How Many Calories Are You Actually Burning?

Beth Colucci

Have you ever jumped on an elliptical, treadmill, bike, etc. and at the end of your workout looked at your calorie burn and thought, “wow, I burned a lot of calories!” Sadly, even if you take the time to enter your height, age and weight into cardio machines, they can overestimate your calorie burn by close to 30%! That can be a difference of up to hundreds of calories, and when you’re counting calories for fat loss, such a large discrepancy can really throw you off.

What about calorie tracking websites like MyFitnessPal? Websites and apps are great tools to track your caloric intake; however, just like cardio machines, they are not accurate when it comes to calories burned during exercise. They can over or under-estimate the work you’ve done, also making calorie control difficult.

So what’s the best way to know how many calories you burn during exercise?

Heart rate monitors, like MyZone, are the most accurate and best way to assess how hard you’ve worked during an exercise bout. They provide immediate feedback so that you can make adjustments to get the most out of your workout. What makes them so accurate? Heart rate monitors worn at the chest detect electrical signals from your heart. The transmitter inside the monitor then sends an electromagnetic signal containing your heart rate, etc. to a receiver (in the case of MyZone, to our TV screen and the App) which displays your information.

The technology of MyZone not only allows you to see your current heart rate, but also the % of your maximum heart rate and calories burned. The calories you burn are a direct result of your heart rate, so using a system like MyZone is the most accurate way to track your calories.

I wanted to run a little experiment on myself to see the discrepancies between a cardio machine, MyZone, and MyFitnessPal, so one day I hopped on the treadmill and jogged for 30 minutes at 7mph. Below is real time information from the end of my treadmill cool down:

MyZone: Heart Rate-136, % Age of Max HR-74%, Calories Burned-350

Treadmill: Heart Rate-138, % Age of Max HR-N/A, Calories Burned-419

MyFitnessPal: Heart Rate-N/A, % Age of Max HR-N/A, Calories Burned-414

The Treadmill told me I had burned the most calories… 20% more than what I had actually burned according to MyZone. You’ll also see that my HR actually doesn’t appear too different between MyZone and the TM (136 vs. 138); however, my treadmill HR was taken over just a 20 second period when I was actually able to hold onto the sensors, something I can’t do while running. MyZone continually monitored my HR throughout the whole workout, making the calorie burn more accurate.

Not only is MyZone an incredibly useful tool to track your HR and how hard you are working, it is the most accurate way to track “calories out.” Fitness is a numbers game, so why not know your true numbers and achieve maximum results?