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Hi all,

So I've been getting back into exercising and I've come across a quandary. Both the fitness tracker that I wear, and the one built into my phone (separate apps) show my workout as burning 800ish calories, even though they don't exactly match up on distance. But MyFitnessPal, which I am able to link to one of my fitness tracker apps, only shows that I've burned 400ish calories.

I know they're not exact, but to see such a discrepancy is problematic to me.

How do you interpret what your fitness apps are telling you about your calories burned?

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I have an Apple Watch and to be honest it sucks at tracking steps. I haven't done a lot more strenuous exercise but I know you can *start* workouts. We'll see how it goes when I add in other stuff.

800 calories in one exercise session seems like a lot. I would tend to side with MFP. But either way just keep it up and you're doing great!

The exercise is the important part and you're rocking it if you're burning that much.

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1 hour ago, MrsGamgee said:

Hi all,

So I've been getting back into exercising and I've come across a quandary. Both the fitness tracker that I wear, and the one built into my phone (separate apps) show my workout as burning 800ish calories, even though they don't exactly match up on distance. But MyFitnessPal, which I am able to link to one of my fitness tracker apps, only shows that I've burned 400ish calories.

I know they're not exact, but to see such a discrepancy is problematic to me.

How do you interpret what your fitness apps are telling you about your calories burned?

I don't rely on the numbers. I focus on my fitness goals.

All watches, exercise machines, apps give estimates of calories burned. I agree, the estimates can be way off. I don’t eat back the extra calories from workout's that myfitnesspal totals. I keep my food in my weight loss calories/macro's range.

I run sustained for an hour (10K run) and lift. In weight loss mode, my diet does not change because of my workout. My diet changes is for half/full marathons. I do a tapper and carb load seven days pre-race to support the intensity and recovery.

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1 minute ago, Healthy_life2 said:

I don't rely on the numbers. I focus on my fitness goals.

All watches, exercise machines, apps give estimates of calories burned. I agree, the estimates can be way off. I don’t eat back the extra calories from workout's that myfitnesspal totals. I keep my food in my weight loss calories/macro's range.

I run sustained for an hour (10K run) and lift. In weight loss mode, my diet does not change because of my workout. My diet changes is for half/full marathons. I do a tapper and carb load seven days pre-race to support the intensity and recovery.

I don't eat my exercise calories, I don't touch them. Really, I couldn't eat an extra 400-800 cals if I tried. I'm just a person who likes to know my stats, and it drives me a little dingy to do my 5km every morning and get such different interpretations.

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Just now, MrsGamgee said:

I don't eat my exercise calories, I don't touch them. Really, I couldn't eat an extra 400-800 cals if I tried. I'm just a person who likes to know my stats, and it drives me a little dingy to do my 5km every morning and get such different interpretations.

I like stats and my apps. It gets to be information overload and frustrating at times.

  • My watch automatically tracks in an app called connect.
  • I'm on a running team and we are all connected by an app called strava.
  • My fitnesspal app seems to have the biggest discrepancy.

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Try measuring your improvements, like lifting more, increasing incline, etc rather than recording from an app.

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Do all of the apps take into account your weight, age & gender? The ones that do, will be more accurate.

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Posted (edited)

There's a compensatory physiological process than occurs in severely calorie-restricted individuals called adaptive thermogenesis. This was partially brought to light with The Biggest Loser since they had so much data pre, peri and post-weight loss. Turns out after server calorie-restriction the body decreased it's resting metabolic rate by a very significant amount. Rough numbers as it's been a few years since I read the study but the person who won the biggest loser and who eventually regained all the weight had a resting metabolic rate that was ~800 calories less after weight-regain compared to the same weight pre-weight loss.

Whats' my point? None of us are operating anywhere close to our estimated basal metabolic rate based on the standard equations - at least not in the year or two after surgery. There was some suggestion that as time goes on adaptive thermogenesis normalizes but to be honesty I haven't followed-up on this in a few years.

Ex. I'm 6'5" and 260lbs and I eat 2500 calories per day while lifting heavy and working hard at the gym. Based on standard equations I should be about 200 pounds by now or said another way I should be losing 0.5lbs per week but here I sit on my plateau some 60lbs more than these calorie estimation tools would suggest.

I eat 2500 calories per day on average because that's what it takes to not be hungry all the time. When I listen to my body on non-lifting days I may only eat 2000 calories and on heavy lifting days I may eat 3000 calories - I absolutely get ravenous on heavy lifting days. I'm going to start to add some more calories....the ONLY thing I really care to measure anymore is waist circumference 1x per week.

IMO the only thing these calorie counters are remotely good for is to compare day-to-day calorie expenditures (did I do more or less than yesterday) but the actual number is meaningless.

Edited by PWMDMD

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