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FAQ - Syncing, logging food & exercise, calorie adjustments, activity levels, accuracy

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  • OhMsDivaOhMsDiva Member Posts: 1,056 Member Member Posts: 1,056 Member
    I have a question. I had the charge before, three days ago I started using the Charge 2. When I sync my fitbit to MFP the exerise calories are almost twice what the fitbit app says my calories burned are. Any ideas why this is happening?
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,049 Member Member Posts: 18,049 Member
    OhMsDiva wrote: »
    I have a question. I had the charge before, three days ago I started using the Charge 2. When I sync my fitbit to MFP the exerise calories are almost twice what the fitbit app says my calories burned are. Any ideas why this is happening?

    While the entry may be under the MFP Exercise Diary, that is only so MFP uses the figure correctly to increase your eating level.

    That entry has nothing to do with the Fitbit reported calories burned for a workout that you did.

    It's the difference between your MFP estimated daily burn based on your selection of activity level - and the Fitbit supplied daily burn at that point with projection to the whole day.

    You could have no workouts and big adjustment, you could also have big workout and no adjustment.

    Reread the first part of the FAQ, within the first few questions it's mentioned what it is.
  • OhMsDivaOhMsDiva Member Posts: 1,056 Member Member Posts: 1,056 Member
  • OhMsDivaOhMsDiva Member Posts: 1,056 Member Member Posts: 1,056 Member
    I am sure I am not burning off 1500 calories in one hour but thank you for the help.
  • Suzeq66Suzeq66 Member Posts: 27 Member Member Posts: 27 Member
    My question I have an HR charge the band is broke it is out of warranty,I want a newer one the zip and the one can you still do challenges ? Also the Flex and Alta do you have any trouble with the bands? My wrists are small and I have trouble with clasp coming undone. Thanks for your input.
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,049 Member Member Posts: 18,049 Member
    OhMsDiva wrote: »
    I am sure I am not burning off 1500 calories in one hour but thank you for the help.

    No you would not be. That would indicate either a HR unit that is still in the first week or two learning your normal HR ranges - or a step-based unit that has the stride length calculated terribly for you.

    I'd investigate why it was so high for 1 hr.
    Either bogus serious steps seen getting that big calorie count.
    Normally bogus steps from other movements are minor and get barely any extra calorie burn - so it doesn't matter - balances out for time you are standing getting sleeping rate calorie burn.

    I'd also confirm your stats are correct.
    Fitbit has had an issue where it's displaying the correct body stats, but you can calculate from the math it's really using KG instead of lbs, and a 150 kg would have huge increase over 150 lbs.
    So merely reenter and save your body stats.
    Looking at your daily graph of calorie burn, for a 5 or 15 min chunk of non-moving sleeping time, shows that up really obviously. The math on those calories should end up near your BMR stat.
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,049 Member Member Posts: 18,049 Member
    Suzeq66 wrote: »
    My question I have an HR charge the band is broke it is out of warranty,I want a newer one the zip and the one can you still do challenges ? Also the Flex and Alta do you have any trouble with the bands? My wrists are small and I have trouble with clasp coming undone. Thanks for your input.

    That's not a usage/operation question for the FAQ thread where few see it - and would be best asked or looked for (I know it's been answered already) in the general Fitbit topics.
  • flagrantavidityflagrantavidity Member Posts: 216 Member Member Posts: 216 Member
    My fitbit is not syncing to MFP after changing to new Charge 2. Thinking about going back to Fitbit app exclusively.
  • megginandersonmegginanderson Member, Premium Posts: 276 Member Member, Premium Posts: 276 Member
    heybales wrote: »
    Perhaps for all new inquiries that come in, we can just point to this thread for someone to read first, until the moderators see perhaps a good idea to sticky it for easier access.
    These are either facts on the way things work, or my personal recommendation for settings.

    First section I'm just going to lay out the basics of how and brief why.
    Second section I'll get into more details as to why for those curious.

    Section One - The Basics

    How do I set up a sync between MFP and Fitbit?
    Best place seems to be your MFP web account first, as it seems to cut down on syncing issues later.
    MFP - Apps - Fitbit Tracker - Connect - follow process described (instructions on logging will be covered further below).

    You may still have syncing issues, usually seen as Fitbit stats not coming to MFP (steps, daily calorie burn, weight, BF%), but sometimes MFP stats not going to Fitbit (meal totals, workouts, weight). Usually effects those using the apps more.

    One method for getting around syncing issue, is unsync accounts totally from web accounts, and start process above again. Close your mobile apps, stop them from actually running, for this process.
    MFP - Apps - Your Apps section - Fitbit Tracker - Disconnect
    Fitbit - View Settings - Settings - Applications section - Revoke Access
    Start initial sync as instructed above.

    Do I log all my exercise in MFP per instructions MFP gave?
    Don't need to at all. That is merely so you use MFP more, and more usage is more ad dollars.

    Fact is for the non-HR devices any step based exercise (walking, running, gym classes, ect) will have a pretty good estimate for calorie burn from Fitbit (if stride length is correct), unless the walking/running is at good incline for good amount of time, because it assumes flat. You would need to log non-step based workouts though (swimming, rowing, biking, elliptical, stair climber, resistance training with weights or machines), because the steps seen are not related to the calorie burn at all.

    For the HR devices any cardio is going to be decent enough estimate. Though here again, lifting should be manually logged as it's not aerobic steady-state, and calorie burn will be inflated using HRM formula. Manually logged in database as - Weights on Fitbit, Strength Training on MFP.

    So for what should be manually logged, it can be logged in MFP or Fitbit. Fitbit's database uses a better method of calculating calorie burn, and for some non-step based exercises has more intensity options, more about that below. It also prevents the need for an extra sync from MFP to Fitbit, before updated daily burn is synced back to MFP.
    If you want friends to see your workout, just make a wall post about it, with more details than you'd normally get. The Fitbit Activity diary has better view and options anyway compared to MFP.

    Where do I log my food?
    Only on MFP. It will sync over as meal blocks of total calorie and macro stats to Fitbit for display there.

    Why doesn't my MFP Exercise Diary - Fitbit calorie adjustment equal my workout calorie burn?
    Because that MFP figure is not exercise.
    That figure is the difference between Fitbit's total daily burn which includes your exercise, and what MFP thought you'd burn with no exercise.
    Any difference includes exercise and daily activities. You could have no exercise and big positive adjustment from being very active. You could have big exercise and no positive adjustment from being very inactive that day outside of exercise.
    You can see this fact by clicking on the "i" for more info on that Fitbit calorie adjustment line.

    You should enable Negative Calorie adjustment too for sick or lazy days.
    MFP - Settings - Diary Settings - Calorie Adjustments - Enable Negative Adjustments.

    The reason it's put under exercise is so MFP correctly increases your eating goal, so the same deficit is maintained. You do more, you eat more, same deficit. MFP is merely correcting it's estimate of daily burn, which is based on your selection of activity level, and if you selected wrong, you get big adjustments, and then deficit is taken.

    What activity level on MFP should I select?
    It's usually better to select an activity level closer to reality so the adjustments are smaller, and you can plan your day better without big surprises too late to do anything about, more on this below. Bigger deficit is NOT better, just an unneeded stress on body. Stressed out body loses muscle mass along with fat mass - not good. Or it adapts so you don't burn as much - not good.

    How do I link in my other accounts for exercise, MapMyRide or Walk, or Digifit?
    You could link them to MFP and get the minor wall posting about the workout, then they will sync over to Fitbit and replace the calorie burn there.
    Or if able, can sync them to Fitbit directly. Then you make a wall post about the workout for friends to see with more details.
    Just confirm time zones are correct between accounts.

    Am I doubling up on calories by manually logging a workout, what about the activity record from the device?
    No you are not - hence the reason for the start and duration time - so Fitbit can replace whatever it came up with for calories.

    The activity record from the device button press is merely to allow viewing those stats for that block of time, you can manually make an activity record too for same purpose. Not logging those calories, merely viewing what Fitbit came up with already.
    If you know you'll manually log a workout to input more accurate calorie burn, the activity record does make it easier to see when the start time was, and figure out duration, and allow seeing the Fitbit stats for that time, rather than buried in the daily stats.

    If you log workout with an existing activity record, it does NOT replace the calorie burn in the record, just the daily stats. If you create activity record manually after logging workout, calorie burn is whatever you entered, though the other stats will be shown for steps & distance.

    How do I adjust my stride length for more accurate calorie burn?
    Treadmill is best so you can have set pace and known distance. For running you want average running pace, not the sprinting pace, not the recovery pace. For walking you want purposeful pace, not high exercise level, not slowest shopping level. You want between so the device can adjust as needed both directions. So if normal exercise walking pace is 3.8 mph, and store strolling is 1 mph, then 2.4 is average to use for test.

    1) Set pace, and walk/run normal stride until 0.4 miles is displayed.
    2) Now count every right foot impact until 0.5 miles is displayed.
    3) Double the foot count for total steps.
    4) 528 ft / Steps = decimal feet.inches per step stride length.
    5) Feet is used in MFP setting under View Settings - Settings - Stride Length.
    6) take 0.inches x 12 = decimal inches to use in that setting.
    (for example 2.85 becomes 2 ft., and 0.85 x 12 = 10.2 in.)

    How accurate can this device be?
    Decently accurate, if you recognize the limitations. The devices will actually under-estimate usually, because of the following:
    All non-moving time is assigned sleeping calorie burn (BMR), but when awake you actually burn more (RMR).
    When standing not moving you burn more.
    When digesting/processing food you burn more, about 10% of calories eaten.
    All that is unaccounted for in your daily burn.

    Moving calorie burn is based on steps, so accurate stride length is important.
    Even the HR formulas are likely to be off, likely inflated though, as assumptions are made for several key stats.

    But 1 hr of exercise how many times a week is what % of your total weekly time and calorie burn? Usually it's less than 5% of both, so even a 30% difference in that 1 hr of exercise is minor compared to the weekly total time and calories.
    The activity tracker is great for the other 23 hrs of the day. It may be great, or need adjustment, for that other 1 hr.

    I disconnected my new blaze and reconnected as you suggest above, recording exercise with the blaze and manually entering food in MFP and I am not seeing them sync up with the info in either app...? Not sure if i am doing something wrong? Can you make any other suggestions?
  • baaybeegurlbaaybeegurl Member, Premium Posts: 16 Member Member, Premium Posts: 16 Member
    Hello I have a question. I've been reading all the post on the Fitbit and specifically the Blaze and I for some reason can't find an answer. Sorry this is going to be a bit longish. I linked my Blaze 10/16 to MFP and the Blaze synced for about a month or so. So realizing this problem back then I tried fixing it on my own by disconnecting the Blaze. Deleting both apps and restarting my phone, reinstalling both apps and such. I'm still having an issue with MFP or Fitbit syncing my steps. Today I switched back to using my iPhone to sync my steps with MFP. I got the Fitbit so my steps would be closer to accurate. I don't always have my phone in my pocket so I was missing out on a lot of steps during the day. Anyway I contacted MFP for a solution and I was basically told that it was a problem and it's being looked into and that my ticket was closed. It's been about a month and the issue is still a problem and I'd like to link my Blaze back to MFP. Any thoughts on how to fix this or should I just delete MFP and just stick to Fitbit? Thanks for reading
  • unsuspectingfishunsuspectingfish Member Posts: 1,201 Member Member Posts: 1,201 Member
    I have tried absolutely every solution to get my Charge HR to start syncing again with MFP, and I finally got the steps to show up again on my app, but my adjustments still aren't showing up on previous days in which the app wasn't syncing properly. Is there any way to fix that (short of adding them manually)?
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,049 Member Member Posts: 18,049 Member
    All syncing issues should be asked in the main Fitbit forum topics - likely there are many going on it already, and merely reading some may show what you missed - or you are in the wait it out boat along with a bunch of others.

    The FAQ thread isn't good for troubleshooting issues because not read by vast majority, and not often, and the topic is specific.
  • dwood1231dwood1231 Member Posts: 309 Member Member Posts: 309 Member
    I have had my surge for just over a year, charged it last night like so many times before, this morning, the battery icon and a lighting bolt or in the upper left corner of every screen and it has not been showing my pulse, Any ideas as to what may be going on. Thank you
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,049 Member Member Posts: 18,049 Member
    dwood1231 wrote: »
    I have had my surge for just over a year, charged it last night like so many times before, this morning, the battery icon and a lighting bolt or in the upper left corner of every screen and it has not been showing my pulse, Any ideas as to what may be going on. Thank you

    It thinks it's plugged in charging - try a hard reset.
    If not that, need what I said in post above yours.
  • sweetkisses143sweetkisses143 Member Posts: 11 Member Member Posts: 11 Member
    Ok I've read everything and even had my hubby read it. I still need a little help :/ I have my Fitbit synced to MFP. I am logging my food in MFP and exercise in Fitbit like you said. However the calories burned are different from my workout. So when I started my workout timer on Fitbit and then ended it said that I burned 582 calories. Then it updated and synced to MFP but MFP only said 469 for the entire day burned instead of the 582 that I got from the workout. Am I missing something?
    edited February 2017
  • WinoGelatoWinoGelato Member Posts: 13,458 Member Member Posts: 13,458 Member
    Ok I've read everything and even had my hubby read it. I still need a little help :/ I have my Fitbit synced to MFP. I am logging my food in MFP and exercise in Fitbit like you said. However the calories burned are different from my workout. So when I started my workout timer on Fitbit and then ended it said that I burned 582 calories. Then it updated and synced to MFP but MFP only said 469 for the entire day burned instead of the 582 that I got from the workout. Am I missing something?

    Someone like @heybales can probably figure out the actual math for you, but here are my thoughts.

    MFP has an estimate of what it thinks you burn in a day from your BMR and non exercise activity (NEAT). This is based on your stats and the activity level you put in when you set up or updates your profile. It then takes a deficit from that, based on the goal rate of loss you selected (if 1 lb/week then it would subtract 500 cals). What is that number?

    FitBit tracks all your movement and estimates your total calorie burn including the exercise you do. It provides those totals to MFP throughout the day. At the end of the day, the adjustment you see on MFP is the difference between what MFP thought you burned via NEAT and what FitBit says you actually burned. If the adjustment is less than that one individual workout burn, that just means that MFP had already accounted for some of that in its total estimate for you.

    You can also check this if you are using the app by clicking into your calories burned from FitBit. It will tell you the amount MFP thought you would burn and the amount you're getting credit for from FitBit.

    Hope that helps. I've found it's better to not stress over slight differences between those two systems since they work off of different algorithms. If you trust that they work it out, and you see the results you're looking for overall, then over analyzing the details just isn't helpful. At least for me.
  • WinoGelatoWinoGelato Member Posts: 13,458 Member Member Posts: 13,458 Member
    To add to my post above, here is what mine looks like right now:
    m5uv1od56921.png

    See where it says based on 1852 calories burned from MFP? That's what my baseline estimate from MFP is. Right now, since it's early in the morning, it is a negative adjustment. As the day goes on and I take more steps and work out, that adjustment will go up and eventually look something like:
    kv6kp8nk5ka3.png

    So on Tuesday I got a 235 cal adjustment because I burned more than what MFP thought. My activity level is set to active though, so that may actually be lower than the FitBit measurement of a specific period of exercise, some of those are built into my MFP baseline and that was actually not a very active day for me.

    Hope this helps.
    edited February 2017
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,049 Member Member Posts: 18,049 Member
    Ok I've read everything and even had my hubby read it. I still need a little help :/ I have my Fitbit synced to MFP. I am logging my food in MFP and exercise in Fitbit like you said. However the calories burned are different from my workout. So when I started my workout timer on Fitbit and then ended it said that I burned 582 calories. Then it updated and synced to MFP but MFP only said 469 for the entire day burned instead of the 582 that I got from the workout. Am I missing something?

    4th question in the FAQ.
  • hollyfranklin44hollyfranklin44 Member Posts: 2 Member Member Posts: 2 Member
    My frustration level is about maxed out trying to get MFP to sync with my fitbit Blaze. I've revoked access and tried over and over again to get it to show up in my Fitbit account but it won't. MFP keeps saying that my iPhone is the selected method for tracking steps and it won't let me deselect it. I've turned off fitness tracking for the Health app on my iPhone, but still no luck. Any suggestions?
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,049 Member Member Posts: 18,049 Member
    My frustration level is about maxed out trying to get MFP to sync with my fitbit Blaze. I've revoked access and tried over and over again to get it to show up in my Fitbit account but it won't. MFP keeps saying that my iPhone is the selected method for tracking steps and it won't let me deselect it. I've turned off fitness tracking for the Health app on my iPhone, but still no luck. Any suggestions?

    Hit the main group topics where many people read them - and actually many topics are on this already you might find something you missed.

    The stickies are specific to their topic, in this case the FAQ - and those reading it for helping are very few in comparison.
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