Heart Rate Monitor question

Dr. Mark,

I have recently bought a heart rate monitor to maximize my calorie burning while exercising. It is this one: http://www.heartratemonitorsusa.com/ePulse.shtml

To my knowledge, it is the only one on the market that doesn't require a chest strap (it reads your pulse from your forearm), which is a big part of why I bought it. The problem is that it seems like it might be a little optimistic when counting my calories.

Yesterday, I went for a bicycle ride and it gave me these stats for my workout:

1118 calories burned

1 hour 14 minutes of workout time

Average Heart Rate: 139

Maximum Heart Rate: 172

I also have a bicycle odometer that told me:

I went 11.7 miles

My average speed was 13.2 mph

This is also in somewhat hilly terrain.

My question is- does this seem right? I know that moderate bicycling is supposed to be a good workout, but I want to know that what my calories burned is accurate, so that I can maximize my calorie intake/burning.

BTW- I am a male, weigh about 200 lbs., 27 years old (all of this info is stored in my heart rate monitor also, so it isn't using a "generic" profile to give me my stats)

Any input would be appreciated,

Kendall

The math doesn't add up at first glance. 1 hour 14 minutes of heart rate time coupled with 11.7 miles at 13.2mph average. 11.7/13.2=0.87 hours. 1.233 hours at 13.2mph equals 16.3 miles for a quick check. The heart rate stuff I can't comment on much - you weren't redlining or running in the 85% and above range according to the numbers for your age and weight.

My experience is that I can burn somewhere between 180-220 calories riding to work 6 miles on gravel and flat ground with varying wind in about 14-18 minutes. My heart rate maxes at the 172 level sometimes and my average is between 130-145, some days in the 150's if it is really windy. I also need to change my shirt when I get to work. :p

The numbers on your monitor are kind of a relative indicator. I use mine as a gauge for workout intensity and to adjust my diet intake. The good thing is that you are tracking your workouts and in the big picture are going in the direction of improved health. Keep it up and good luck.

Thanks for the response renrek. The math doesn't add up because there was a break in there- my HRM doesn't sense when I stop for a break, but my bicycle computer stops computing when the front wheel is not moving.

As for the heart rate ranges, my goal for now is to stay mostly in the 125-150 range which is. My max heart rate is 193 as far as I know (age subtracted from 220). I figure I'll bump up the average heart rate when I am hauling around 10-15 less pounds or so. :p

Bottom line, it looks like my HRM is pretty optimistic and can't be 100% trusted as far as the calories burned go. I will just continue to use it to maximize my tracking of heart rate and go from there.

Just out of curiosity and for comparison purposes- what are your stats? (Age, weight, etc.) If you don't mind me asking. Also, what kind of heart rate monitor are you using? Also- how was your 180-220 calories burned computed? Thanks.

Dr. Mark,

I have recently bought a heart rate monitor to maximize my calorie burning while exercising. It is this one: http://www.heartratemonitorsusa.com/ePulse.shtml

To my knowledge, it is the only one on the market that doesn't require a chest strap (it reads your pulse from your forearm), which is a big part of why I bought it. The problem is that it seems like it might be a little optimistic when counting my calories.

Yesterday, I went for a bicycle ride and it gave me these stats for my workout:

1118 calories burned

1 hour 14 minutes of workout time

Average Heart Rate: 139

Maximum Heart Rate: 172

I also have a bicycle odometer that told me:

I went 11.7 miles

My average speed was 13.2 mph

This is also in somewhat hilly terrain.

My question is- does this seem right? I know that moderate bicycling is supposed to be a good workout, but I want to know that what my calories burned is accurate, so that I can maximize my calorie intake/burning.

BTW- I am a male, weigh about 200 lbs., 27 years old (all of this info is stored in my heart rate monitor also, so it isn't using a "generic" profile to give me my stats)

Any input would be appreciated,

Kendall

Kendall, I've experienced results similar to yours. I weigh about 180 so my calorie count is a bit lower... I have a 16 mile loop that takes about 55 min (appx 17-18mph avg). From what I've seen in the various road cycling sources, riding for one hour at 18mph will burn appx 800 cals but I believe that's one hour of constant riding without stopping for lights, traffic, etc... I suspect that 800 cals is a bit inflated so in my mind I usually take 25% off the computer tally. I think the only way to get a true measure of calories burned is to use a PowerTap rear-hub...

Mark

p.s. If you want to see a calorie computer that's super-optimistic, take a look at a Nordic Trak.... sheez!

My wife has warned me about the exercise equipment calorie counts!! They are usually double or more than actual! I was really hoping that my heart rate monitor was a little more accurate when it comes to calorie counting, but if it isn't (which is looking likely) I will just continue to use the heart rate function and fill in the blanks.

I have tried several online calorie counter computers and they all seem to be consistent. Most put me at around 1000 calories burned for the workout I described in my original post. I guess maybe its because of my weight of 200 pounds. I'm not sure if the higher weight increases the amount of calories burned by that much.

Thanks for the responses everyone.

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