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Polar Heart Rate Monitor calories burned question... Please Help!


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Hi, I have a Polar F6 heart rate monitor (I love this thing!) and I have a question about the amount of calories burned when doing a workout or when tracking calories in exercise mode.

This is hard to explain so please bear with me.  :)

Let's say that I go to the gym, put the heart rate monitor into Exercise mode and hit Start.  I do my workout and hit Stop.  For example I will use my workout data from 4/26.  I worked out for 80 minutes, burned 572 calories, 45% from fat, max heart rate 179, average geart rate 137.  I have been logging that I burned 572 calories. 

My question is = What about the calories I would have burned during these 80 minutes doing nothing (not working out or being sedentary)?  I assume that in 80 minutes I would have burned some amount calories even when not working out.  Should I take these calories into consideration??  Did my workout actually burn 572 minus the normal calories burnt during this time being sedentary? How do I figure out how many calories this is?

Sorry this is confusing, but I really want to understand.  I am completely fine with just logging the 572 calories, and will continue to do so, but as an engineer I want to understand the exact specifics of this!

Also, I have a very very painful (yet totally worth it) Dr. Appointment today (laser hair removal).  After my last appointment I was drenched in sweat and exhausted because it hurt so bad.  I am sure I burned a heck of a lot of calories but, How Many??  For this appointment I am going to wear my heart rate monitor, lol, and track the calories I burn during this hour long appointment.  I assume whatever the number is, I should subtract the amount of calories I would have burned being sedentary from the amount I burn during the appointment. Does this sound right? 

Please all opinions and advice is welcome!!  Thanks so much!

8 Replies (last)
My opinion, the 572 calories burned during exercise includes the calories that you would have burned anyway but if you log it on this site as 80 minutes and 572 calories it will do the math for you.

And don't think you will get an accurate estimate of calories burned by wearing a heart rate monitor during laser treatment. 

hey chub2lose,
i have a polor HRM too. here are my thoughts.
1. the calories reported in the HRM do include what you would have burned being sedentary.
2. to find out what that is, get your basal metabolic rate and divide that into 24 hours a day to find out how much you would have burned per hour if you were in a coma. then you can subtract that. if you want to be all technical about it, you could wear your monitor to bed and then read the data in the morning. try to get an hour that was in the middle of REM.
3. however, i noticed that on CC+, it subtracts calories from what i input. for instance, my burn meter says 2090 but when i add 500 to the activity, it won't say 2590, it will be less than that. so i am thinking that CC takes that into account somehow.

why not wear the monitor to laser treatment just for curiosity? :)
good luck!

Thanks for the responses!  I did wear the heart rate monitor to my appointment for fun.  Luckily the second treatment hurt WAY LESS than the first one so I was sweating less and my heart rate was less elevated (not to mention the appointment was shorter). This time my average heart rate was 81 and the max was 120.  I did not log this, but I was curious.

Neonseon, I think you are right and I need to figure out what this number is per hour. I log all my food calories on this site but I track everything else in a spreadsheet so I need that formula CC uses to put in the accurate burn number.

My current BMR is 1421.  If I divide this by 24 hours I get approx 59 calories burned per hour doing nothing.

My sedentary burn is 1705.  Dividing this by 24 gives me an hourly burn of 73 calories being sedentary.

Taking into consideration the above information, does this mean that when I workout I actually burn about 66 calories less per hour than my heart rate monitor tells me? 

During a 45 minute spin class I burn 400 calories, but being sedentary I would have burned 55 calories during this time anyways.  So Should I log 400-55= 354 calories instead of 400?? 

Ok so I did some experimenting...

When I enter that I burn 500 calories in 60 minutes into CC it adds 445 calories to my daily burn, not 500.  So CC assumes that I burn 55 calories per hour without working out... which comes out to .92 calories burned per minute that I should deduct from my workout calories.

So I guess if I burn 400 calories during a 45 minute spin class I should only log 400-(.92*45min)= 358 calories. 

:( I hate to log less workout calories because now I have to eat less... but if you are going to log everything you might as well do it correctly!

Does anyone else subtract sedentary calories from workout calories burned??

Everyone that uses this site to log activity is automatically subtracting the sedentary calories.  If you don't subtract them then you are miscalculating your deficit.
Original Post by trhawley:

Everyone that uses this site to log activity is automatically subtracting the sedentary calories.  If you don't subtract them then you are miscalculating your deficit.

 Good call. I guess I'm lucky that was still losing a pound a week even with over estimating my workout calories. I am adjusting my spreadsheet calculations right now. :)

I think you are overthinking this whole thing.  Log your minutes and your calories and let CC do the rest for you. 

Also being in pain and sweating may burn a calorie or 2 more than "being at rest" but sweating is not a good measurement of calorie burn.  Wait til you get to be my age and start having night sweats!!!  If sweating burned calories I should lose a lb a night

The term "over thinking" is for people who do not want to understand everything.  I want to understand what is going on and the physics behind it. I am getting results and it is working but I want to know the 'behind the scene' details. I want to be able to figure this out for myself incase I am not around the internet. Yes CC is a great tool, but it is not always available for me to use.  I already figured it out incase anyone else is curious. This is the formula=

((workout calories logged on polar heart rate monitor) - (.92*workout duration in minutes)) = (actual workout calories burned not including sedentary calories.)

Note = the .92 is for my BMR which I figured out using this site. Thanks again CC :)

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