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Spin Class - Activity Tracker - Can This Be Right?!?!


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Okay, I did Spin for the first time today, and worked my **** off. I was sweating more than a big man at an outdoor buffet in August (#rimshot - back off folks, no harm meant, I'm 230 myself so I would probably sweat at an outdoor buffet in August). I actually wasn't at all certain I could finish the hour, but I did, and for that I'm very proud of myself. And I really did push - my legs almost gave out when I stood up after the session!

I toddled home to put it in my Activity Tracker, and it says I *drum roll please* burned 1080 calories?! For a 60 minute session? Is this even possible?! It doesn't really seem possible.

Is the Activity Log that far off, or do I really have that many more calories in my bank for the day?

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hmmm.... well when I started Spin (I'm 5'3 and was 133, 31 years old woman) the tracker told me 700 and change... Now I am 122 and it didn't go down that much.  I finally got a heart rate monitor (Polar F6) that does calories, and it tells me 400 and change depending on the class.  I think my REALLY hard class I can burn about 600 if I am really trying to kill myself.  Tuesday night was 460 on the dot though.  Take what you can from that.  I suggest you get a heart rate monitor ASAP. CC was overestimating ALL my exercise.  I got my F6 from Amazon for about $75.  It doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but it tracks my heart rate and my calories and that is all I wanted it to do. 

Thanks Dove! I thought that was very high.

For now, until I can cough up the dough for the monitor (I do want one!), I'm going to put it in at 45m instead of 60 and guesstimate from there. Very helpful, thank you!

Estimating 1000 calories an hour on a bicycle for an very intense effort is normal.  I typically burn about 800 an hour riding when going at a moderate pace.

At 145 lbs, I burn about 650 calories per hour, and that is when I push it, according to the heart rate monitor.  1000 sounds a bit high.

I have seen some weird numbers on CC and on exercise machines.  Trust what you feel.

Keep in mind, as a 230 pounder you are going to burn a lot more calories than someone who is 145 pounds.  I like your idea of only putting in 45 minutes, that will take into account the warm up, cool down, and recoveries.

Body weight doesn't make a lot of difference for calories burned on a bicycle because cycling is a non-weight bearing exercise.  Calories burned is a direct result of the amount of Watts you generate.  Watts will be determined by speed of cadence and resistances.  This is one of the draw backs of a heart rate monitor as a calorie estimating tool.  All it knows is your heart rate but it doesn't know what activity you are doing and it does make a difference.

Original Post by trhawley:

Body weight doesn't make a lot of difference for calories burned on a bicycle because cycling is a non-weight bearing exercise.  Calories burned is a direct result of the amount of Watts you generate.  Watts will be determined by speed of cadence and resistances.  This is one of the draw backs of a heart rate monitor as a calorie estimating tool.  All it knows is your heart rate but it doesn't know what activity you are doing and it does make a difference.

 While this sounds logical, the CC activity calculator does not agree.  CC says that an hour of moderate spinning for someone at 241 pounds will burn 765 calories.  The same activity for someone who is 150 pounds will only burn 476 calories.

Can anybody supply the science that either supports or refutes tr's opinion?  I am really curious about this.

I always assumed people who weigh more burn more calories because their body's metabolism has a lot mass to support.

I think you are pretty on target.  I started at 262 and am now 211.  I wear a HR Monitor and can burn 1000 in an hour when I work with my personal trainer, intervals, spin, running . . .  she's very tough. 

Original Post by saucyaussie:

Original Post by trhawley:

Body weight doesn't make a lot of difference for calories burned on a bicycle because cycling is a non-weight bearing exercise.  Calories burned is a direct result of the amount of Watts you generate.  Watts will be determined by speed of cadence and resistances.  This is one of the draw backs of a heart rate monitor as a calorie estimating tool.  All it knows is your heart rate but it doesn't know what activity you are doing and it does make a difference.

 While this sounds logical, the CC activity calculator does not agree.  CC says that an hour of moderate spinning for someone at 241 pounds will burn 765 calories.  The same activity for someone who is 150 pounds will only burn 476 calories.

Can anybody supply the science that either supports or refutes tr's opinion?  I am really curious about this.

Let me just add that while cycling out doors the combined weight of the bike and rider and the terrain being ridden on will effect the watts required to travel at speed and this will effect calories per minute consumption.  However, on a stationary bike the weight of the bike and rider is not a factor.

Spinning burns a ton of calories, that sounds like a fair estimate to me. I only weigh 150ish and can burn 900 and hour.

The reason I LOVE spin is because it is a major cardio challenge. Call me a massochist, but I love climbs and jumps with resistance because I feel that's where all the calories are burned. However, I HATE sprints...anyone feel me on that one? I don't have a heartrate monitor, but it is safe to say that an overweight person working as hard as a thinner person will burn more calories, and a younger person (all other variables equal) will burn more than someone older. At the end of spin sessions, the girls in class compare calories burned, and I've seen them range from 400-800 calories in an hour!

The tracker on this site, and many others, is incredibly inaccurate.  I purchased a BodyBugg, which is a calorie monitoring system, and for a 60 minute spin class, it told me that I burned about 600 calories and I was drenched in sweat.  I weigh a bit more than you as well.

Original Post by iyamkristin:

However, I HATE sprints...anyone feel me on that one? 

 I LOVE long sprints and really high cadence work.  The spin bikes in the gym I used to go to had cadence monitors and I could hit 150 rpm and make them 'reset' as that was their max.  LOL

Original Post by trhawley:

Estimating 1000 calories an hour on a bicycle for an very intense effort is normal.  I typically burn about 800 an hour riding when going at a moderate pace.

I don't think you do.  At 800 calories/hr, you will see god.  At 1000 calories/hr, you will see all of the archangels, too.

I find that 600 calories/hr is the threshold where I start to call it a very hard ride.  That's *averaging* 175 Watts (almost 0.25hp) for the entire ride.

To burn 800 calories/hr, you need to average 233 Watts for the entire hour.  If that's a "moderate pace" for you, then you probably race bicycles for a living.  For mere mortals (even club racers), that's a really damned hard effort.

To burn 1000 calories/hr, you need to average 291 Watts for the entire hour.  That's about what's required to complete a 40km time trial in under an hour, "Merckx Style" (i.e., on a regular road bike, without aero bars, aero helmet, or skinsuit).

I suspect that whatever you're using to measure your output is somewhat optimistic.

Original Post by behanna:

Original Post by trhawley:

Estimating 1000 calories an hour on a bicycle for an very intense effort is normal.  I typically burn about 800 an hour riding when going at a moderate pace.

I don't think you do.  At 800 calories/hr, you will see god.  At 1000 calories/hr, you will see all of the archangels, too.

I find that 600 calories/hr is the threshold where I start to call it a very hard ride.  That's *averaging* 175 Watts (almost 0.25hp) for the entire ride.

To burn 800 calories/hr, you need to average 233 Watts for the entire hour.  If that's a "moderate pace" for you, then you probably race bicycles for a living.  For mere mortals (even club racers), that's a really damned hard effort.

To burn 1000 calories/hr, you need to average 291 Watts for the entire hour.  That's about what's required to complete a 40km time trial in under an hour, "Merckx Style" (i.e., on a regular road bike, without aero bars, aero helmet, or skinsuit).

I suspect that whatever you're using to measure your output is somewhat optimistic.

 So you don't think a person's weight effects the calories burned at all?

Original Post by behanna:

Original Post by trhawley:

Estimating 1000 calories an hour on a bicycle for an very intense effort is normal.  I typically burn about 800 an hour riding when going at a moderate pace.

I don't think you do.  At 800 calories/hr, you will see god.  At 1000 calories/hr, you will see all of the archangels, too.

I find that 600 calories/hr is the threshold where I start to call it a very hard ride.  That's *averaging* 175 Watts (almost 0.25hp) for the entire ride.

To burn 800 calories/hr, you need to average 233 Watts for the entire hour.  If that's a "moderate pace" for you, then you probably race bicycles for a living.  For mere mortals (even club racers), that's a really damned hard effort.

To burn 1000 calories/hr, you need to average 291 Watts for the entire hour.  That's about what's required to complete a 40km time trial in under an hour, "Merckx Style" (i.e., on a regular road bike, without aero bars, aero helmet, or skinsuit).

I suspect that whatever you're using to measure your output is somewhat optimistic.

It doesn't matter what "tool" I use to measure calories, the result is basically the same whether it's my HRM or online charts.

1000 calories an hour at 20 mph has been the established standard for at least 25 years.  I know that doesn't make it true but when all the other tools support it why argue?  I would be will to bet that I'm over a 1000 calories an hour energy consumption when I'm racing.

Original Post by backinthenines:

 I LOVE long sprints and really high cadence work.  The spin bikes in the gym I used to go to had cadence monitors and I could hit 150 rpm and make them 'reset' as that was their max.  LOL

Wow! Different strokes for different folks, I guess. What's your resistance like when you're hitting the max speed? At 130 rpm I feel like I'm going to pass out! =D

Original Post by saucyaussie:

 So you don't think a person's weight effects the calories burned at all?

When going uphill, sure.  When pedaling out of the saddle, sure.  When sitting in the saddle spinning on the flats, nope.  If anything, heavier people have it slightly easier there, due to larger cross-sectional density than the thin folks.

trhawley wrote:

It doesn't matter what "tool" I use to measure calories, the result is basically the same whether it's my HRM or online charts.

Yes, it most certainly does. HRMs are not very accurate at all. Typically, they're in excess of 10% off from a strain-gauge power meter. Online charts? WHOSE online charts, and how did they get their data?

1000 calories an hour at 20 mph has been the established standard for at least 25 years.

According to whom?

I know that doesn't make it true but when all the other tools support it why argue?

Because "all the other tools" do not support it.

I would be will to bet that I'm over a 1000 calories an hour energy consumption when I'm racing.

You might, if you're very, very fit, and you're on the front of the paceline the whole time or if you're time trialing. Like I said, that takes 291 Watts to do, and that's a LOT.

Chris

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