Heart rate monitor calories

by 90 · September 06, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Do you use a heart rate monitor during your workouts and do you trust the calories burned info it provides? I have a Polar RS300x, about which I have read good reviews as far as accuracy. I typically do 1.5 hour workout comprised of weight training and 10-15 minutes on a rope climbing simulator for my cardio. As my name suggests I'm a paraplegic so leg work is not part of my routine.

Four weeks ago I was getting readings in the mid 1200's.Today was my first workout day in two weeks and it says 1640 for today. These readings have always seemed high to me but I'm looking for opinions. I should note that I leave the monitor running for an hour after my workout. I do this not as a cheat but to monitor the post workout benefits.

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10 Replies

145 · May 01, 2013 at 02:37 AM

I didn't look up your model of HRM (because I am lazy), but I think my Polar FT4 or 7 (can't remember) is extremely accurate. The watch does have inputs for age, height, and weight. It is important to have one with a chest strap for the best accuracy. If you have a chest strap, it is possible that your battery is low. I have gotten extreme readings when my battery was low before. Replaced the battery and no issues :-)

0 · March 19, 2013 at 05:27 PM

Do these monitors take into count body temp and outside temp? You can burn a lot of calories sitting on your butt if it's cold enough outside.

189 · September 18, 2012 at 06:35 AM

the polars are pretty accurate for steady state cardio... not HIIT or weight training as those are anaerobic and our calories burned are different than when having an elevated HR in an aerobic state.

you can put in your resting hr, bodyfat, vo2max, gender, age, weight, height... i think even more than that too.

the HRM will be WAY more accurate than a machine at the gym- the elliptical that tells me i burned 300 calories in 30 minutes when i didn't sweat... haha, my HRM says more like 120 which sounds correct seeing i didn't work as hard as i do on the stepmill.

also the polars or any brand with the chest strap will be a lot more accurate than the kind that just goes on your wrist.

26083 · September 18, 2012 at 01:45 AM

I have a garmin GPS plus Heart Rate Monitor. You input your age, height, weight, and V02 Max into the watch, and it is supposed to have a very accurate calorie measure. So I put it to the test:

Calories by Distance and Duration As you can see the calories and distance are almost a perfect match (r2 = .98). Calories by Intensity and Max Heart Rate While more of the Track workouts (or HIIT) are on the upper level of max heart rate, there is no correlation to calorie burn. This is based on 305's calculation, not actual calories -- i.e. the advanced calorie calculation is essentially just a measure of distance.

4234 · September 18, 2012 at 12:39 AM

I wouldn't put any stock into the calories that any machine tells you you burned. All you are seeing is some algorithm some programmer put in there. It's not actually THE calories that YOU burned.

19504 · June 03, 2012 at 05:52 PM

I think your reading are a bit high. I would record at the end of the workout and also at an hour after.

0 · April 22, 2012 at 11:01 AM

A lot of the polar watches now allow you to input age, height, weight, gender etc - which makes them more accurate. not sure they do one that accounts for you % lean muscle mass though - this would add to the accuracy of the readings a great deal.

5848 · April 08, 2012 at 05:37 AM

This in no way answers the question, but I found this online and it looks pretty detailed and takes in to account your whole day.

20762 · April 08, 2012 at 12:23 AM

No, those things are just pure guesses. I'd trust the ones on the machines (Elipticals, Rowers, etc) more because they measure the work done and then account for the (average) efficiency of the human body of turning food into work (i.e., they usually multiply by 8). But those heart-rate monitors only are counting your heart rate and somehow turning that into calories burnt? I put no faith in that number.

11476 · April 07, 2012 at 10:30 PM

Seeing as you can't add your weight, height, age, gender, and body composition into watches, I think the short answer is "not entirely". It's a ball park figure that tends to over estimate, so take it with a grain of salt. I remember my couch telling us to assume that there is 10% error in calorie readings (20-50% for treadmills, elliptical etc).

Also, I have a heart condition so my resting heart rate is faster than your average person, so I don't know if I didn't program those watches right, but mine always seemed like it waaay overestimated for me. That is another thing that might be a confounding variable for some people.

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