Endomondo, seems to base it's calorie calculations on either your weight, the type of exercise and distance (for distance based exercise), or on weight, type of exercise & duration, this seems fairly close in some occasions but not in others. There always seems to be a lively debate about whether or not the site is calculating it's cycling calories burned as too high, funnily enough the runners seem to say yes, but the cyclists disagree, who'd have thought it?
The reason I started thinking more about this was that my regular lunchtime walk involves walking around this inside of the Ford offices, I work at, regularly interspersed with runs up to the 7th or 8th floor of the Ford World Headquarters building. This gets me (a) sweating & (b) feeling quite put out by having to choose 'walking' as my exercise type in Endomondo. I'm certainly not walking all the time, I'm not stair stepping either, as I'm taking these stairs two at a time, but I'm not running either. I have said previously that I have a nice Garmin exercise watch that monitors my heart rate, so I'd thought I'd see what could be done with that information, hence this posting.
To start, lets look at a couple of workouts;
|Date||Duration||Av. HR||Max. HR||# Fights||Calories|
Both almost identical in duration, one with two more flights of stairs, but I can assure you that the second one was way tougher than the first. Ok, so now for a little analysis...
|Equipment needed to find VO2max - and ergospirometry lab, funnily enough I don't have one and don't plan on picking one up any time soon...|
I found a cool blog about someone originally training for a triathlon, but now just keeping on exercising called Triathlon Training Blog, there is a page dedicated to trying to calculate calories burned based on average HR, see here. The problem with this site is that it requires that I estimate my VO2 max value, which led me to another couple of pages, Wikipedia & Shapesense.com, that will help me try and calculate. Let's use some of the methods mentioned on these pages to try and get a very rough feel for what my VO2 max value actually is, so I can see if I'm getting ripped off by Endomondo and my stair walking.
|Resting Heart Rate Based||41||20sec HR value of 21|
|1 Mile Walk Test||42||15:30 for 1 mile
pulse of 105 on completion
|1.5 Mile Run/ Walk Test||44||12:00 for 1.5 miles|
|Cooper test||43.8||2,478m in 12mins|
So we can see that based on four different calculations my VO2max comes it at around 43, so now I can go back to the calories burned to see what numbers come out of that, I'll just add a column onto the table created earlier, as it's easier.
|Date||Duration||Av. HR||Max. HR||Calories||Calculated
|1/12/2011||1hr 1min||117||171||448||624||+176 (39%)|
|2/12/2011||1hr 2min||119||172||448||653||+205 (47%)|
Hey, guess what, I'm working even harder than I thought. I'm now in the process of creating a Google spreadsheet so I can do some more testing.
Note: In Endomondo's defense I really have no idea how far I am walking while inside the building due to GPS reception issues, but based on how fast I generally walk and how long I am out there I pick a nice round number and go for it.