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TOPIC: Do I trust the treadmill or the calculator for cal burned?

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July 18, 2013 5:04 PM
I'm new to all of this and I have noticed that there is a huge difference between kCal burned on the treadmill and the number I get when using a calorie calculator. The Treadmill doesn't take my weight into account. When I use the calculator, I use the avg's (mph, incline, ect...) the treadmill gives. For an hour workout there is an almost 600 kCal difference! Which can I trust?
July 18, 2013 5:57 PM
Often thought the same thing. My treadmill takes my weight still give me a high kCal burned number. Like today treadmill said 400 and logged in as 332. Yours is give a diff of 600.. That is a lot. Do you use a treadmill at a gym or home? Thinking if it's a gym you could ask them.
July 18, 2013 6:13 PM
I use a treadmill at the gym.... Today it said i burned 491 kCal, but when i put my weight into the calculator it says I burned 1030 kCal. Really pretty confusing.
July 18, 2013 6:15 PM
you should be able to enter your weight into the treadmill...will give you a more accurate figure
July 18, 2013 6:18 PM
I have the same issue with my stationary bike! I can be on it for an hour and it'll say I burnt 200 calories, and then i'd type it into the MFP calculator and it says something like 400! when I log I use the stationary bike's number, because it's lower.
July 18, 2013 8:52 PM
yea, i have decided to go with the lower of the numbers.... thinking about getting a heart rate monitor though.
July 20, 2013 12:09 PM
I was curious about this too. I mean, it feels nice to put a big number on my exercise log (my run today was 807kCal. yay.), but I'd rather it be accurate. I've been chalking the higher number to the 'hill' setting being a little more strenuous, but I've noticed the disparity in treadmill numbers and the calculator. The one I'm using does use my weight in the caloric burn rate.

It makes a difference if you're eating back your calories.
Edited by spangler1972 On July 20, 2013 12:11 PM
July 20, 2013 12:14 PM
Spend $75 and buy a heart rate monitor. Neither the treadmill nor the calculator here is very accurate when compared to my hrm.
July 20, 2013 12:16 PM
Get a heart rate monitor..... the machines are never accurate because everyone is different. 4.0 MPG on the treadmill might be a run for me (high intensity) and a walk for you (low intensity) - therefore, the calories burn will not be the same for both of us. A heart rate monitor will take into account your age, weight, and sex and will calculate accordingly. Just remember as you lose weight (every 10 lbs) to adjust your settings so that your calorie burn is correct for your new weight.
July 20, 2013 12:20 PM

Spend $75 and buy a heart rate monitor. Neither the treadmill nor the calculator here is very accurate when compared to my hrm.

Well, color me stupid. I hadn't picked up on the fact that hrms did calorie counting (I should pay more attention!). Sounds like a better way to go. Any particular type you'd recommend?
July 20, 2013 12:26 PM

I use a treadmill at the gym.... Today it said i burned 491 kCal, but when i put my weight into the calculator it says I burned 1030 kCal. Really pretty confusing.

Did you run 1/2 marathon on the treadmill? No way with the way. You can assume roughly 100 calories per mile give or won't be exact, but it isn't 1030 calories in an hour unless you can crank out 10 miles plus in that time.

Another way you can estimate is taking a number between 7-10 and multiplying that by the time you spent exercising...with 7 basically being a 4 mph walk and 10 being a workout to where you really can't hold a conversation or anything and have to be completely focused on the task at hand to accomplish it.

Also, HRM is a reasonable estimator for an aerobic's still an estimate though (it's all're never going to be exact). You'll still want to knock of 30% or so for estimation error.
July 20, 2013 12:30 PM
I second that motion. You can actually enter your current weight into the watch and go for it. I love my heart rate monitor. I rarely workout without it. noway I like to see those numbers!
July 20, 2013 12:35 PM
I love my Garmin FR60, which is ancient, compared to the current models, but it's been fantastic, and does everything I need. I also run, so I love that the foot pod that comes with it (or any of the newer models) will record pace, distance, laps, longest run, marathon info, PR's, calories burned, etc., and will alert you if you're in or out of your training zones. There are a lot of other features, as well. After I started using HRM, I saw how inaccurate my treadmill and elliptical were in estimating calorie burn. I burn at least double what my elliptical is saying I burn. Garmin and Polar are the best on the market. Whatever brand you decide to get, just be sure it has a chest strap, for a more accurate HR reading. I purchased mine on Amazon....the prices seemed much more reasonable than anywhere else. You'll love having a HRM!
July 20, 2013 2:45 PM
I have a Polar FT40 HRM and have been using it for over a year and love it. I bought myself one as a gift for my first 25 pounds lost. I think I managed to catch a sale on a website and paid about $55 for it. Before that I was using the presets on this website. The numbers were WAY off. I could do 30 minutes on the elliptical at level 7 at an easy pace and it would say I burned X amount of calories. I could also spend 30 on the elliptical at 10 incline for 25 of those minutes and 5 minutes at 14 incline and sweating my butt off and increasing my HR to over 170 and it would still say I burned X amount of calories. Your intensity and heart rate really changes things!

I would go with whatever the lower number is if you feel like you aren't really pushing it and raising your heart rate by much. If you can afford a heart rate monitor I highly recommend it, along with everyone else. It is really eye opening!

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