How Accurate Is Your Treadmill’s Calorie Counter?

Let’s be honest; for most of us who run on treadmills, calorie counters do hold great appeal! Yes, we are guilty of obsessing over fat rather than fitness, but in all fairness there’s no being fit with all that fat. Calorie counters help us stay motivated because there’s scarcely a feeling more satisfying than looking down at the counter after a workout to see you’ve burned all those calories. But can you really trust those numbers or are you simply fooling yourself?

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Accuracy Of Treadmill Calorie Counters

“Machines use standard formulas to make such calculations, but there are various variables involved, such as your height, body weight, body fat percentage, fitness levels, and so on. The more details the calorie counter asks you to input, the more accurate will it’s response be”

Accuracy can vary considerably, but treadmill counters are a lot more reliable as compared to those on ellipticals and stair steppers. While no one really expects treadmill calorie counters to be 100 percent accurate, we’d like them to at least come close. But, how do you tell which treadmill calorie counters are more accurate? It’s fairly simple and logical. Machines use standard formulas to calculate calories burned, but there are numerous variables involved, such as your height, body weight, body fat percentage, fitness levels, and so on. The more details the calorie counter asks you to input, the more accurate will it’s response be.

Here’s why these seemingly trivial details are so important. If Milind Soman was to run on a treadmill for ten minutes at a steady pace of 10 miles an hour and someone weighing 100kgs and with at least 30% body fat were to run at the same pace and the same amount of time, a treadmill calorie counter would display the same reading in terms of calories burned if it did not take into account weight, height, gender, etc. Once again, the unfit individual is at a disadvantage as he will be burning fewer calories than he thinks he is, while Milind Soman would burn a lot more (and god knows he doesn’t need to)!

Can You Trust The Best Treadmill Calorie Counters?

“You can use readings from treadmill calorie counters to get a rough estimate of calories burned, but you should treat such readings with a bit of skepticism – always assume that the readings are slightly inflated”

As we have already established, calorie counters that accept maximum personal details are usually most accurate. Nevertheless, even the best treadmill calorie counter cannot take your running form and efficiency into account. Seasoned runners will not burn as many calories as beginners because they develop greater energy efficiency with their experience. Beginners expend more energy because of inexperience with running and the corresponding inefficiencies in running gait and strides. This basically means that when running on a treadmill a beginner will probably burn more calories than an experienced runner, but the readings will be the same for both individuals. According to some reports, treadmills and other gym equipment usually overestimate calories burned by as much as 15 to 20 percent.

In hindsight, you can use readings from treadmill calorie counters to get a rough estimate of calories burned, but you should treat such readings with a bit of skepticism. To be on the safe side, always assume that the readings are slightly inflated, especially if you are trying to lose weight.

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