How can i tell the amount of calories i burn while cycling?



integrity101

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Feb 17, 2016
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I cycle around around 10 miles everyday from Monday to Friday. Is there a way I can measure the amount of calories I burn from cycling alone? Any handy gadgets you can recommend?
 
I also wonder about the loss of calorie. And my question on the issue is why monitor the calories that you have? I am a bit overweight at 160 pounds but what I do is to watch my weight. In other words, I do not mind calories because for me, the finished product which is the weight that matters most. What if you lose all those calories but you gained weight?
 
I'm 195 pounds and I typically burn 20-25 Calories per mile and rarely more than 30 Calories per mile and that would be a TT effort. YMMV.

I ride with a power meter and Garmin 800 and based upon data in Training Peaks, here is one example

127 miles in 6:37 including stops. Around 6 hours riding.
211 Watts
2907 Calories burned
22.89 Calories per mile.

If you are small, I would use 15-20 Calories per mile.
 
In order of accuracy (based on my experience, although the error from method #1 & #2 are comparable depending on the environment factor and getting the parameters right can be tough for #3).

1. Heart Rate Monitor
2. https://sites.google.com/site/compendiumofphysicalactivities/ & cycling computer (need to know the pace)
3. http://bikecalculator.com/ & cycling computer (need to know the duration, grade, distance, wind speed, temp, & slope)
4. Power meter & cycling computer (need to know the work done, kj)
5. Power meter, cycling computer (need to know the work done, kj), & efficiency % from lab testing
 
There are a lot of different methods, but the truth is, unless you know a lot of variables you can't really know for sure and have some great app that can take into consideration everything and give you a precise result. However, there are still some pretty decent sources out there with http://keisan.casio.com/exec/system/1350958587 being one of them. They still don't take a lot of stuff into consideration like your conditioning (which is really hard to account for anyway) or wind influence or slope... Like I said, plenty of different variables and not a sure way to know the exact amount. You can still make a pretty decent guess though.
 
I'm 195 pounds and I typically burn 20-25 Calories per mile and rarely more than 30 Calories per mile and that would be a TT effort. YMMV.

I ride with a power meter and Garmin 800 and based upon data in Training Peaks, here is one example

127 miles in 6:37 including stops. Around 6 hours riding.
211 Watts
2907 Calories burned
22.89 Calories per mile.

If you are small, I would use 15-20 Calories per mile.

I don't want to argue about your numbers, but I will provide another set to show how poor any estimate is.

I weight 140. I burn 27cal/mile at 15mph. (Your speed was 19mph.) That is with a PowerTap.

But for a 10 mile ride, the differences are noise.
 
I use the Garmin edge 510, but the calories burned (same loop I ride often) varies greatly depending on if I am wearing the heart rate moniter (The amount of calories burned is approx 60% higher whithout the heart moniter on) so I believe the number displayed while wearing the heart rate moniter is more accurate
 
I don't want to argue about your numbers, but I will provide another set to show how poor any estimate is.

I weight 140. I burn 27cal/mile at 15mph. (Your speed was 19mph.) That is with a PowerTap.

But for a 10 mile ride, the differences are noise.

How did you arrive at 27 Cal/mile?

Do you know how many kiloJoules expended?

If you have this KJ, the only estimation is the efficiency. Poorly trained cyclist might be 21% efficient whereas well trained cyclists might be 23%. The rest is heat. I know I am efficient but the difference is noise.

The big mistake is riders use the Bicyling website calculator. Plug in 15 miles and they are told they burned 700 Calories when in fact they might have burned 350 Calories if they are lucky. they eat before, during, and after the ride. They get fatter.
 
Wow I don't think of calories when riding but out of curiosity of this thread, I looked at a recent ride. Garmin vs Strava, very different numbers.

238 lbs

41 miles 5,033 ft gain
ride time 3:43...30 minutes stop time (4:10 total)

Garmin says 3,673 calories burned
Strava says 2,438

Pretty big difference. Good thing I don't pay attention to that stuff. :p
 
I also don't really pay attention to the amount of calories burned either to be honest. While there are different ways of measuring, just a quick look st the replies already on this thread will tell you there's no accurate way.

Even the static bikes in the gym can throw up a mixed bag of results so they are just a guesstimate with the looks of it.
 
I also don't really pay attention to the amount of calories burned either to be honest. While there are different ways of measuring, just a quick look st the replies already on this thread will tell you there's no accurate way.

Even the static bikes in the gym can throw up a mixed bag of results so they are just a guesstimate with the looks of it.

I agree! The wife and I did a 60 miler on our single bikes last week.

60 miles/ 3:40 ride time and 4,898 calories burned! Sounds kind of crazy! :eek:

I know I only take in about 1800 calories a day so either way, I'm ahead of the game. :D
 
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I agree! The wife and I did a 60 miler on our single bikes last week.

60 miles/ 3:40 ride time and 4,898 calories burned! Sounds kind of crazy! :eek:

I know I only take in about 1800 calories a day so either way, I'm ahead of the game. :D

I hate to burst your bubble Mr B but there is no way you burned 4898 Calories on that ride. Get a power meter and you'll get the KiloJoules and that directly converts to Calories burned. I would guess you burned less than 2200 calories or thereabouts. I am a little lighter than you and looked up a similar ride that I did with the power meter.
 
I also don't really pay attention to the amount of calories burned either to be honest. While there are different ways of measuring, just a quick look st the replies already on this thread will tell you there's no accurate way.

Even the static bikes in the gym can throw up a mixed bag of results so they are just a guesstimate with the looks of it.

Power meter is absolutely accurate and the only way of knowing.
 
That is an amazing calories-burned result. If you were riding at a constant power output, the energy equation says you were putting out 370 watts average for the duration of the ride. I'd say most pros would be very envious.

Judging by your good average speed for the ride (16.3 mph) ,assuming you were on a basically flat course without wind, I'd guess your average power to be around 110-120W....not shabby at all for a 60 mile ride with your spouse! If so, using the basic energy conversion that Weatherby mentioned above, that would translate to 400-430 Calories/hour, or roughly 1400-1500 total Calories burned.

Note: The basic conversion is just kjoules=kcals. To compute kjoules per hour, just take the average kjoules/sec (watts) and multiply by the number of seconds per hour (3600). So, riding at 100W for an hour (0.1 kilowatts) = 360 kcalories burned per hour. The math is easy.....getting an accurate measure of the total work done (kjoules) is the tough part.
 
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I just looked back thru my data files. The most I burned on a long ride was 4100 calories on a 127 mile ride with 211 watts power and 3400 feet IIRC over 6 hours riding. This was a very hard effort (for me). This is 32 calories per mile.

On a 255 mile ride I only used 28 calories per mile (7200 KJ or Calories)

The highest Calories per mile in my data is 36 Calories per mile and that includes an FTP test, two 5 minute VO2 max hill climbs and the rest at Tempo. 35 mile ride.

My normal endurance rides at 160-180 watts burn around 25 Calories or less per mile and normally 50 feet climbing per mile.
 

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