Exercise! - A question regarding calories burned

03-14-2008, 02:28 PM
I have heard many many times that the calorie counters on the machines (alonge with the heartrate monitors) just aren't at all accurate. However- does anyone actually know the degree of error? I want to know how many calories I am actually burning when at the gym every day. I am trying to really figure out exactly how many calories I should be eating every day. Also- does anyone know a more accurate way of finding out one's basal metabolic rate- again, I have heard the online calculators do a very innacurate job.

03-14-2008, 03:06 PM
If you want a more accurate picture of calories burned, I would buy yourself a Heart Rate Monitor that also tracks your calories. It's pretty accurate, as it bases it off of your heart rate, height, weight, gender and age. The gym machines are calibrated to give a number based on a 150 pound male, I believe. I believe that they over-count how many calories you burn in a session...but I haven't used a machine without my HRM for a long time!

03-14-2008, 03:13 PM
A BodyBugg will give you something pretty accurate...but costs nearly $400 and requires a subscription too, I think... BMR can also be measured at some research centers, but again, costly.

Otherwise, trial and error will help you figure it out. If you're eating 1400 a day, losing 1 lb a week, you're burning about 1900 a day between your basal and your exercise.

03-14-2008, 03:21 PM
I believe the only accurate way is to be testing by doctors at a research facility.

03-14-2008, 03:30 PM
Yeah - if the machines at the gym aren't asking your age, height, weight, etc. then they aren't accurate. I sometimes go online and check at a bunch of different sites - then take an average. I find that caloriesperhour.com seems to be accurate - but I could be way off on that. They do ask for height, age, etc. Then you can select what you've done and how long, and you can add to the list for a total (ie. walked 4 mph for 10 mins., jogged 5 mph for 20, pulled weeds for 30 mins, etc. and then it will give you a total for all of it). It's under that section with the calculators.

03-16-2008, 12:01 AM
I got a body bugg for my birthday and I LOOOOOOVE it! I always knew those machines were wrong. I did the elliptical for today and it said I burned 450 calories. My Body Bugg said I burned 269 during that same time period. So that's like 60% of what the machine said I burned. It only asked for my weight... So yeah those things are really off. If you can swing it you should get one. THere are others on the market as well I think Polar has one for about $100.

03-16-2008, 11:09 PM
Even if machines ask for your age, height, weight, and gender, they are usually still way off. See the sticky at the top of this section for more details. Basically, anything other than heart rate isn't going to be accurate because it doesn't know how fit you are. You could be the same age/height/weight/gender and be in great shape or in terrible shape. It all just depends on so many factors. Not very helpful, I know, but at least it's good info.