Your last cardio session may not have burned as many calories as you thought. According to the American Council on Exercise, cardio-equipment calorie counters can be off by 25%! Machines that require you to enter information like your weight, height, age, and gender give you a better estimate, but aren’t guaranteed to be accurate.
Here are a few tips to make sure you’re burning calories and making the most of your workout:
Instead of obsessing over burning a certain number of calories, focus on your effort and pay attention to how hard your body is working. To burn the most calories, you need to get your heart rate up. Workout at a level that isn’t strenuous, but makes it a little more difficult to carry a conversation.
Measure your success by running further or faster than the last time. Your body gets used to the same type of exercise over time, so eventually, your body becomes more efficient and you burn less calories. A treadmill calorie-counter isn’t going to factor that in. Challenge yourself, and add higher-intensity intervals, increase your incline and/or resistance, and try to go a little further or faster each week.
Invest in a personal trainer. Trainers are there to help you maximize your workout and make sure you’re exercising safely and effectively. Even if you just sign up for one session, working with a trainer will help you navigate the gym and thus, burn more calories during each workout instead of staying put on the treadmill!
Purchase a high-quality heart rate monitor that includes a chest strap. This is the most accurate calorie counter you’re going to get!
If you’re stuck on burning a certain number of calories, just add 25 percent to your goal to adjust for inaccuracy. In other words, if you normally workout until you’ve burned 300 calories, increase that number to 375. Now you can be sure you actually burned 300 calories, and maybe even a few extra if you just happen to be on a super smart machine.