Which Calorie Count Is Correct?

G2EWS

Well-Known Member
OK, so I have just ridden 10.83 Miles and I have these figures for calorie count:

Garmin - 684
Fitbit - 332

The Garmin I am assuming does the calculation based on the height climbed as well so I would like to think it is more accurate. The fitbit just calculates distance and time. Both based on age and weight.

So which is the more accurate do you think?

Regards

Chris
 

vickster

Legendary Member
My rule of thumb is 35-40 cals per mile, so the second one - unless you are very heavy and were riding up hills on a full sus MTB :smile:
 

Norm

Guest
Neither, they and all 'calories used' displays are based on estimates, at best, without measurements of weight, friction, resistance, they cannot show an accurate figure.
 

david k

Hi
Location
North West
some of my results vary wildly. for my size i think 50 calories per mile on an average ride is a conservative estimate, this is often thereabouts with my figures.
having said that, what i seem to notice now is that my long enjoyable slow rides burn a much much lower amount than short faster rides per mile. We are probably realise this would be the case but the extremes are more than i imagined.Butlong slwoer rides burn more fat, so i suppose its what your after also, since using HRM it seems to make the gap bigger, am i right to presume the garmin makes adjustments based on HR?

for me its only a guide that gives more interest to the ride, i know at the end if im tired or not!
 

david k

Hi
Location
North West
OK, so I have just ridden 10.83 Miles and I have these figures for calorie count:

Garmin - 684
Fitbit - 332

The Garmin I am assuming does the calculation based on the height climbed as well so I would like to think it is more accurate. The fitbit just calculates distance and time. Both based on age and weight.

So which is the more accurate do you think?

Regards

Chris
both could be spot on
 
OP
G2EWS

G2EWS

Well-Known Member
Neither, they and all 'calories used' displays are based on estimates, at best, without measurements of weight, friction, resistance, they cannot show an accurate figure.
Hi Norm,

Naturally they cannot be correct, but one is going to be more accurate than the other for sure!!

Regards

Chris
 

Norm

Guest
Hmm... yes, obviously one will be closer to the actual calories used figure, unless the actual figure was 508 calories. :giggle:

However, knowing which one is more accurate is also not possible, without knowing the algorithms and estimates used by each device, and the actual weight, heart rate, resistance, ambient temperatures... etc.
 

david k

Hi
Location
North West
i think all most of us are after is a guide to help calorie counting and maybe just adding a bit more incentive to our rides. I dontthink its that important to the majority of us to be spot on.

For examplemy scales are half a stone out, but i use the same ones each time, for gauging weight gain/loss they do the job
 
I looked up on google to see how food manufacturers determine the calorie figure they print on the packet and for many it seemed to be a best guess taken from charts.

I hope by the fact I simply googled, you can see I'm clueless and making no claim to knowledge, so if my logic's flawed, don't laugh at me or abuse me, I'm more interested in the right answer than being right.


Those that 'measure' it can use different techniques that produce different techniques and it's debatable how much the potential heat content relates to the way that the digestive system handles the food. Sweet corn for example, isn't totally digested, but presumably all the corn is used for calorific content.

Point being, the "wrong" measure of calories burned, could balance if the information for calories consumed is wrong by the same factor.
 

amaferanga

Veteran
Location
Bolton
Hmm... yes, obviously one will be closer to the actual calories used figure, unless the actual figure was 508 calories. :giggle:

However, knowing which one is more accurate is also not possible, without knowing the algorithms and estimates used by each device, and the actual weight, heart rate, resistance, ambient temperatures... etc.
From riding with a power meter which is the most accurate calorie estimator available for everyday riding, I'd say its quite easy to know which one is more accurate (assuming that the OP isn't a 20 stoner).

The lower figure will be closer to reality for a regular rolling route. The Garmin figure is IMO a massive overestimate (which is consistent with what I generally see - don't for a minute think that just because it's Garmin they must have a better calorie estimating algorithm).

For most cyclists, burning anything >800kCal in an hour is fairly unlikely. Most calorie estimators are hopelessly optimistic and unfortunately many people just accept the absurdly high figures cos it makes them feel good and means they think can eat that chocolate without feeling guilty.
 
OP
G2EWS

G2EWS

Well-Known Member
Thanks for all the advice and thoughts.

Amerferanga, I think your assessment is probably as near as we are likely to get which is the Vickster is saying. So in this case I will stick with the fitbit.

I would like to think that when I am using my Polar watch and chest strap when working out in my gym that it is a bit nearer.

Regards

Chris
 
This is a good discussion covering the topic:

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/ge...on/garmin-edge-500-calories-count-275430.html

I have a Garmin 500 with HR monitor and cadence sensor. It is supposed to be more accurate with the HR monitor as it uses a different algorithm.
It seems pretty accurate but to me it's just another stat. I am not trying to put on or lose weight. I think it is said that an average power of 250w over 1 hour would burn approx 900 calories. That is not just a morning stroll though. There is some effort involved. An example as follows from a 2 lap 10 mile route. This is one lap.

Time: 25.05
Distance: 10 mile
Av Speed: 23.9
Av heart rate: 154
Max heart rate: 165
Av Cadence: 90
Max cadence: 110
All of this, with my stats input correctly, tells me i have burned 362 calories. Seems much closer to the correct figure. Though the Garmin has no indication at all as to what the wind is doing so that's another variable.

Make sure ALL of your data has been inputed correctly and get your heart rate zones as close as you can and it will be a workable figure. Firstbeat algorithm, which is apparently one of the most accurate calculation methods in the Garmin range, reckon the figures with Ant+ HR monitors allow for up to 10% inaccuracy. That's not too bad but the device MUST be set up correctly.

This web page also shows the workings behind the Garmin and is a good read:

http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2010/11/how-calorie-measurement-works-on-garmin.html
 

MattHB

Proud Daddy
Ive tried many sites and apps for calculating calorie cost... the one that seems to reflect my weight losses best for any given period is Strava. It pitches well below Garmin and cyclemeter who seem to overly inflate figures (to make you feel better? who knows). You can upload your garmin rides to strava, it would be interesting to see the comparison.

count calories in, record mileage and time, weigh in weekly. If you can keep your intake counting accurate (I use mynetdiary) then its pretty easy to get an idea as to which calorie calculators are working for you by looking at the corresponding weight loss.

To loose 1lb of fat you need 3500 calories burned, so a deficit of 500 a day is enough to loose 1lb a week.

Ive lost 3 stone by doing this in a year, so it seems to work.
 
Ive tried many sites and apps for calculating calorie cost... the one that seems to reflect my weight losses best for any given period is Strava. It pitches well below Garmin and cyclemeter who seem to overly inflate figures (to make you feel better? who knows). You can upload your garmin rides to strava, it would be interesting to see the comparison.

count calories in, record mileage and time, weigh in weekly. If you can keep your intake counting accurate (I use mynetdiary) then its pretty easy to get an idea as to which calorie calculators are working for you by looking at the corresponding weight loss.

To loose 1lb of fat you need 3500 calories burned, so a deficit of 500 a day is enough to loose 1lb a week.

Ive lost 3 stone by doing this in a year, so it seems to work.
Well done on 3 stone lost!! :thumbsup:

I use both Strava and Garmin connect and find the results pretty darn close. A side by side example over a 65 mile route is as follows:

Garmin connect calorie count: 2410
Strava calorie count: 2365

By my reckoning that's somewhere in the region of 2.0% inaccuracy. Again not too shabby.
 
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