How accurate is Plar FT4?

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I recently invested on a heart rate monitor to accurately track the calories I burn; it is a Polar FT4. I used to use the one that most treadmills have but I'd heard many stories as to how they always overestimate the calories so I would usually divide them by 2. So for example if I burned 500 calories, I would enter 250 in my profile just to be safe. But starting this Monday, I've been using the heart rate monitor, and to my surprise, I actually burn more than the treadmill tells me! For example, according to the treadmill I burned 350 calories on Monday whereas my heart rate monitor showed 400.

Now I know 50 calories is not a big deal but this whole time I was halving my burned calories because I thought the poor treadmill was showing more than it should. So which one do I trust? Is the heart rate monitor accurate or should I keep halving my burned calories?

Replies

  • gelar93
    gelar93 Posts: 160
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    I appreciate if someone could share their thoughts/experiences because I really need to know how accurate this heart rate monitor is.
    Seems like people prefer "If the person above you..." type of posts but how about something that's actually related?
  • TeaBea
    TeaBea Posts: 14,517 Member
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    For steady state cardio (treadmill) my Polar FT4 seems accurate.

    One factor that machines can't capture is how hard the workout was for you (exertion level). If you're doing the same workout time and again...the calorie burns should decrease and then level off. As you become more fit, you will need to up intensity to reach the same numbers.
  • Chieflrg
    Chieflrg Posts: 9,097 Member
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    Don't forget that the FT4 is giving the gross calories and not net. You still should subtract the RMR calories you would burn through normal activities breathing, digest food, support organ function etc...to get the most accurate reading of calories burned per exercise.
  • numinousnymph
    numinousnymph Posts: 249 Member
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    the Polar FT4 is MUCH more accurate for steady-state cardio, I.E. where you are doing cardio at the same/similar intensity so your heart rate isn't jumping all over the place like it would be in HIIT. so if your treadmill workout is steady-state then it should be rather accurate -- i still deduct 50 - 75 cals just to be safe.
  • Hornsby
    Hornsby Posts: 10,322 Member
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    Chieflrg wrote: »
    Don't forget that the FT4 is giving the gross calories and not net. You still should subtract the RMR calories you would burn through normal activities breathing, digest food, support organ function etc...to get the most accurate reading of calories burned per exercise.

    This.
  • MikeInAZ
    MikeInAZ Posts: 483 Member
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    I think the Polar devices are all pretty accurate. I think the issue is the computer doing the computation. Here's what I mean.

    I wear a Polar H7 http://bit.ly/polarh7 when I work out. It will sync with my FT7 Watch, my phone and the Treadmill. So I start tracking using the FT7 Watch, Polar Beats App, DigiFit App, and the Treadmill. After a 15 minute run, they are all different. They can be anywhere from 20-30% different.

    So I think you need to just consider that what ever you choose is going to be an estimate. It's going to be good enough. But it will not be exact.

    I think it's much better than using a Fitbit or Nike Fuel or any other activity tracker. Some people SWEAR by the Body Media device. There's all kinds of research on it that claims it's the most accurate device. But I don't want to wear this thing on my arm all the time.

    I would suggest you get the H7 device and use Digifit (it's a $5 app). It's gives great info about your workout and Heart Rate and will sync with MyFitnessPal. If you want to have the watch, you can buy the FT4 or FT7 and it will sync with it as well.

    http://bit.ly/polarh7