fitness pal calories vs fitbit calories--why so different

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So I have a question: why are calories burned from an activity here so different from what my fitbit records? To be clear, I am not SO hung up on calories, it's just bugging me. For example, swimming is my favorite exercise, then walking. Even when I am wearing my fitbit, if I am walking I time myself and put the time into Fitness Pal. If I am swimming (I have the waterproof fitbit that counts swimming) I check the clock when I begin and when I end and I am pretty good about keeping up a consistent pace, not stopping every lap. So if I walk for 35 minutes, fitbit tells me about 160 calories burned. If I swim for 35 minutes, fitbit tells me 170ish calories burned. How is that possible? Here if I record 35 minutes of swimming it's more like 300ish calories burned. What's up with that? Again--it's not that I am so obsessed with calorie counts, just curious. Thoughts??

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  • wizzybeth
    wizzybeth Posts: 3,578 Member
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    MFP calorie counts are ridiculously inaccurate
  • drabbits2
    drabbits2 Posts: 179 Member
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    Inaccurate too high or inaccurate too low??
  • Tabbycat00
    Tabbycat00 Posts: 146 Member
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    I reviewed a Fitbit (one of the first models) for a tech blog years ago. If I had eaten the number of calories the Fitbit told me I could have to maintain my weight (98) I would have starved to death (literally, it was coming in between 700-800). MyFitnessPal gives me some crazy number like 1700 calories to maintain my weight. It's hard because it isn't an exact science. I know from experience that I can eat about 1400 calories and maintain my weight and, I've found, my Apple Watch is pretty accurate. The Apple Watch gives me a monthly average of 1387.9 calories burned and my caloric intake was exactly 1387.1 calories for the month of June (I'm not crazy...well I am, but I'm using the data for a tech conference presentation in August). Guess what? I maintained my weight. It sounds like you know what you're doing and are just observing the oddity in the whole thing. I get it and I agree with you.
  • WendyLeigh1119
    WendyLeigh1119 Posts: 495 Member
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    Fitbit is best for steady state exercise. So I find that my group fitness, weight training, classes, and anything other than basically walking, running, or cycling....it's way off.

    Whereas MFP tends to be way off on guesstimating calories for basic things like running, cycling, etc. Group fitness classes they're actually most accurate because they have the branded classes in the database, whereas my hour of Les Mills Body Combat (kicking and punching like crazy) doesn't even register on Fitbit because it isn't "steps".

    As for calories by themselves....if your Fitbit calculates your Maintenance Calories to be less than 2000....it WILL give you your real deficit, even if it's 700 or 900 calories. MFP won't drop below 1200 even if you set it to 2lbs per week and your "real" calories per day should be 1100 or 1000. So I get discrepancies even at 1.5lb per week settings because apparently I would still be under 1200 per day.
  • Ready2Rock206
    Ready2Rock206 Posts: 9,488 Member
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    MFP is extremely over generous with exercise calories. Like ridiculously high usually. That's why people who rely on MFP's numbers are often recommended to eat back only a portion. Your fitbit numbers seem very realistic to me.
  • SCoil123
    SCoil123 Posts: 2,108 Member
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    JerSchmare wrote: »
    Fitbits are awful and are wildly innacurrate.

    Mine has been very accurate. It was MyFitnessPal that overestimated my workouts.

    Op I had the same issue. This site gives me roughly 700 calories for my boxing class. Fitbit gives me 300-400 which seems much more accurate to me. Also, the longer you use Fitbit the more accurate it becomes for you. I would trust the lower Fitbit burn numbers, not enter activity here, and sync the accounts to get a Fitbit adjustment on here.
  • CyberTone
    CyberTone Posts: 7,337 Member
    edited July 2017
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    JerSchmare wrote: »
    Fitbits are awful and are wildly innacurrate.

    Strange. I have had a Fitbit for nearly two years and it is spot on. I always eat back 100% of my Fitbit Calorie adjustments, even when they are over 1000 Calories for 13,000+ steps (I am set at Sedentary), and I maintain easily. I do use a scale to weigh all my food, log everything, and make sure I am using the correct food entries. So, in my experience, as long as I am logging Calorie Intake correctly, the Fitbit is measuring my Calorie Output correctly, based on my weight measurements over the past two years.
  • TeddyK4975
    TeddyK4975 Posts: 106 Member
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    Both are just guides. Everyone's body will react differently to different stimulation
  • Charlene_1985
    Charlene_1985 Posts: 122 Member
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    I trust my Fitbit within 200 calories per day. I am very active and at 119 pounds, but close around 2600 per day. Active job and I'm a runner.
  • tigerlilly09
    tigerlilly09 Posts: 2 Member
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    I agree with TeddyK that these are all meant to be guides. I would trust the Fitbit more since it takes your personal stats into consideration and monitors your HR during the activity but it will still be different than your actual calories burned. I have my Fitbit synced to add the calories to MFP and I just try not to eat them all back to allow a buffer.
  • WandaVaughn
    WandaVaughn Posts: 420 Member
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    MapMyFitness told me that I burned over 1200 calories on my 1:21:33 run this morning. That sounds outlandishly high to me!
  • TeaBea
    TeaBea Posts: 14,517 Member
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    drabbits2 wrote: »
    Inaccurate too high or inaccurate too low??

    MFP calories are rather "generous."

    Use your FitBit for a few weeks. You may find you need to tweak the numbers a bit (later on) but give yourself a a fair starting point. Different models, different types of exercise.....there may be adjustments.
  • WinoGelato
    WinoGelato Posts: 13,454 Member
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    CyberTone wrote: »
    JerSchmare wrote: »
    Fitbits are awful and are wildly innacurrate.

    Strange. I have had a Fitbit for nearly two years and it is spot on. I always eat back 100% of my Fitbit Calorie adjustments, even when they are over 1000 Calories for 13,000+ steps (I am set at Sedentary), and I maintain easily. I do use a scale to weigh all my food, log everything, and make sure I am using the correct food entries. So, in my experience, as long as I am logging Calorie Intake correctly, the Fitbit is measuring my Calorie Output correctly, based on my weight measurements over the past two years.

    This. I always ate back my FitBit adjustments while losing (and lost according to my desired rate of loss) and now 3 years into maintenance trusting those numbers, and have had no issues.
  • drabbits2
    drabbits2 Posts: 179 Member
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    Thanks everyone for the input. I would prefer if ANY method I use to record calories EATEN was on the high side and calories BURNED was on the low side so I don't get, what's the word I'm looking for--so I am not fooling myself that I am burning more than I actually am--so that I am honest with my food AND activity. It sounds like I am overthinking this and I really am not--I was just honestly curious. I am also clear that the same things don't work for everyone. At work a handful of us do a fitbit challenge each day and that helps me be conscious of moving more than I sit, so that can only be positive for my body regardless of the actual calories burned. Whatever--if the fitbit on my wrist makes me pay attention and be more active, then that's good. Nothing works the same for everyone. So thanks!