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  1. #1
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    Garmin Edge 500 Calorie Problem

    I contacted Garmin today regarding my Edge 500, and the super low calorie counts. For example, my last ride was a mountain bike ride for 13 miles in 1 hour 17 minutes. My calorie count for the ride was only 505 calories. When I used one of the on on-line calorie burned estimator from HealthStatus.com, my calorie burn was 1,069.

    I was told that this is a known issue with the Edge 500, and that a new firmware was out or should be coming out that fixed the issue. The person I spoke to didn't seem to know the firmware version that has the "fix", but told me to hard reset my device and that should help. The day after the ride I mentioned above, I had a nice wreck and my thigh landed on a massive tree root, the resulting thigh hematoma has prevented any exercise since to know whether or not this has worked.

    I'm curious if anyone else has experienced this problem. I've seen any number of sites slamming the accuracy of calorie burn on a heart rate monitor. I'm not looking for spot on numbers, just something relatively close. My wife and I have been using myfitnesspal.com with great results, but when you only allow yourself something like 1,400 calories a day, you have to exercise in order to eat normal portion meals. A 500 calorie difference like above, is the difference between a veggie salad and a steak dinner! Well, maybe a steak salad...

  2. #2
    Jacob 34:19
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    Are you using the HRM strap with your Edge 500?

    I'm curious because in a recent endurance event, I saw a huge difference in caloric burn between my Edge 500 (without the HRM strap) and what my Polar HRM read. I was on the bike approximately 9.5 hours. My Edge 500 estimated around 4000 calories based on nothing more than the GPS data. My Polar HRM showed around 8400 calories burned and was armed with my constant HR, weight, age, and V02 max. I'm guessing the Polar was more accurate.

    Ultimately, I'd like to drop the Polar and buy the HRM strap for my Garmin but only if it's reasonably accurate. If it's still way off with the HRM strap, I'll stick with the Polar.
    I buy stuff from Milltown Cycles.

  3. #3
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    Yes, I am using the Garmin heart rate strap, the new fabric one. I know it's not the strap, because I also have a Bontrager Node 1 and had no problem with it. I actually put in my pack on one of my rides and it was about double the Edge 500.

  4. #4
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    The issue really is the inherent issues measuring calories on ANY platform except a lab setting.

    If you are using speed and weight, there is almost no way to give a meaningful total.

    If you add in HR, you are adding effort BUT this can vary by as much as 70%

    I have done this stuff in labs and to get within 5% you need to have a very controlled setting with a lot of input and output measurements and Historical information on the athlete.

    I do understand the obsession with calories but the "is the Polar more accurate or the Garmin?" is not a valid question. They are both off.

    One may be on a ride pretty close but for the same person may be far off the mark or even the same person but on a different ride.

    Neither take into account the calorie consumption AFTER the ride as well.

    I have even compared calorie consumption using power meters in a lab setting. The variances are 15-40% depending on the individual and the level of adaptation to the specific challenge (a sprinter putting a long effort in vs a sprinter doing a sprint). Shoot, people have a metabolic efficiency variance of 20% for people in the same physical condition!

    The human body is amazing and a challenge to create a spreadsheet for.

    If you are looking for useful values for during rides, there are a lot of nutrition guides that are generic and are good starting pioints. Use them and try eating more/less during the ride.

    If you are looking for information for loosing weight, Keep a daily calorie in and work out log and compare to weight (use the same time of day for your weights) and when you find balance then add work or reduce calories in.

    Sorry, but any one who says that speed, HR and your weight is enough to get you within 25% are lying.

    The values MAY work for you MOST of the time and the average may work out for you but that will be **** ass luck that you were what their algorithms were based near.
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  5. #5
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    agreed. I ignore calorie data fields on my Polar. Just not that useful.

  6. #6
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    Most caloric computations are pretty variable as KINBOY says. I dont even look at the Garmin anymore, I rough estimate about 900-1000 kcals/hour of good hard riding. Still not as accurate as calculating heat production, but it's a ballpark number that I assume responsibility of error for.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by besnard
    I contacted Garmin today regarding my Edge 500, and the super low calorie counts. For example, my last ride was a mountain bike ride for 13 miles in 1 hour 17 minutes. My calorie count for the ride was only 505 calories. When I used one of the on on-line calorie burned estimator from HealthStatus.com, my calorie burn was 1,069.

    I was told that this is a known issue with the Edge 500, and that a new firmware was out or should be coming out that fixed the issue. The person I spoke to didn't seem to know the firmware version that has the "fix", but told me to hard reset my device and that should help. The day after the ride I mentioned above, I had a nice wreck and my thigh landed on a massive tree root, the resulting thigh hematoma has prevented any exercise since to know whether or not this has worked.

    I'm curious if anyone else has experienced this problem. I've seen any number of sites slamming the accuracy of calorie burn on a heart rate monitor. I'm not looking for spot on numbers, just something relatively close. My wife and I have been using myfitnesspal.com with great results, but when you only allow yourself something like 1,400 calories a day, you have to exercise in order to eat normal portion meals. A 500 calorie difference like above, is the difference between a veggie salad and a steak dinner! Well, maybe a steak salad...
    505 calories in just over an hour isn't super low in my opinion, but it depends on how hard you are working. I had a Garmin forerunner 305 and now upgraded to the 310XT. The 305 used to massively overestimate calories on the bike, the 310XT seems a lot more realistic. I would estimate that an hour of running or hard cycling would burn around 400-600 calories. Three hours mountain biking yesterday with almost 1000m elevation gain apparently burnt around 1200 according to the 310XT... I'm sure it's not super accurate but it doesn't sound overly low.

  8. #8
    thecentralscrutinizer
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    I thought mine was low too, but I figured it works out for me since I'm trying to loose weight anyway.
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  9. #9
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    I've had an Edge 705 for a good few years and to decided to treat myself to an Edge 500 and keep it for road rides only.
    The calorie estimation for the same rides, with same rider and bike profiles, is half the amount on the telemetry shown by the 500, compared with the 705.
    With such disparity, the massive variance makes the function pointless

  10. #10
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    Don't feel bad, after the last firmware update on my edge 705 I'm burning almost 2000 calories an hour on a moderate trainer ride. I don't know what they changed, but man it's horrible now for calories. I always thought it was a little high, if I had a hard hour ride it would be around 1000, which I still think is too high, probably closer to 700-800 in reality, but now it's almost comical.

  11. #11
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    Go to the Garmin forums and you will find a multitude of threads on this topic. As pointed out by others, all of these devices give a very rough estimate of calories burned. However, I think that many of the tables you see on the web way overestimate calories burned for cycling. If they were accurate, I would have disappeared years ago.

    I find the calorie numbers on the 500 (with HR monitor), along with average HR, to be useful tools to compare the relative effort among rides. But don't put too much faith in the absolute calorie numbers.

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