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TOPIC: FIT BIT - exercise logging.... HELP !

 
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April 29, 2012 10:28 AM
Been using the FB for a week now. Totally love it, but I'm just flat out confused on a few things:

I am certain that the calories it tells me I burn doing zumba is about 1/2 what it actually should be. One hour of zumba, I burn about 600 cals, yet the FB tells me it's worth about 300. I realize a hrm would give me a better indication but I have my hands full with FB right now and really not able to invest more time and money into another device.

Before I had the FB I was logging about 550 cals for zumba onto MFP. Now with the FB I am not logging anything. Even though I don't like that it only gives me half the credit, I've been leaving it alone and usually be the end of the day (a day that I do zumba) my fitbit adjustment is about 450-550 so I figure it's close enough.

I have only used the stop watch a few times (b/c I keep forgetting to do that) but even when I do use it, I'm not sure what/where I should log the calories. Given that it ends up calculating total exercise calories burned by the end of the day equivalent to what I would have otherwise logged to MFP w/o FB, am I ok at just leaving it alone as I'm doing now? I don't want to over-calculate calories burned and end up eating too many calories.

Any advice from the experts?
  8388906
April 29, 2012 11:13 AM
As far as I know the FB calculates calories on distance moved, having not participated in zumba (yet) if you are working in a small area then that is why the calorie count is low. I have just looked in the MFP Exercise database, under Dancing, Aerobic, Ballet or Modern, Twist, for me an hour would be just under 600 calories.

So I would log your Zumba on here and it will be transferred to the FB web site. I log my Cardio here and edit the distance onto FB.

I am still learning but I am sure others will point us right if I am wronglaugh
  19248897
April 29, 2012 2:16 PM
I've used fitbit now for 2 months. I don't see it tracking well on vigorous exercise. In my health shape, I like that it is under. It encourages me to do more and compete with other folks on their forums. On the other hand, I'm not very active. I walk and dance a lot, but that's it. Fitbit will usually add 1000 cals onto my mfp meal plan. It's really just vigorous exercise it isn't so great. It only gives me 250 cal spent for 30 minutes on the elliptical, my hrm tracks 500. It doesn't seem to recognize resistence either. If fitbit only knew how decrepit I was.
Edited by ambitious01 On April 29, 2012 2:20 PM
April 29, 2012 2:45 PM
I'm new to the fitbit myself so I can't offer any help. But I am amazed how well it did recording my 2 jazzercise classes this morning. My HRM said 809 calories, and fitbit said 803. One class was aerobic, and the second all strength traing so I thought it wouldn't capture the calorie count accurately, but it did!
  18995058
April 29, 2012 3:03 PM
I'm still waiting for mine to arrive but it would make sense to me that the additional burn would be down to the rest of your body moving too. Your FitBit probably calculates on leg muscles only working?
  20223889
April 29, 2012 3:40 PM
QUOTE:

As far as I know the FB calculates calories on distance moved, having not participated in zumba (yet) if you are working in a small area then that is why the calorie count is low. I have just looked in the MFP Exercise database, under Dancing, Aerobic, Ballet or Modern, Twist, for me an hour would be just under 600 calories.


It isn't just how far you cover, it is how fast and "intensity" (I think impact is part of it). I wear both a fitbit and heart rate monitor for my workouts, and find mine to match or be close for some workouts that do not cover much space such as jump roping, kickboxing, cardio boxing, some types of dance, bootcamp drill type cardio where you do things like jumping jacks, jog in place, etc. I do think with walking and running you get more credit if you move than if you stand in place--but my heart rate moitor agrees on that as well. So if I am sneaking steps in while watching tv I'll often walk or jog forward and back a few steps. But when I went to Zumba class we covered some floor space back and forth as I recall.

The main things it dramatically under counts are activities that involve some sort of resistance (including step aerobic, body weight exercises, weights or bands of any kind, etc) or activities where you use a lot of arm movements. Some zumba classes might use a lot of arm movements, I've found my fitbit really underestimates dance whee you do like belly dance or hula dance especially if done with very bent knees and gliding motions. But for dance with more steps like salsa, samba, ballet, bollywood it is pretty good though perhaps a little low. I've also found my heart rate monitor burn is almost always lower than the databases for ore traditional activities, though for more unusual activities it can go either way. My heart rate doesn't really go that high though, every one is different. But having use my fitbit and hrm together for a couple years, it seems on the slightly high or optimistic side of accurate for me.

The main thing I look at is if the fitbit assigns the right activity level/color to the minutes spent in the activity. If not, then I log it and that usually puts it in the right category (I use my hrm, but using the database entries would probably work fine for those activities). I know each Zumba class is a little different, but I would expect it to be a mix of red and yellow on your fitbit graph. (Assuming you fee hot, sweaty, a bit breathy, elevated heart rate).

I use to log all workouts, but am logging less and less--especially now that I am linked with mfp. If the readings are close I just go with fitbits. I have a number of reasons, one is I also think it helps minimize over-counting since exercise calories are added on top of our allowance. Also, it is just easier. There are pros and cons both ways though and it seems that either way works for most people.

ETA: I think where you wear it affects this as well. I wear mine on my bra and it does pick up larger torso movements ad well as leg movements. For some activities I move it to my waist if the steps are too soft to pick up, but then it would miss the torso movements--though the biggest muscles are in the lower body.
Edited by Kimsied On April 29, 2012 3:43 PM
April 29, 2012 9:27 PM
I just got my FB -- been on MFP for awhile --- i noticed that my calorie intake is different on FB and MFPl. how do i get it to be the same????

Also, how does everyone log in activity. I just got my FB this weekend and just have been putting it on and having it track everything that I do. I have done Zumba and it logged my calorie adjust for me in MFP for the whole day. I don't know how to do it just for an activity.....is that possible? How will it look my in FB dashboard?

I hope this make sense. I have so many questions. Is there any youtube vids or anything that I could look at.
April 30, 2012 6:46 AM
Thanks for the replies. I will try wearing the FitBit on my bra and see if that helps to better calculate the zumba workout. I usually wear it on my waistband so maybe it's just not calculating all the movement there.
  8388906
May 1, 2012 11:21 AM
Thank you for the clarification Kim, I workout in a gym and wear mine on the lower part of my sleeve so it picks up movement when I am on a treadmill and elliptical trainer, it awards some calories for the static bike but not much as my arms stay still mostly.
  19248897
May 1, 2012 12:21 PM
QUOTE:

I just got my FB -- been on MFP for awhile --- i noticed that my calorie intake is different on FB and MFPl. how do i get it to be the same????

Also, how does everyone log in activity. I just got my FB this weekend and just have been putting it on and having it track everything that I do. I have done Zumba and it logged my calorie adjust for me in MFP for the whole day. I don't know how to do it just for an activity.....is that possible? How will it look my in FB dashboard?


Your calorie intake (the calories from the food you have logged eating) should be the same since it just comes over from mfp, my guess is your accounts haven't synced since you added food if your mfp intake is higher. If your fitbit is higher, look at your food log to see if it double logged any of your meals. Sometimes there is a delay in synching and sometimes it happens right away.

You can log a specific activity on mfp if you want and it will replace that burn on your fitbit. The fitbit adjustment is for the whole day, it happens when you burn more calories than the activity level you specified. If you are always seeing a large adjustment, you could increase your mfp activity level setting and it will decrease your adjustment. It may also increase your base allowance since that is based in part on your activity level, but it may not increase your allowance if you your current net goal is 1200 (MFP's minimum).
May 1, 2012 6:26 PM
I just got my fitbit so I am new to this as well. I do not regularly use myfitnesspal (yet) so I do not have my accounts synced. My question is about the exercise logging. Today I went to the gym and used both the elliptical and treadmill (on a steep incline). The numbers the fitbit gave are a bit off (for distance, and calories burned). So.. If I want to change the numbers, am I supposed to manually log the activities and delete the current activity records for these activities? When I go to manually log them, I don't see a spot to input steps.. so if I delete the activity logs, I will also delete the steps that took place during these activities? Any help would be great...thanks. :)
Edited by sarahg0811 On May 1, 2012 6:28 PM
May 1, 2012 7:35 PM
Ok, I just got my fitbit today and still trying to figure it out. Little curious about how accurate it is? I read several stories where people say they dont calculate accurately. How do I enter my workouts into mfp from my fitbit? Is there a way to accurately count my calories serperately from my all day total calories burned...i am finding this very confusing and time consuming...help? lol
  17797495
May 2, 2012 1:21 PM
I just got my fitbit today. I kind of like it but I'm a bit confused on some stuff. I assume it will just take time and poking around this site and the FB site.
I do zumba on with the Wii and my calorie burn is over 600 for just 47 minutes. I logged it into the MFP as usual. Is that how I do it or will the FB count it again when it syncs?
May 2, 2012 4:24 PM
QUOTE:

I just got my fitbit so I am new to this as well. I do not regularly use myfitnesspal (yet) so I do not have my accounts synced. My question is about the exercise logging. Today I went to the gym and used both the elliptical and treadmill (on a steep incline). The numbers the fitbit gave are a bit off (for distance, and calories burned). So.. If I want to change the numbers, am I supposed to manually log the activities and delete the current activity records for these activities? When I go to manually log them, I don't see a spot to input steps.. so if I delete the activity logs, I will also delete the steps that took place during these activities? Any help would be great...thanks. :)


What are you comparing the calorie burn to? I have been using my fitbit and a heart rate monitor for a couple years now. I find the burn on machines and on activity databases like the one on mfp both will give me 100+ calories for most cardio activities compared to my heart rate monitor. So I trust my heart rate monitor a little more than the cardio machines or activity databases. But even that is an estimate. For a lot of cardio my hrm and fitbit agree or are pretty close--usually closer to each other than my hrm and the activity database. But it kind of depends on the activity and on having your settings correct.

For your treadmill distance, you should be able to get it close by measuring and setting your stride length. If you don't set it, then fitbit just uses a default based on your height. You can set one for walking and one for running. There is another thread in this group explaining how to do that. I am not sure how accurate the distance would be on the elliptical since it isn't truly covering distance, it is kind of an exercise fusion of cycling and walking so I am not sure how distance really plays into it. If you are using high resistance settings, the fitbit estimate is probably a little low, and also if you are using the incline on your treadmill (as that is a type of resistance). I find the activities that involve resistance in any form are the kind the fitbit has trouble accurately estimating a calorie burn for since the fitbit burn estimate is based on movement it detects and the speed of the movement and possibly the impact of it and how much distance is covered, etc.

You can manually log exercise. Now here is where it is weird for what you want to do. If you manually log the exercise on mfp, it logs both here and on fitbit so that is usually the best option. But usually if you want to alter the distance, I tend to do that on fitbit since it is the fitbit activities that give you that option. You could try logging it here and then going into your fitbit activity log to see if it lets you alter the distance. For the treadmill you should be able to manually enter the distance on the fitbit site (go to your activity log, log activity, choose the correct one. It gives you a choice to manually enter calories, and for distance oriented activities to enter distance which will change the calorie burn calculation and steps for the activity). I don't think it gives you the distance option with the elliptical. When you manually log an activity, the fitbit detected data is overwritten (unless you delete the activity).
May 2, 2012 4:35 PM
QUOTE:

Ok, I just got my fitbit today and still trying to figure it out. Little curious about how accurate it is? I read several stories where people say they dont calculate accurately. How do I enter my workouts into mfp from my fitbit? Is there a way to accurately count my calories serperately from my all day total calories burned...i am finding this very confusing and time consuming...help? lol


Any tool that estimates calorie burn is just an estimate and it is hard to say how accurate any of them are. MFP just uses formulas based on your height, weight, age and gender to come up with the calorie burn and for the activity levels (sedentary, lightly active, etc) it uses multipliers that are a little arbitrary like multiplying your estimated bmr by 1.2 if you are sedentary. It is probably close for a lot of sedentary people, but it is about averages and not in any way specific to the individual. The activity tracked by the fitbit is pretty specific to you since it is directly related to how much you move and/or what you log. I have been using it a couple of years and find it is pretty accurate for me. I think it does over estimate some activities and underestimate some, but it kind of evens out especially if I correct any obvious mistakes.

Most of the complaints on the fitbit forum about accuracy are from new users who do not understand why they have a calorie burn when they wake up in the morning before they do activity (not criticizing them as it is confusing at first, but every day there is a thread titled something about "fitbit inaccurate" and that is what it is. The calorie burn in the morning is a portion of their estimated bmr for the hours between 12 am and when they wake up). I think the main thing to get it accurate it to enter in accurate information in your settings, keep it up to date and ideally to calculate and enter your walking and running strides.

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