Treadmill Calories Burned: What to Do When They Seem a Bit High

There are a variety of reasons to know the number of treadmill calories burned during your workout. Exercise helps to control weight by using the excess calories that you would otherwise store as new fat. It also helps with workout goals to set a calorie-burn rate as a target.

Treadmill Consoles and Accuracy

Let’s look at the issue of a treadmill calories calculator and its accuracy. While some higher end models have very good technology installed in them, the cheaper treadmills (under $1000) and even several mid-price models (around $1500) seem to give results that are quite, shall we say, suspect.

Treadmill Calories Burned

Among treadmill pros, it is almost a given that a calorie counter on a cheaper treadmill will give far better readings (you’re burning 600 calories!) than what is known to be realistic. On the other hand, if you have an expensive high-end treadmill and believe the count to be off, then you should call the manufacturer and ask to have a technician recalibrate it. There’s no reason to put up with a faulty counter if you’ve spent that kind of money.

To be accurate, a treadmill calorie counter needs to know your weight and age at a minimum, and even your height. This information is then recalibrated on the readout to give the most accurate measurement; otherwise, the universal output of treadmill calories burned will be for an average sized adult of approximately 150 pounds. At 4 mph with no incline selected, the burn rate is around 280 calories.

But you didn’t plunk down all that money for a treadmill just to guess at the burn rate for your calorie intake. If your treadmill doesn’t have the feature to input your weight and age, then go to Plan B.

Plan B: a Handheld HR Counter

If you can’t or don’t want to rely on your treadmill’s readouts, the most accurate fix would be to buy a heart rate monitor, either the type that works as a chest strap or the wristband type (the latter which you can wear while walking or running outdoors).

If you are trying to lose weight, an accurate heart rate monitor is an invaluable tool. By increasing your heart rate, you are increasing the intensity of the workout, and that in turn burns more calories. Some of the better HR monitors include a calorie burned readout and tracks the amount of time spent in your target heart rate zone.

If you get a good HR monitor you can check its results against the treadmill’s readout to see how close they are. If the treadmill’s results are much higher, it’s a fair assumption that the onboard calorie counter is not accurate.

Two-a-Day Workouts & Hand Weights

Another way to increase your amount of treadmill calories burned is to split your normal 30 minutes or one-hour session into two – a morning session and one later in the day. Along with small, nutritious meals, you’ll keep your metabolism blasting away the fat the entire day.

If you aren’t a runner and don’t burn up massive calories in an hour, you can still up your intensity for a better-than-average blast. The best you can hope for in terms of treadmill calories burned would be around 450 to 500 cals per hour as long as you are pushing at least a brisk pace, plus have some incline selected. You can also increase the number of calories burned during your treadmill workouts by adding hand weights (such as a pair of 10-lb dumbbells) to hold while you walk.

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