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

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  • mallen40mallen40 Posts: 138Member Member Posts: 138Member Member
    heybales wrote: »
    If you have MFP and Fitbit synced, then when a workout is manually added to MFP it goes over to Fitbit and replaces the Fitbit logged calorie burn.

    But you have the same workout going straight to Fitbit too, doing the same thing.

    Yes, bad news. Only to Fitbit or MFP, not both.

    So I should not have the MapMyWalk app synced to my Fitbit? From what I understand the Fitbit is more accurate, correct? I use the MMW app to track my miles, paths I walk, etc. Should I just not sync it to MFP (which I use to log my food) or Fitbit since the Fitbit will send what I walked to MFP account?
    Sorry, just wanting to make sure I am getting accurate info, understanding it all and plus just new to using a Fitbit. I just got it last week.
  • heybalesheybales Posts: 17,107Member Member Posts: 17,107Member Member
    mallen40 wrote: »
    heybales wrote: »
    If you have MFP and Fitbit synced, then when a workout is manually added to MFP it goes over to Fitbit and replaces the Fitbit logged calorie burn.

    But you have the same workout going straight to Fitbit too, doing the same thing.

    Yes, bad news. Only to Fitbit or MFP, not both.

    So I should not have the MapMyWalk app synced to my Fitbit? From what I understand the Fitbit is more accurate, correct? I use the MMW app to track my miles, paths I walk, etc. Should I just not sync it to MFP (which I use to log my food) or Fitbit since the Fitbit will send what I walked to MFP account?
    Sorry, just wanting to make sure I am getting accurate info, understanding it all and plus just new to using a Fitbit. I just got it last week.

    To correct some misconceptions in your statements.

    Should I not sync MMW to Fitbit? Depends.
    Is MMW using GPS?
    Does the Fitbit see the same distance walked when that distance is accurate?
    Then it would be equal accuracy. So you could skip MMW syncing to anything.

    Fitbit is NOT by default more accurate, especially a GPS route, unless you have bad accuracy.

    Fitbit does not send what you walked to MFP account. Only the daily calorie burn is sent that MFP does any math with that effects your eating level, and therefore your weight loss amount.
    Steps are sent as a mere stat for comparing, not used for anything except viewing.

    So here are the principles.
    A manually entered workout on Fitbit, or one that is synced from another app like MFP or MMW - replaces at minimum the calories burned during the workout time, may replace distance and steps too (not from MFP though).
    MMW to MFP creates a manual workout. Which of course syncs over to Fitbit replacing only calorie burn.

    Fitbit may or may not be most accurate calorie burn. Since based on pace and mass, therefore distance and time - is the distance correct?
  • mallen40mallen40 Posts: 138Member Member Posts: 138Member Member
    heybales wrote: »
    mallen40 wrote: »
    heybales wrote: »
    If you have MFP and Fitbit synced, then when a workout is manually added to MFP it goes over to Fitbit and replaces the Fitbit logged calorie burn.

    But you have the same workout going straight to Fitbit too, doing the same thing.

    Yes, bad news. Only to Fitbit or MFP, not both.

    So I should not have the MapMyWalk app synced to my Fitbit? From what I understand the Fitbit is more accurate, correct? I use the MMW app to track my miles, paths I walk, etc. Should I just not sync it to MFP (which I use to log my food) or Fitbit since the Fitbit will send what I walked to MFP account?
    Sorry, just wanting to make sure I am getting accurate info, understanding it all and plus just new to using a Fitbit. I just got it last week.

    To correct some misconceptions in your statements.

    Should I not sync MMW to Fitbit? Depends.
    Is MMW using GPS?
    Does the Fitbit see the same distance walked when that distance is accurate?
    Then it would be equal accuracy. So you could skip MMW syncing to anything.

    Fitbit is NOT by default more accurate, especially a GPS route, unless you have bad accuracy.

    Fitbit does not send what you walked to MFP account. Only the daily calorie burn is sent that MFP does any math with that effects your eating level, and therefore your weight loss amount.
    Steps are sent as a mere stat for comparing, not used for anything except viewing.

    So here are the principles.
    A manually entered workout on Fitbit, or one that is synced from another app like MFP or MMW - replaces at minimum the calories burned during the workout time, may replace distance and steps too (not from MFP though).
    MMW to MFP creates a manual workout. Which of course syncs over to Fitbit replacing only calorie burn.

    Fitbit may or may not be most accurate calorie burn. Since based on pace and mass, therefore distance and time - is the distance correct?

    MMW does use GPS. It maps out the route I walk. The distance seems to be the same for it and the Fitbit. I think the thing I am most worried about is making sure that the calories burned sent from my Fitbit and MMW don't add together. Just not sure on which would be better at giving a more accurate reading of my calories burned each day. I think I understand everything else you have said. I am mostly worried about my calories being all wrong since I want to stick with a goal to lose weight. I don't want to have "false" extra calories.
    Thank you for taking the time to answer and explain things. It's very helpful for a newbie to the Fitbit world
  • heybalesheybales Posts: 17,107Member Member Posts: 17,107Member Member
    If the distance seems correct and the calorie burn matches up (that is if you trust MMW more), than nothing is really gained by syncing MMW to Fitbit.

    The end result is the same, the daily calorie burn is sent to MFP.
    MFP adjusts what it thought you'd burn with no exercise to that number received.
    Deficit is taken for your eating level.

    MMW synced to MFP probably doesn't give many stats to your wall posting - so just manually make a wall post about the workout, distance, time, thoughts, calories.

    See my profile for example.

    And MMW isn't giving you a daily calorie burn anyway. If it is, is it using your phone as a pedometer when no GPS?
    If so, it's attempting to do exactly what the Fitbit is already doing.
    Use your investment, forget MMW except on their site for tracking workouts. Better there than Fitbit for stats anyway.
  • debrag12debrag12 Posts: 1,033Member, Premium Member Posts: 1,033Member, Premium Member
    So I have my activity level on mfp as active and calorie goal as 1906. My food plan on fitbit is set at -250lbs is there anything else I should adjust and should I follow mfp or fitbit for how many calories I have left, also follo 'goal' or 'net'?

    My burn goal on fitbit is 2868
    edited April 2015
  • heybalesheybales Posts: 17,107Member Member Posts: 17,107Member Member
    Food plan on Fitbit doesn't matter to the math on MFP. Deficit on MFP matters.
    Follow MFP eating goal, net or gross doesn't matter, it tells you how much left to eat.
    Your manually set 1906 will be changed.

    What method are you trying to use since you got a mix there?
  • mallen40mallen40 Posts: 138Member Member Posts: 138Member Member
    heybales wrote: »
    If the distance seems correct and the calorie burn matches up (that is if you trust MMW more), than nothing is really gained by syncing MMW to Fitbit.

    The end result is the same, the daily calorie burn is sent to MFP.
    MFP adjusts what it thought you'd burn with no exercise to that number received.
    Deficit is taken for your eating level.

    MMW synced to MFP probably doesn't give many stats to your wall posting - so just manually make a wall post about the workout, distance, time, thoughts, calories.

    See my profile for example.

    And MMW isn't giving you a daily calorie burn anyway. If it is, is it using your phone as a pedometer when no GPS?
    If so, it's attempting to do exactly what the Fitbit is already doing.
    Use your investment, forget MMW except on their site for tracking workouts. Better there than Fitbit for stats anyway.

    Yes I agree to just use my investment. And after something you said I guess MMW doesn't use GPS since it does give calories burned. Plus I have seen that the calories given from them verses Fitbit does have a difference mainly with Fitbit being a lot less. Feel safer using what they track as calories than MMW. Thank you again for all the help and info it is much appreciated!
  • SFDonovanSFDonovan Posts: 71Member Member Posts: 71Member Member
    mallen40 wrote: »
    I have read through a lot of different threads but may be missing something.

    I use MapMyWalk when I do my walks and have it synced to MFP and my Fitbit Zip. Should I only have it synced to one or is it ok to have it synced to both? I want to get accurate calories burned but have a hard time understanding how MFP calculates when both MMW and Fitbit report back to it. Would it be best to have only one app synced??


    I'm with mallen.

    Fitbit doesn't sync the workouts to MFP, only steps. MapMyFitness does (Under Armour own both MFP and MapMyFitness websites). If I put my Fitbit workouts into MapMyFitness and they are synced to MFP are they double counted here?
  • heybalesheybales Posts: 17,107Member Member Posts: 17,107Member Member
    Fitbit syncs the entire day's calorie burn to MFP - that includes any workouts you did - whether Fitbit came up with the calorie burn, or another app synced a workout to Fitbit and replaced the calorie burn, and that includes MFP itself or MMW.

    So Fitbit is used to log your workout for which it's good at, you create an activity say with the button press and then that syncs over to MMF so you can track your workouts better.
    Since MMF is receiving from Fitbit full stats, it's not sending something back. Unless I'm guessing you edit the workout and change some stats, then it would.

    Then you have MMF synced to MFP, so that workout now syncs to MFP, as start time, duration, and calorie burn only.

    MFP is now synced with Fitbit so the workout goes over to Fitbit replacing it's calorie burn stat with ..... exactly the same figure it already had.

    Now, the question is does Fitbit now see this manually entered/synced workout as something new with only calorie burn info since that's all it received?
    Since it's the same calorie burn info, but a manually logged workout without any other stats, does it send it to MMF again, or does Fitbit or MMF recognize it already got that workout and stop this circle of syncing?

    So I could see at the least you'd get in Fitbit the activity record from the button press and a synced workout with just calorie burn for every workout, perhaps making review interesting.
    Then again - using MMF for workout tracking, so may not matter at all.

    MFP doesn't double count though, because it subtracts any workout (manual or synced from other apps) calorie burn from the Fitbit daily calorie burn.

    Fitbit wouldn't double count as it is replacing the original calorie burn with the same figure.

    Depending on where the cycle ends is if WWF gets a manual workout with only calorie burn from Fitbit, and the original activity record with full stats.

    If the intent of MMF is merely to have a workout entered on MFP without any stats except duration and calorie burn - then may I suggest making it more interesting by just making a wall post instead of manually entering the workout on MMF to sync over.
    Then again, if MMF is used as a good exercise diary basically, then why not.
    edited April 2015
  • debrag12debrag12 Posts: 1,033Member, Premium Member Posts: 1,033Member, Premium Member
    heybales wrote: »
    Food plan on Fitbit doesn't matter to the math on MFP. Deficit on MFP matters.
    Follow MFP eating goal, net or gross doesn't matter, it tells you how much left to eat.
    Your manually set 1906 will be changed.

    What method are you trying to use since you got a mix there?

    See I'm confussed on what method is best when using a fitbit

  • Tyson628Tyson628 Posts: 1Member Member Posts: 1Member Member
    Very informative; thanks for this :)
  • heybalesheybales Posts: 17,107Member Member Posts: 17,107Member Member
    debrag12 wrote: »
    heybales wrote: »
    Food plan on Fitbit doesn't matter to the math on MFP. Deficit on MFP matters.
    Follow MFP eating goal, net or gross doesn't matter, it tells you how much left to eat.
    Your manually set 1906 will be changed.

    What method are you trying to use since you got a mix there?

    See I'm confussed on what method is best when using a fitbit

    Depends on what you want.
    Do you work better with a constant eating goal daily, that you only adjust perhaps weekly?
    MFP math will be wrong and you must unsync Fitbit.

    Or are you able to meet daily goals that change, that may inspire you to move more in order to eat more?
    MFP math will be right and you can sync Fitbit.
    MFP and Fitbit were designed for this method.

    The amount of deficit you take in either case can be exactly the same or close, though the former could be a block amount or % amount. The latter method is block amount.
  • SleeplessInSeattleSleeplessInSeattle Posts: 374Member Member Posts: 374Member Member
    I have a new Fitbit Surge. I do a bit of motorcross riding. I'm wondering whether all the bouncing around is affecting my steps. During a 40 minute motor bike ride I did 7000 steps!!!! Can someone please explain how to overcome this please?
    I'll need a bit of a step by step guide...I'm pretty new to this.

    PS. I noticed in one early comment in this thread that a bus driver changes his fitbit to drive as he seems to have the same issue. I need the method to do this please?

    Thanks very much, in advance.
  • heybalesheybales Posts: 17,107Member Member Posts: 17,107Member Member
    I have a new Fitbit Surge. I do a bit of motorcross riding. I'm wondering whether all the bouncing around is affecting my steps. During a 40 minute motor bike ride I did 7000 steps!!!! Can someone please explain how to overcome this please?
    I'll need a bit of a step by step guide...I'm pretty new to this.

    PS. I noticed in one early comment in this thread that a bus driver changes his fitbit to drive as he seems to have the same issue. I need the method to do this please?

    Thanks very much, in advance.

    You create an activity record with the device button for the time.
    You then use that info to create a manual workout on Fitbit's site called bus driving or car driving covering the same block of time. Though you may see if motorcycle is enough calories for that extra work, but I don't know if that removes steps like the other entries do.
    Once manually logged, delete the activity record with bogus info since not really useful.
    Done, bogus steps removed.
  • farrahferrittofarrahferritto Posts: 9Member Member Posts: 9Member Member
    I just bought a surge and synced it to MFP. I'm new to calorie counting, and very confused! When looking at the calories remaining , mine says goal- 1200, food- 1451, + exercise 339 = 88 remaining. By looking at this I have no idea if I'm under my goal of 1200, at my goal, or have to burn more calories if I'm over my goal! So completely lost! Can someone dumb it down for me! Thanks
  • heybalesheybales Posts: 17,107Member Member Posts: 17,107Member Member
    Eat 88 more to reach your eating goal. Just follow what it says to eat.

    Your eating goal is 1200 on non-exercise days that match the activity level you selected in MFP. Rarely will you exactly match that level, and Fitbit allows correction to it.
    Fitbit gave daily burn to MFP to correct that with 339 calorie adjustment more.
    1200 + 339 = 1539 eating goal now.
    1539 - 1451 eaten so far = 88 left

    In other words - just follow what it says. I think you knew it meant you had 88 remaining to eat.
    You don't eat 1200 when you do more activity, you eat more.

    And when you reach 50 lbs left, you should switch to 1.5 lbs weekly, as 2 lbs weekly will be too much stress on body.
    At 30 lbs go to 1 lb.
    At 10 lbs go to 1/2 lb.
  • farrahferrittofarrahferritto Posts: 9Member Member Posts: 9Member Member
    heybales wrote: »
    Eat 88 more to reach your eating goal. Just follow what it says to eat.

    Your eating goal is 1200 on non-exercise days that match the activity level you selected in MFP. Rarely will you exactly match that level, and Fitbit allows correction to it.
    Fitbit gave daily burn to MFP to correct that with 339 calorie adjustment more.
    1200 + 339 = 1539 eating goal now.
    1539 - 1451 eaten so far = 88 left

    In other words - just follow what it says. I think you knew it meant you had 88 remaining to eat.
    You don't eat 1200 when you do more activity, you eat more.

    And when you reach 50 lbs left, you should switch to 1.5 lbs weekly, as 2 lbs weekly will be too much stress on body.
    At 30 lbs go to 1 lb.
    At 10 lbs go to 1/2 lb.

    Thank you! This helps!
  • W_StewartW_Stewart Posts: 202Member Member Posts: 202Member Member
    For HR devices, calorie burn for daily activity is still step based as that is more accurate, but for exercise it's based on HR formula. HR formula is used when you start an activity record with button press, and your steps are high enough to indicate the higher HR is indeed from exercise, or HR and steps go up to show exercise is being done. Otherwise it thinks elevated HR due to something else and just uses step calculation.

    HR formula is only a decent calorie estimate when the exercise is steady-state aerobic, same HR for 2-4 min. Anything anaerobic, like good lifting or interval workout, which is also non-steady-state HR, is not valid use of formula and will result in inflated calorie burn. Step based would actually be best for intervals.

    I read this very helpful thread (thanks heybales!!) but could still use some guidance. I want to use my Charge HR to only capture specific walking exercise activities, determine the estimated calorie burn, then update MFP. I am not looking for Fitbit to update MFP with daily calorie and step tracking. I just want the calorie burn from my power walks that I can squeeze into my otherwise sedentary day. I'll use the device button to stop/start the activity for each walk. I intend to do it this way since MFP is already estimating my normal daily activity and I just need to add in my calorie burn from exercises.

    I am trying to digest your comments above to understand if the HR formula is accurate enough for my walks. Often my walks involve hills, sometimes not so much (although it is generally hilly around here). I'm including a sample HR chart from a morning walk. Does the variability shown in my chart suggest the HR formula is accurate for my walks? I got the device thinking the HR feature would give me a more accurate calorie burn estimate than Runkeeper.

    sAm4uXN.png?1

  • W_StewartW_Stewart Posts: 202Member Member Posts: 202Member Member
    And to help explain my question, here are the calorie burn estimates using 3 methods for the same 28 minute walk

    MFP = 159 (uses duration, speed)
    RunKeeper = 216 (uses GPS, elevation)
    Fitbit Charge HR = 264 (uses HR? steps? both?)

    The deviation between methods increases if you consider I may do anywhere from 2 to 4 of these walks a day. Sometimes longer, sometimes shorter.
    edited April 2015
  • heybalesheybales Posts: 17,107Member Member Posts: 17,107Member Member
    wahoowad wrote: »
    And to help explain my question, here are the calorie burn estimates using 3 methods for the same 28 minute walk

    MFP = 159 (uses duration, speed)
    RunKeeper = 216 (uses GPS, elevation)
    Fitbit Charge HR = 264 (uses HR? steps? both?)

    The deviation between methods increases if you consider I may do anywhere from 2 to 4 of these walks a day. Sometimes longer, sometimes shorter.

    HR is likely going to be better, I really doubt RunKeeper incorporates elevation changes, unless they replace the bad GPS data with better online data, which Garmin does do, so it is possible.

    Wondering though why you want to trust MFP's rough estimate of daily burn outside of exercise, when you have a device able to measure it much more accurately?
    You can still manually log that workout on MFP if it must be seen logged in your exercise diary, and then that will show you that any adjustment that remains is exactly because the MFP estimate needed correction.
    Have you ever looked at the adjustments that remain after manually logging the exercise to see how close MFP was in the first place?

    But otherwise, you hit the button to start an activity.
    edited April 2015
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