Calories per minute – data analysis

20th of September 2021

I got an early birthday present for my 50th birthday, a new watch, back in June. I wanted not to have to take my phone with me to track my activities/listen to music and that’s what my dear husband got me: A Garmin Vívoactive 4S. On top of freeing me from my phone it also monitors my heartbeat/calories so I decided to look at the data in the interests of science and fun. Here are the results…… Drum roll…. In descending order of calorific-burn index* 😀

To get the calories per minutes I’m simply dividing the total amount of calories in an activity by the time it takes. My estimated BMR is only 1120 calories per day. My husband burns almost twice as many calories as I do… Although the numbers are very particular to me, the order of intensity per workout will be similar for most people.  So, in descending order of intensity, with running being the most intense (intense as in most calories burned per minute).

1) Running 8.2 to 8.8 cal/min

2) T25 Beta Core Cardio 7.7 cal/min (28min with cooldown)

3) T25 Beta Speed 2.0 7.3 cal/min (25min, without 3m cooldown). Heather Robertson Fat burning HIIT Cardio7.1 cal/min (30min)

4) T25 Alpha Cardio6.86 cal/min (28 min, with 3m cooldown)

5) Insanity Max Interval Circuit6.6 cal/min

6) Pre-run Warmup, Cardio Just Dance, Skipping/Ghost rope 6.3 cal/min

7) Cardio/HIIT (Heather)4.7 to 6.4 cal/min (AMRAP 5.7)

8) Insanity Max Cardio Conditioning5.5 cal/min

8) Cleaning (Vacuum cleaning)5.1 cal/min

9) Rebecca Kennedy – 1H Level 2 Agility5 cal/min

10) Fast walking 4.5 cal/min & Commute Cycling 4.4 to 4.6 cal/min

11) Strength3.2 to 4.5 cal/min

12) Capoeira 2.3 to 3.4 cal/min – up to 4.6 when lots of games are played. Average 300c per 90m 3.3 cal/min.

13) Fast Ashtanga Yoga2.5 cal/min

14) Leisure walking – 2.4 cal/min

15) Five Parks Yoga0.9 to 2 cal/min

My HIIT activities in descending order of average heart rate (i.e. higher the heart rate the more calories burned).

But running still comes out on top for burning calories, of all the exercises I do…

23 July 2022
While sleeping (7:50 hours) the watch tells me I burned 450 calories – so around 56 calories per minute – My BRM is on average 1200 calories. My average heart rate while sleeping is 45bpm. When I use the formula for calories while sleeping I get 340 calories
BMR / 24 hours = x, 1200/24 = 50
x * 0.85 = y, 50 * 0.85 = 42.5
y is the hourly calories while sleeping, which for me is 42.5
y * hours slept = 340 calories burned for an 8 hour sleep.

Now, I never sleep for 8 hours, it’s more like 7, and I do wake up 3 or 4 times a night – then go back to sleep usually straight away – but still, it’s quite a difference, i.e. 340 vs 450 calories while sleeping.

I also noticed some other discrepancies on how many calories I’m burning – which is making it hard to know accurately what the real picture is… For example, on FitnessPal I might be told I have 300 calories left at the end of the day, but on the Garmin Connect app it often says I have l fewer calories left. Yesterday, according to Garmin, total calorie expenditure was 1743 (377 active) and with my 1200 goal and calories consumed app says I have 221 calories remaining. But if I actually do the sums 1743 – 1357 then I get 386 calories left. Meanwhile FitnessPal tells me I had 333 calories left at the end of the day (both apps are connected). So:
Garmin Connect – 221 calories left at the end of the yesterday
Fitness Pal – 333 calories left at the end of the yesterday
Calculator – 386 calories left at the end of the yesterday.

According to Garmin my BMR is 1,361 (at my current weight of 53.2kg) – that has been constant (aka as resting calories) whether I wear the watch 24/7 or not. What changes in Garmin are the active calories.

THAT’S A LOT OF CALORIES difference! How does that work????? #firstworldproblems

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