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 06-10-10, 10:23 AM #1 mtalinm Senior Member Thread Starter     Join Date: Dec 2009 Location: Westwood MA (just south of Boston) Bikes: 2009 Trek Soho Posts: 2,214 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 0 Post(s) reasonable calories-per-mile rule of thumb for me? exasperated at the wildly high calories-burned estimates produced both by website calculators and by my Garmin, I've come up with a rule of thumb and wanted to check it out with you. (note: I know there are highly accurate calculators out there that take all sorts of things into account, but I need more of a baseline to work with in general) a few threads pointed me to some data on calories per pound-minute, based on speed: http://www.bicyclesource.com/body/tr...urn-rate.shtml I took the calories per pound-minute and multiplied by 60 and my current weight (285) to get the per-hour burn for me at various speeds. I then divided each figure by that speed to get an estimate of my calories per mile. the table looks like this: mph cal/pound-mile cal/hr cal/mile 8 0.0295 504.45 63.05625 10 0.0355 607.05 60.705 12 0.0426 728.46 60.705 14 0.0512 875.52 62.53714286 15 0.0561 959.31 63.954 16 0.0615 1051.65 65.728125 17 0.0675 1154.25 67.89705882 18 0.074 1265.4 70.3 19 0.0811 1386.81 72.99 so it's pretty much in the 60 calories/mile range, unless I get to higher speeds which I usually don't. the website says there is a premium for climbing, but I want to do a conservative estimate. does this sound like a reasonable rule of thumb? I care because I'm trying to calculate my calorie "deficit" each day of calories consumed - basal metabolic - calories burned exercising Last edited by mtalinm; 06-10-10 at 10:26 AM. Reason: formatting table
 06-10-10, 10:35 AM #2 Seattle Forrest Senior Member     Join Date: Mar 2010 Location: Seattle, WA Bikes: Posts: 16,236 Mentioned: 10 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 3329 Post(s) If you're trying to work out your deficit per day, I'd suggest simplifying the math a bit, and thinking in terms of calories per hour of cycling, rather than per mile. It's not just that the math is less ugly, but the answers you get will be more accurate. There are less assumptions going into it ( average speed in particular ) and you won't be tempted to hammer through the miles as quickly as possible to get on with your day. I did the counting calories thing for several months, and dropped a lot of weight in the process. So you're definitely on the right track.
 06-10-10, 10:44 AM #3 CliftonGK1 Senior Member     Join Date: Jul 2006 Location: Columbus, OH Bikes: '08 Surly Cross-Check, 2011 Redline Conquest Pro, 2012 Spesh FSR Comp EVO, 2015 Trek Domane 6.2 disc Posts: 11,380 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 1 Post(s) On a per mile basis it's tough to figure because there are so many factors to consider: Rider weight, bike weight, tire width/pressure/tread, terrain, speed, wind, rider position, etc. I've seen estimates from 25 - 55 cal/mi, with outliers of 18 and 65. Typically, I use 35 cal/mi as a baseline for comparative purposes. __________________ "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross." - Mandi M.
06-10-10, 10:54 AM   #4
mtalinm
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 Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest If you're trying to work out your deficit per day, I'd suggest simplifying the math a bit, and thinking in terms of calories per hour of cycling, rather than per mile. It's not just that the math is less ugly, but the answers you get will be more accurate. There are less assumptions going into it ( average speed in particular ) and you won't be tempted to hammer through the miles as quickly as possible to get on with your day. I did the counting calories thing for several months, and dropped a lot of weight in the process. So you're definitely on the right track.
interesting idea to think of it in terms of hours. seems like the cal-per-hr varies so much based on average speed that it would be simpler to think of cals-per-mile (which is pretty much the same until you get really fast). but I'll give that some thought.

06-10-10, 11:28 AM   #5
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 Originally Posted by mtalinm interesting idea to think of it in terms of hours. seems like the cal-per-hr varies so much based on average speed that it would be simpler to think of cals-per-mile (which is pretty much the same until you get really fast). but I'll give that some thought.
Only if you're constantly riding the same terrain. I can burn fewer calories per hour at the velodrome doing 23mph than riding hill repeats at 8mph.
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06-10-10, 11:53 AM   #6
dscheidt
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 Originally Posted by mtalinm interesting idea to think of it in terms of hours. seems like the cal-per-hr varies so much based on average speed that it would be simpler to think of cals-per-mile (which is pretty much the same until you get really fast). but I'll give that some thought.
If you maintain a constant effort, calories/hr will be pretty constant. Your speed may vary a lot, based on things like hills, head winds, the sort of bike you're riding.

A heart rate monitor will tell you a lot.

06-10-10, 12:49 PM   #7
Seattle Forrest
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 Originally Posted by dscheidt If you maintain a constant effort, calories/hr will be pretty constant. Your speed may vary a lot, based on things like hills, head winds, the sort of bike you're riding.
I think a lot of this averages out, though, and gets you something consistent enough in the end. Very few people climb hills for an hour straight, and while it's easier to ride on the flats for an hour, it's actually pretty difficult here to find 10 to 15 miles of flat path or roadway. You aren't going to know the biologically correct answer ( 327.9 kCal for the last 30 mins ) but if you calculate it the same way every time, you have something reliable to work with. I guess the same could be said for calculating per mile ... I've been convinced that's not as reliable, though.

The calorie feature on my CatEye seems to be moving time * some rate which is adjusted by my average speed. And the desktop software I feed my GPS track logs into calculates this based on saddle time, too, plus who knows what else? This leads to things like my commute to work burning fewer calories than the one home, because I'm going more slowly, which is the case because it's all uphill. It also takes longer, so, even if I discount the effort involved and go purely based on time, I get the right answer with calories per hour.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by dscheidt A heart rate monitor will tell you a lot.
Could you elaborate on this? I happen to have a heart rate monitor that records my HR into my GPS tracks, some skill at making computer software, and a bit of weight to lose. I'm always open to improvement...

 06-10-10, 12:53 PM #8 bautieri Downtown Spanky Brown     Join Date: May 2007 Location: Camp Hill, Pennsyltucky Bikes: 14 Motobecane Phantom Cross Pro 2000 Kona Lana'I Posts: 2,102 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 0 Post(s) 60 calories a mile is pretty high, I typically figure 30 cals a mile through rolling terrain. Naturally this swings with your terrain and intensity that you're riding at so...really it's hard to say one way or another. Last edited by bautieri; 06-21-10 at 07:19 AM.
 06-10-10, 07:37 PM #9 mtalinm Senior Member Thread Starter     Join Date: Dec 2009 Location: Westwood MA (just south of Boston) Bikes: 2009 Trek Soho Posts: 2,214 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 0 Post(s) well i decided to stick with 50 (my original guesstimate) even though the data suggests 60 for my weight. I think 30 would be for someone lighter that's why I prefer per mile instead of per hour
06-10-10, 07:52 PM   #10
gbg
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 Originally Posted by mtalinm exasperated at the wildly high calories-burned estimates produced both by website calculators and by my Garmin, I've come up with a rule of thumb and wanted to check it out with you. (note: I know there are highly accurate calculators out there that take all sorts of things into account, but I need more of a baseline to work with in general) a few threads pointed me to some data on calories per pound-minute, based on speed: http://www.bicyclesource.com/body/tr...urn-rate.shtml I took the calories per pound-minute and multiplied by 60 and my current weight (285) to get the per-hour burn for me at various speeds. I then divided each figure by that speed to get an estimate of my calories per mile. the table looks like this: mph cal/pound-mile cal/hr cal/mile 8 0.0295 504.45 63.05625 10 0.0355 607.05 60.705 12 0.0426 728.46 60.705 14 0.0512 875.52 62.53714286 15 0.0561 959.31 63.954 16 0.0615 1051.65 65.728125 17 0.0675 1154.25 67.89705882 18 0.074 1265.4 70.3 19 0.0811 1386.81 72.99 so it's pretty much in the 60 calories/mile range, unless I get to higher speeds which I usually don't. the website says there is a premium for climbing, but I want to do a conservative estimate. does this sound like a reasonable rule of thumb? I care because I'm trying to calculate my calorie "deficit" each day of calories consumed - basal metabolic - calories burned exercising
19 0.0811 1386.81 72.99
I think 1386.81 is extremely high.
I think 600-700 cals /hr is about right for HIGH effort exercise,
Something like running would be higher (a weight bearing exercise), but exercise like cycling, rowing and swimming, (not weight bearing) it would be extremely hard to get over 700/hr.

06-10-10, 10:24 PM   #11
dscheidt
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 Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest I think a lot of this averages out, though, and gets you something consistent enough in the end. Very few people climb hills for an hour straight, and while it's easier to ride on the flats for an hour, it's actually pretty difficult here to find 10 to 15 miles of flat path or roadway. You aren't going to know the biologically correct answer ( 327.9 kCal for the last 30 mins ) but if you calculate it the same way every time, you have something reliable to work with. I guess the same could be said for calculating per mile ... I've been convinced that's not as reliable, though.
Of course, some places you have to ride 10 miles to find a hill. I've got a 60 mile loop from my house that's got about 500 feet of climbing. People who follow Mr Beanz around certainly could climb for an hour....

Quote:
 Could you elaborate on this? I happen to have a heart rate monitor that records my HR into my GPS tracks, some skill at making computer software, and a bit of weight to lose. I'm always open to improvement...
For a range of heart rates that are interesting to exercisers and physiologists (about 90 to 150 bpm), energy expenditure is pretty linear. So you can know that the increase of heart rate from 120 to 130 results in the same increase in calorie burn as the increase from 130 to 140. There's a whole lot of variance from individual to individual on what the actual numbers are (what the slope and intercept of the line is, in other words), but there are a variety of different formulas available to take your age, gender, weight, resting HR, VO2 max (if known), and body fat percentage (and probably other factors) and give you reasonably accurate calorie numbers, that also have good precision (if it says you burned 250 calories, you might have burned 150 or 300, but the next time it tells you 250, it's probable you'll have burned the same 150 or 300.) I suspect your gps heart rate monitor has software for this.

but even without a computer, keeping your heart rate at a target can help you keep your workout in the range that you want it to.

06-10-10, 10:30 PM   #12
dscheidt
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 Originally Posted by gbg 19 0.0811 1386.81 72.99 I think 1386.81 is extremely high. I think 600-700 cals /hr is about right for HIGH effort exercise, Something like running would be higher (a weight bearing exercise), but exercise like cycling, rowing and swimming, (not weight bearing) it would be extremely hard to get over 700/hr.
heartrate matters more than "weight bearing" or not. If you can't hold your heart rate at high enough level, because your legs aren't strong enough, then sure, you'll have a hard time burning a thousand calories an hour on a bike. If you can, then you can burn a lot of calories on a bike.,

 06-10-10, 11:10 PM #13 Dr. Banzai Oscillation overthruster     Join Date: May 2010 Location: Duncan, BC Bikes: Cinelli Mash / CAAD9 5 Posts: 1,532 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 1 Post(s) So do many of you not trust the typical calorie calculators such as LoseIt! or iMapMyRide where they say that a 220 pound man riding at 30kph for 30kms (one hour) burns 1200 calories? (19-20mph for one hour)
 06-11-10, 03:30 AM #14 socalrider Senior Member     Join Date: Mar 2004 Location: Upland, CA Bikes: Litespeed Liege, Motorola Team Issue Eddy Mercxk, Surly Crosscheck Cyclocross bike, Fisher Supercaliber Mtn. Bike Posts: 5,023 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 3 Post(s) a more accurate measure is 8 cal per minute at moderate pace, 12-16 cal per minute at hard efforts..
06-11-10, 01:46 PM   #15
dscheidt
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 Originally Posted by Dr. Banzai So do many of you not trust the typical calorie calculators such as LoseIt! or iMapMyRide where they say that a 220 pound man riding at 30kph for 30kms (one hour) burns 1200 calories? (19-20mph for one hour)
about as far as I could throw their datacenter. There are lots of variables. For instance, it takes about 200 watts for me to make my bike go 20mph on the flat, in the drops. On the tops, it would be about 275. Assuming 24% efficency (which is about typical (a bit high, but it makes nice numbers to work with)), that's 720 Calories/hr on the drops. on the tops, it would be 990 C/hr.

On a mountain bike, with knobbies, and energy sapping gsuspension, it would be something on the order of 350 W to go 20mph, which would get to the 1200 C/hr number.

But add some wind, and thing change. Even a 5 mph tailwind will save 50 watts or more at this speed. 50 watts is 180 calories an hour.

06-11-10, 02:07 PM   #16
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 Originally Posted by dscheidt heartrate matters more than "weight bearing" or not. ,

I'm generally riding a road bike with hands on the tops, though sometimes on a hybrid

06-11-10, 05:08 PM   #17
gbg
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 Originally Posted by dscheidt heartrate matters more than "weight bearing" or not. If you can't hold your heart rate at high enough level, because your legs aren't strong enough, then sure, you'll have a hard time burning a thousand calories an hour on a bike. If you can, then you can burn a lot of calories on a bike.,
But Weight bearing increases heart rate a lot more. Your gluts and hamstrings are 40% of your muscle mass, and engaging them can really increase your heart rate.
Just using your quads, they are easier to tire and then you can't raise your heart rate. When I cycle (at a fairly hard effort) it is hard for me to get over 140, but when I
roller blade I get over 150 and I feel like I am hardly working.

I just got a powertap (probably the only real way to get good numbers) for my Mtb so I think I will be getting some pretty accurate Kj expended numbers. I can't wait.

06-11-10, 05:16 PM   #18
gbg
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 Originally Posted by socalrider a more accurate measure is 8 cal per minute at moderate pace, 12-16 cal per minute at hard efforts..
That makes more sense to me 8 X 60 = 480/hr and I think 12 X 60 = 720 is reasonable for HARD effort. The 16 X 60 = 960 would be hard to get to unless you are really in shape.
I had a friend (400+ lbs) who put his weight into an elliptical machine it it said he burned 3500 cals in 47 minutes. And ellipticals are one of the most useless fat burning contraptions out there.

06-11-10, 06:19 PM   #19
dscheidt
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 Originally Posted by gbg But Weight bearing increases heart rate a lot more. Your gluts and hamstrings are 40% of your muscle mass, and engaging them can really increase your heart rate. Just using your quads, they are easier to tire and then you can't raise your heart rate. When I cycle (at a fairly hard effort) it is hard for me to get over 140, but when I roller blade I get over 150 and I feel like I am hardly working. I just got a powertap (probably the only real way to get good numbers) for my Mtb so I think I will be getting some pretty accurate Kj expended numbers. I can't wait.
Which is what I meant by "legs aren't strong enough". If you ride more, you'll get better at it. Cycling uses muscles differently than running (or skating, but I don't know anything about hte biomechanics of skating), but the big muscles are all used. I assure you that serious riders can get their heart rate to whatever figure they care to.

06-11-10, 06:48 PM   #20
gbg
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 Originally Posted by dscheidt Which is what I meant by "legs aren't strong enough". If you ride more, you'll get better at it. Cycling uses muscles differently than running (or skating, but I don't know anything about hte biomechanics of skating), but the big muscles are all used. I assure you that serious riders can get their heart rate to whatever figure they care to.
I think anyone can get their heart rate up there, it is maintaining it that is the problem. And it is easier to maintain it using more of your muscles.
On flat ground no wind on my "fast" 21lb hardtail with 2.2 inch 45psi knobs I can do 18-19mph at about 135bpm, If I go to 19-20
it is about 147bpm and pushing it at 21-23 I get around 159-165 and am breathing really hard, but this would be hard to maintain for even 5 miles.
Roller blading with ski poles I get to 155bpm and can go for 2+ hours and 25+ miles and I am not really breathing that hard.
Weight beariing you use your gluts and hamtrings way more than cycling,swimming rowing etc.

 06-11-10, 08:53 PM #21 SebastionMerckx Bastion     Join Date: Jan 2010 Location: Ohio/Chicago Bikes: Posts: 208 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 0 Post(s) Good rule of thumb for me is between 12-18 calories a minute. 12 would be around 14 mph and 18 would be around 19-21 mph average.
06-11-10, 09:49 PM   #22
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 Originally Posted by dscheidt People who follow Mr Beanz around certainly could climb for an hour....

Yup, our fun rides are 2 hours straight climbing. You guys get pretty technical about calorie intake usege etc.. All I know is that when we train for a ride, we drop an ez 20 lbs without counting calories. Eating sensibly and lots of CLIMBING. One a training ride last year, a dude had a Garmin, said we burned 5000 calories on the 60 mile 6,500ft ride. That's the only time in 15 years I've heard anything about my calories burned! Not that it mattered to me!

 06-12-10, 01:25 AM #23 mtalinm Senior Member Thread Starter     Join Date: Dec 2009 Location: Westwood MA (just south of Boston) Bikes: 2009 Trek Soho Posts: 2,214 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 0 Post(s) I routinely average 140 bpm and have had a couple of sessions averaging 160. i put my ideal weight into Garmin instead of my actual weight and now it is spitting out more realistic calorie consumption. coupled with tracking my intake, it is really making a difference! scale says I've dropped five pounds in the past 10 days, and I feel it too
 06-12-10, 04:59 AM #24 socalrider Senior Member     Join Date: Mar 2004 Location: Upland, CA Bikes: Litespeed Liege, Motorola Team Issue Eddy Mercxk, Surly Crosscheck Cyclocross bike, Fisher Supercaliber Mtn. Bike Posts: 5,023 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 3 Post(s) the 16 cal / per minute threshold is based on working out at 95% + of your max heart rate.. Hard solo rides for me are at 85% of max average for an entire ride.. If I am in the 90% of max avg range, those are very fast group rides where I am struggling just to keep on the wheels..
 06-14-10, 03:01 PM #25 socalrider Senior Member     Join Date: Mar 2004 Location: Upland, CA Bikes: Litespeed Liege, Motorola Team Issue Eddy Mercxk, Surly Crosscheck Cyclocross bike, Fisher Supercaliber Mtn. Bike Posts: 5,023 Mentioned: 0 Post(s) Tagged: 0 Thread(s) Quoted: 3 Post(s) To see how off the garmin 305 is, I used it on a fairly fast beach ride down the SA trail.. Here is the crazy calorie data.. 2:24 ride for 48 miles gave me a calorie count of 3587 calories. Even at the max 16cal/minute threshold that should only be 2300 calories.. MY HR was 150avg - 178 max.. So take what the Garmin is telling you with serious skepticism.. I normally use a Polar or Suunto HR when I ride which gives more realistic numbers..