Calorie Count for Exercise

sjfwhite

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Hi folks - just did my first workout with the S3 Frontier. I also own a Garmin Fenix 3 which I have always used for workouts in the past and was hoping to replace it with the S3, understanding i'd lose some functionality on the sports tracking but it would be made up in other areas.

The first most glaring difference I noted today was in calorie tracking during exercise. I did a 50 minute elliptical workout and was advised that I burned 336 Calories. An almost identical (according to average HR) elliptical routine when wearing the Garmin with a chest strap for monitoring heart rate calculates 200 more calories burned than the S3. I have my profile set up in the watch and on the phone (age, weight, height, activity level, etc...). While I understand that the calorie burn is a gross estimate but I am surprised that it is at such significant variance with the Garmin F3.

I followed up with 20 minutes of moderate intensity exercise cycle and the S3 calculated 136 calories burned where the similar exercise on the Garmin would have pegged it at closer to 210.

Both the elliptical and the exercise bike calculated far more calories burned than either the Garmin or the Gear S3.

What are other folks' experiences with this? Is there some fix I am missing? Thanks in advance!

SW
 

sjfwhite

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I would always say the lower is more accurate. Those numbers are always so vastly wrong, short is probably closer.

Thanks for the reply. I guess that would certainly be the most conservative approach. I've always assumed that Garmin's algorithm for calculating calories burned would be as accurate as you can get based on HR and the other demographic factors. I'm curious whether other people are noticing the very low estimates of calories burned. Thanks!
 

Pge

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The graphs are almost identical as are the average heart rates.

The calorie counts are unfortunately terribly inaccurate. I am in same scenario as I have an older fitness watch 'sunnuto' with chest strap. Which uses age,wgt, and hrm to calculate calories based on time and HR during a workout. Supposedly they use a specific algorithm to calculate calories on the metrics above. I really like the S3 for everything else except workouts.
As far as calories burned here is a short list of tests done. I have even more issues with S-HEALTH missing data it should be reporting..but I digress.


Me- 55yr male , 185lbs. Max heartrate should be 165- 170 ish. Based on national avg

Gear S3
20 min workout, either elliptical or stair climber
124 avg HR - 157 calories
144 avg HR - 160 cal ( so 20 beats avg higher only 3 cal dif.. seriously.)
154 avg HR. - 150 cal ( cal count went down)

30 minutes - S3 vs Fitness watch vs fitness machine. In the 90% max HR the whole time. Extremely intense cardio.

161 avg HR.
S3 - 233 cal
Fitness watch- 574 cal (most likely closest to being correct)
Machine - 760 cal

So let's play it out. Say I ran marathon in 4 plus hrs.
S3 would be less then 2000 cal.
It would take more then 7plus hrs to just burn 1 lb.
So basically almost run two marathons to burn one pound!!!

I have even more important ( to me) issues with both S3 and S-health in terms of fitness metrics that are either missing or they could do a much better job on. Why don't they have real fitness developers building the fitness apps. Or just look at real fitness app companies and give similar metrics in S-Health and S3!!! I can give details but this thread will be much bigger then it already is. Lol
 
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sjfwhite

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Great reply and I agree with everything you said, especially consulting fitness experts about the algorithms used. This might be a deal breaker for me as the S3 is a notch up in day to day use, but three notches down in fitness tracking compared to my Fenix 3 (particularly because I also use the F3 to track my swims). I'm going to give it a couple more days and if I am still feeling the way I am now, I'm going to return the S3.
 

Pge

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I hear ya.. I have the LTE version and it's great on some things I was looking forward to. I.E. built in music for running, gps, solid construction no plastic, hrm on wrist no chest strap, and for me bluetooth to download data. With my older fitness watch I have to use Cable to download. Plus being a smartwatch seemed best of both worlds even if maybe not super accurate for fitness as long as decent. Jury still out as I hope they step up and make it better.

Here again short list of issues. Bc too many to list.

S3 watch

No alarm for max heart rate
ONLY Two metrics per exercise screen. They have the real estate..what gives
( most fitness watches have minimum 3)
Hrm wrist only, be nice if had option to use strap if wanted to. Wrist hrm I noticed fluctuates fair amt during workout but surprisingly avg has been close to fitness watch (so figure i can live with)
Calorie counts terrible..

S-Health

Example- running
Bar graph - basic metrics ( Hrm,speed,elevation over time)
No way to get detailed metrics at any point of workout.
List of Average metrics but only over a complated time span.

Extremly disappointing or Missing ( again only giving short list)

bar graph metrics..missing or at any point on the graph.

Distance
Vo2 max
Avg speed
Avg pace
Temperature
Respiration rate
Recovery time

The big difference here vs fitness watch is I can select anywhere in the graph on fitness watch and see the metrics at that point.

Example.

Say I ran 6 miles.
I can see anywhere in graph by clicking in the graph My-
Hrm at any point
My pace at any point
My speed at any point

(Garmin ,tomtom, sunnuto etc have all this)
I can see my avg pace say at 1.4 miles or 3.7 miles and figure out if I started too fast or too slow and see where my pace increased or fell. I can see hrm at any point or plot my speed increase or decrease. I can ACTUALLY use the data to get better at running. The S3 just gives overall list of avg metrics plus u cannot click anywhere in the Sparse graph to get data at any point. Their is no DISTANCE even in the graph... Come On Man... they are recording these metrics so is it that hard to just step up and make it a decent fitness app.

Sorry for the rant.. they spend countless millions on advertising being a fitness watch but nothing on really MAKING it a fitness watch. I can only hope they update the hardware/software from really listening to users give real feedback. I really like parts of it very much so if they could just hire some fitness developers they could make this the best smartwatch available. I would have prolly paid more if it meant this would be a step up in the fitness dept.


Again sorry to rant..
 

Pge

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Oh to clarify I realize this is a smartwatch.
But it is being advertised that the fitness apps are as good as any fitness watch with added benefit of being a smartwatch, albeit the price increase.
 

jsk0703

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What are the real expectations? I mean, it's a smart watch with fitness tracking capabilities. Not the other way around.

There is going to be some margin of error regardless of the device. No standalone wrist device can truly measure exactly calorie burn, v02, bmi, etc. There are more scientific ways to get that information.

I think you have to either use the new data to reestablish a baseline or keep some other fitness tracker for more precise readings.

Personally, I track my nutrition because it's easier to quantity. As long as I hit my calorie goal I'm happy. Strength, fitness and endurance can be measured differently depending on ones personal goals.
 

Pge

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I understand what you are getting at. I guess the issue for me if they had actually looked at what fitness watches/apps give for data and just at minimum give similar data. Especially since they are recording these metrics already. That's why so many people are clamoring to port their data to another app and complaining about lack thereof. With the hope for more meaningful results they can use. I don't hate the watch I really like it but just wish they stepped up the fitness game to at least be on par. Maybe in time they will get better. I think it's important though to point out areas of improvement or their would never be updates. I heard they made big update on S-Health earlier this year to appease users. So that is encouraging are really listening to users...
 

sjfwhite

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I understand what you are getting at. I guess the issue for me if they had actually looked at what fitness watches/apps give for data and just at minimum give similar data. Especially since they are recording these metrics already. That's why so many people are clamoring to port their data to another app and complaining about lack thereof. With the hope for more meaningful results they can use. I don't hate the watch I really like it but just wish they stepped up the fitness game to at least be on par. Maybe in time they will get better. I think it's important though to point out areas of improvement or their would never be updates. I heard they made big update on S-Health earlier this year to appease users. So that is encouraging are really listening to users...

It sounds like you are in the same boat as me. My Fenix 3 can do all the things that the S3 can do in the fitness realm (with the exception of wrist HRM) and a few of the things the S3 can do in the smartwatch arena (notifications). I have a hard time justifying having both watches. I wish the Fenix 3 had as gorgeous a screen as the S3!
 

Pge

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Yes sounds like we are having a similar dilemma in that we really like the S3 but not so much on the fitness aspect. Maybe its bc we came from a dedicated fitness watches it is harder for us. But samsung does have a fitness watch the gear fit or fit2 I think not exactly sure. If i am not mistaken i think it uses the same shealth apps. Which to me is lacking as noted in the above thread. Things I like are the music, gps, and hrm etc on runs without carrying a phone for music or chest strap. It does all that fine just really disappointed in lack of refinement for real fitness enthusiasts who use the data to help them improve their fitness. Especially since they are recording most of data already.
 
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The graphs are almost identical as are the average heart rates.

That's pretty incredible. Considering metabolic rate is very individual, I would say the more conservative numbers are better for weight loss, but bad for muscle gain. I would say, watch the HRM to determine aerobic activity effectiveness... But scrap the "calorie count" for both.
 

sjfwhite

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Did a 10k run on the treadmill tonight. The S3 estimated higher than my Fenix 3 with the chest HRM. Color me confused concerning Samsung's algorithms. :p
 

Pge

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Yes that is strange. Was the calorie counts much higher or close? Also what target range was your hrm in for the run. It appears more calories are calculated if you are in your target zone. When I did extreme cardio my count went down because I figure i was out of the target zone. Which at first glance that would be fine except in the target zone no matter if I am on low end or high end of the zone it's only couple of calories different. I had an idea to to try and calculate the difference in calories to my fitness watch and get a ratio then up my weight profile by that ratio to see if I can more closely match my fitness watch. Hey, it's worth a try hurts nothing. Most people prolly wonder why go to all the trouble but for me it helps me in cpl ways. One is it really helped me to finally lose weight by counting calories and factoring in the workout expenditures. It helped so much that in the past I could never lose weight. i have been a lifter all my life and as i got older decided to preserve my joints and start doing more cardio like HIIT , running, rowing, biking u name it. But could only lose 5lbs here and there. But after using fitness watch and actually getting a better handle on input/output losing weight got to be very manageable to the point I was losing so much I had to put some back on. Lost up to 40lbs at one point and I had to add some back on i was getting WAY to thin for me. Sort of over did it. The fitness watch really helped me stay on track and made losing weight or maintaining simply just a matter of math. Second is the fun factor of setting goals during workouts and having hard, medium and easy days which could be up to hundreds of calories diff. But on the S3, hard to easy is like only a few calories. But I Haven't given up on it bc they hopefully can only get better with updates and Other parts of the S3 watch are just Incredible.
For me I just wish the S-Health had more usable data as I really made advances by using data from workouts. Hey new year is coming and who knows what updates will bring..lol
 

sjfwhite

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The calories on a 50 minute elliptical with an average HR of 130 and a max of 152 was 336 (with a pretty steady gradual increase in HR over the course of the exercise).

The calories on a 57 minute treadmill with an average HR of 137 and a max of 151 was 839 (with once again and steady gradual increase in HR over the course of the run).

That is a huge difference (if you take the time into account) - a 50% greater expenditure of energy with near identical HR's) with treadmill running as compared to elliptical. I will do an outside run when it gets less slushy to see how it compares when/if speed/pace is taken into account.

I am 53 and exercise 6-7 days per week alternating lane swimming, running (outside or treadmill), bike (indoor/outdoor), rowing machine, elliptical. I can not get my HR much higher than 155 bpm. Garmin reports the estimate of my VO2 max for running is 52 ml/kg/min which is in the highest category for my age. Therefore, the lower max HR is not an indication of lack of fitness (I presume it is more the opposite).

I use calorie burn as a performance measure rather than a weight reduction/management tool. That's why i'd like there to be some clear method behind the madness of Samsung's calculation methods. Garmin is pretty clear how they do their calculations and often cite the research supporting the calculations. If Samsung wants to do anything for more compulsive or serious fitness folks, they are going to need to beef up S-Health and be more transparent about how they calculate things.

It irks me (as it does you) that there are no other metrics reported with the treadmill run.
 

Pge

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Really Great info.. I looked at some online calorie/hrm calculators. The treadmill run you reported was (I just added 200lbs weight i made a guess) very close when I added your metrics in. Seems between the exercise routines selected in S3 has a huge impact on how calories are reported. I agree on using calories burnt during a workout as indicator of performance. Reality is if you work harder you burn more calories but benefits start going down once you get out of target zones on the high end. IE -More sugar burned, less fat lose plus studies report athletes with high intense duration workouts had increase heart issues. But reason ppl get caught in that trap is because increase in endorphins are released making it easy to get addicted. Yeah I was one of them. But sounds like you have very well balanced schedule and a good handle on your numbers. I am heartened (Pun intended) to see running mode was much closer to the norm then for me the elliptical or stair stepper modes. To cold here lately to go out for a run but I need to see if my results are similar to what you are getting. I don't own a treadmill.
 

jrskelni

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I searched my calorie issue which brought me to this thread. Great information. For me (I think it was mentioned above) the S3 'touted' great fitness and I also wanted a smart watch. I'm disappointed with it not matching my Orange Theory device/what's on the screen. My wives IWatch is spot on with OT. So I know it's the S3. I'm also disappointed in the smart watch functions. Just seems like many years behind for the price they're charging. I'll probably return it and get the Garmin I was looking at for the same cost. That would be a fitness watch first and smart watch second.

Thanks all
 

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