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TOPIC: Spinning vs. bicycling

 
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September 24, 2013 5:14 AM
Sorry if this is a repeat question.
I realize the fitbit one doesn't accurately track bicycling so I log the activity on the FB website.I do both indoor spinning and outdoor cycling. The thing is there is a huge discrepancy between calories burned for spinning and bicycling. When I do spinning I am going at a much harder intensity than when I am out on the road cycling, but I get a much lower calorie burn. If I input bicycling and use the time and mileage (I adjust the spin bike mileage *.8 since an instructor said it wasn't accurate) I get close to 400 calories more versus inputting spinning and just using time.
I am a runner so I compare the estimates to when I run -approx. 300 calories for 30 min. So 318 calories for a 50 minute spin class seems really low, especially since I work a lot harder in a spin class with all the intervals.
So... I guess my question is what do others use? MFP gives me a few more calories for spinning, but not much.

Here is what I get on FB when I input the two exercises
Spinning 52 minutes 316 calories
Bicycling 52 minutes, 17 miles 778 calories

My concern of course is overestimating.
Thanks
September 24, 2013 9:43 AM
Does the spinning entry ask your distance? If not, it is a fairly generic estimate that is adjusted for your weight. You might be working harder or less hard than whatever/whoever that estimate is based on.

I have heard that outdoor cycling--all else equal should burn a little more as you have to use your muscles to balance, etc. But if your spinning estimate isn't factoring in distance I guess that might be why it is so different. I use a heart rate monitor for my alternate calorie burn, sometimes I compare the exercise database to my HRM out of curiosity and usually it is higher than my HRM, but that may vary by the person since they are all estimates. I guess without heart rate data, I would try to base it on the distance covered while spinning. This won't tell the whole story since the resistance used is a big factor, but at least it is a little more specific to your workout and you will have higher estimates on days you work harder.

I am not sure you can compare running vs. cycling for calorie burn though. Potentially, if you were equally good at both you could burn more calories per minute running. This comes up reading about heart rate monitor training (often these resources are geared towards triathletes so often discuss running, cycling and swimming). It kind of depends on how many muscle groups are involved. Activities that use the full body can potentially burn more than those that are focussed on specific muscle groups. That and you are moving your full weight each step running while cycling the bike supports some of your weight. Some people who use HRM's for training in zones will actually set a higher maximum heart rate for running than they work with for cycling. I wouldn't be surprised if similar principals apply to actual calorie burn too. Of course, there are other benefits to cycling, spinning is a great way to get a non-impact but still very vigorous workout.
September 24, 2013 10:36 AM
Thanks.
Yep no distance recorded for spinning. I probably should try out a heart rate monitor. I guess I was using the running comparison in relation to exertion level. I feel like during spin class I am exerting myself a lot and therefore the calories seemed too low.
September 24, 2013 11:27 AM
I spin daily the class is usually 55 minutes - the bike comes out with a figure of 260 -300 cals, HRM usually 400- 440 and the fitbit itself somewhere around 700. I will stick with my HRM measure - to be truthfulI have no idea if any of them are right just use as a general guide.
  44315293
September 24, 2013 3:40 PM
QUOTE:

I spin daily the class is usually 55 minutes - the bike comes out with a figure of 260 -300 cals, HRM usually 400- 440 and the fitbit itself somewhere around 700. I will stick with my HRM measure - to be truthfulI have no idea if any of them are right just use as a general guide.


So when you enter spinning into the fitbit it says 700? For me it's only about 300. I think meeting somewhere in the middle is the best bet, don't want to input 700 calories and be wrong. Looks like new batteries for my husband's heart rate monitor is the next step :-) Thanks
September 24, 2013 11:51 PM
The fitbit has a really low burn for spinning. My hrm gives me around 300-400 for 30mins and 500-650 for hour session. I know some people have placed the fitbit on their shoe to see if its more. I tried it and the fitbit gives me more attached to my bra, but I use my hrm for non step exercises like spin :)
September 25, 2013 9:27 AM
QUOTE:

I spin daily the class is usually 55 minutes - the bike comes out with a figure of 260 -300 cals, HRM usually 400- 440 and the fitbit itself somewhere around 700. I will stick with my HRM measure - to be truthfulI have no idea if any of them are right just use as a general guide.


Is this with the fitbit worn on your shoe? Worn on my bra, during a one hour spin class my fitbit picks up about 2000 steps/1 mile distance and gives me the calorie burn I would see if I would see if I were to walk at a speed of 1 mph for an hour. So it gives me a very low estimate. I think Scrapjen who is in this group posted that she wears it on her shoe for indoor cycling and gets an inflated calorie burn so logs her HRM burn. I've never tried it on my show, I am kind of afraid of it falling off--and I know I am going to log the activity anyway so am not worried so much about step count. I'd probably go with your HRM estimate in this case too (I generally go with mine if there is a big difference).

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