You canNOT use your heart rate monitor to find your TDEE.

Here's my exchange with Polar. Thought this might help others with the same question I had. Thanks!
itsMcKay wrote:
Hi,

I wore my polar FT4 for 24 hours without exercising but while doing my normal daily activities. Does this give me an accurate TDEE or can the monitor only be used during exercise? Also, once I do figure out my BMR or RMR am I supposed to subtract that amount of calories per hour from my calories burned per hour to get an accurate reading to record for weight loss? Thanks for any help!

-McKay

Polar Rep wrote:
Dear McKay,

Thank you for contacting Polar Customer Care!

The unit does give total daily energy expenditure. You can wear it all day, but the calories will not be accurate. They are extremely accurate during times of exercise, but during the day if there is an elevation in heart rate due to stress, fatigue, etc the watch will mistake it for exercise and over estimate your caloric burn. The models are not designed to give basic metabolic rate.

If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact us directly using the link below. We have representatives available via Livechat, E-mail and our toll free line Monday-Friday 8:45am-5:00pm EST.

http://www.polarusa.com/us-en/support/contact_us/email_polar

Thank you for choosing Polar!

LaKisha
Polar Customer Care
POLAR ELECTRO INC.

I hope that clears up some misconceptions. Cheers!

Replies

  • Ready2Rock206
    Ready2Rock206 Posts: 9,490 Member
    Heart rate monitors have a very limited use that they are accurate for. Not for all day, not for weight lifting, not for a stroll in the park. Only cardio with a steady elevated heart rate.
  • itsMcKay
    itsMcKay Posts: 131 Member
    Exactly. I just want to know my heart rate. I use the Brayden online calorie calculator in conjunction with the HRM. I just want to be able to know roughly how many calories I've burned even when away from a machine with sensors. :)
  • jakichan
    jakichan Posts: 109 Member
    They are actually not that accurate during times of exercise, either. They're only good for measuring heart rate, really.
  • tempehforever
    tempehforever Posts: 183 Member
    This is interesting to know. I'm always suspicious when people post their HRM daily calorie burns on here--they always seem insanely high! Now I understand why.
  • jakichan
    jakichan Posts: 109 Member
    This is interesting to know. I'm always suspicious when people post their HRM daily calorie burns on here--they always seem insanely high! Now I understand why.

    I got a power meter for my bike. It gives you a much more realistic number for calories (among other things) and those numbers are half what my heart rate monitor says...

  • BWBTrish
    BWBTrish Posts: 2,817 Member
    This is why i only use 1/4 of my HRM ( also a Polar) here on MFP. Several sites were saying a 20% to 25% overestimation. To keep it on the save side i only use 1/4 in my diary to eat back ( if i want or have too)
  • itsMcKay
    itsMcKay Posts: 131 Member
    jakichan wrote: »
    This is interesting to know. I'm always suspicious when people post their HRM daily calorie burns on here--they always seem insanely high! Now I understand why.

    I got a power meter for my bike. It gives you a much more realistic number for calories (among other things) and those numbers are half what my heart rate monitor says...

    I never use the calorie output of machines so I won't with my HRM either. I'll be inputting my HR into the Brayden calculator. That said, I'm losing a lot of weight using this technique so until I stop losing the weight I want to lose and that I ought to be losing, mathematically, I'll stick with this approach.
  • TimothyFish
    TimothyFish Posts: 4,925 Member
    jakichan wrote: »
    This is interesting to know. I'm always suspicious when people post their HRM daily calorie burns on here--they always seem insanely high! Now I understand why.

    I got a power meter for my bike. It gives you a much more realistic number for calories (among other things) and those numbers are half what my heart rate monitor says...

    I know power meters are the in thing now, but they have similar accuracy problems because all they can really tell you is how much power is being transferred to the wheels or to the pedals. What they can't tell you is how efficient you body is at producing that power.
  • Sued0nim
    Sued0nim Posts: 17,456 Member
    It's all a checking game

    Take your estimates from your gadgets, log them, follow your defecits and check your progress...then adjust up and down from there

    My fitbit and Polar HRM seem to be working for me in the way I'm using them in that I take fitbit calories and use my HRM for my specific gym workouts (whilst accepting that the HRM is supposed to be just for steady state cardio) ..however my weight loss shows it's working in my particular case at the moment

    When and if it stops I will adjust it
  • segacs
    segacs Posts: 4,599 Member
    rabbitjb wrote: »
    Take your estimates from your gadgets, log them, follow your defecits and check your progress...then adjust up and down from there

    I do this except without a gadget. I just take the estimated TDEE from an online calculator, follow that deficit for a while, log actual results, and based on my weight loss and calories consumed, I get a really good idea of my actual TDEE.

    Same results. No need to spend money on gadgets or gizmos.
  • Sued0nim
    Sued0nim Posts: 17,456 Member
    segacs wrote: »
    rabbitjb wrote: »
    Take your estimates from your gadgets, log them, follow your defecits and check your progress...then adjust up and down from there

    I do this except without a gadget. I just take the estimated TDEE from an online calculator, follow that deficit for a while, log actual results, and based on my weight loss and calories consumed, I get a really good idea of my actual TDEE.

    Same results. No need to spend money on gadgets or gizmos.

    Absolutely

    But I do so love my toys :grinning:
  • segacs
    segacs Posts: 4,599 Member
    edited January 2015
    rabbitjb wrote: »
    Absolutely

    But I do so love my toys :grinning:

    Well hey, then, enjoy them. :)
  • bwogilvie
    bwogilvie Posts: 2,130 Member
    jakichan wrote: »
    [I got a power meter for my bike. It gives you a much more realistic number for calories (among other things) and those numbers are half what my heart rate monitor says...

    It depends on your HRM, though. My Garmin Edge 800 with HRM estimates calories using not only heart rate but also my fitness level, maximum HR, speed, and elevation change. It produces a much more accurate (and lower) value than my Sigma BC2006, which uses only HR data and weight to estimate calories.
  • Mr_Knight
    Mr_Knight Posts: 9,534 Member
    Your Garmin Edge uses some pretty fancy number crunching that goes beyond just measuring heart rate. That coupled with the GPS information can lead to impressively accurate estimates.
  • bwogilvie
    bwogilvie Posts: 2,130 Member
    Mr_Knight wrote: »
    Your Garmin Edge uses some pretty fancy number crunching that goes beyond just measuring heart rate. That coupled with the GPS information can lead to impressively accurate estimates.

    True. Even so, it underestimates the calorie expenditure for slow rides. But if I'm going over 12 mph, its results match quite closely with my actual weight changes.
  • Kalikel
    Kalikel Posts: 9,626 Member
    They're fun for people who like gadgets, but if you want to know your heart rate, the best thing to use is your fingers. :)
  • BusyRaeNOTBusty
    BusyRaeNOTBusty Posts: 7,165 Member
    edited January 2015
    bwogilvie wrote: »
    Mr_Knight wrote: »
    Your Garmin Edge uses some pretty fancy number crunching that goes beyond just measuring heart rate. That coupled with the GPS information can lead to impressively accurate estimates.

    True. Even so, it underestimates the calorie expenditure for slow rides. But if I'm going over 12 mph, its results match quite closely with my actual weight changes.

    My 500 seems to be pretty low on calories for mountain biking, compared to my old Polar FT4 for similar rides.

  • BusyRaeNOTBusty
    BusyRaeNOTBusty Posts: 7,165 Member
    jakichan wrote: »
    This is interesting to know. I'm always suspicious when people post their HRM daily calorie burns on here--they always seem insanely high! Now I understand why.

    I got a power meter for my bike. It gives you a much more realistic number for calories (among other things) and those numbers are half what my heart rate monitor says...

    Power meters are hell-a expensive.

  • Mr_Knight
    Mr_Knight Posts: 9,534 Member
    Personally, I wouldn't trust an FT4 for MTB rides...to intervaly, will generally lead to over-estimates.