Accurate calorie burn

Hello.

I have a question regarding the calorie burn that is indicated in the exercise menu on the app. I like to hike. And when I try to log my exercise, I am given 3 options for hiking. Cross Country, Carrying a pack over 10lbs, and carrying a pack under 10lbs. I do not feel as if it quite represents the activity I am doing. Is there some way I can more accurately log my burn?

May I give you an example of my hike?

The hike I most often do is one near my home. I climb a mountain(hill). It has an elevation gain of 900ft. I take a path to the top that spirals around, it takes me 3.5 miles to reach the top. I climb at a rate of about 2.5mph. I take the same path down the mountain, at a pace of 3.5mph. (Speed is merely an average from my watch. It includes stops for pictures or a drink). I carry a pack that weighs roughly 5lbs. I am 290(ish)lbs.

Is there any way to get a more accurate calorie burn number that I could log from this information provided?
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Replies

  • DavPul
    DavPul Posts: 61,408 Member
    Your version of hiking sounds suspiciously like....hiking. What is it about those 3 options that you don't like? I guess you could choose among the walking options. I think there's one for walking uphill, IIRC.

    For us to judge what seems accurate, you'd have to tell us what calorie number you're currently getting for your hikes.
  • GalactusEmpire
    GalactusEmpire Posts: 90 Member
    I suppose I am just curious how they can get an accurate calorie burn by me just putting in a time. The options for hiking don't list anything like the walking ones do. There is no MPH or incline. Just hiking, which sounds vague to me, which makes me suspicious that it might not be accurate enough for me to base my calorie intake on.

    It says I burn over 2400 calories for 2 and a half hours of hiking. While this might be even close to what I do actually burn, how can I know if it is accurate?

    Edit: I just have a feeling that the vague "hiking" that MFP offers as an exercise, could be based on more rigorous, or less rigorous exercise which will skew my calorie intake overall. There are no modifiers.
  • sweetcurlz67
    sweetcurlz67 Posts: 1,168 Member
    get yourself a heart rate monitor
  • DavPul
    DavPul Posts: 61,408 Member
    Then give yourself 8-10 calories per minute actually moving
  • kayl3igh88
    kayl3igh88 Posts: 428 Member
    get yourself a heart rate monitor

    This! x
  • WaterBunnie
    WaterBunnie Posts: 1,372 Member
    I'd say a FitBit One would be a wiser investment if you walk regularly as you can sync it with your account here so that it'll automatically adjust your calories/activity level across the whole day EVERYDAY. HRMs are better suited for shorter higher impact exercise sessions. That burn sounds quite high to me, although it depends on your weight etc, but you could risk over eating the calories back if the rate is way off.

    (I've lost 94 pounds since buying mine!)
  • crparada
    crparada Posts: 2
    A heart rate monitor would me the most accurate way of measuring the calorie consumption.

    However, in my personal experience for the biking and jogging options the calculation is not far off. My heart monitor usually indicates around 10% more than the app.
  • MYhealthyjourney70
    MYhealthyjourney70 Posts: 276 Member
    I don't use what MFP gives... i have a fitbit and i let that log my activity for me.. i was talking to my dietician and she agrees with me that MFP over estimates calories burned.. i about the same weight as you.. i feel with a HRM or fitibt you will get a much better picture of what you burn.. i also hike on a regular basis.. good luck on you journey
  • ryannsmom921
    ryannsmom921 Posts: 28 Member
    You could purchase a heart rate monitor and wear it while you hike, then you can log that right into your exercise and add it to your regular activity.
    I got a New Balance HRM with chest strap and watch. It's pretty comfortable and most of the time I don't realize I'm wearing it because it sits right under my bra.
    It's just an idea.
    I also have a fitbit one that takes into account "hiking" uphill and your speed, weight, etc. It also syncs with MFP so I don't have to log any of that activity. There is another option.
  • Flab2Fab27
    Flab2Fab27 Posts: 461 Member
    This sounds suspiciously like one of those math problems from grade school...
  • TrainingWithTonya
    TrainingWithTonya Posts: 1,741 Member
    The way calorie estimates are generally done are based on a set intensity level of the activity in relation to the intensity of sitting. In the exercise physiology community we commonly use the Metabolic Equivalent (MET) system. 1 MET = 1 Calorie per kilogram of body weight per hour and is an average calorie burn for sitting and doing nothing. An exercise that is 3 METs burns 3 times as many calories as sitting. An exercise that is 8 METs burns 8 times as many calories as sitting, etc. If you look at this compendium of MET levels from the University of South Carolina, http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/tools/docs/documents_compendium.pdf you will see that there is a wide range of MET levels based on intensity for walking climbing hills, hiking, carrying a load, etc. from 2.8 to 9 METs. On pages 9 and 10, you'll see 6 METs for both hiking and walking uphill at 3.5 mph and 7 METs for walking climbing hills with a 0-9 pound load, so I would probably use 6 or 7 METs for what you are doing, or even split the difference and say 6.5 METs.

    Doing the math, that gives you:

    290/2.2=131.8 kg
    131.8 x 6.5 = 856.7 Calories per hour
    856.7 x 2.5 = 2142 Calories for a 2.5 hour hike
  • DavPul
    DavPul Posts: 61,408 Member
    The way calorie estimates are generally done are based on a set intensity level of the activity in relation to the intensity of sitting. In the exercise physiology community we commonly use the Metabolic Equivalent (MET) system. 1 MET = 1 Calorie per kilogram of body weight per hour and is an average calorie burn for sitting and doing nothing. An exercise that is 3 METs burns 3 times as many calories as sitting. An exercise that is 8 METs burns 8 times as many calories as sitting, etc. If you look at this compendium of MET levels from the University of South Carolina, http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/tools/docs/documents_compendium.pdf you will see that there is a wide range of MET levels based on intensity for walking climbing hills, hiking, carrying a load, etc. from 2.8 to 9 METs. On pages 9 and 10, you'll see 6 METs for both hiking and walking uphill at 3.5 mph and 7 METs for walking climbing hills with a 0-9 pound load, so I would probably use 6 or 7 METs for what you are doing, or even split the difference and say 6.5 METs.

    Doing the math, that gives you:

    290/2.2=131.8 kg
    131.8 x 6.5 = 856.7 Calories per hour
    856.7 x 2.5 = 2142 Calories for a 2.5 hour hike

    BOOM
  • Chieflrg
    Chieflrg Posts: 9,081 Member
    get yourself a heart rate monitor

    This! x

    No & no. HRM are for steady state of cardio. Not hiking, not walking, not even lifting weights. All of these don't get your heart rate high enough at a steady state to be considered close to accurate.

    This formula isn't completely accurate but it will get you very close.


    Calories/hr = 0.6 * weight (in pounds including backpack) * speed (mph) * (1 + 8.8 *grade)
  • redraider08
    redraider08 Posts: 33 Member
    I've found that the calorie burn per exercise listed by MFP overcompensates by 15% or so. I recently purchased a Suunto monitor and used the reading(s) from that. It always gives me a lower number than what MFP says I burn. So if you're going to "add back" calories, I'd use a monitor.

    That said, I've been using the TDEE method instead of late and don't have to worry about how many calories I may or may not burn. The only time I add any exercise is if it's out of the ordinary and intense.
  • Kitship
    Kitship Posts: 579 Member
    I'd say a FitBit One would be a wiser investment if you walk regularly as you can sync it with your account here so that it'll automatically adjust your calories/activity level across the whole day EVERYDAY. HRMs are better suited for shorter higher impact exercise sessions. That burn sounds quite high to me, although it depends on your weight etc, but you could risk over eating the calories back if the rate is way off.

    (I've lost 94 pounds since buying mine!)

    Ditto.

    I use my Fitbit almost exclusively for tracking hiking burns!
  • GalactusEmpire
    GalactusEmpire Posts: 90 Member
    The way calorie estimates are generally done are based on a set intensity level of the activity in relation to the intensity of sitting. In the exercise physiology community we commonly use the Metabolic Equivalent (MET) system. 1 MET = 1 Calorie per kilogram of body weight per hour and is an average calorie burn for sitting and doing nothing. An exercise that is 3 METs burns 3 times as many calories as sitting. An exercise that is 8 METs burns 8 times as many calories as sitting, etc. If you look at this compendium of MET levels from the University of South Carolina, http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/tools/docs/documents_compendium.pdf you will see that there is a wide range of MET levels based on intensity for walking climbing hills, hiking, carrying a load, etc. from 2.8 to 9 METs. On pages 9 and 10, you'll see 6 METs for both hiking and walking uphill at 3.5 mph and 7 METs for walking climbing hills with a 0-9 pound load, so I would probably use 6 or 7 METs for what you are doing, or even split the difference and say 6.5 METs.

    Doing the math, that gives you:

    290/2.2=131.8 kg
    131.8 x 6.5 = 856.7 Calories per hour
    856.7 x 2.5 = 2142 Calories for a 2.5 hour hike

    That's amazing and exactly what I was looking for. Thank you. I will use this system for the best estimation of my burned calories. I appreciate your reply.
  • DavPul
    DavPul Posts: 61,408 Member
    Why bother with all the hassle? It's the same number that mfp gave you
  • WaterBunnie
    WaterBunnie Posts: 1,372 Member
    The way calorie estimates are generally done are based on a set intensity level of the activity in relation to the intensity of sitting. In the exercise physiology community we commonly use the Metabolic Equivalent (MET) system. 1 MET = 1 Calorie per kilogram of body weight per hour and is an average calorie burn for sitting and doing nothing. An exercise that is 3 METs burns 3 times as many calories as sitting. An exercise that is 8 METs burns 8 times as many calories as sitting, etc. If you look at this compendium of MET levels from the University of South Carolina, http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/tools/docs/documents_compendium.pdf you will see that there is a wide range of MET levels based on intensity for walking climbing hills, hiking, carrying a load, etc. from 2.8 to 9 METs. On pages 9 and 10, you'll see 6 METs for both hiking and walking uphill at 3.5 mph and 7 METs for walking climbing hills with a 0-9 pound load, so I would probably use 6 or 7 METs for what you are doing, or even split the difference and say 6.5 METs.

    Doing the math, that gives you:

    290/2.2=131.8 kg
    131.8 x 6.5 = 856.7 Calories per hour
    856.7 x 2.5 = 2142 Calories for a 2.5 hour hike

    That's amazing and exactly what I was looking for. Thank you. I will use this system for the best estimation of my burned calories. I appreciate your reply.

    Just be mindful that sedentary on MFP already includes around 5000 steps a day.
  • GalactusEmpire
    GalactusEmpire Posts: 90 Member
    Why bother with all the hassle? It's the same number that mfp gave you

    burned 2,415 calories doing 150 minutes of Hiking, climbing hills (carrying <10 lb load)


    What MFP gave me.