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Weight Loss
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cardio machines and calorie burning

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We all know that the machines at the gym aren't accurate, but it also seems that every website I visit says something different for the same exercise.  How much do you knock off the calories burned that it tells you at the gym?  Today I did 50 minutes I am 5' 5"  145lbs and it said 407 cals... other websites are closer to 200 and some say 500!!!!
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if your machine has you  enter your hieght and weight then its accurate, or at least i believe so.


really? That would be sooo great!  It does make you enter your weight, but not your height (
no! those machines are notorious for their generous calorie counts. i recently got a heart rate monitor, and since i've been wearing it at the gym, i've realized that the machines were over-estimating by around 100-200 calories per half hour.
what does the heart rate monitor do?  Does it calculate your calories burned?  Where can I get one??
it's based on what you said: your age, height, weight, gender, wrist size to indicate body frame size, number of hours you sleep and activity level.


Heart rate monitors are calibrated to your age, weight, height, etc. You wear a strap around your chest (like where the bottom of your bra would be) and a wrist watch, and the strap conveys a pulse to the watch telling you your heart rate (or how hard you are working). It then calculates your calories from all of that information. With the slightly fancier ones, you can also do an "own zone" test, where you do a 5-min fitness test exactly as prescribed and the device calibrates to your own particular fitness level. But that's not even all that necessary... the heart rate alone really helps the calculations (and yes, even on machines that supposedly monitor your heart rate, the HRM will still show a significantly lower number). You can store workouts, see what % of your maximum heart rate you're working at, time laps, and see what % of "fat burning" activity you did per workout. Polar have the most experience making them I think... they also make some especially for women (basically smaller watches in nicer colours, so that you can wear the watch part all the time, as a normal watch as well). You can get them in most sport stores, and on amazon.

The only hard part is that it doesnt take into account your body composition.  If you have more lean muscle, you burn more calories at rest (and during exercise).  If you are 180lbs and 5'10", it makes a big difference if that 180 is in "beer gut" or if you look like youre chisled out of rock. 

 The machines and the HR monitors are somewhat accurate, but nothing will be totally accurate unless you have a formal metabolic profile done.


Some gyms are now equipped to do metabolic profiles--I know mine is.  I had my RMR and my Anaerobic/Max heart rate tested at my gym and the tester calibrated my heart rate monitor with all my information, so I know that the reading I get is fairly accurate (it can still differ slightly depending on amount of sleep, caffeine intake, etc. -- but I at least know I'm in the ballpark.)  It may be something you want to look into...

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