Cycling workout calories totally off

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by Dimorphic, Jul 21, 2015.

  1. Dimorphic macrumors member

    Dimorphic

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2011
    Location:
    Gold Coast, Australia
    #1
    So I have been using my Apple Watch as my workout/fitness tracker essentially since its launch and I am consistently having a few issues.

    When I run on the treadmill the kilometres are off by around 300-400 metres (as in the Watch says I have run 1km when the treadmill says 700 metres) and (the most annoying) when I cycle the calories are way off.

    Tonight I did a 21km cycle and burnt 704 calories as per the stationary bike but my watch says I burnt 420 (with 71 additional as "resting") calories.

    How can the Watch be so far off?
     
  2. powerbook911 macrumors 68040

    powerbook911

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2005
    #2
    It's probably tough to measure on the treadmill because GPS isn't being applied. Have you ever ran outdoors with iPhone to help it learn your stride?

    Finally, does the stationary bike take into account your gender, weight, and age like the Apple watch in determining calories?
     
  3. Dimorphic thread starter macrumors member

    Dimorphic

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2011
    Location:
    Gold Coast, Australia
    #3
    Yeah I have taken my phone with me on outdoor runs to calibrate it. Hasn't worked unfortunately for indoor runs. Though outdoor runs sans iPhone are fairly accurate now.

    As for the bike gender no but weight yes.
     
  4. friedmud macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    #4
    Interesting. My Watch is pretty close for both indoor runs and indoor cycles (usually within about 10 calories of what the machine does). I've done pretty extensive training with both outside with my iPhone, I wonder how much difference it makes.

    One thing I have noticed on the treadmill is that it is very sensitive to stride length. You need to keep your stride length similar to the length you use on an outdoor run. Think of it this way: the "calibration" you do on an outdoor run sets an average distance per step.

    When you are on a treadmill all the Watch can do is count your steps and multiply by the average step length to get your distance. SO: if you take little tiny steps on the treadmill the Watch will think you are going further than the treadmill will show. If you take huge strides on the treadmill the Watch won't know it and will show that you've travelled less distance than the treadmill will show.

    To dial this in a bit I just match my "pace" on my Watch to the pace it shows on my treadmill. I adjust my stride length until the two match up fairly well and then I know that I'm taking my "normal" stride. Then the Watch and my treadmill both show nearly the same thing for calories and distance at the end of my workout.

    Could it be that you unconsciously use a fairly different stride length on your treadmill vs running outside?
     
  5. Newtons Apple macrumors Pentium

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #5
    Either your watch or your treadmill are wrong as my treadmill and watch only differe by about 7% which is good enough for me. As far as calories both your equipment and the watch can only guess as measuring true calories burned is quite difficult and both readings should be only used as a guide.
     
  6. acctman macrumors 6502a

    acctman

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    Location:
    Georgia
    #6
    are you using a beta? If yes, then that is your problem. If not, what also could be the problem is how AW measures movement verse other devices. Fitbit has the same issue, but is a little bit more accurate at times. Your arms and legs do not always move in sync all the time. Workaround is attaching the watch to your shoe laces and you'll see a huge improvement in distances matching. Down side is without a consistent monitoring of your heart rate your cals burn will be total off
     
  7. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ventura County
    #7
    The Apple watch is using your height, weight and heart rate to figure out your active calories. The heart rate is the big factor here. Some people have a low heart rate while cycling, and others have a really high heart rate while cycling. Therefore, the bike can't be accurate, it's only trying to guess based on distance cycled. When cycling I average around 140bpm, my girlfriend averages around 115bpm. My calorie burn is almost 40% higher than hers.
     
  8. Dimorphic thread starter macrumors member

    Dimorphic

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2011
    Location:
    Gold Coast, Australia
    #8
    When I cycle I keep my heart rate at 150bpm.

    I'm not sure what the issue is overall, I've always had the issue. I love the watch overall but the exercise tracking leaves a lot to be desired.
     
  9. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ventura County
    #9
    How long did it take you to cycle 21km?

    When my heart rate is 140-150bpm, I burn 10 calories a minute (using indoor cycle workout).
     
  10. menace3 macrumors 6502

    menace3

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #10

    Treadmill is a known bug so I switched to Other and it's much better. I do nto know if the fault is when you dont swing your arms and hold on to the top of the treadmill like I do. In any case, there are threads on this.

    Cycling is spot on for me though. It's usually a difference of 50 calories, but when added to the rest, it matches.

    Treadmills are used and at my gym, I never see the maintenance working on them, so I'm sure calibration is whacked. That being said, elliptical is right every single time.
     

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