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Fitness Formula Flaw Miscounts Calories

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bobjengr
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Platinum
FITNESS FORMULA
bobjengr   2/19/2014 5:34:52 PM
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Mark.  I have a somewhat similar experience.  I exercise three times per week at Fitness Together in my hometown.  Recently, FT installed new equipment due to issues with maintenance and upkeep.  (They really do get continued use during a week.)  I go through the very same routine as you relative to weight, speed, incline, duration etc.  One other thing I do--check my pulse rate.  I noticed on the "new" elliptical a pulse rate that would indicate I'm just about to die.  Knowing this might not be the case, I transferred to an older elliptical to get a calibration, hopefully more accurate.  The two readings were wildly different.  I then got off the devices, sat for about 30 minutes to restore a resting pulse rate.  I then put on a heart-rate counter with receiver in the form of a watch.  The counter snaps around your chest.  Back on the new equipment--then a reading. HUGE ERROR relative to the machine.  30 minute resting--then on the old equipment.  Mush less trauma with this one.  I don't know if the issue is software or sensor reading the pulses but in either case not the least reliable.  Great post.   

lmkmet88
User Rank
Iron
Not a Formula Flaw - A Fitness Model Change
lmkmet88   2/19/2014 11:55:48 AM
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Your question may have been better answered by your fitness professional in the gym rather than the manufacturer's representative of the treadmill.  You see up to about 4.0 MPH the model probably assumes you are walking (aka speed walking) but above that, it assumes you begin to jog/run which has a lower energy consumption because it is more energy efficient.  Thus the drop in caloriies per minute reflects that switch between locomotion mode - walking to jogging/running.  I suggest you try walking at 4.5 mph and then jog and you will feel for yourself which is less taxing on you. 

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Juggling Performance
Charles Murray   2/18/2014 9:48:23 PM
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I agree, tekochip. I've worked out on machines that require little effort but offer big calorie counts. I've also worked out on machines that left me spent, only to tell me that I didn't burn many calories. There's seems to be little or no standardization between machines. As you say, it's for show. I suspect the energy-expenditure formulas used on these machines are pretty meaningless.

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Juggling Performance
tekochip   2/18/2014 10:00:41 AM
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I've noticed that the calorie display on exercise equipment is mostly for show, and I'm sure the linearity of the display is probably not tightly specified.  I often wondered if the calorie display on exercise equipment was similar to the signal strength display on cell phones, and the manufacturers simply boost their consumption numbers in the hope that users will say, "hey, this machine gets me a better burn than that one, I'm always going to use this one."
 
I've often juggled with performance vs. code complexity when dealing with complicated formulas.  In small appliances, the very last thing you want to do is add a floating point library, so then you have to decide if you want piecewise linearization or a table.  When it comes to that decision I sometimes write both and compare the speed, accuracy and performance to decide which works best.


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