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Garmin and calorie used

(40 Posts)
Suzannewithaplan Thu 30-Oct-14 18:45:05

I'm flumoxed, how do they calculate it

I've just started using a vivosmart, previously I'd been using the forerunner 210 in conjunction with a mio link hrm to log my cardio workouts.

Today I used both...expected the calorie burn to be different but not that different confused

I ran/walked uphill for 80 minutes, my average heart rate was 83% of max.
Forerunner said a disappointing 435 calssad
Vivo smart said a shocking 865 cals shock

Now the calculator here:
www.shapesense.com/fitness-ex...alculator.aspx
(the one where you fill in VO2 max-I estimated my VO2 max from my heart rate after a 1 mile jog based on the calculator here www.brianmac.co.uk/vo2mile.htm)

gives me a calorie burn of 737 for the same workout so it seems as if the vivo smart is the more accurate of the two.

I know these calorie consumption figures are all only estimates but is it not weird that devices from the same manufacturer would give such different readings?

Does anyone know if the two devices use different formula to calculate calorie burn?
Furthermore is that formula any more sophisticated than the one I linked to which asks for weight, age, gender and VO2 max?

Mitchy1nge Thu 30-Oct-14 19:04:35

no idea but am in for all the interesting and helpful responses

I've always had faith in my FR220 and HRM, it says I average about 79 calories per mile and I've actually based my life around those numbers so I hope they don't get any higher

Mitchy1nge Thu 30-Oct-14 19:05:03

is vivosmart the wrist thing? WANT

Suzannewithaplan Thu 30-Oct-14 19:24:56

yep, it's garmins version of activity tracker and smart watch, I do like itgrin wanted something to pick up heart rate that didnt take up too much room on my wrist.

I suspect this calculator www.exrx.net/Calculators/WalkRunMETs.html is pretty accurate for running calorie consumption?

I get that it takes a certain amount of energy for a person of a certain weight to run a certain distance.

However HIIT type cardio apparently burns more cals than going at a constant speed....sooo running with fast and slow intervals should burn more than running at a constant speed over the same distance.

I'm wondering if the garmin calculation also takes into account changes in intensity during the workout, as opposed to just extrapolating from the average HR during the workout?

Suzannewithaplan Thu 30-Oct-14 19:28:03

I recon I use about 85 per mile running at 5mph, at which pace my heart rate is around 130bpm.

Thing is heart rate also goes up as you get hotter, so it doesnt only respond to exercise intensity

Mitchy1nge Thu 30-Oct-14 19:28:51

that calculator comes up WAY higher than any comparable distance/pace Garmin has ever calculated for me

Mitchy1nge Thu 30-Oct-14 19:29:37

I have an insanely slow heart rate and am hypothermic though

Mitchy1nge Thu 30-Oct-14 19:30:32

(not actually hypothermic but my internal thermostat is shit, I'm always cold, I wore two coats to run in today)

Suzannewithaplan Thu 30-Oct-14 19:37:26

I used to be always cold, until the onset of 'the change' now Im quite a lot warmer..I quite like it actually!

Mitchy1nge Thu 30-Oct-14 20:36:34

that's interesting, I assume I've been through it (we start late and finish early in my family) but no warm feelings yet

I've ruined your thread again

Suzannewithaplan Thu 30-Oct-14 21:05:00

ruined?
dont be daftgrin
without your contribution I'd be all on me tod!

Suzannewithaplan Thu 30-Oct-14 23:11:25

well I guess no one else is much interestedsad
Oh well...I found some info here www.dcrainmaker.com/2010/11/how-calorie-measurement-works-on-garmin.html

Mitchy1nge Thu 30-Oct-14 23:20:23

I always seem to turn it into the Suzanne and Mitchy show in which menopausal exercise addicts chat about gadgets and calories and shit grin

am going to check out that link now

Mitchy1nge Thu 30-Oct-14 23:27:11

complicatednosity confused

maybe will just go and lie down until the morning . . .

Suzannewithaplan Thu 30-Oct-14 23:46:08

surely there are others equally obsessed who will drop by shortly.

As for garmin calories, yeah it's a bit hard going blush
apparently the best garmins use www.firstbeat.com/ for calorie metrics, but that doesnt seem to include the vivosmart and I cant figure out what it does use.

couple of other links
www.firstbeat.com/userData/firstbeat/download/white_paper_epoc.pdf
www.firstbeat.com/userData/firstbeat/download/white_paper_training_effect.pdf

pootlebug Fri 31-Oct-14 09:01:49

I have a Garmin Forerunner 110. I have just compared calories for a couple of recent runs. Obviously had to put 0% gradient into the calculator above, whereas both were slightly undulating, but not stupidly hilly.

Half marathon:
Garmin 1,333 calories
Calculator above 1,352 calories

Parkrun:
Garmin 309 calories
Calculator above 316 calories

Maybe it's to do with how well they measure (and how accurately they calculate, based on measurements) elevation gains?

postmanpatscat Fri 31-Oct-14 09:09:49

I usually get about 340 cals for a 30 min 5k on Garmin, considerably more than I get on a treadmill or Fitbit so I go with the Garmin data since I don't track my food anyway.

Suzannewithaplan Fri 31-Oct-14 10:27:44

are either of you using a heart rate with the garmins?
the workout I mentioned was on a treadill so no gps data

Mitchy1nge Fri 31-Oct-14 11:33:26

I rarely use my HRM, is not like I understand or use the zones anyway, think last time I used it was to compare cycling rowing and running over similar distances. Running always wins, then rowing and then cycling.

Today it says I burned 730 over 8.5 miles which is pretty high at about 85 cals per mile, especially as it was at long run pace, total elevation gain was 72m, it didn't feel like a particularly undulating route but I was too scared of being run over to notice. Which is probably a good reason to use a treadmill but nah.

shinysparklythings Fri 31-Oct-14 11:40:30

This winds me up so much! I cycle rather than run and use a hrm for improved accuracy. My bryton(like a garmin different make) will say 2673 cals I upload the same data to strava and it will say 1465 cals for example! confused

So annoying! I guess they all use slightly different formulas. In theory it should be more accurate with a hrm but probably only if your max heart rate had been set accurately from doing a threshold test.

Suzannewithaplan Fri 31-Oct-14 12:02:48

‎Seems to me that the problem is not just that they all use different formulas but that they are not open about the formulas that they use.
Getting such different results from two devices from the same manufacturer makes me suspicious of their motives, it is as if the marketing dept has decided that the consumer who buys a vivosmart is more likely to respond to the 'flattery' of a higher calorie burn, whereas the purchaser of the fore runner is more serious and realistic.

Perhaps the formula is accurate but one device upregulates and the other downregulates, in which case I just need to determine by what percentage I should shift the result‎

Suzannewithaplan Fri 31-Oct-14 12:05:57

Actually I could test that theory by using both devices to record my workouts if the relationship between the two results remains constant that would suggest that they are using the same formula but just tweaking it up or down

(will report back!)

Thistledew Fri 31-Oct-14 12:19:04

I can't answer your question, but will have a play around with my Garmin gadgets and report back. I have a Garmin 800 bike computer and a new Garmin swim/bike/run gadget that I can't remember the name of as I only got it for my birthday earlier this week!

I have noticed that there is a real difference in the calorie calculation on my bike computer when I use it without the hrm as opposed to with. It increases the figure by over 50% if I use it without hrm.

I also think it under calculates calorie consumption when I run, as doing 10k in an hour usually comes back with a consumption of 500 and something. I will be interested to see if the gadget designed for running calculates differently, as opposed to the one designed for cycling.

Suzannewithaplan Fri 31-Oct-14 12:25:52

thanks Thistle! grin

Suzannewithaplan Fri 31-Oct-14 18:07:36

I have conducted my experiment, results as follows

1-highest intensity workout
vivosmart = 865 cals, forerunner 210 =435 cals (FR is 50.23% of the VS total)

2-medium intensity
VS=243 cals, FR 156 cals (FR is 64.2% of the VS total)

3-low intensity
VS=158 cals, FR= 105 cals (FR is 66.5% of the VS total)

so the relation between the totals isnt consistent, but there is a pattern.
The VS calorie burn rate increases more quickly as intensity increases.
When exercising at higher intensity there is a greater post exercise effect (as discussed in this paper www.firstbeat.com/userData/firstbeat/download/white_paper_epoc.pdf)

I know that some garmins use first beat but I don't know if the VS does, if it does then the higher intensity calorie count may be due to the device including excess post-exercise oxygen consumption in it's calculation.

I may e-mail garmin and see if they will explain

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