How Accurate Are Calorie Counters on Cardio Machines?

How Accurate Are Calorie Counters on Cardio Machines?

IMG_2111The other day one of my personal training clients was completely ecstatic about how many calories she had burned doing cardio. Before you proceed to believe that you really just torched 500 calories on your favorite cardio machine, chances are that number may be right for someone but not necessarily for you. There are many factors that must be considered when reading the number of calories burned on your cardio machine of choice.

An individuals’ caloric expenditure varies based on gender, weight, and fitness level. Most cardio machines allow you to enter only these first three variables. However, the number of calories an individual burns during a given workout also depends on ones fitness level. Your health, aerobic capacity, metabolism, and ratio of muscle vs. fat plays a big role in the actual number of calories burned. Therefore, calorie counters on fitness machines can be as much as 25 to 30 percent over or under your actual burn rate. The numbers returned are an estimated count of how much the average person of your same weight burns at your exercise intensity level.

A determining factor in how many calories an individual burns is based on your body composition. An individual with more lean muscle mass will have a higher metabolic rate than those with more body fat. Most calorie counters on exercise machines do not take this in to consideration when calculating results. Misconstrued data may also be a result of improper use of the cardio machines, improper form, and a reduced intensity level by holding or leaning on the handrails of the equipment.

Think these stats are insignificant as to be non-issues? Keep in mind that even the slightest error can make a big difference if you’re counting calories to lose weight. For instance, eating just an extra 50 calories a day, mistakenly thinking you’ve burned enough during your cardio session, could lead to a five-pound gain in a year.

For more tips on losing weight, burning body fat, eating healthy, weight training,  health and wellness, or if you’re frustrated with your current level of fitness and have been thinking about hiring a personal trainer, contact us.

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Training Innovations
2420 Midtown Pl NE
Albuquerque, NM 87107
(505) 349-4725


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