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

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by integrity101, Feb 22, 2016.

1. ### bikestudio New Member

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We Took example of general otherwise their are lots of things that depends upon burn calories. Its depends upon person to person their body type.
1. ECTOMORPH 2. MESOMORPH 3. ENDOMORPH

2. ### maydog Well-Known Member

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The metabolic demand to produce 150 watts is 8.6 calories per minute on the low end. If this is at 15mph, then you do over 30 cals per mile.

Calories=Wattage*(Duration in seconds)/4200/metabolic efficiency.

At a given wattage output metabolic calorie consumption ~ 0.00107 * Wattage * seconds duration.

100 W -> 6.4 w/min
200 W -> 12.8 W/min
300 W -> 19.2 W/min

I calculated the rate per mile for the 1st stage TDF file linked, the W/mile exceeds 70.

A cal/mile metrice is not as useful as a cal/minute metric since speed varies greatly depending on condition. Average power/intensity not so much.

3. ### Gombafej New Member

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I've found some android GPS tracking apps to be useful. give them a try.

4. ### Djordje87 Member

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I don't know about precise methods but you have the charts that can tell you according to your body weight and age and height or BMI, etc., how many calories you will burn for a mile of running at certain speed. That is why you'll probably need those cateye things that can be adjusted to monitor your everything I mentioned previously. it is not too expensive I believe.

5. ### jimmy484 Member

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The brand "Garmin" do a whole range of devices for tracking distances, calories, etc, and they're considered to be the market leaders. They use GPS to measure things, but some people claim their accuracy leaves a little to be desired. I suppose it's another "try it yourself and see if it works" scenario.....

6. ### dkrenik Member

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It's interesting that this question was asked in the "Power Training" forum. I'm not aware of a power meter that doesn't show the kJ used for a workout. As it turns out, a kJ is ~= C (or kc).

7. ### erook7878 Member

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It totally depends on various factors such as weight, age, and exercise intensity. I really don't believe it's even possible to figure out how much calories you are burning and it probably doesn't even matter. A much more important indicator is your heart rate.

8. ### OursIsTheFury Member

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Some stationary bikes have built in counters to see how many calories have you burned by your cycling. For regular bikes, I don't know, but mine has this counter like I said, and you don't really burn as much as you think. I think 500 calories is around 40 minutes, but I'm not sure. Let's just say it's really not as fast as you think, and you have to go at it regularly to see any long term loss in weight.

9. ### dkrenik Member

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All of which are taken into account with a power meter

10. ### Norjak71 New Member

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Some people have already mentioned the Garmin Edge and that works well but if you can't afford that I believe have apps for it on IOS and the Google-play store. Free of charge as well. Worth a try before you start shelling out big bucks.

11. ### erook7878 Member

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Those factors will give you a general guideline to how many calories you burn, but everyone has different metabolic rates, which is a function of about a million different factors. A power meter doesn't take into account an individual's biology. I contend that there really is no accurate way to measure how much calories you are burning and it really is a pointless measurement/statistic anyway. Reaching target heart rate is a far better indicator of the effectiveness of your workout for staying in shape or for weight loss.

12. ### dkrenik Member

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I'm guessing that you're referring to GME (Gross Metabolic Efficiency). I don't believe that you'll find much of a spread across the population. Most folks use 25%.
How accurate do you need to get?
Pointless measurement? Not if you're trying to lose weight.
See link above. Heart rate is a dependent variable that is affected by hydration level, mood, stress, and a bunch of stuff that is not directly related to training. I'm not dissing training by HR. I still wear a chest strap when I train indoors to check my hydration and cooling strategy.

13. ### erook7878 Member

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I have no idea what GME is. It's likely another pointless measure like VO2 max that has no real effect on fitness or weight loss. I'm talking standard basal metabolic rate. Your resting metabolic rate is the only time calories actually matters. And that indirectly effects how many calories one needs to burn during a workout. I could care less how accurate calorie counters are and most are not accurate at all. Did you even read the article? All it does is give you the methods in which various fitness devices count calories without actually showing proof they match up with any one individual's actual biology. Again, it is absolutely pointless to count calories whether during a workout or when you are looking at the nutrition label of the foods you eat. The point is CALORIES matter very very little.

Heart rate and getting to your target heart rate is a much better indicator of the quality of your workout. Reaching target heart rate is the only time you get to any level of energy expenditure that will allow your body to burn fat. You can walk 20 miles and burn however many calories....guess what....you won't lose any significant weight. Now go through a well designed sprint workout where you get to your target heart rate, along with the proper warm up and cool down, I guarantee you the weight will melt off. Those factors do indeed effect a person's heart rate, but that's why you create a baseline for each individual before the beginning of a workout. Unlike those fitness devices, your target heart rate is adjusted to your baseline HR.

14. ### maydog Well-Known Member

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You are revealing some ignorance here.

Highly accurate means to measure metabolic rate do exist. Look up the "doubly labeled water" technique.

Calories do matter - a lot. The problem is that it is difficult to get a good handle on the in vs. out balance.

Heart rate, minute ventilation, body temperature, etc. change in response to the body's metabolic rate but are not a direct measurement of the the energy used.

Direct force power measurement measures work / energy output. Power based training is superior in measuring intensity and workload and has superceded heart rate zone based training. HRMs are still around because they are inexpensive and do provide some ballpark indication of your physical state. I mostly ignore mine.

Define quality of your workout. To me, a quality workout is one in which I reached my desired intensities and durations. Here are some sample workouts, compare methods to judge quality:

1. Standing start sprints, short duration
1. Power meter: Aim for peak power generation
2. Cycle computer, stopwatch: Peak speed or time to distance
3. HRM: pretty useless, heart rate will peak after the interval is complete. How do I judge one interval to another?
2. Hill climb
1. Power meter: aim for high average power output
2. Cycle computer, stopwatch: fastest time
3. HRM: look to be in target zone - but that will not tell me how quickly I ascended, how do I compare this effort to previous attempts
I find HRM most useful as a gauge to see if I can sustain a given intensity for a long duration. If my HR does not stabilize or starts to climb during a steady effort, that is a good indication that I may not be able to hold it for as long as I would like. Still, the power meter tells me how hard the effort actually is. Over several days of training, the power I can produce at a steady HR generally drops.

#54
Last edited: May 4, 2016
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15. ### dkrenik Member

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Well said Maydog.

Eerook, how can you state that you've no idea what something is and then call it "pointless"? Hmmm.

16. ### erook7878 Member

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Uh wut? Did you read the post? His post pretty much backs everything I said. I said it was probably pointless because no legitimate trainer I've ever talked to uses that measure in any significant way. Cliff notes since you didn't understand. Calories are difficult to measure, therefore useless.

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Last edited: May 5, 2016
17. ### erook7878 Member

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So... you pretty much agree with everything I said. That's good to know. My point was that none of the consumer level fitbit type devices or the calorie meter on your treadmill will accurately measure the amount of calories you burn, therefore making it useless for the average person. Of course calories matter, but it is a useless measure when you can't accurately measure it. Not everyone has whatever device required to measure caloric output using the "doubly labeled water" technique, whatever that is. On the other hand, heart rate monitors are fairly accurate and are accessible to most people. You just compare it to your baseline statistics. Problem solved. You measure your attempts based on what your typical target zone is. You take the average of your intervals and based the results on that.

18. ### dkrenik Member

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Yes I did - several times. You've obviously taken liberal interpretations with Maydog's post.

19. ### maydog Well-Known Member

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Heart rate is can be a very inaccurate method to measure energy expenditure. I have both a garmin GPS watch and a Cyclops PowerCal heart rate monitor. Typical energy expenditure calculations using HR vs. direct power for me are 25 to 33% lower. I have repeated the testing many times and have posted the data here in the past.

The devices may work OK for "average people" since there is likely a median energy expenditure where a high percentage of users exist. I suspect that tools like accelerometers and HRMs are no much better at estimating expenditure than using time at RPE (rate of percieved exertion).

There are academic studies performed evaluating the accracy of wearables, for example:

http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleID=2500062 "Although further studies are required, the findings presented herein suggest that most wearable devices do not produce a valid measure of total energy expenditure."

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