27-02-2011, 14:28   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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POLAR Heart Rate Monitor vs. The Machine
My wife just finished her work out using our elipical trainer. She was very proud of herself. I burned over 900 calories and stayed in Zone 2 like you told me. That is great. Zone 2 is highly effective in fat burning. She handed me her POLAR FT7 and I looked at the data. Something did not add up. She was working out for an hour in Zone 2 and burned 900 calories. I easly looked at the data and it said 435 calories burned. This sounded better. I checked her zones and it was mostly in zone 2. I had to question her about the 900+ calories burned. She said that what the elipical said. I looked through that data and it was not consistant with the Polar FT7. I have always trusted POLAR and their accuracy. Time to test this out. I felt I had to as a POLAR Ambassador. I had already trainined so this was going to be a short test. I wore her FT7(reprogrammed with my data), my RS300x wrist units, her transmitter and jump on the elipical. After 10 minutes I analized the data. The FT7 and RS300x match perfectly. The elipical showed inaccurate data. The heart rate zone was even off. This test proves that the machine was way off and using a POLAR Heart Rate Monitor was more accurate. We took this one step further. I wore my RS300x and then hooked myself up to the EKG ( I am a firefighter and got some help from one of the medics). The POLAR heart rate monitor and the EKG matched.
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27-02-2011, 20:45   #2
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Great Info.

Thanks for posting your findings!
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27-02-2011, 23:02   #3
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That is so worth knowing! Thank you. I have often wondered whether I should trust my Polar or the treadmill, as they very different calorie counts.

Does the EKG test measure calories, or simply confirm the HR reading?
Lesley L
Wellington, New Zealand
BMI 55 - action overdue!
Information junkie
FT60 user
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28-02-2011, 13:16   #4
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EKG messure your Heart Rate only.
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26-03-2011, 07:45   #5
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From what i have read machines vary due to the execise, can be anywhere from 20% to 30% off on the calories burned, but are pretty accurate on the heart rate, its all in the progamming. With that said the stainary bike is the most acurate due to limited movement... Ever watch different people on the tread mills, some run so naturally while the person next to them runs out of control arms flailing all over the place, but yet the tread mill would read very closely in calories burned. Same would go for elliptical trainers, do you hold the grips that move or the ones that stand still? Both would not burn the same amount of calories. Its a machine and will do only what its programmed to do. Finding out how many calories you actually burned is so freaking hard its crazy. Two words come to mind... lab rat
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28-03-2011, 20:58   #6
Greg Takacs
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Texas
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IMHO the only thing you confirmed is

1) The algorithm used by the FT7 matches the algorithm used by the RS300X for calorie expenditure estimation.

2) Polar heart rate monitors are ECG accurate in detecting heart beats.

I see no surprise in either of those findings. As for calorie expenditure accuracy of the Polar equation that is being used I am 100% sold on it. I tracked my caloric intake via calorie counting, calorie expenditure via Polar HRM for 6 months straight and my weight loss rate matched my estimated weight loss rate to the dot over the 6 month period.

I think Polar's calorie expenditure estimation is highly accurate and as good as it gets without actually measuring CO2 exhaustion via a calorimeter.
Husband, Dad, Runner, [self taught] Weight Loss Guru, Polar Ambassador
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04-04-2011, 14:15   #7
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Hausmannstätten near Graz, Austria
Posts: 69

I think only the assumptions Greg made are correct. The calorie burning estimations on Polars and on treadmills are calculated completely different - the Polars based on the energy which is burned by the organism (if VO2max test has been made...), the estimation from the treadmills is based on the kinetic energy the machine is operated.

Whats in between is the efficiency of your body which on treadmills is a very rough estimation (male vs female, old vs young etc.). I also experienced that the expediture on machines is always (maybe 2 times) higher than estimated on HRMs. I dont trust macine manufacturers on this estimation as they want to show high calory expenditures.

I also question that 900 calories per hour are possible in zone 2 - this can only be the case if your wife is at least 120kg.

Unfortunately, also the Polar calculation is only a rough estimation. The estimation method is based on the heart rate, but for exercises with different muscular usage the expenditure with the same heart rate can differ extremely. Again, it is just an average assumption depending on how many muscles are used in a workout.

Last edited by wifi : 04-04-2011 at 15:17.
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17-08-2011, 17:24   #8
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Join Date: Jun 2011
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Single Heart beat
Fine , you tell Polar is to trust on. But what about single heart beat logged in software Polar Trainer 5 like this ? could i trust on this log ? Hav you any dokumentation from Polar about how to read this log ?
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