? about calories and fitness trackers

firemedic

Cathlete
For anyone out there who uses fitness trackers, is the calorie burn during a workout accurate? I was wondering when adding workouts in Cathe's workout manager and you get the estimated calorie burn for one of her dvds, is it close to what your fitness tracker says? I just want to make sure I'm doing things correctly.

Kim
 

lifeisgood

Cathlete
My fitness tracker (Garmin with a heart rate monitor) has my calorie burn about half of what the Workout Manager states for the calorie burn on a workout. Last night I did Shred Cardio and my garmin said I burned 127 calories but Workout Manager says it should be 377 calories.

Cindy
 

firemedic

Cathlete
Thanks Cindy. My Garmin it sometimes close to the workout manager but other times, it's not close at all. I was just wondering which one to go by? I've been going by my Garmin for the calories burned since that has all my info and is getting my heart rate.
 

lifeisgood

Cathlete
My Garmin seems to not always track my heart properly and it drives me nuts. I will be busting my butt and it says 84 bpm, bah! I say go with what seems the most accurate for you.

Cindy
 

psusoccer17

Cathlete
I use a polar chest strap and monitor, it is usually 100-150 calories less than the workout manager. Since it is based on your heart rate it will be more accurate.
 

firemedic

Cathlete
I tried a chest strap a long time ago and it just didn't work for me. It would suddenly stop tracking my heart rate and I couldn't get it back. It was too distracting. I guess I'll just go in the middle somewhere depending on how I feel and what it says my heart rate it. Thanks a lot for the info.
 

DirtDiva

Cathlete
In regards to comments about the chest strap and heart rate, it depends on the strap condition, the battery in the transmitter and then finally your watch. Lots of variables. The calories burned that are suggested on programs, cardio machines , etc. are averages which can either be encouraging or completely the opposite. Just remember they are based on algorithms and we are all different for so many reasons. If you are cardio-fit and trained, the numbers are going to be lower and the more fit you are the lower the heart rate and calorie burn. Also depends on other variables such as age and sex and how you feel, overfed, starving, hot, cold, etc. Not to mention sports watches...holy cow! I've had 7 different multi-sport watches in the past 10 years, including the latest Apple Watch Series 5 this past December (took it back for several reasons). The latest Polar offering (Vantage Series) which I also returned. I have had a few Garmins and a Suunto . I'm currently using a Polar V800, probably the most popular multi-sport watch ever. Anyway, that watch is so accurate, I bought 3 more, yup, that good, and because they don't make them anymore...replaced with the Vantage series, which needs a lot of work. Wearing that watch with a clean strap and transmitter with a solid battery is the holy grail. The only way to realize that is having used several watches and knowing yourself completely. I've been a sport racer for years, and we all talk about this very subject, but it comes down to knowing the way we feel, I'm pretty sure I don't even need to wear a watch anymore and I have accurately compared rides with and without a sports watch. The reason why I wear the V800 is it has the most sublime way of telling me when I'm overtraining and I follow that explicitly. Probably all sounds way to serious and technical, unfortunately, there is quite a bunch of crap on the market and over-hyped products with color screens and streaming music and a billion apps that have nothing to do with the main goal. I would stick to the basics. I still will buy a lower end Polar versus the top other 3 because of their algorithm models. Just keep the strap clean, and when you get dicier numbers, change the battery in the transmitter and/or get a new strap.
 

Soapmaker

Cathlete
I want to second what DirtDiva said. I love my Polars, all the ones I've used over the years. I'm still using my A360 right now. The new H10 transmitter is a massive improvement over the H7. I had 2 H7s and they would periodically give a HR spike or a wrong reading. I've been using the H10 for a while now and it has never malfunctioned. The A360 and its successor don't need a strap to read HR. The readings I get from my A360 without the strap are very accurate. I've tested it using my other Polar HRM using the strap.

If you want to get an accurate calorie reading, you need to get an estimate of your own VO2 max which the Polar HRM will do. You also need a good estimate of your maximum HR (field test) so you can set your zones properly. It is really worth doing if you want to manage your caloric intake and overall fitness.
 

DirtDiva

Cathlete
I want to second what DirtDiva said. I love my Polars, all the ones I've used over the years. I'm still using my A360 right now. The new H10 transmitter is a massive improvement over the H7. I had 2 H7s and they would periodically give a HR spike or a wrong reading. I've been using the H10 for a while now and it has never malfunctioned. The A360 and its successor don't need a strap to read HR. The readings I get from my A360 without the strap are very accurate. I've tested it using my other Polar HRM using the strap.

If you want to get an accurate calorie reading, you need to get an estimate of your own VO2 max which the Polar HRM will do. You also need a good estimate of your maximum HR (field test) so you can set your zones properly. It is really worth doing if you want to manage your caloric intake and overall fitness.

So funny, this morning I couldn't get a heart rate on my Polar V800 watch and I changed straps and still nothing. Changed to my other two transmitters (I have 3) and they both worked. I replaced the battery and everything it working fine again.

I was pretty impressed with OHS on the Polar Vantage at first, it read my heart rate close to the V800, but only during lower to mid intensity or just walking around the house. I had both watches on during a hard spin workout to test it several times. Where OHS failed was when I pushed as hard as I could, simulating a hard fast climb, the OHS couldn't keep up with my raising heart rate where as the strap and transmitter did on the V800. Then the OHS would even out with a big jump in 15-20 seconds and both watches were within 2-3 beats. When the workout was done (and I did this several times) the Optical Heart Rate System versus the strap and transmitter were off about 15 percent. I still read that a strap and transmitter are the most accurate, especially for tests. I wanted to get rid of the strap and transmitter, it'd be great to have two less things, but in the end, mountainbiking is way more important and I really want to know my highest heart rate and for how long I stay in that zone. That's one of the reasons I returned the Vantage. I have an H-7 and two H-10s.
 

Soapmaker

Cathlete
So funny, this morning I couldn't get a heart rate on my Polar V800 watch and I changed straps and still nothing. Changed to my other two transmitters (I have 3) and they both worked. I replaced the battery and everything it working fine again.

I was pretty impressed with OHS on the Polar Vantage at first, it read my heart rate close to the V800, but only during lower to mid intensity or just walking around the house. I had both watches on during a hard spin workout to test it several times. Where OHS failed was when I pushed as hard as I could, simulating a hard fast climb, the OHS couldn't keep up with my raising heart rate where as the strap and transmitter did on the V800. Then the OHS would even out with a big jump in 15-20 seconds and both watches were within 2-3 beats. When the workout was done (and I did this several times) the Optical Heart Rate System versus the strap and transmitter were off about 15 percent. I still read that a strap and transmitter are the most accurate, especially for tests. I wanted to get rid of the strap and transmitter, it'd be great to have two less things, but in the end, mountainbiking is way more important and I really want to know my highest heart rate and for how long I stay in that zone. That's one of the reasons I returned the Vantage. I have an H-7 and two H-10s.
It sounds like Vantage isn't sampling the HR as frequently. Maybe Polar is trying to preserve the battery. It would ruin a workout not to have accurate readings. At this point, I find it difficult to workout without a HRM. I need those numbers!

I've tested the A360 when I first got it using fairly steady state workouts. My HR would hit 165 and it read it without any problems with barely any lag. I never tried it with high intensity intervals where my HR would rise above 180 and then drop below 150 frequently. I think it would struggle too.

I will continue to use the strap and transmitter because I don't like to wear a tight wrist band during workouts. The A360 needs to be fairly tight to get accurate readings.

I never expected to like the A360 as much as I did. It replaced my HRM. I also never expected it to last such a long time. The battery is still holding its charge despite years of daily use. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when it finally dies.
 

Our Newsletter

Get awesome content delivered straight to your inbox.

Top