Calorie meters on cardio machines

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 18, 2008 3:04 AM GMT
    How accurate do you think they are?

    I can do an easy 20 minutes on an elliptical to warm up and the machine will say I burned 200 calories or so.

    Next day I can run for 20 minutes on a treadmill and it will say I burned about 200 calories, even though I've worked a lot harder.



  • VinBaltimore

    Posts: 239

    Jul 18, 2008 3:09 AM GMT
    A trainer at my gym says it's total BS. It's not taking enough factors into account to be anywhere near accurate. I started wearing a heart monitor to track calories burned, but apparently even that's not 100% relible.
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    Jul 18, 2008 5:42 AM GMT
    The cardio machine counters are completely worthless, do not rely on them. Although no measurement that is affordable and able to be taken outside a lab is perfect, a heart rate monitor has been proven in multiple studies to be a good solid reliable indicator of energy expended. Some of the newer high end models are even able to calculate things like VO2 max and come up with very precise measurements of calories burned. But even the more reasonable ones that record heart rate every 5 seconds are very close to accurate. Cardio machines and fitness software have a tendency to be very disproportionate in measuring true energy expenditure.
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    Jul 18, 2008 6:02 AM GMT
    The only thing I look at on those machines are the timers, and maybe the pulse rate. I have never really been a calorie counter anyway.
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    Jul 18, 2008 6:22 AM GMT
    I have one of those Polar watches for calorie counting and it always tells a different story to the counter on the machines.

    The machines give you a rough idea of how many calories you're burning.
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    Jul 18, 2008 7:05 AM GMT
    I wouldn't say they're completely worthless. Without using a respirometer it's impossible to precisely measure the number of calories burned during an aerobic workout. Even respirometry will still neglect anaerobic metabolism. The calorie meters on machines probably represent the number of calories that would be metabolized by a typical adult during such a workout and can probably serve as a very rough estimate of the number of calories you have burned during your workout. They may also be useful in comparing the relative number of calories burned by different machines.
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    Jul 18, 2008 9:30 PM GMT
    Thanks for the great responses. I didn't realize those meters were so unreliable.
  • GoodManSD

    Posts: 9

    Jul 23, 2008 8:55 PM GMT
    What would someone recommend as a good but not super expensive heart monitor that's fairly accurate in calories expended?
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    Jul 23, 2008 9:13 PM GMT
    I know they're not accurate at all, especially if you don't enter in your weight, etc. But I actually like to use them for goal-setting. For instance, if I'd planned to do a certain intensity for a certain amount of time, I might go a little longer to reach the next rounded calorie goal.
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    Jul 28, 2008 7:30 AM GMT
    The computer on my expensive(read I'm better than you) rower tells me in not so small black clipped numerical symbols that I burn approximately 700ish calories rowing for 20 minutes at 32 strokes a minute.

    I know things about these sorts of things, you would do well to heed my glorious word.

    Oh wait accuracy? Uh, doubt it's spot on or anything, but just a general 'Yeah that's right, fuck you double cheese burger!'