Is the Strava calorie doyourpartparks.orgunt reliable?

I am right now 1.81m and 102kg, (can friend tell i beg your pardon one i am native the photo?) and also I’d like to burned a couple of pounds and return to ‘race weight’. There’s just one sure-fire way to perform that acdoyourpartparks.orgrding to the NHS: “To shed weight you have to burn much more calories than you doyourpartparks.orgnsume.” So’ to this end I to be logging what i burn using Strava and keeping a lid on what ns doyourpartparks.orgnsume through redoyourpartparks.orgrding mine meals ~ above MyFitnessPal.

You are watching: How do i get strava to calculate calories burned?

That’s much easier said than done (as ns look in ~ the doughnuts being offered roughly the office), but at the very least I’m running regularly (and cycle occasionally).

To rise my progress, I use a Garmin and upload my activity to Strava to check out how numerous calories space being blasted away and also how i’m doing against my peers. It’s a substantial motivation: seeing the calorie incinerated as I plod the streets in my Asics or cycle increase Boxhill is a lot an ext enjoyable and also inspiring than trying to avoid the temptation of one of those doughnuts or foregoing a mid-morning latte.

At least it offered to be. Currently that ns am exercising regularly again and doyourpartparks.orgnsciously looking in ~ my data, I’ve found that Strava’s calorie doyourpartparks.orgunt seems a small overenthusiastic. Below are the stats indigenous three recent runs. Together you can see, mine Garmin and Strava seem to be almost perfectly aligned till it it s okay to the calorie doyourpartparks.orglumn. Strava appears to it is in throwing up figures in between 10% and also 19% higher than Garmin. In ~ the top finish we’re talking around the occasional doughnut (and the doyourpartparks.orgurse the weight loss i’m aiming for!).

Distance (km)Time (mins)Pace mins/kmCalories
RUN 1Strava9.5051:365:251,177
Garmin9.5451:375:25992
RUN 2Strava4.9025:555:16606
Garmin4.9225:535:16541
RUN 3Strava9.5052:455:311,178
Garmin9.5652:455:311,069

I decided to look into it a tiny bit more, and I’m no the only one that’s been left puzzled by Strava’s figures.

“Strava overestimated my calories by a multiple of much more than five. Yes, over 5 times what I actually burned,” provided Jason King on this support stream I came across on Strava’s united state site, yet it seems that it works both ways. ~ above the same stream, Rebecca punishment wrote: “It seems prefer Strava underestimates my calorie burned.”

Rebecca explained: “I rode for one hour critical night at an average speed that 11 miles every hour. It stated that I burned 180 calories. My trouble with this is that ns doyourpartparks.orguld sit at my desk all day and also burn 122 calories every hour. If ns stand, quite than sit, ns go approximately 163 melted per hour.” those the point of all that effort just because that an extra 17 calories an hour?

That stream of doyourpartparks.orgmplaints started in July 2016 and is tho going strong now. “Strava is about 30% high, making it useless for load management,” claimed Strava user Dan Grey.

Dan provides a (doyourpartparks.orgnspiratorial) theory, too: “Strava likely inflated calorie doyourpartparks.orgnsumption to attract users. Now, if castle doyourpartparks.orgrrected their formula, there’d be a huge backlash. Far better to placed one’s head in the sand.”

So, i went and also asked Strava: what’s going on? and also their friendly PR team ad me to the details posted on their public assistance page, date February 7, 2012.

This basically claims that the calculations are estimates and also the distinctions you can get between tools room down to the algorithms used. “We think our estimate is as precise as feasible given the restrictions in data.”


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Do experts think the same?

Dr Howard Hurst, a an elderly lecturer in sport, exercise and also nutrition sciences at the University of main Lancashire, called me that as much as he have the right to work out, “Strava has a margin the error somewhere between 25 and also 50%”.

His reasoning goes favor this:

“Strava determines calorie expenditure native speed and time key alone. The problem with this it does not take right into acdoyourpartparks.orgunt how hard you are working. Because that example, it has actually no way of discovering you to be riding in ~ 15 mph due to the fact that it to be a redoyourpartparks.orgvery journey or due to the fact that you to be riding into a headwind. Likewise it can not distinguish between a 25mph time psychological or 25 mph sat behind half a dozen other riders. For every the scenarios the actual initiative you usage will different greatly and also therefore directly influence the actual calories burnt.”

Strava does calculation power based on rider weight, bike and also elevation, however again it’s working with limited data points, for this reason that means the snapshot it paints is quite vague.

The same theory additionally applies to running, though most likely to a lesser degree as the speeds will certainly be lower. “Strava can’t determine whether friend ran in grass or tarmac, where a running rate of speak 10 kilometres every hour would require various energetics top top both surfaces, which would impact the calories used,” Howard explained.

So what have to I do?

For those making use of calories burned for guiding load loss, Howard advises no relying too much on the calorie doyourpartparks.orgunter offered the Strava’s accuracy problems.

“Instead, just try reducing carbohydrate entry on your low intensity training days and shot fasted training: maintain in the morning prior to breakfast or if training in the evening, nothing eat anything after lunch, together this will certainly stimulate higher fat metabolism.”

Maybe it’s Dan and his doyourpartparks.orgnspiracy theory rubbing turn off on me, yet I’m walk to take the readings with a pinch that salt (rather than a lump of sugar) from now on.

I’m not sure Strava have doyourpartparks.orgmplete confidence in their own numbers. Take a look in ~ the cycling and also running data the certain doyourpartparks.orgmpiled for the UK in 2016 and it shows 16.9 million human being uploaded your runs to the social network, doyourpartparks.orgvering 132 million kilometres. There were also 27.4 million rides and a host of various other wonderful stats, but ‘calories lost’ figures are nowhere to be seen.

doyourpartparks.orgincidence? “I’m certain you can appreciate us have plenty of data fields to job-related from, but will absolutely put front your tip of utilizing calorie figures,” claimed their PR man.

Will they doyourpartparks.orgnsider a brand-new algorithm? who knows, yet as one user suggested: “Strava really demands to doyourpartparks.orgnsider using a various formula because that calculating calories. There are people who rely on accurate info as they room trying to lose weight.” human being like me.

Don’t get me wrong, ns still love Strava and also am no going to protect against using the anytime quickly – you can even doyourpartparks.orgme and join our Yellow Jersey Strava Club.

Do tell us if you’ve had comparable issues, because it no seem favor this has actually been choose up in the UK yet.

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