Workouts & Treadmill walking with an incline

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by nicho, May 25, 2015.

  1. nicho macrumors 68000

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    Feb 15, 2008
    #1
    I took my apple watch to the gym with me for the first time yesterday and *most* things went swimmingly. But i'm a little stumped as to one of the results i got - i think i may be using it wrong.

    On indoor cycle, everything was perfect. The calorie count on the bike and the apple watch were never more than 3 calories apart (and I think i accumulated them before I started the workout) and both in line with what my last body analysis said I should use.

    The problem came when my trainer put me on the treadmill to walk with a pretty steep incline. After an hour, the treadmill told me I'd burned 724 calories. The watch gave me 200. The first 10 minutes I did on "indoor walk", then I tried "indoor run" to see if it would match the calorie count more closely - but it didn't. It went up at a rate of maybe 10% for the final 50 minutes, although this could probably be better explained by my heart rate than a different calculation for running and walking.

    Has anyone else experienced this problem? Am i better off forgoing the distance tracking in "workouts" (i also log it in runkeeper, anyway, and the treadmill would be more accurate wrt distance than my watch) and just using "other" workout on an incline walk?
     
  2. The Tuck macrumors 6502

    The Tuck

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    Jun 8, 2003
    #2
    I have found the watch to be massively inaccurate when using an incline of 1% on a treadmill. It doesn't know how to handle it because an incline affects your stride.

    Tuck
     
  3. nicho thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #3
    Have you found any way around it? Do you use "other" workout?

    I think my response may just be to keep away from the treadmill.
     
  4. clayvt macrumors newbie

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    Apr 28, 2015
    #4
    I haven't tried the incline yet, but on flat the distance is off.
    I wish there was a way to "calibrate" the watch by being able to correct the distance by entering what the treadmill reads. I don't like running outdoors so I don't. It's silly that's the only way to calibrate the distance.
     
  5. nicho thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #5
    I found the distance to be relatively accurate for me, within 300m over the course of the hour, and as a small chunk of that i was fiddling with the watch in between the two workouts it may have been spot on - however, it was a definite walk and not a run - really not sure how my watch would handle that.
     
  6. menace3 macrumors 6502

    menace3

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    #6
    I gotta ask, and no not being a smart ass cause I regularly workout. Indoor Walk for me has finally caught up, but it took a few sessions. Between calories and resting, it usually gets close to what the treadmill says.

    HOWEVER< you have to remember, the treadmill does not ask for age, height, and weight. it just goes. In addition, the machines have likely not been tuned up since they were last installed.

    I visited a new gym with brand new equipment and it was spot on.
     
  7. jjlannoo Suspended

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    Oct 8, 2011
    #7
    Distance on my treadmill is pretty much on but since it doesn't know You are using a incline. Calories burned are wayyyyy off. You can't rely on Your heart rate alone to indicate how hard your muscles are working.
     
  8. nicho thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #8
    I did think this, but the difference between 200 and 724 is pretty high - unless the default setting on the treadmill is set up for a 500lb man I think the apple watch may be underrating it slightly.
     
  9. menace3 macrumors 6502

    menace3

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    #9
    True true. Mine always seem to be off about 50 calories, and that 50 difference is usually listed in the resting calories. That's a crazy difference in your case.
     
  10. nicho thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Feb 15, 2008
    #10
    One hour of lifting weights and other exercise (including rests) said I burned 479 active calories earlier that evening. The average heart rate was 130BPM, as an "other" work out.

    I would have thought with an average of 150BPM on my walk and no resting I'd be approaching that number - 724 sounded way too high but 200 just seems so low. I wonder if the heart rate affects calorie burn much less on the walk or run settings than in the unspecified "other"

    I don't remember the incline, and I live in China so our trainer doesn't speak much English... all he said to me was it would feel like walking up a mountain. I guess I'll try again next time on "other" and see how it goes.
     
  11. matty.p macrumors 6502

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    Portland, OR
    #11
    The heart rate that is detecting is more important than your stride length. How accurate was the heart rate detected during that time. That would be an actual measurable insight into calories burned rather than distance walked.
     
  12. nicho thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #12
    within 2 or 3 bpm of the heart rate on the treadmill each time and 12 readings a minute.
     
  13. Bromeo macrumors regular

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    #13
    Incline on a treadmill is much less work than walking up an incline outdoors. The reason is based in physics: when you climb a real hill, you are exerting your kinetic energy into potential energy as your elevation accumulates. This is actual work.

    On the treadmill, you don't accumulate elevation, so no work goes into that. Your stride changes somewhat, causing you to use muscles a bit differently. At most, you might end up taking on some of the load of the belt motor making it work less hard, but you still aren't lifting all your weight up a grade, unless you were somehow attached to the treadmill frame and the motor resisted your climbing like gravity would.
     
  14. x-evil-x macrumors 68030

    x-evil-x

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    #14
    it definitely increases heart rate faster than normal flat running.
     
  15. Bromeo macrumors regular

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    #15
    Perhaps - I'll have to try incline again now that I have have The Watch for my workouts. I stopped using incline years ago as it really didn't do much for me compared to running up a real hill, and then my trainer explained why. It made sense once I thought about it. Another factor that makes a treadmill easier than outdoor running include lack of drag from moving through the air (let alone a headwind on a blustery day).

    While I do use treadmills for a number of reasons as an adjunct to my outdoor running and hiking, I keep in mind it's a little less "work" overall, and too much of it in place of outdoor running affects my adaptation for the latter.

    Another exercise machine I found lacking was the "rowing" on my home Bowflex gym. While it is a satisfactory machine for strength training at home, the rowing aspect never made sense to me. It would barely raise my pulse. Then I realized the only energy consumed is in the inefficiency of my own muscles and movements. A real rower (or stationary bike) dumps your motion into some kind of device ("sink") that wastes it as heat, such as a friction belt, fan, or water chamber, never to return back to you. The Bowflex and systems like it return the energy back to you like a spring (or gravity, in the case of lifting a weight up and down).
     
  16. jtrue28 macrumors 6502

    jtrue28

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    Lexington, KY
    #16
    Any treadmill I have ever used doesn't require your heart rate to determine calories burned.

    It's pre-programmed based on the settings of your walk/run.

    Calorie burn calculations are all inherently wrong. Everyone's body makeup is different, thus completely changing the calculations. Some random calibration is not going to be accurate between two totally different people.
     
  17. Bromeo macrumors regular

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    #17
    Agreed. A stationary bike or ellipitcal that is providing an energy-sink to your motion would be able to calculate quite accurately the energy being put into the machine (i.e. 100 Watts), but cannot know what your body's relative efficiency of doing so is. We aren't 100% efficient with our own waste heat, etc, and that varies from person-to-person. There is also extra energy consumed (calories burned!) after a workout during recovery.

    There is probably a close-enough formula based on general population samples using height, age, weight, and gender. Then on top of that, monitoring pulse to roughly determine work load... That seems to be the goal Apple aimed for with their extensive testing and analysis of people actually working out with the watch over time.

    I think a key benefit with a fitness tracker like the Apple Watch is that you can have consistency instead of relying on the built-in stats from different brands and models of machines.

    I'm aiming for relative improvement to my own past performance, and in that case, the watch exceeds my expectations (goal setting and a little nudging is a great bonus). If I need accurate representations of metrics such as resting metabolism, lean body mass percentage, maximum cardio load, etc, there are specific tests/equipment to gather just that information, yet any such stat is still just a snapshot in time.
     
  18. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

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    #18
    When I increase my elliptical, at home, from 0 to 50% incline, it causes my legs to work MUCH harder. I think your thinking is flawed.
     
  19. jtrue28 macrumors 6502

    jtrue28

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    #19
    Which explains why the AW seems to be incorrect when compared to the machine you are using.
     
  20. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

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    #20
    I do not depend on the watch to track my elliptical. I paid too much for it to have the AW tell me what it is doing. The AW can only do so much, overall mine seem good.
     
  21. Bromeo macrumors regular

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    #21
    I would believe that on an elliptical, since it is actively resisting your motion and turning it into heat in the motor (heck, many commercial ellipticals and bikes are powered by your own energy). Setting incline on an elliptical could certainly increase the resistance automatically, making you work harder. That's just a guess, though, as I don't regularly use ellipticals.

    In contrast to the elliptical (and stationary bike), a motorized treadmill doesn't soak up your energy - you're just running in still air, as if running in place on a sheet of ice. Inclining the treadmill takes some of the load of moving the belt off the motor, so you do get some additional work to do (just a guess, but maybe 25-50W more?), including using muscles a bit differently than when flat. I once ran on an inclined non-motorized treadmill in Japan. It made you work harder and had a friction brake for turning your energy into heat, but still not quite as hard as running up a real hill.

    As an aside, I used to think treadmills were safer than running outside through my neighborhood (distracted drivers, dogs, wayward sprinkler hoses, etc). Turns out treadmills are one of the most accident-prone pieces of exercise equipment by a surprisingly wide margin. If you fall, it's easy to torque your back/ankles and hit your head, and you might not be discovered for quite some time if at home or at an odd hour at a gym. I've almost fallen twice having been briefly distracted by the TVs they put above the cardio area. It only takes a few seconds of a flashing advert or breaking news story and you are running right by the edge of the belt. Bam.
     
  22. jtrue28 macrumors 6502

    jtrue28

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    #22
    Sorry. "you" was meant to be the plural form...meaning "everyone".
     
  23. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

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    #23
    I purchased this elliptical for the summer when it is so hot I would never walk or much less run. It was 85 this AM and going up from there.
     
  24. Bromeo macrumors regular

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    #24
    Good idea. When I was in Phoenix, I had to get out and run/walk at 4:30AM to beat the summer heat, or go to the gym later in the day.
     
  25. matty.p macrumors 6502

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    Portland, OR
    #25
    I complete agree with you, I was implying that the AW calculation is probably the more accurate one as the HR would be a better indicator of calories burned than simply the stride and general calculation the treadmill is making.
     

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