31 July 2014 But Who’s Counting Anyway?

Not to get you down, but cardio machines are a bit optimistic when it comes to counting calories burned. Recently, a University of California-San Francisco experiment (conducted for Good Morning America) found that elliptical machines were the worst (or nicest?) when it came to counting calories burned. Those machines, on average, overestimated calorie expenditures by 42 percent.

Moreover, treadmills overestimated calories by 13 percent, stair climbers by 12 percent, and those stationary bikes, only seven percent. Now if those machines are older, then they get worse. Some of the “latest-and-greatest” machines do a little better.

The reason for these miscalculations is that those machines just don’t know you. And, unfortunately, you can’t just introduce yourself to them and makes everything better. By the way, have you ever been prompted to type in your gender on these machines? Usually it’s just age and weight, but you can’t even get an accurate BMI with that information.

Your fitness level is different than other people’s, and the more fit you are, the fewer calories you burn while exercising. Sure, you might be a 175-pound, 28 year old, just like the fellow doing squats over there. However, your 22-percent body fat is different than his 12 percent body fat (and he runs marathons by the way). This means you will burn a different amount of calories even if you’re doing the same exercise. You’ll burn more calories, which is awesome, but in order to track them correctly you need to be using a system that knows who you are (i.e. your gender, age, weight, and fitness level).

If you’re tempted to let these inaccuracies slide, just remember that if you underestimate your calories burned by 50 calories a day, which will equal about a five pound weight gain in a single year. Need a tip for using the trackers on cardio equipment, even if they’re wrong? Go for a certain distance or intensity level, and try to better that weekly. For instance, can you shave time off of running 2 miles, or can you step at level 10 for an additional five minutes each week?

Let us know what cardio machines you love/dislike and how you keep track of those exercises.

Ryan Newhouse

Ryan Newhouse is the Marketing Director for MyNetDiary and writes for a variety of publications. He wants you to check out MyNetDiary on Instagram!

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Exercise/Aerobic & Cardio

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