Don’t Trust the Gym

I’ve long heard that when working out on equipment at the gym, you should ignore the “calories burned” display, as well as the heart rate number that pops up when you grab those silver patches on the handlebars.  I used to take the warning with a grain of salt, I  mean, the read-outs can’t be that far off, right?  Wrong.

I recently started using my own heart rate monitor at the gym.  You know, one of those wrist watch/chest belt combos.  Well, I noticed a couple things. 

1) When the heart rate monitor picks up the signal from the chest belt, it’s usually a few points off.  My heart rate always registered lower than what the digital watch displayed.

2) The machine counted calories the same no matter how high or how low my heart rate was.  Obviously, the harder I’m working, the more calories I”ll burn, but I believe the equipment (in this case a bike) measure calories based on cadence, not exertion.  This resulted in calorie counts being way off.  After one workout, my heart monitor said I had burned 440 calories, the machine displayed 600.  That’s a big difference when you’re counting calories in and out and trying to lose weight.

So morale of the story is, if you want an accurate heart rate/calories burned results, invest in a heart rate monitor.   You really don’t need anything fancy (and there are some really fancy and cool ones out there).  Look for one that comes as a watch/chest belt combo.  Some watches just read your heart rate, others will give you calorie counts and time spent in a certain heart rate zone.  A good place to compare and buy is


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One Response to “Don’t Trust the Gym”

  1. Lura Bodenhagen Says:

    Great site! keep it up, it helped me alot.. 🙂

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