, which the Spark tracker says burns over 160 calories at my weight. Well, according to the HRM, I only burned 60. Now I was working HARD -- but my heart rate just didn't go all that high up.

Which count is more accurate? Does it matter how much work I do or how high my heart rate goes up? Does it make sense that my heart rate increase would be lower since my starting place is so low?

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