How to measure calories burned during exercise?


I'm trying to find some way of working out how many calories I use during exercise. I'm logging my walking using map my walk which syncs with my fitness pal, as I can enter my weight and the app works out speed and distance i'm hoping that's fairly accurate. For exercise like using a stationary bike and aerobic dvds i'm using the options in my fitness pal, however, i'm not sure if my idea of 'moderate effort' is the same as the person who entered the details, or what weight they are, I don't even know how much difference weight makes to calories burnt.

Ideally, what i'm looking for is a a site or an app where I can enter my weight, type of exercise, duration and distance travelled if applicable and for it to give me the number of calories used. Can anyone suggest anything?

I'd be grateful for any suggestions.



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24 Replies

  • Activity is vital for maintaining heart and lung function, joints and strength. That said, it doesn't matter how active you are, if you continue to take in too much food that raises your insulin levels, you will find it difficult to lose weight.

  • I already have to watch my insulin levels as I have PCOS and am borderline diabetic, so it is difficult to lose the weight, i'm combining exercise with the change in diet to ensure consistent weightloss and would like some reliable way of working out which exercises are best for me in terms of me being able to do them and how many calories I burn by doing them.

  • I'm not sure there is a 'reliable' way katedaniels. Your body isn't a machine, it tries to adjust to keep a constant internal environment; even the estimated 3500 kcalories in a pound of fat isn't reliable.

    As I tried to say, you can do too much exercise which is also detrimental, and unless you eat foods that satiate your appetite, the increase in hunger that often attends will cause you to want to eat more to compensate.

    However, as a rough guide, each stone of extra body-weight requires about a 10% increase in energy for a given task, and the more of your body's muscles you involve in a movement, the more kcalories you will be able to burn at a higher intensity. Often it is best to just try things for yourself to find out.

  • Hi Katedaniels,

    I like to use the machines in a gym to try to work out how many calories are burned up - as most of those machines (treadmill, stationary bike etc) do let you input your weight, and then you can see how many calories are burned during the time you use the machine. I don't know if you have a gym membership, but it might be worth it just to pay for one single gym session and then you could see how many calories you used up for fixed amounts of time on each machine, so that you could then have those figures to use on whatever machine you used subsequently (i.e. if you use a stationary bike at home).

    I don't know how reliable they are of course, but they do at least give some indications, and do seem to be based upon your weight.

    Good luck with your goals and have a great Bank Holiday weekend!

    Lowcal :-)

  • Thanks for the advice, I don't have a gym membership as I have too many jibbly bits, the stationary bike I have at home has a calorie counter but doesn't have a way for me to input my weight so I'm not sure how it's working out calories?! We have a gym at work which should be quiet over the summer so I might go and give that a go. Should probably investigate whether they do some sort of tailored service/personal trainer type thing that could be useful.

    Enjoy the bank holiday, hope we both have a successful Monday weigh in :)

    Kate x

  • I have the same problem as you in estimating calories burned. I too have used MFP. Now I mostly use Runkeeper (which can link with MFP so what goes into Runkeeper appears in the exercise section of MFP) There is a big difference between what Runkeeper says and what MFP say. For running and walking I trust Runkeeper more - my pace is very slow and I generally do not push really hard. But I find it hard to accept how few calories it reckons I burn whilst swimming given how hard it is for me. As for when I am out on the electrically assisted bike (can't realistically use a normal one)... I imagine it would be a serious challenge to work out calories for that

    TBH I mostly use it as an indicator of how much time I am spending being active rather than calories burned. I don't think the NHS weight loss plan operates on calories burned through exercise.

  • I wear a Fitbit (the cheapest little Zip) and that tells me how many calories I'm expending.

    Having said that, if you want to lose weight, when you use MyFitnessPal if you ignore the calories you've burned and just eat the calories you're allowed without them, you will lose weight quicker.

    The temptation with some is to think that because they've worked out they 'deserve' a chocolate bar - that won't work - those exercise calories are a bonus in your weight loss journey!

  • You can have a small portions of fatty treat a week I did when I lost weight had a small bowl of the sweets with the less cals and fat in as a treat after eating healthy and exercising all week. I had boiled sweets, wine gums, jelly babies etc these are the sweets that have less cals and fat. I had a small bowl at the end of the week and that was it eat healthy all week mixed with exercise. I still eat healthy all week and mix it with plenty of exercise and still only have one fatty treat a week and maintained the four dress sizes weight loss ever since.

  • Does the Fitbit link to MFP? I do like exercise calories, I have occasionally used them for a chocolate bar, but as my chocolate bar size has decreased from the 400g to the normal sized single bar, I'm happy with that progress :)

  • Yes, it does. As for treats, as long as you count them on MFP that's fine. I used to get the little Freddo bars when I had to have chocolate, or had an Options drink.

  • how the hell can you have a 400g bar of chocolate I never ever had one that big even when I was big I never ever eat one that big and never will that's just greedy . 100 g bar is the most you should have as a treat once a week say and no more

  • really easily actually, it's not about being greedy it's about comfort eating, when you feel like crap and chocolate makes you feel better, if it takes a 400g bar to make you feel better then that's what you eat.

  • I have eat some crap in my time when big but never ever got into 400g chocolate bar never ever went that far. I eat chocolate and lot of junk but never ever eat that or did mcdonalds or take ways as well. I like chocolate when big eat loads but never went that far. I would never ever have a 400g bar even now as a treat. It is greedy omg

  • omg if you have never ever ever eaten a 400g bar of chocolate then good for you, there's no need to be so quick to judge people with problems omg

  • I totally agree with you kate,, im not a greedy person, but if I am having a very down day,, it is quite easy to eat far too much.

  • I eat too much down day or not but unlike most of people I exercise enough to fit what I eat and can maintain the four dress sizes I lost. Most people exercise what they feel like and do it only so many days and don't do it to fit amount they eat that's why not many people after a weight loss can maintain weight. I love food too much always have but I exercise loads and keep it off most wont do the amount I do but I win and keep weight off and rest loss .

  • I don't think it's about being greedy, being greedy would be stuffing yourself just because, but comfort eating is a different thing. here's hoping we have more positive days and don't feel the need to turn to food to make us feel better :)

  • I never ever got in to a lot of stuff fat people seem to eat like mcdonalds,take aways and massive bars of chocolate. It was not comfort eating that made me big it was love of food too and no exercise.

  • If you're not here to offer advice why are you here? This is a support forum

  • I have given advice on some posts on here and if you post something and don't like the reply back the don't post in first place simple.

  • Exactly, on some posts, calling people greedy is not advice. I post to get advice not be insulted, that's the whole point of a support forum, if you can't stick to that then you shouldn't be on here.

  • Not on this post I have given advice on others and if you don't like what I said why post on here. Your not always going to get nice replys

  • You can't tell some one what to do free country

  • We're going to have to agree to disagree, I think support forums are for advice and support rather than insults, if you don't feel that way that's your choice but as you are the only unhelpful, insulting person I have come across on here I'm choosing to not stop posting. Good luck with whatever it is you're doing and I hope you keep the weight off.

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