Friday, February 22 2013, 10:50 PM MST
Good Question: How Accurate Are Calorie Counters On Treadmills?
By Matt Gephardt
Produced by Michelle Poe
Edited by Ryan Malavolta
Photography by Brian Morris
(KUTV) At TOSH in Murray, trainers work with dedicated athletes to improve their performances. But for those who don’t feel like being prodded by a trainer, they can always work out elsewhere in the gym on their own. For example, many choose to hop on elliptical machines, stationary bicycles and treadmills to get in their workout. And with all of the numbers on the displays on the machine, it can be like having a personal trainer. Many machines track distance, speed, time and of course, calories. But how accurate are those calorie counters? It's a good question.
For the answer, I turned to sport dietitian Theresa Dvorak. She says that calculating how many calories are burned while exercising means knowing a lot about the athlete. Things like gender, muscle mass, age, weight and body fat all impact how many calories an individual burns when exercising which obviously varies from person to person. Theresa says that there are machines that will ask many of those questions before beginning a workout and those machines will be more accurate, but she says that, overall, the machines are inaccurate. Theresa says that exercise equipment often overestimates burned calories by 15-20%, so she offers this warning:
"When the treadmill says that you've been on it for 45 minutes and it says that you've burned 500 calories, to think that you can then go and eat an additional 500 calories, that's a good way of gaining weight."
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)