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Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Posted 26 Sep 12

Am I getting my bike calorie calculations right?

Kelly, Please can you give me your advice here? My fianc├é┬? bought me an exercise bike to help my journey. My daily exercise target is 288 calories, so each day I have been completing around twenty five minutes on my bike on a resistance of two at a moderate to vigorous speed. Looking at other people├é┬?s calculations, and calculations at spinning class, I think my bike may be inaccurate with calculating calories burnt. Can you please advise me what I need to do on the bike to hit my 288 a day? Thanks, Stacy

Our expert says...

Hi,

I would advise you to be cautious of the estimated calorie figures given by cardiovascular machines, especially those that provide figures without knowing an individual’s specifics, i.e. age and heart rate. Often the calorie figures are calculated on assumptions about technique and with minimal information like bodyweight. There is also little consideration given to fitness level and the heart rate intensity for that individual. Even different brands of the same style of machines can make different estimates about expected calories burned.

I would strongly advise you to use the website's system for working out calorie expenditure from exercise and be consistent with its use as working with one-calorie-calculating system provides the highest level of accuracy. The approximate figure for 30minutes of moderate effort cycling would be 220 calories as calculated here on the website. The approximate figure for 30minutes of vigorous cycling is 319 calorie. Based on these numbers, your figure of 288 calories sounds about right. There are a couple of other factors to consider when calculating calorie expenditure:

- Personal level of fitness - if someone is a beginner to exercise or to the specific workout, generally they could find the workout more demanding and so use up more calories. As we adapt and gain fitness benefits through consistent use, so the calorie demand will drop as we become more efficient at the workout. If you are very accustomed to an hour on a certain resistance/program on the bike then be aware you may well be burning less calories.

- The quality of techniques - it is incredible how different people can do the 'same' workout but experience completely different results and this relates to the effort and technique given by the individual. If someone has good technique and can activate the right muscle groups then they will be able to burn up more calories than someone who is cheating themselves on some of the movements.

Hope this helps,

Kelly

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