Question of the Week: Are your gadgets getting in the way?

By Laura Moncur @ 5:22 am — Filed under:

The other day, I was running at the gym with Mike. I was using my Nike+, so my miles would be tracked for my challenges. I was wearing my heart rate monitor. I even added my weight into the treadmill so that their calculations would be accurate.

After I was finished, the Nike+ said I had burned 479 calories. The heart rate monitor said I had burned 502 calories and the treadmill said I had burned 345 calories. Which one do I believe?

Are your exercise gadgets getting in the way of your workout?

Do you find it simpler to just exercise with one gadget instead of more?

Is it easier to just go out and run or do our gadgets help?

There is a famous quotation:

“A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.”

Segal’s Law

Sometimes I feel like that with all the methods I have to measure my exercise progress. The problem is, I don’t trust any of them enough to just believe it.


7 Responses to “Question of the Week: Are your gadgets getting in the way?”

  1. Sandy Says:

    Laura, What I do is use 1 level of measure. Like if you have a scale that is off by 5#’s if you always use the same scale, your weight loss will be consistent. The key is not a bunch of gadgets, just pick one and be consistant with it’s use. I even use the same treadmill, elliptical, stair machine, etc at the gym so that my stats are consistant with that machine. Simplify is my motto. Sandy

  2. Mary Says:

    I am with you, Sandy. I don’t trust the treadmill at the gym for calories burned because I know my Nike + is calibrated to my weight. The difference between the heart rate monitor and the Nike + is not significant. Rounded off they both would equal 500 calories. Stick with one measure and sprinkle in a little common sense.

    Keep it Simple

    Mary 🙂

  3. shinypenny Says:

    Not related to this post (I’d go with the HRM – Nike+ and the treadmill are using generalized equations to calculate calories burned), but this is related to the Nike+ system. Someone finally put together a non-Nike site where you can upload your runs and get pretty graphs of your data. They also have a run editor in case you’re like me and screw up by prematurely ending a run. It’s pretty cool. Sort of like LiveJournal (you can have “friends”) plus Nike+.

  4. iportion Says:

    HRMS and gym treadmills often over estimate they are only guessing your burn so I’d go with whatever the lower number is. My old hrm said I burned over 1,000 calories while sleeping.

  5. Procellous Says:

    I have the same issue. However, I have been told that the Nike+ is not that accurate on a treadmill. It works my sensing when your foot falls on the ground. The vibration of the treadmill can cause it to over estimate. How did the distance compare?

    When street running I use the Nike+ and a Polar HRM. I run according to my Heart Rate. The Nike+ is more for a summary of the run afterwards.

    I do know what you mean though – it takes me 15 minutes to get wired up for a run!

  6. Crabby McSlacker Says:

    Wow, all you folks are tracking calories much more carefully than I do!

    I use a heartrate monitor, especially for interval work so I don’t accidentally kill myself, but I don’t think for me I gain much by getting really specific about calorie expenditure.

    I know the pace I generally run or walk at, and approximately how many calories I want to burn a day with exercise, so I always shoot for that or a little over. but if I’m within 100 either way I don’t lose much sleep over it.

    But then I lost my weight about ten years ago and am mostly trying to make sure I don’t gain it back. So perhaps my goals are different and my calculations don’t have to be too precise.

    I do think, however, that most machines tend to overestimate because that’s what consumers want!

  7. Mr Jim Says:

    I don’t know much about treadmills, but i’d imagine that running on a treadmill is easier than running on real ground because the treadmill is putting energy into your stride. When you put your foot down, your foot is carried by the belt therefore you’re not really pushing yourself forward so the machine is doing some of the work. You’re essentially jogging on the spot whilst the ground is moving underneath you. The treadmill is probably more accurate because it was the only device that knew that you were running on a treadmill, so it would have been calibrated specifically for treadmill running.

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