Are fitness tracker’s calorie burn accurate? Fitness professionals get this question a lot. Is that how many calories I am actually burning? The short answer is no they aren’t all that accurate. Just to show you I did a comparison of two different devices to show you that it’s not all that accurate.
So you will see the side by side images above. I used my MyZone heart rate monitor which tells me how many calories I burned (right image). Then, I used the built in calorie counter on the fitness bikes we have (left image). I wore the heart rate monitor at the exact same time I was riding the bike to get the calorie count of both. You can see that my heart rate monitor told me I burnt 233 calories (number in the top right boxed) versus 74.2 on the bike (boxed).
How could there be such a drastic difference and which one is more accurate? Let’s start with the bike. The bike is determining how many calories you burned based on the distance you do and how quickly you did it. The heart rate monitor is determining how many calories you burned based on your heart rate and how high it got and how long you sustained your high rate for. That’s why it’s so drastic. They are using two different methods to get a caloric burn. Every tracking device will use a different methodology of figuring out how many calories you’re burning. Which is more accurate? I honestly don’t trust either nor do I care nor should you.
Two reasons why it doesn’t matter. One. If you are working out to burn calories you are not working out for the right reasons and you probably have a poor relationship with exercises. That’s another blog for another day. Two. Why does it actually matter how many calories you burn? What does knowing how many calories you burn actually tell you? How does this help you? If you burn 200 calories today how does that help you tomorrow or a week from now? It doesn’t. Knowing how many calories you burned in a workout is relevant for 1 day.
Is your fitness tracker’s calorie burn accurate? It very well could be but you have to ask yourself why it matters? My guess is it matters to you so you can lose weight. If this is the case, you are currently counting the wrong calories. Count the calories you consume, not how many you burn in a workout. The calories you consume are way more important than the calories you burn. If you are consuming more than you are burning then you are just wasting your time caring about the calories you burn in a workout.
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