Are Calorie Counters On Cardio Machines Accurate?

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Hi, I'm Tina!

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Hi, friends!

I got my sweat on first thing this morning. Woohoo! I woke up, ate breakfast, and headed straight to the gym for a run on the treadmill.

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I had some fun with inclines and intervals, and I covered 4.37 miles in 40 minutes.


Once I finished, I spent a few minutes walking on the treadmill as my cool down. During this time, I noticed that the machine said I burned 600 calories, which I thought was a serious overestimate.

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I’ve actually heard that some cardio machines bump up the calorie count by 25% or more. I remember one time I spent 60-minutes on an elliptical, reading magazines and barely breaking a sweat, and the machine said I burned 1200 calories! Um, no. The workout was much too easy to burn that many calories. Common sense.

I pretty much use cardio machine readouts as a guideline to gauge how many calories I’ve burned during a workout. To be honest, I usually don’t even look at them because I know they’re so off. Plus, I really enjoy exercise, so the calorie count at the end of my workout isn’t all that important to me. I just want to feel like a got a good workout at the end.

Anyway, if you’re curious about how many calories you burn while running, I stumbled upon this neat chart from FitSugar that tells you what your running pace and workout time translates to in calories burned. Cool, right? It seems more accurate than the treadmill, especially for a 130-pound woman like me.



Before I hit the gym, I fueled up with Overnight Oats In a (Sunflower Butter) Jar and a bottle of water. In the mix: rolled oats, banana slices, cinnamon, ground flaxseed meal, and almond milk.

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Last night’s dinner was an oldie, but goodie: Mac & Cheese Lite. I like this recipe because it has a ton of garlicky and onion flavor, but, sadly, it isn’t as cheesy as others. I actually think using a really stinky cheese would make it a lot better. I used mild cheddar, so I barely tasted the cheese. Even still, it was a yummy dinner. I even went back for a second helping! 

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After dinner, I wanted something more to eat so I grabbed an Apple Cinnamon & Pecan KIND Bar. I wanted to eat more cookies, but I figured something with a little substance would be a better bet.

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Question of the Day

How do you estimate the calories you burned during exercise? Do you use a device (Garmin, FitBit, BodyBugg, etc.) to track calories burned? Does it matter to you how many calories you burn during exercise?

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