Garmin calorie count and vigorous swimming

HilTri
HilTri Posts: 378 Member
I track calories in and out. I swam laps today (vigorous) for an hour. Garmin says I burned around 500 for the hour. Now, 8 hours later, my Garmin says that my current calorie burn is 2800 (I did some spin and weightlifting too). My question is should I eat back more than the 500 calories? Thanks
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Replies

  • dmkoenig
    dmkoenig Posts: 299 Member
    Credit to you for your level of fitness and focus. 500 calories sounds right for an hour of vigorous swimming but unless you were on the bike for 3+ hours the 2800 cals sounds high. Regardless, given your training volume and the intensity of your workout elements you should definitely be consuming additional calories as part of your muscle repair and glycogen replacement. I would think your eating plan is much more aligned to your fitness goals than many others on this site who are primarily weight loss oriented. From experience, both are possible with care, but first and foremost you need to take in sufficient quality calories to sustain that sort of program.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,831 Member
    edited August 2020
    So that is now a 2800 calorie burn for the day.

    And that contains the 500 cal swim, the calories for the spin and lifting too. And daily life. Sounds like enough workouts perhaps you weren't that busy with other things.

    Are you in a diet trying to lose weight or maintain?

    The Garmin is trying to tell you what you have burned in total for the day.

    Life lesson on weight management and athletic performance.
    You do more you eat more.
    You do less you eat less.

    In a diet, a little less in either case.

    Now, if you are set to maintain, and burned 2800 (actually you'll end up burning over that if only 6:30 pm) so far - then you'd eat the over 2800 to keep that weight, replenish what you burned off - so you can have a good workout tomorrow.

    Undereat too many days in a row and you'll find your recovery and workouts start being impacted.
    Perhaps tomorrow is rest/recovery day and you can make up some calories.

    You might check what the calorie burn was for the chunk of time doing the lifting.
    HR-based calculations for calorie burn doing lifting is wrong and inflated.
    Should be small amount of calorie burn, about 3 x your BMR rate of burn if heavy sets and reps type lifting.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,636 Member
    Are you asking if 2800cals as that's day's TDEE (so far) for someone who has done three sessions of exercise in that day is reasonable?
    (Seems very modest to me if that's the majority of your day accounted for, but I'm not you.)

    Or are you asking if you should only take your swimming into account but ignore your spinning and weight lifting energy expenditure?
    (Not understanding why you would do that if as you say you are tracking CI and CO unless you are choosing to use spinning and weight lifting, but not swimming, to create a deficit which seems an unlikely choice.)
  • HilTri
    HilTri Posts: 378 Member
    dmkoenig wrote: »
    Credit to you for your level of fitness and focus. 500 calories sounds right for an hour of vigorous swimming but unless you were on the bike for 3+ hours the 2800 cals sounds high. Regardless, given your training volume and the intensity of your workout elements you should definitely be consuming additional calories as part of your muscle repair and glycogen replacement. I would think your eating plan is much more aligned to your fitness goals than many others on this site who are primarily weight loss oriented. From experience, both are possible with care, but first and foremost you need to take in sufficient quality calories to sustain that sort of program.

    Thanks, my goal is to be as lean as possible while gaining strength and endurance. For the weightlifting, that is approx 150 calories, spinning is about 800 the rest of the 2800 was from swimming and my BMR (1500ish).
  • HilTri
    HilTri Posts: 378 Member
    heybales wrote: »
    So that is now a 2800 calorie burn for the day.

    And that contains the 500 cal swim, the calories for the spin and lifting too. And daily life. Sounds like enough workouts perhaps you weren't that busy with other things.

    Are you in a diet trying to lose weight or maintain?

    The Garmin is trying to tell you what you have burned in total for the day.

    Life lesson on weight management and athletic performance.
    You do more you eat more.
    You do less you eat less.

    In a diet, a little less in either case.

    Now, if you are set to maintain, and burned 2800 (actually you'll end up burning over that if only 6:30 pm) so far - then you'd eat the over 2800 to keep that weight, replenish what you burned off - so you can have a good workout tomorrow.

    Undereat too many days in a row and you'll find your recovery and workouts start being impacted.
    Perhaps tomorrow is rest/recovery day and you can make up some calories.

    You might check what the calorie burn was for the chunk of time doing the lifting.
    HR-based calculations for calorie burn doing lifting is wrong and inflated.
    Should be small amount of calorie burn, about 3 x your BMR rate of burn if heavy sets and reps type lifting.

    The calorie burn for the lift was about 150 and about 800. I am trying to get leaner and stronger, I am fine with my weight (130 lbs).

  • HilTri
    HilTri Posts: 378 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    Are you asking if 2800cals as that's day's TDEE (so far) for someone who has done three sessions of exercise in that day is reasonable?
    (Seems very modest to me if that's the majority of your day accounted for, but I'm not you.)

    Or are you asking if you should only take your swimming into account but ignore your spinning and weight lifting energy expenditure?
    (Not understanding why you would do that if as you say you are tracking CI and CO unless you are choosing to use spinning and weight lifting, but not swimming, to create a deficit which seems an unlikely choice.)

    I take all the CO into account(CI too). I guess I am amazed at the progressive after-burn of some exercises (swimming, hiking, weighted vest hikes or walks) as opposed to spinning.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,636 Member
    HilTri wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    Are you asking if 2800cals as that's day's TDEE (so far) for someone who has done three sessions of exercise in that day is reasonable?
    (Seems very modest to me if that's the majority of your day accounted for, but I'm not you.)

    Or are you asking if you should only take your swimming into account but ignore your spinning and weight lifting energy expenditure?
    (Not understanding why you would do that if as you say you are tracking CI and CO unless you are choosing to use spinning and weight lifting, but not swimming, to create a deficit which seems an unlikely choice.)

    I take all the CO into account(CI too). I guess I am amazed at the progressive after-burn of some exercises (swimming, hiking, weighted vest hikes or walks) as opposed to spinning.

    Cardio afterburn (EPOC) rises with the intensity of the exercise.
    If I remember correctly the numbers I recall are about 7% for endurance exercise and 13 or 14% for high intensity cardio.
    But of course the duration of the exercise means the percentage is only a part of the story, a smaller percentage of a much bigger number v. a higher percentage of a much smaller number.
  • HilTri
    HilTri Posts: 378 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    HilTri wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    Are you asking if 2800cals as that's day's TDEE (so far) for someone who has done three sessions of exercise in that day is reasonable?
    (Seems very modest to me if that's the majority of your day accounted for, but I'm not you.)

    Or are you asking if you should only take your swimming into account but ignore your spinning and weight lifting energy expenditure?
    (Not understanding why you would do that if as you say you are tracking CI and CO unless you are choosing to use spinning and weight lifting, but not swimming, to create a deficit which seems an unlikely choice.)

    I take all the CO into account(CI too). I guess I am amazed at the progressive after-burn of some exercises (swimming, hiking, weighted vest hikes or walks) as opposed to spinning.

    Cardio afterburn (EPOC) rises with the intensity of the exercise.
    If I remember correctly the numbers I recall are about 7% for endurance exercise and 13 or 14% for high intensity cardio.
    But of course the duration of the exercise means the percentage is only a part of the story, a smaller percentage of a much bigger number v. a higher percentage of a much smaller number.

    Thanks Sijomial, you always have such good feedback. Thanks for the info.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,831 Member
    edited August 2020
    If you are trying to get leaner, and I'm assuming you are syncing Garmin to MFP, then you perhaps have an eating goal.
    Was the 2800 what Garmin said daily burn was so far - or what your MFP eating goal was so far with all those workouts added in?

    You said getting leaner, not "losing a lot of fat" - that probably means recomp eating at maintenance - in which case you don't want to impact current muscle mass or training level.

    Curious what setup you have that takes the EPOC into account for tracking as part of CO?

    As to your original question - yes you should account for more than just the swimming, since you did more.
    You work hard, you eat well.
    Then you can work hard again tomorrow or next day.
  • Jthanmyfitnesspal
    Jthanmyfitnesspal Posts: 3,103 Member
    edited August 2020
    My experience with eating back all the calories recommended by Garmin has been reasonable.

    I find the swim estimates to be low compared with other sources. I have a specific beef that, when I walk a mile to the pool and back, the algorithm gives me NO extra calories for those steps. Whereas, if I run in the morning, then do the usual steps at work, I often will get a BIG estimate for the extra steps.

    They also have no estimate for open water swimming unless you have a higher-end "multisport" watch. I track swimming by putting the watch under my cap or in my safety buoy with the "walk" setting. I switch it to "Open Water Swim" in the Garmin Connect app, but it does no update the calorie burn, counting it as a short and very slow walk!

    Garmin also doesn't track kayaking very well as I have posted previously.

    Other things will spoof it to be high, notably running the lawn mower, which shakes the watch all around, confusing it. Now, mowing the lawn for an hour certainly burns some calories!

    Bottom line is that you need to add a layer of dead reckoning on top of the Garmin estimate. It can be low or high, depending on your day.

    Best of luck!
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,845 Member
    Without disagreeing with what anyone else has said, because I generally don't disagree, I'd observe that there's a validation piece not mentioned.

    Does your experience with your weight and eating, in context of what the Garmin tells you, confirm that Garmin is generally correct about your TDEE (on average over a period of weeks)? If so, believe it, and eat 2800 calories plus any other calories you burn today just wandering around being alive, if you want to maintain your weight and muscle.

    If your Garmin is relatively new to you, odds are that it's pretty close on TDEE, but there's no way to be certain until it learns you & you see whether it's reasonably close long term, IMO. (Mine is routinely quite far off on TDEE (it's low), but not super far off for exercise, compared to the only power-metered thing I do, machine rowing.)

    If you're asking about whether the Garmin got your swim right specifically, when it's been correct for other activities, then feedback from jthanmyfitnesspal and others who swim lots is more relevant.

    Another thing that isn't clear is whether you have Garmin synched to MFP, or just add exercise to your MFP-generated goal. Without knowing that, it's hard for me to understand how to answer in detail. (Maybe the others know the answer to this from other threads; if so I apologize.)

    You're around my weight, but IIRC you are very active and quite possibly more muscular than the average woman. 2800 as a total for the day (even knowing there'll be a bit of BMR and minor home activity for the rest of the day) doesn't seem crazy high to me. With 500 from swimming, 150 from lifting (that would be around 55 minutes lifting, for me, based on METS not HR), and 800 from spin (800 would be about 2 one-hour classes for me, maybe a bit more, but I think you're fitter so could be pushing harder - I think you teach?). I'd be over 2800 TDEE at that point, even discounting the exercise numbers back to net.

    You mention BMR + exercise, but don't forget your daily life non-exercise activity is burning calories beyond BMR, and the Garmin's including that in its estimate. It's not zero, even if sedentary outside of exercise.
  • HilTri
    HilTri Posts: 378 Member
    heybales wrote: »
    If you are trying to get leaner, and I'm assuming you are syncing Garmin to MFP, then you perhaps have an eating goal.
    Was the 2800 what Garmin said daily burn was so far - or what your MFP eating goal was so far with all those workouts added in?

    You said getting leaner, not "losing a lot of fat" - that probably means recomp eating at maintenance - in which case you don't want to impact current muscle mass or training level.

    Curious what setup you have that takes the EPOC into account for tracking as part of CO?

    As to your original question - yes you should account for more than just the swimming, since you did more.
    You work hard, you eat well.
    Then you can work hard again tomorrow or next day.

    The 2800 was the Garmin daily burn so far. I was to be as lean and strong as possible. The only tool I use for EPOC is my Garmin Fenix 5. Sometimes, depending on the exercise, the EPOCis much higher. Today I burned 870 cal cardio and 130 weight lifting. The Garmin says 2200 at 7pm. I ate well! I worked hard! Both of those things make me very happy!
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,831 Member
    edited August 2020
    You are for sure misunderstanding what those numbers are then.

    That total 2200 burned by that time is not just workouts and EPOC added together.
    In fact I doubt EPOC is in there at all (it literally is but not as a measurement I'm suggesting). Maybe, but you don't give a number for it, you reference workouts and total, as if the difference must be EPOC.

    As Ann was emphasizing - that is your BMR, your daily activity outside exercise and BMR, and exercise. (all estimates or calculations of course)

    So 2200 - 1000 workouts = 1200 burned by BMR and daily activity by 7 pm.
    Math it out.

    Sounds like your non-exercise daily activity would be a tad over 1500 estimated daily.
  • HilTri
    HilTri Posts: 378 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Without disagreeing with what anyone else has said, because I generally don't disagree, I'd observe that there's a validation piece not mentioned.

    Does your experience with your weight and eating, in context of what the Garmin tells you, confirm that Garmin is generally correct about your TDEE (on average over a period of weeks)? If so, believe it, and eat 2800 calories plus any other calories you burn today just wandering around being alive, if you want to maintain your weight and muscle.

    If your Garmin is relatively new to you, odds are that it's pretty close on TDEE, but there's no way to be certain until it learns you & you see whether it's reasonably close long term, IMO. (Mine is routinely quite far off on TDEE (it's low), but not super far off for exercise, compared to the only power-metered thing I do, machine rowing.)

    If you're asking about whether the Garmin got your swim right specifically, when it's been correct for other activities, then feedback from jthanmyfitnesspal and others who swim lots is more relevant.

    Another thing that isn't clear is whether you have Garmin synched to MFP, or just add exercise to your MFP-generated goal. Without knowing that, it's hard for me to understand how to answer in detail. (Maybe the others know the answer to this from other threads; if so I apologize.)

    You're around my weight, but IIRC you are very active and quite possibly more muscular than the average woman. 2800 as a total for the day (even knowing there'll be a bit of BMR and minor home activity for the rest of the day) doesn't seem crazy high to me. With 500 from swimming, 150 from lifting (that would be around 55 minutes lifting, for me, based on METS not HR), and 800 from spin (800 would be about 2 one-hour classes for me, maybe a bit more, but I think you're fitter so could be pushing harder - I think you teach?). I'd be over 2800 TDEE at that point, even discounting the exercise numbers back to net.

    You mention BMR + exercise, but don't forget your daily life non-exercise activity is burning calories beyond BMR, and the Garmin's including that in its estimate. It's not zero, even if sedentary outside of exercise.
    I think my TDEE is pretty accurate. I am guilty however of not eating all my calories out of fear of gaining weight. I think my Garmin is synced, after I post this I am going to see if I can check it out. 45 min of lifting is 133 for me and an hour of spin is 8-900. I used to teach when I lived in DC but just moved to the amazing town of Blacksburg, VA. Good to hear from you.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,636 Member
    "an hour of spin is 8-900"

    That would be a remarkable burn for a female cyclist doing interval work and not sustained high intensity steady state.
    Assuming that's a gross cal estimate making for argument's sake lets say 700 - 800 net cals that's an average power output of roughly 195 - 222 watt average. If so then kudos to you, you are a strong cyclist.

  • HilTri
    HilTri Posts: 378 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    "an hour of spin is 8-900"

    That would be a remarkable burn for a female cyclist doing interval work and not sustained high intensity steady state.
    Assuming that's a gross cal estimate making for argument's sake lets say 700 - 800 net cals that's an average power output of roughly 195 - 222 watt average. If so then kudos to you, you are a strong cyclist.
    I am a strong cyclist, I got into it late but it is my all time favorite type of exercise. I used to ride outside, got t-boned by a Lincoln Town Car and switched to soley indoor cycling. I teach spin. I rode my first indoor century in 4:48 and my FTP is 190. I am not sure how I compare to others but I feel like I am a strong cyclist.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,636 Member
    edited August 2020
    HilTri wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    "an hour of spin is 8-900"

    That would be a remarkable burn for a female cyclist doing interval work and not sustained high intensity steady state.
    Assuming that's a gross cal estimate making for argument's sake lets say 700 - 800 net cals that's an average power output of roughly 195 - 222 watt average. If so then kudos to you, you are a strong cyclist.
    I am a strong cyclist, I got into it late but it is my all time favorite type of exercise. I used to ride outside, got t-boned by a Lincoln Town Car and switched to soley indoor cycling. I teach spin. I rode my first indoor century in 4:48 and my FTP is 190. I am not sure how I compare to others but I feel like I am a strong cyclist.

    Power to weight ratio is the best comparison outdoors but power alone is the comparison indoors.

    Strong performance but clearly your Garmin calorie estimate is very inflated, if you want accuracy then use your average watts for an hour X 3.6 if your spinning bike has a power meter. Could you link your Garmin to the bike so it can use power instead of HR?
    (My Garmin is a bike computer rather than a wearable tracker but will use power for calorie estimates when it connects to a power meter.)

    If your FTP is 190 then you aren't averaging 195 - 222 watts.
    190watts for an hour (684 net cals) would be your maximal output and a spinning class is going to be far lower than that.

    Without knowing the intensity and format of your spinning class my rough expectation for my average power output for interval training indoors is about two thirds of my FTP without including warm up / warm down, the relatively short duration efforts above FTP can't compensate for all time spent below your FTP which drag the average right down. Interval training (especially with high effort spikes) is one of those times where feelings and heart rate are very poor indications of energy expenditure. 170w is a comfortable moderate pace for me indoors, 170w average from an interval session would feel extremely hard and my average HR would be a lot higher - but both efforts would burn the same calories in an hour.
  • HilTri
    HilTri Posts: 378 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    HilTri wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    "an hour of spin is 8-900"

    That would be a remarkable burn for a female cyclist doing interval work and not sustained high intensity steady state.
    Assuming that's a gross cal estimate making for argument's sake lets say 700 - 800 net cals that's an average power output of roughly 195 - 222 watt average. If so then kudos to you, you are a strong cyclist.
    I am a strong cyclist, I got into it late but it is my all time favorite type of exercise. I used to ride outside, got t-boned by a Lincoln Town Car and switched to soley indoor cycling. I teach spin. I rode my first indoor century in 4:48 and my FTP is 190. I am not sure how I compare to others but I feel like I am a strong cyclist.

    Power to weight ratio is the best comparison outdoors but power alone is the comparison indoors.

    Strong performance but clearly your Garmin calorie estimate is very inflated, if you want accuracy then use your average watts for and hour X 3.6 if your spinning bike has a power meter. Could you link your Garmin to the bike so it can use power instead of HR?
    (My Garmin is a bike computer rather than a wearable tracker but will use power for calorie estimates when it connects to a power meter.)

    If your FTP is 190 then you aren't averaging 195 - 222 watts.
    190watts for an hour (684 net cals) would be your maximal output and a spinning class is going to be far lower than that.

    Without knowing the intensity and format of your spinning class my rough expectation for my average power output for interval training indoors is about two thirds of my FTP without including warm up / warm down, the relatively short duration efforts above FTP can't compensate for all time spent below your FTP which drag the average right down. Interval training (especially with high effort spikes) is one of those times where feelings and heart rate are very poor indications of energy expenditure. 170w is a comfortable moderate pace for me indoors, 170w average from an interval session would feel extremely hard and my average HR would be a lot higher - but both efforts would burn the same calories in an hour.

    I don’t use HR because I am on medicine that keeps my heart rate down. My spin bike has a computer ( it is a Life Fitness IC7). I usually take an average from the bike, Garmin and MFP. I appreciate all of your knowledge! Thank you.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,636 Member
    MFP estimate should be discarded, poor quality data which is only a last resort if someone has nothing better to use for cycling. That's likely to be making your estimates more inaccurate.

    What metric is your Garmin using for its estimate?

    Does the bike have a PM?
  • HilTri
    HilTri Posts: 378 Member
    I think the Garmin is still set up for HR. My bike has a pm and I use the icg app too which is synced to the bike.