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

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  • CraigdeneCraigdene Member Posts: 29 Member Member Posts: 29 Member
    That’s brill thank you again for the response. I did a lot of steep hill climbs on that day pushing a push chair uphill so my heart did get a good workout lol. I do wear it for weight lifting and it logs about 200 calories burned for a 30ish minute workout which I think is reasonable. All of the steps it counted were fairly accurate I think because Cat journeys don’t tend to add steps with my ionic, however I know what you mean because that is the reason I returned my Charge HR to the store around 3 years ago for a refund due to phantom step counting on car journeys.

    So all in all it seems pretty accurate and the maths work out.

    I will persevere and see how it goes then, I don’t appear to be losing any weight but I am seeing fat loss so hopefully on the right track.

    Thank you for your time you’ve been a big help.
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,049 Member Member Posts: 18,049 Member
    If all you do for lifting is 30 min say 3 x weekly with that otherwise active lifestyle, that almost 2 x inflated calorie burn won't matter in the scheme of things.

    If this was short day at 30 min, and normally at 60-90 min and 5-6 x weekly - then it matters.

    Because if this is Weights (what Fitbit database calls it) with reps 5-15 and sets 1-5 and rests 2-4 min, 400 per hr is inflated, likely around 200-250.

    If this is Circuit training, reps 15 and up, rests between lifts up to a min, then likely burn more than that.
  • Joycey1127Joycey1127 Member Posts: 1 Member Member Posts: 1 Member
    Okay I just want to double check...
    I thought I didn't need to manually add cardio into MFP?

    I just did a 30 min walk on treadmill @ 3mph. Fitbit synced and I see it in MFP under the Fitbit calorie adjustment (when I tap on the calorie adjustment the fitbit calories burned are match on both apps).

    However I don't think it updates at the top of MFP for goal - food + exercise = remaining.
    I'm on keto and need to be able to track my protein/fat adjustments after exercises are added in.
    So I manually added it in MFP and the adjustments look better...
    I'm just confused hahah.

    edit:
    After doing another workout (which I'm not even sure how to put in, but besides the point)
    I noticed MFP now shows at the top goal - food - exercise = remaining.
    So instead of adding exercise it's now subtracting? Extra confused now.

    Any clarification is appreciated!
    edited July 2018
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,049 Member Member Posts: 18,049 Member
    Joycey1127 wrote: »
    Okay I just want to double check...
    I thought I didn't need to manually add cardio into MFP?

    I just did a 30 min walk on treadmill @ 3mph. Fitbit synced and I see it in MFP under the Fitbit calorie adjustment (when I tap on the calorie adjustment the fitbit calories burned are match on both apps).

    However I don't think it updates at the top of MFP for goal - food + exercise = remaining.
    I'm on keto and need to be able to track my protein/fat adjustments after exercises are added in.
    So I manually added it in MFP and the adjustments look better...
    I'm just confused hahah.

    edit:
    After doing another workout (which I'm not even sure how to put in, but besides the point)
    I noticed MFP now shows at the top goal - food - exercise = remaining.
    So instead of adding exercise it's now subtracting? Extra confused now.

    Any clarification is appreciated!

    As one of the early questions in the FAQ - no you do not need to manually add anything into MFP for exercise.

    Yes - it does update the figures.

    Unless you are just talking about a time lag, or failed sync after you manually added the workout in because it has to sync to Fitbit, and then back to MFP again - the resulting figures should have been exactly the same.

    Reread the FAQ first section - that Adjustment is not your workout only, or at all possibly.

    So you got a negative adjustment when it says subtract exercise, just means the total of your exercise and the adjustment is negative - again could be because of lag time between the extra syncs you caused to be required for complete math.

    During these times of syncing issues - anything causing more syncs to be required is a BAD thing. Manually logging on MFP is therefore a BAD thing.

    You've provided no figures to assist showing you the math, so read the 2nd section of the FAQ, or 3rd one, where it shows what happens with those adjustments and the math.

    If using app hold down on adjustment to see what it's based on, time of sync and total. If web site, click the "i" for more info.

    Life if it says time of sync was prior to your manual entry - then math will be screwed up until it happens. And Fitbit doesn't send new figures until 100 higher than last sync.
  • lauracervin856lauracervin856 Member, Premium Posts: 1 Member Member, Premium Posts: 1 Member
    Hello, I am having trouble with my exercise syncing from Fitbit to MFP.
    Only my step calories are pulling through to MFP.
    Calories burned during any other type of exercise won't pull through.
    Does anyone know how to fix this?

    Not sure why one lot of exercise will pull through but not the other?

    I have tried disconnecting then reconnecting...
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,049 Member Member Posts: 18,049 Member
    There is nothing to fix - Reread the first section of FAQ - workout calories are NOT pulled over separate, Fitbit decided not to do that.

    Only the daily calorie burn which is workouts and daily activity is brought over for MFP to do math with to correct itself.

    If you want others to see you worked out - just make a wall post about it with more interesting details than you'd normally get.
  • MrsHungryAsianMrsHungryAsian Member Posts: 2 Member Member Posts: 2 Member
    What is more accurate - I calculated my TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) but that number is nowhere close to what FitBit says my daily calorie burn is on days with no exercise. Which number should I use to base my daily calorie needs on?
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,049 Member Member Posts: 18,049 Member
    What is more accurate - I calculated my TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) but that number is nowhere close to what FitBit says my daily calorie burn is on days with no exercise. Which number should I use to base my daily calorie needs on?

    Was your TDEE calculated from 4-5 rough levels that only discussed time of exercise weekly?
    Nothing to do with daily life?

    TDEE calc's are also almost always weekly average - so even if dead on correct for a daily average - that means it's never correct for any one day.
  • MrsHungryAsianMrsHungryAsian Member Posts: 2 Member Member Posts: 2 Member
    heybales wrote: »
    What is more accurate - I calculated my TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) but that number is nowhere close to what FitBit says my daily calorie burn is on days with no exercise. Which number should I use to base my daily calorie needs on?

    Was your TDEE calculated from 4-5 rough levels that only discussed time of exercise weekly?
    Nothing to do with daily life?

    TDEE calc's are also almost always weekly average - so even if dead on correct for a daily average - that means it's never correct for any one day.

    I used tdeecalculator.net - it only asked daily activity which I put in as sedentary. There were no questions about daily-weekly exercise. The website calculates 1,758 (maintenance calories) while FitBit says I burn @2,200 on days with no exercise. That is a huge gap in calories between the two - so I am not sure which value to use to -500 calories per day from to arrive at my daily goal. So confused....
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,049 Member Member Posts: 18,049 Member
    heybales wrote: »
    What is more accurate - I calculated my TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) but that number is nowhere close to what FitBit says my daily calorie burn is on days with no exercise. Which number should I use to base my daily calorie needs on?

    Was your TDEE calculated from 4-5 rough levels that only discussed time of exercise weekly?
    Nothing to do with daily life?

    TDEE calc's are also almost always weekly average - so even if dead on correct for a daily average - that means it's never correct for any one day.

    I used tdeecalculator.net - it only asked daily activity which I put in as sedentary. There were no questions about daily-weekly exercise. The website calculates 1,758 (maintenance calories) while FitBit says I burn @2,200 on days with no exercise. That is a huge gap in calories between the two - so I am not sure which value to use to -500 calories per day from to arrive at my daily goal. So confused....

    Since steps calculates to a distance, and it's distance and pace that leads to really good calorie burn calculation - steps can give a rough idea if in appropriate range.

    Sedentary is below 4K steps each and every day of the week. Outside of exercise.
    That is truly a bump on a log - no household responsibilities, no kids or pets, not much for shopping, computer or TV couch potato all evening and weekend.
    That is sedentary - and most find they are not when a weekly average is truly taken.

    And you might look at that site again - it's the outdate 1919 study with ONLY options about exercise - even says right there on the drop-down. How many days a week of exercise (which is about worthless description)

    Go to my profile and find the Just TDEE spreadsheet which is based on more recent research, and including exercise. Follow instructions in red to make your own, and fill it in.

    Because if you actually do exercise - then obviously not Sedentary. And you said you did. So you used that tool wrong.

    Use tools properly and they can help, not hurt, do something.
  • lpina2milpina2mi Member Posts: 457 Member Member Posts: 457 Member
    Charge 2 stopped synching yesterday at 17h38m. I recharged fitbit from 1/2power remaining to 3/4 and waited an overnight, as I got one msg on my mobile app that a synch was scheduled. I have fitbit set to continuous synch and have tried forcing a synch. I have tried connecting app to my Charge2 through mobile app and computer app.
    Had same problem yesterday at noon with computer app, so I went to mobile app and that resolved the issue. Today there is no connection between my fitbit and any app.
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,049 Member Member Posts: 18,049 Member
    you might start a topic on your specific issue - the FAQ's aren't place for troubleshooting as very few read the FAQ again once they've read it.

    Plus most people have issue with Fitbit account syncing to MFP account, not the device to their account - so spell that out like you did just now.
    Also you'll get a bigger audience for Fitbit specific issues on Fitbit's forum.
    edited September 2018
  • tumsashrinkstumsashrinks Member Posts: 21 Member Member Posts: 21 Member
    Hi everyone!

    I have had my Fitbit for over a year and it has helped me to increase my activity level. I haven't counted my calories for a long time so I haven't been worried too much about what FitBit estimates etc. and how it works with MFP (that part is pretty clear to me). A few days ago I decided to start tracking my calories again and out of curiosity, I checked what Fitbit thinks I spend. And I feel like Fitbit overestimates my calories spent? My BMR is 1720 and lightly active level results in a 2332kcal burn.

    However, on most days, I walk about 12k steps and Fitbit tells me I've burned 2800-3000kcal. I don't do any other exercise and I don't walk fast at all (I get around 8k of those steps just during the day and extra 4k steps I get from designated walking or dancing), my heart rate rarely reaches cardio zone, most of the time it's not even in the fat burn zone (e.g. today I had 43 min in fat burn zone and rest were below fat burn zone). I used to log my running with Endomondo before I got ankle injury and I know that it took a lot to get even 300 extra calories burned. As much as I would like to eat 2300-2500 calories (assuming I want 500kcal deficit per day), it just sounds unbelievable since before I got FitBit I had to eat below 1900 calories to lose weight. (And I was walking 7-8k steps per day then.)

    How much settings like stride length impact the estimate? I do have quite a small stride length but I am unsure if that would change calorie calculations that much?
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,049 Member Member Posts: 18,049 Member
    Since it's distance and time (for pace) and weight that actually calculates to calories, steps is merely a way to get distance - therefore can be very big impact if majority of calories is from daily activity movement. And it's wrong.

    Because 12K steps is actually getting into Very Active level by what MFP would use, at least Active, that would be BMR x 1.75 or 1.6 as estimate - but obviously how much distance the steps leads to matters.

    Ever walked a known distance at your average daily pace (not grocery store shuffle, not exercise level speed) and confirmed Fitbit was correct (it will feel slow at maybe 2 mph)?
    You'd want to start a walking workout and end it correctly - that way you'd have steps too for that known distance to recalculate stride length, besides seeing if Fitbit was correct.
  • tumsashrinkstumsashrinks Member Posts: 21 Member Member Posts: 21 Member
    The stride length (and therefore distance) is okay when I take a walk outside in my average daily pace. My issue is with getting those 8k that I get during the day, I don't think my stride length is that big when I take a few steps to grab a book from a shelf or when I go to make a cup of coffee so maybe that is the issue. I also often dance for 15-20 minutes and usually will get 1-1.5k steps there but each step is very different since it's just me dancing in my living room.

    I didn't realize that "12K steps is actually getting into Very Active level", I assumed that 10k is what MFP/Fitbit would expect from everyone (including Sedentary) so 12k didn't seem like a lot but if that's the case, those calculations make more sense.

    But I do know that I have never been able to lose weight if I eat more than 1900 calories per day, so those Fitbit calories look confusing. I guess I just need to experiment. In the past, I used to get that total of 7-8k steps daily by taking a long walk after work, my day to day was super inactive (only 1-2k steps per day without walks), so it might be that being overall slightly active every hour is better than being very active only for 2 hours after work.
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,049 Member Member Posts: 18,049 Member
    Most with trackers find their calories go above MFP Sedentary approaching 4K steps, so they start getting an adjustment.
    Depending on distance from them.

    So the reason for having stride length at avg daily pace, is because the accelerometer trackers estimate distance by measuring impact, and then comparing to expected based on stride length and weight.
    If less or more impact G's, distance for that step can be calculated.

    As with anything, the farther away from avg or expected in this case the less accurate the calculation, so right in the middle allows going both directions.
    Compared to some that set stride length at their fast walking pace of say 4mph - which is good for 30-60 min of the day, then the other 1/3 of the day is far less distance, and the inaccuracy at the opposite side of the range is very bad.

    Some other issues even if steps and distance was dead-on correct - the calculations use your BMR.

    So if your BMR is decently lower than estimated because of years of yo-yo dieting losing muscle mass so less than avg, or badly adapted metabolism from diet stress, or genetics (even no thyroid and no meds is usually max 5% lower) could throw it off.

    So you give the device the best info possible, correct what can be - and then tweak to fit results.
  • tumsashrinkstumsashrinks Member Posts: 21 Member Member Posts: 21 Member
    Thank you! It's a good reminder that my BMR could also be different. I think I will just try to eat based on what MFP tells me to eat per day and will not eat back exercise calories and see what happens with my weight loss. I've been eating to lose 0.5kg per week and if I see that I consistently lose a lot more, I will eat a third or half of those walking calories back.
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,049 Member Member Posts: 18,049 Member
    Well frankly, of all the estimates - Zero is a known wrong value.
    And starting on the low end can have your body adapt and burn less. Self-fulfilling action as it were.
    Better to start on the high end and work way down slowly.

    If you trust MFP, trust it's trying to correct itself with better info, or at least use that to better select from MFP's 4 activity levels instead of Fitbit's almost infinite.
    Enable negative adjustments for when you do less.
  • NysportsredNysportsred Member Posts: 216 Member Member Posts: 216 Member
    Head spinning....still confused lol.
  • barneshallbarneshall Member Posts: 636 Member Member Posts: 636 Member
    Hi, I bought fitbit 2 several weeks ago and found it doesnt sync with my Huwaei lite phone, so I sync with my laptop and it works fine.
    However, I need to buy a new phone and intend to buy one that will sync with the Fitbit. Is it possible to sync with both phone and laptop or do I have to choose one only ?
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