General Discussion Triathlon Talk » myfitnesspal accurate for calories burned? Rss Feed  
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2014-04-14 11:36 AM

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Extreme Veteran
, Connecticut
Subject: myfitnesspal accurate for calories burned?
I've been great about recording my food on myfitnesspal and it has really helped. I put in the days food so I can make sure it is the right amount of macro before I eat it!
Now that I am training I've been using it to record my workouts and it seems to give high amounts of cals burned. Today it gave me 427 cals for 25 mins of jogging and 20 on stationary bike. checked on fitday and it gave me 327 cals. I'm guessing that the lower number is more accurate, of course lots of factors play into it.

On the other hand don't want to cheat myself out of brownie points if I did burn more - of course it might tempt me to eat more...

Any ideas on which is more accurate?


2014-04-14 1:15 PM
in reply to: #4981343

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Subject: RE: myfitnesspal accurate for calories burned?
I ran a test for me to kind of calibrate myfitnesspal. I went 2 weeks without exercise and logged all my food. I came close to 2 lb weight loss at the prescribed deficit. When I added exercise at the calorie counts they gave I didn't come close. I've been tweaking down the calories given a little at a time until I see the results I want. Right now I remove 100 cal every 40 minutes of cardio. After all what do I care what the calorie number ends up I want the weight number down!
2014-04-14 3:57 PM
in reply to: MuscleMomma

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Stevens Point, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: myfitnesspal accurate for calories burned?

I found that it does overestimate, at least I think it does.  What I usually do is put in less time, or at a slower pace in my tracker.  I usually try to go for a larger deficit as well.  I am more concerned about tracking what I eat than calories burned though. 

2014-04-14 7:30 PM
in reply to: Justin86

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Subject: RE: myfitnesspal accurate for calories burned?

Definitely over estimates.   A heart rate monitor will give somewhat more accurate, but even then I think is a bit high.   I take about 75% of the mfp calories, sometimes even less.

2014-05-15 6:56 PM
in reply to: ChrisM

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Subject: RE: myfitnesspal accurate for calories burned?
I posted this in a separate thread here that I started before I saw this one, but I'll put it here, too:

For the curious, I've done a few recent training runs wearing my Heart Rate Monitor, and my phone logging Runkeeper, and posting to MyFitnessPal afterwards. The routes were different, but very similar (pancake flat). I'm a 6'0" male that currently weighs 195 pounds.

Here are the numbers for calories burned:

Run #1 - 5.11 mile run, 50:51 time (9:57 min/mile pace), avg. HR was 151 BPM.
HRM = 804 kcal
Runkeeper = 783 kcal
MyFitnessPal = 770

Very consistent numbers.

Run #2 - 5.04 mile run, 49:45 time (9:53 min/mile pace), avg. HR was 145 BPM.
HRM = 695
Runkeeper = 772
MyFitnessPal = 740

A little more variance, but still pretty close.

Just thought I would share for the inquisitive minds here on BT. :-)
2014-05-16 11:15 AM
in reply to: DannyII

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Boston, MA
Subject: RE: myfitnesspal accurate for calories burned?
I find that even HRMs can overestimate calories as well. For example, here are numbers from my 2 hr trainer ride this morning. Keep in mind that I only averaged a HR of 125, so this wasn't done at high intensity at all:

MFP (logged it as Bicycling, 12-14 mph, moderate): 969 calories
Garmin 910xt: 1075 calories

While those two numbers are close, I know that they're both way higher than they should be. Oddly, I also have another Garmin device just for cycling, and that one will give me lower, and likely more accurate, values for calories burned. From that, I figure I actually average 300-400 calories per hour, depending on intensity. Since this workout was low, I estimated 600 calories.

Since I've gotten used to estimating my calorie burn (I also estimate approximately 500 calories/hour for running and 300-400 for swimming), I just don't pay attention to the readouts from elsewhere. Just thought I'd mention it to point out that even using a HRM may not be accurate, depending on the device it's linked to.

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