Accuracy of a treadmill calorie counter: How accurate is a treadmill calorie counter?

Before answering the question, let’s look at the reasons for counting calories. One of the reasons for calorie burn is overall health. Systematic training improves overall well-being, adds energy, shapes good posture, and normalizes heart rate.

Why are people interested in losing weight loss?

The athletic build is also a criterion. But the researchers aren’t encouraging; calorie counts don’t seem to impact eating habits significantly. Calorie counters on treadmills and other cardio machines are handy.

You may be surprised at the number of calories burned at the end of a workout. It can make you feel better and more motivated to run or do exercise.

losing weight loss

The overall accuracy of the treadmill

It is important to know that these calculated calories are only rough estimates. Notwithstanding, some types of treadmill equipment are more accurate than other machines, but none of them can be 100% accurate. But how do you know how much energy you spent doing exercises?

In general, they overestimate the number of calories burned by 15-20% because they cannot account for all the individual factors involved in calorie burning.

The good news is that you can improve your estimated calories burned. Let’s learn how to reach the most accurate reading of a treadmill.

Personal calorie-burning factors

Treadmill calorie counters may not be enough. Many of the high-tech cardio machines have long asked for your personal data, which includes: weight, gender, and age.

But this is also not enough, due to other important factors. All treadmill’s calorie counter has standard formulas, and in general, they’re unsophisticated.

Let’s take a detailed look at the factors:

  1. Fitness Level: How many calories do the experienced runners burn? Always less! Because they have a high fitness level. The more efficient and fit you are, the longer you will burn in the same activity.
  2. Body Composition: It is very likely that at the beginning of training, the amount of fat will exceed the amount of muscle mass. The more muscle you build, the more efficient your body becomes. Burning calories for the same amount of exercise becomes more efficient.
  3. Body size. The larger the body size, the easier it is to lose weight.
  4. Age: There is a lot of research on the role of age in sports, but the fact is that at an older age, you will burn fewer calories than you did when you were younger. This can be compensated by increasing the time or intensity of the exercise.
READ ALSO ➡  Bowflex treadmill - Best Treadmill Under $ 500


How many calories do you actually burn on a treadmill?

Let’s take a closer look at the formulas. Often the formula of calorie loss for the most cardio treadmill is based on The Compendium of Physical Activities and the values ​​are based on the metabolic equivalent known as MET (metabolic equivalents.) It shows what your metabolic rate is when you are doing an activity.

For example, MET = 1 is the amount of energy your body uses when you’re resting. MET = 5 means your body is working 5 times more than when you are in the sitting position. This number and formula is a reliable calorie counter. But does this make my treadmill calories accurate?

How accurate is MET?

Being completely accurate is impossible. This is due to other factors that cannot be easily measured. As already mentioned, the higher the level of your personal details, the more muscle mass you have – the fewer calories you’re lost.

The same goes for treadmills. The heavier you are, the more calories you lose on the treadmill.

Treadmills that display a number without your weight are purely guessing. One person’s running may be less effective, which means the workout will be harder and the MET higher.

Furthermore, with the calorie count, you get after your workout. Don’t think that you can eat a certain number of calories. This number is usually too high.

calorie count

How accurate are exercise calorie counters?

So, what determines calories burned on a cardio machine? The number of calories burned when using a treadmill, per mile or kilometer, is determined by the following factors:

  1. Body weight. The muscles in your body burn energy (calories) to properly distribute mass. The higher the weight, the more calories burned.
  2. Step length. It’s a little tricky. Your speed is a combination of stride length and cadence. Longer strides require more energy. But for running, the same speed will no longer be effective. Short steps allow you to take more steps and save energy. But to maintain the speed, you will need to increase the frequency. In any case, about 100-150 calories per mile will be burned.
  3. Efficiency. The smoother the movement and the better you train to use the treadmill; the fewer calories you burn at a given distance. They may vary depending on personal details.
  4. Exercise intensity. If your heart and lungs are working harder, it’s because you are burning fat. Heart rate and breathing increase as the energy is expended. Using heart rate monitors and proper breathing is a great way to control the effort you put in.
  5. Speed. If you cover the same distance in a shorter amount of time, then you not only burn more calories due to the intensity of your workout, but you also burn calories just by breathing.
  6. Incline. Running uphill is always harder. The same applies to treadmills. You work harder because you are lifting instead of just moving it forward. In fact, you will be able to lose an additional three to five calories per minute depending on your incline position.
READ ALSO ➡  How to lose weight without cardio. The best methods of burning body fat

accurate are exercise calorie counters

Fitness trackers, smartwatches, and Fitbit: reliable assistants?

If you can’t rely on cardio machines’ calorie counters, can you trust your personal fitness tracker? These popular items can track heart rate and monitor related to your health and activity levels. So, they’re a great option for keeping track of your workout. A study at Stanford University took a look at seven different devices to check their accuracy.

The results showed that the most accurate of them was off by an average of 27% and the least accurate by 93%. The heart rate monitor was the most reliable function, but the researchers concluded that the calorie counter should not be counted on. But then what can replace a personal calorie counter?

If you need a personal calorie counter, you can always try using a heart rate monitor, a smartwatch, or a Fitbit. The last one is more personalized for you and measures your daily activity as you walk. Fitness watches and Fitbit measure calories burned quite accurately, but also not meaningless.

Like the built-in calorie counters on cardio machines at the gym, other counters can vary depending on several factors. However, they tend to be more accurate than trackers built into the treadmills because they are more personalized to you and often have a built-in heart rate monitor.

Find out more info in the article – How Accurate Are Calorie Counts on Cardio Machines?


What factors influence how many calories I can burn on the cardio machine?

The lesser-known aspect is actually the technique. If you have more fat instead of muscle mass, you’ll lose more calories even if you weigh the same. The same goes for someone with a larger frame. New runners will burn more calories than experienced runners. But don’t get upset.

As we lose weight, our body responds in many ways that ultimately lead to us burning fewer calories as we get leaner. Despite these metabolic adaptations, we can continue losing weight through alterations to our calorie intake and energy expenditure. You can consult more experienced runners about this.

How can I burn more calories on the treadmill?

To maximize your calories burned, don’t lean on the handrails of cardio machines. This can reduce your burned calories by twenty percent or more. If you need them for balance, or if the handrails of the machine have a heart rate sensor, then touch the handrails only with light movements.

  1. Proper Posture: Don’t slouch, as this can seriously affect your oxygen intake. Consider exercising outside. Outdoor running leads to calorie burn faster than treadmill running because it is more challenging.
  2. Use Incline: As you increase the incline, it becomes harder for you to move, which leads to calorie loss.
  3. Weighted running. Another way to burn more calories while running on a treadmill is to add weights. This can be done by wearing weights around the waist or holding weights in your hands.
READ ALSO ➡  Does pre-workout make you lose weight?

Using one or more of these methods can increase the number of calories you’ve lost while running on the treadmill. This can help you reach your weight loss goals faster. However, it is important not to overtrain in the beginning, as this leads to fatigue, injury, demotivation, and other unpleasant outcomes.


Many people like to see a good form, and weight changes with calorie burn are a significant criterion for achieving a personal ideal. But to get results, you have to practice good form: if the treadmill machine calculates your weight, then the calorie counter will be as accurate as possible.

How accurate is a treadmill calorie counter?

Are they accurate? They can give you a really accurate figure. But use it as a guide to how hard your workout was. The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week. Systematic exercise help to lose weight and lower body fat much more effectively. If you can do this, you will lose weight and feel good.

Try to weigh yourself weekly in the morning, as soon as you wake up at the same time, and you will understand how many kilograms you could lose. Treadmill calorie counters will only show you formulas, while scales will show you the result. And don’t forget about a calorie deficit.

You may be interested in – A helpful guide on how to lose weight while sitting

Author of article
Steven Hopkins
Welcome to my website, or even a blog. For the past 15 years, I have regularly visited the gym, spending at least 2 hours a day there. I love protein shakes, quality athletic shoes, and I know a lot about exercise equipment. This is my hobby. Every day I run kilometers on the treadmill, do dozens of push-UPS, and hundreds of pull-UPS on the uneven bars. Sport is my life...  
Written Articles
Previous Post A helpful guide on how to lose weight while sitting
Next Post How to make spin bike seat more comfortable? Simple but effective instruction

Your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *