Cardio Machines Lie!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Article of the Day: Lately, I have been having more than my fair share of headaches, so when I came across this article I had to share it with everyone! 5 Foods That Can Fight Migraines 

We have all hopped on our favorite elliptical or stair master, pressed the quick start button, completed our workout, and then celebrated as the calorie read out told us we burned 500 calories in only 30 minutes! That sounds too good to be true…..Because IT IS! Most cardio machines yield cardio readouts that are reflective of the average person. So if it says you burned 400 calories, your actual caloric burn could be anywhere between 323 to 491 calories ( These machines are inaccurate (especially when you use the quick start function) because they do not take in to account your personal characteristics such as resting heart rate, muscle mass, overall fitness level, and working heart rate. Many machines simply use averages and then compare those to the distance you covered on the machine and come up with your total calorie burn. Experts agree that these machines can over predict the amount of calories burned by apporximately 25%! To investigate this matter further, my friend Alison and I decided to conduct our own experiemtn. We each wore our polar heart rate monitors (which we have input our personal information in to) while exercising on different pieces of cardio equipment. On each piece of cardio equipment we used the quick start program. After our workout, we compared the calorie readout on the machine to the calorie readout on our heart rate monitors. Here is what we found out:

Now, I’m not telling you to disregard the calorie readout completely, just keep in mind that is not always 100% accurate. Wearing a heart rate monitor is one of the most accurate ways to calculate caloric expenditure during exercise. However, if you do not own a heart rate monitor, you can increase the accuracy of the machines by taking the time to type in your sex, height, age, and weight. So next time you jump on your favorite piece of equipment, type in your information and remember, even if the calorie readout says you burned 1000 calories, that does not give you permission to eat a whole chocolate cake when you get home.

Yours truly,

Lauren G.

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