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Calorie expenditure is very low! Help?

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  • Calorie expenditure is very low! Help?

    I just purchased an edge 500 last week and I love it. Only problem I have is the calories I’m burning during exercise seem very low. So far I have logged 5 or 6 rides and all being 25% - 50% under what the polar and online calorie expenditure calculators tell me i should have burned.

    Yes i have added age, weight, height and fitness level.

    Help please?? What is correct? Calorie calculators / polar or the Garmin

    Example. I did my normal recover ride today. 2 hours of easy riding. Last 30 times i have done this ride I burnt 1000. Today was the first time with the Garmin and i reads 600 cals

  • #2
    Even inputting all that personal data I don't think we can believe any of the calorie counters to any great extent. It would be interesting to know what formula and data the Edge 500 bases the calculation on.

    As cyclists wouldn't we need input from a power meter to get a more reasonable idea of calories expended?
    Ron

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    • #3
      The Edge 500 uses the same Firstbeat method as the other Garmin devices such as 310XT and the 405CX.
      - Steve

      my GC digest

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      • #4
        what is the first beat method?

        i should be pretty easy to get close actually. all you need is a max HR, resting HR, weight, height, and activity level.

        Has anyone else notice a difference in the garmins calculations? is anyone elses expenditure very low?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by BRADCONDER View Post
          what is the first beat method?

          i should be pretty easy to get close actually. all you need is a max HR, resting HR, weight, height, and activity level.

          Has anyone else notice a difference in the garmins calculations? is anyone elses expenditure very low?
          Excerpt from Garmin's press release back in Sep 09:
          "When paired with a Garmin heart rate monitor, Edge 500 tracks the micro changes in a user’s heart rate and uses that detailed information to better calculate the number of calories burned. In developing Edge 500 and its heart rate-based calorie computation, Garmin worked with Firstbeat Technologies Ltd., a technology company based in Finland. Firstbeat is an industry leader in heart rate analysis, specializing in developing user-centered software solutions for heart beat signal analysis in exercise and sports, weight management, and stress monitoring applications."

          Granted, these calorie numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt, but I think at least the 500 is probably more realistic than the numbers spit out by the 705, which has the notorious reputation for overestimating calories by upwards of 40-60%. Unfortunately, from what I understand, since Garmin has to pay a licensing fee for the algorithm for each unit, I'm guessing it will never make it into a future 705 firmware update.

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          • #6
            I have both the 705 and the 500. Along with them I have PT so I actually use the Kilojoules instead of calories. With the 705 I would have to use 60% of the calculated calories to get close to the Kj figure. With the 500 the calories are actually coming up short. To compensate for this I have found that if I increased my weight entered in the 500 by about 8% I had similar figures.

            Hope that helps.
            AKA luv2climb.

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            • #7
              ok. i have taken 4 rides all with the same average HR (132bpm) and compaired the calories burnt per min

              Garmin 1, 10.97 calories per min (I increased my weight to 100kgs for this one!)

              Garmin 2, 7.76 calories per min (@80kgs)

              polar 1, 13.83 calories per min (@73kgs)

              polar 2, 12.4 calories per min (@73kgs)

              at this rate if i enter my weight as about 140kgs the claorie counter might just come out right. shame thats double my actual weight

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              • #8
                Originally posted by CMENDERS View Post
                I have both the 705 and the 500. Along with them I have PT so I actually use the Kilojoules instead of calories. With the 705 I would have to use 60% of the calculated calories to get close to the Kj figure. With the 500 the calories are actually coming up short. To compensate for this I have found that if I increased my weight entered in the 500 by about 8% I had similar figures.

                Hope that helps.
                Nice analysis. I would agree that the kilojoules measured by the PT would be the most accurate for cyclists. Nice to have a side by side comparison.

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                • #9
                  I have the same problem

                  My 500 does not come anywhere close to the calories I should be burning. I believe the firmware is not using the parameters that I input, but is rather using the defaults. Male, age 35, weight 150 fitness 4. I am Male age 63, weight 183, fitness 8. I have tested my theory by setting the 500 back to these settings and exercising. The result was that the calories burned were within 2% of what was shown with my actual settings. I'd suggest you all try this test and put your setting up to my numbers and see if there is a change.

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                  • #10
                    What baseline are you using?

                    I'm curious to see what people are using for their caloric consumption? It seems it can vary widely between devices not to mention what level of exercise you are riding at.

                    Just curious.

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                    • #11
                      Low Calories???

                      Originally posted by BRADCONDER View Post
                      what is the first beat method?

                      i should be pretty easy to get close actually. all you need is a max HR, resting HR, weight, height, and activity level.

                      Has anyone else notice a difference in the garmins calculations? is anyone elses expenditure very low?
                      I went away from my Garmin 705 to a Polar becasue the 705 over estimated calories.
                      Recently bought the 500 because I thought they fixed the problem with the 705 type GPS... Now the 500 under estimates the calories... So back to the Polar I go...
                      To be honest, I'm not impressed, how hard can it be to calulate the calories burnt???

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                      • #12
                        Without a power metering hub very difficult. The difference between my road bike & my commuter bike going into a 5mph headwind on the flat is 120w for the road bike & 165w for the commuter, however if I get to a 5% gradient in still air & ride up it at 10mph the road bike requires 197w while the commuter needs 202w. So if you've not got a power meter that little lot needs to be taken into consideration & some how averaged out.

                        Even with a power meter it's not simple as the device has no way to take into consideration how well or otherwise I've maintained my bikes drive system, how warm or other wise I've dressed both of which can have a noticeable effect on the calories you burn.

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                        • #13
                          I posed this question to a cycling friend of mine who has advanced degrees in exercise physiology and works in the cardiology unit of a local hospital.

                          His concerns with trying to calculate calories from heart are:
                          - as a person gets better conditioned, the heart rate for a given work load decreases.
                          - even within the same workout there is a situation known as cardiac drift. That is, as your blood volume decreases due to sweat loss and urine production, your heart rate goes up even with the same workload
                          - in cycling, for the same workload, if you ride with a higher cadence you produce a higher heart rate
                          - as a rule when climbing, which is one of the higher work loads you can produce, you do not generate your highest heart rates because of cadence issues.

                          After talking to him I can't help but conclude that calories from HR is at best a rough estimate no matter how sophisticated the algorithm used and how much personal data you provide that algorithm.
                          Ron

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                          • #14
                            Thansk every one and thansk RON for taking the time to ask your friend.

                            I have got the calories up a little by putting my weight up to 140kgs!!! But after reading RONs post i have decided i dont care anymore. Im joking my self if i think burning calories is the problem anyway. Its got a lot more to do with what im actually eating. Ie sugars crap! Time to review the diet

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ANDERSONBILL View Post
                              My 500 does not come anywhere close to the calories I should be burning. I believe the firmware is not using the parameters that I input, but is rather using the defaults. Male, age 35, weight 150 fitness 4. I am Male age 63, weight 183, fitness 8. I have tested my theory by setting the 500 back to these settings and exercising. The result was that the calories burned were within 2% of what was shown with my actual settings. I'd suggest you all try this test and put your setting up to my numbers and see if there is a change.
                              Could you explain step by step how you do it?

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