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Most accurate calorie burn estimate?

MissNicolioliMissNicolioli Member Posts: 34 Member Member Posts: 34 Member
So the elliptical at my gym, after I put in my weight and go for half an hour usually says I've burned about 350-400 calories. MFP for that time says I should be at like 650. And another online estimator said like 770.

How do I know what is most accurate? I've been using the gym equipment for the most conservative estimate but I know they're frequently wrong too.

Replies

  • hill8570hill8570 Member Posts: 1,466 Member Member Posts: 1,466 Member
    Whatever keeps you losing weight without losing weight too quickly.

    That said, I tend to distrust anything over 10 calories / minute. Just a rule of thumb.
  • sijomialsijomial Member, Premium Posts: 18,557 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,557 Member
    Make & model?
    Does it measure power in watts?
    Does it ask your weight?

    For half an hour 650 & 770 seem excessive.
  • BLifts38BLifts38 Member, Premium Posts: 248 Member Member, Premium Posts: 248 Member
    I've always been told that ellipticals/treadmills inflate their calories burned numbers by about 20%.

    So, if it says you burn 100 calories, you actually burn 80.
  • sijomialsijomial Member, Premium Posts: 18,557 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,557 Member
    I've always been told that ellipticals/treadmills inflate their calories burned numbers by about 20%.

    So, if it says you burn 100 calories, you actually burn 80.

    Some are actually very accurate. Ellipticals have unique movements and there's no standard calorie table that would be applicable to all makes and models.
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,457 Member Member Posts: 10,457 Member
    How do I know what is most accurate?

    If you paid a lot of money to go to a specialized facility and have a guy in a lab coat poke and prod you with needles and breathing masks, it's the most accurate. Outside of medical testing, devices with the modern Firstbeat calories algorithm are about as accurate as you'll get. Beyond that, the more information something has about you, the better are its chances of being in the right ballpark.
  • tinywonder25tinywonder25 Member Posts: 148 Member Member Posts: 148 Member
    hill8570 wrote: »
    Whatever keeps you losing weight without losing weight too quickly.

    That said, I tend to distrust anything over 10 calories / minute. Just a rule of thumb.

    Totally agree! And I go by how intense I'm feeling. I trust the stair machine because after 10 min I am completely spent and it's just really difficult. It says I burn 10cal/per min on it and that feels about right. At and incline on the treadmill when entering weight and age I burn about 5 cals/min and it's much less difficult than the stair machine. The way I see it it's a guideline and since I'm trying to lose weight It would mess me up more to over estimate my expenditure.
  • MissNicolioliMissNicolioli Member Posts: 34 Member Member Posts: 34 Member
    Thanks for the advice. I am pretty large, so my body is working hard, and I feel like I'm working hard. And I've only been tracking calorie intake for 3 days, though I've been going to the gym e or 4 times a week for about 3 weeks.

    I go to Planet Fitness. I don't know how accurate their machines are.
  • kirstinethornburgkirstinethornburg Member Posts: 300 Member Member Posts: 300 Member
    It also depends on the level you have the elipitcal set. The one i use tells me on level seven I burn 339 per hour at the end of my 33 minutes of use it tells me about 3.5 miles and burned 120 calories at about 55 percent speed as adverage
  • kirstinethornburgkirstinethornburg Member Posts: 300 Member Member Posts: 300 Member
    I go to Anytime Fitness work out 4 days a week and do strength training on top of rideing the bike my calories burned are alwys a few calories over the amount I consumed for Breakfast that morning
  • MissNicolioliMissNicolioli Member Posts: 34 Member Member Posts: 34 Member
    It also depends on the level you have the elipitcal set. The one i use tells me on level seven I burn 339 per hour at the end of my 33 minutes of use it tells me about 3.5 miles and burned 120 calories at about 55 percent speed as adverage

    Right, but my question was how accurate the machine readout is compared to the calories my body is actually burning.
    I don't want to rely on MFP telling me I burned 600 calories when I'm actually only burning 300.
    edited May 2016
  • robertw486robertw486 Member, Greeter Posts: 2,233 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 2,233 Member
    It also depends on the level you have the elipitcal set. The one i use tells me on level seven I burn 339 per hour at the end of my 33 minutes of use it tells me about 3.5 miles and burned 120 calories at about 55 percent speed as adverage

    Right, but my question was how accurate the machine readout is compared to the calories my body is actually burning.
    I don't want to rely on MFP telling me I burned 600 calories when I'm actually only burning 300.

    MFP uses no scale of intensity for the elliptical machine calorie burn. If you weigh X pounds, it will calculate Y calories per minute. The only thing that will change that is your weight changing, where the X and Y numbers will change with your weight.

    The machine "knows" how fast or slow you are going, your weight, the resistance it is applying, the ramp angle, etc. It has many more data points. And more than likely it has a resistance device that is metered by a measure of power. In short, it has a lot more information.

    Not to say that the machine will always be superior, as it's only going to be as accurate as the various inputs and the algorithm used to calculate those inputs into calorie burn numbers.


    In your example, I'd trust the machine more unless you are killing it on the elliptical. We have an elliptical at home, and the output it shows is gross calories. For me to hit even 1000 calories per hour (gross) at my weight of 180 pounds, I'm working hard. As in 7+ MPH pace compared to running. Actually on my machine I think the mile equivalent it shows is more difficult than running that mileage, probably due to the machine dictating stride length.

    The 1300+ calories per hour that MFP and the other source are giving you would likely only happen with really big effort IMO.


    exrx.net/Calculators/WalkRunMETs.html

    Use the above and put in your weight and a half hour time, and then adjust the running or walking speed until you're close in the calorie burn. And then ask yourself if the elliptical is working you as hard as that speed running would work you.
  • EddieP50EddieP50 Member Posts: 192 Member Member Posts: 192 Member
    MyFitnessPal calorie values for an exercise are averages and do not account for your intensity level. I would trust the machine value over MFP. That being said chest strap HR monitors are the most accurate. I have a Nautilus U616 upright bike at home with hand grip HR monitor. The Nautilus bike has a user profile setup where you enter your age, gender, height, weight, etc. I also have a Polar H7 chest strap heart rate monitor. I have checked the two against each other and the heart rate is right on with each other. The calorie burn is very close between the two but when I step up the intensity level the chest strap usually shows more calorie burn. I have the chest strap synced to the Polar Beat app on my phone. My bike does have wireless connectivity for a chest strap but only if it is un-coded. The Polar H7 is a coded transmitter so that is the reason I use the app on my phone. I believe most gym equipment will work with coded transmitters.
  • saphinsaphin Member Posts: 246 Member Member Posts: 246 Member
    You might find this link useful to calculate your calories

    https://www.hss.edu/EstimatedEnergyExpenditure.pdf

    Quick note though, if adding the data to MFP, remember to subtract 1 from the MET number so that you don't double count the bmr portion of the equation.
  • MissNicolioliMissNicolioli Member Posts: 34 Member Member Posts: 34 Member
    saphin wrote: »
    You might find this link useful to calculate your calories

    https://www.hss.edu/EstimatedEnergyExpenditure.pdf

    Quick note though, if adding the data to MFP, remember to subtract 1 from the MET number so that you don't double count the bmr portion of the equation.

    That's really helpful, thanks!
    Elliptical isn't on there, but I subbed in something like fast walking? Or which do you think is most comparable? I used a 4 as my MET number.

    Anyway, I came up with 9.5 or so calories per minute, which sounds about right from what everyone has been saying.
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