Estimating Calories Burned

Augustine

New Member
Location
Cambridge
I am cycling for fun and fitness and as part of that I'm trying to track how many calories I eat and how many I use up in exercise. I use the LiveSTRONG MyPlate to track both and, whilst it's great for food, I'm not sure it is giving me accurate calorie counts for cycling.

The problem is I can cycle one route and enter it into 3 different websites - MyPlate Loops; JogTacker; gMaps - and I get a massively different estimation from each. This evening I cycled round the hills nearby here in Bridgend for just over an hour. MyPlate said I'd used 820 kcals, JogTracker said 720 and gMaps over 1,000.

I know these are all just estimates, but I can't believe they can be so different. Do you track calories expended in cycling? How do you do it?

Appreciate any help.

P.S. I've lost around around a stone over the last 5 weeks so, even if the readings aren't 100% accurate, it is helping!
 

shrew

New Member
Location
St Neots , Cambs
i dont actually track the calories i burn off cycling, just the ones i put in, if you want to drop weight and cycle a decent amont then just dont go over 2500 calories or so (less if your confortable with that) depends how much you want to lose and how far you cycle (as 2500 may not be enough to sustain you).

an average man doing some exersice needs approx 2500 calories a day. a keen cyclist can be using as much as 3500.

although its sorta nice knowing how many calories you burn off exercising it doesnt actually tell you how many your burning off in a day, so just ignore it, 1 stone in 5 weeks is awesome, just dont starve yourself to do it, eat healthy food, If you crash diet your more likely to end up with saggy skin and stretch marks.
 
OP
Augustine

Augustine

New Member
Location
Cambridge
thanks Shrew. i'm trying to be sensible - the LiveSTRONG website gives you a calorie intake target each day to loose weight at a steady rate. at the moment, since i'm very overweight, i'm aiming for 2 1/2 lbs a week. when i've lost another stone i'll slow up a bit. but the cycling really helps.
 

shrew

New Member
Location
St Neots , Cambs
cool, cycling is imo the best form of cardio/ aerobic exercise available thats still enjoyable.

its great at fat burning, very low impact on your joints and gets you out and about )

joining an aerobics/ jazzisize / fighting fit type class would do you the world of good too, they usually play fairly fast paced music and get you moving about quite a bit & youll be the only bloke there so stand at the back and enjoy the view at the same time
 

youngoldbloke

The older I get, the faster I used to be ...
I use a Polar HRM that records calories used, relative to the user details set. It may not be 100% accurate but at least allows comparisons to be made, and a record is retained in its files.
 
+1 for using a Heart Rate Monitor. They need not be too expensive and will give you an idea of how much effort you are putting in to any ride/workout. For fat burning you'll be wanting to be in 60-70% 0f your Max HR and up to 80% for aerobic exercise. Like me you are just starting out so I'd leave the 80-90% region a miss until you know you can do it without hurting yourself. On an hour-long flat ride along the seafront I would expect to expend around 450-500 kcals (with perhaps 30-35% of those calories in fat) so 1000 in an hour would suggest a fairly good workout on those hills of yours. Interval training is very good. Find a decent hill that you know will take you say, 3 minutes to climb that you know you can come down again and relatively relax for 5-10 minutes just spinning, so - a 5 minute warm up, 10 minutes spinning, 3 minutes climbing, 10 minutes spinning, 3 minutes climbing....and so on for 4/5 reps with a 5 minute warm-down at the end. That would be a good hour or hour and a half of interval training which should shift some weight. Believe it or not I do this quite a bit on my Brompton as well as an MTB. It works and really gets the heart pumping.

Good luck,

Bill
 
OP
Augustine

Augustine

New Member
Location
Cambridge
For fat burning you'll be wanting to be in 60-70% 0f your Max HR and up to 80% for aerobic exercise. Like me you are just starting out so I'd leave the 80-90% region a miss until you know you can do it without hurting yourself. On an hour-long flat ride along the seafront I would expect to expend around 450-500 kcals (with perhaps 30-35% of those calories in fat)
If I were to cycle with a higher HR, am I burning glucose (?) instead of fat? I've heard of HR training zones but I don't know a great deal about them. Can you recommend anything to read?
 
If I were to cycle with a higher HR, am I burning glucose (?) instead of fat? I've heard of HR training zones but I don't know a great deal about them. Can you recommend anything to read?
Have a look here mate:

http://www.brianmac.co.uk/hrm1.htm

There are other very good websites with loads of info, not to mention a fair few sages on these forums. I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination but have found by far the majority of folk here to be most helpful. I think it is fair to say that you will still burn fat at a higher Heart rate but that you will improve your aerobic, then anaerobic thresholds the harder you push yourself. For now though I still think riding as you are (with interval training thrown in) is a very good start to a healthier, fitter you. It may also be worthwhile to consider some sort of weight training once or twice a week.

Bill
 

lukesdad

Guest
From what youve described and your style of riding I would say you are using 250-500 cals an hour. Flat ride- bottom end ,hilly ride -top end. id be very surprised if you were getting above 500 an hour.
 

lukesdad

Guest
Also you wont burn anything useful untill you ve been going for 45 mins. So on an hour ride burning fat ain t going to happen. Longer non stop rides is what you are looking for.
 

Threelionsbrian

New Member
Location
Devon
Also you wont burn anything useful untill you ve been going for 45 mins. So on an hour ride burning fat ain t going to happen. Longer non stop rides is what you are looking for.

That may be true, but all the time he's going up them hills he's thinking twice before filling his face. He's also getting fitter raising his rate and probably then venturing out on longer rides with the desired effect. Keep peddling you'll get there if you want to!
 

Threelionsbrian

New Member
Location
Devon
Its a strange business heart rate training.

My Max should be around 176 but i have had a 188 constant for a few seconds once.

My 10 Mile TT Average was 177 one night.

I am always 160 + at least when climbing any hill.

During my Turbo warm up i am anaerobic just spinning out? @92 RPM

How accurate are HRM's ?
 

lukesdad

Guest
Its a strange business heart rate training.

My Max should be around 176 but i have had a 188 constant for a few seconds once.

My 10 Mile TT Average was 177 one night.

I am always 160 + at least when climbing any hill.

During my Turbo warm up i am anaerobic just spinning out? @92 RPM

How accurate are HRM's ?
:wacko:
 

jimboalee

New Member
Location
Solihull
What most folks who write on here find is that when they are training on an ergometer or 'Roadload tracking' turbo, their legs fill up with lactic acid and start getting painful before their heart stops.

I don't take HR training seriously at all. I listen to my legs. When they are too painful to move, I quit the session and let my physiology do its hypertropthy stuff. You know, grow new capillaries, increase muscle cell volume, increase Alveoli usage etc.

The definition of "Fitness" is the increased ability to transport O2 and fuel to the muscles, and to exchange CO2 for O2 in the lungs.

When you are not fit enough to efficiently transport O2 to the muscles, Lactic Acid energy production will start, no matter what your heart rate.

Your heart rate and breathing rate is increased as a result of signals to the brain given out by a sensor in your neck. The sensor detects a rise of CO2 in the blood ( from muscular activity ).

Muscles produce CO2 when they perform 'ergs', the unit of energy. 1 erg = 2.388E-08 Calories. 1000 Calories = 1 kCal.

Therefore, kCals are ONLY directly related to the WORK you perform, NOT your heart rate.
 
OP
Augustine

Augustine

New Member
Location
Cambridge
OK, this is clearly all a little more complicated than i expected! i'm enjoying cycling round here - though soon we're moving to Cambridge and i suspect hills will be much harder to find - so i'll keep going and 'listen to my legs'. if they start actually talking out loud i'll come back to you.

thanks for all your help, Mike
 
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