Calorie Count

  1. northernCyclist says:

    So, does the calorie counter only take into account your weight, activity and distance? Why doesn't the pace figure in?

  2. jkamitses says:

    My comment applies to this question and extends the discussion to calories burned for cycling (this topic) as compared to running.

    According to articles at the Livestrong site the pace does influence calorie burn: "The two most important factors in how many calories you burn while running are your body weight and the pace at which you're running"
    Read more:

    Since gmap-pedometer was originally developed to map running routes I've assumed that the algorithm used is based on running the route at one pace. I created a 1 mile route and used a weight of 205 lbs to get a calorie burn of 155, or 1550 for 10 miles, which is roughly what the livestrong article says a 205 lb runner would burn in an hour; so the default pace is 6 minute miles (10 mph). I also checked the gmap-pedometer computed calorie burn for a 155 lb runner on the same route and this is in the same ballpark with data in the Livestrong article. So, on the basis of this I've concluded that the calorie counter here only applies to the activity "running" (so does not change if you select the "cycling" route mode) and assumes a 6-minute/mile pace.

    When cycling the same route a different algorithm is needed. As a rule of thumb (based on Livestrong articles) cycling under 10 mph burns 0.5 the number of calories and over 10 mph burns 0.62 the number of calories of a runner of the same route.

    Another study, however, found that riding a bicycle 20 miles at 15 mph will burn the same number of calories as running 5.6 miles at any speed. This study found that running tends to burn the same amount of calories at any speed**, while bicycling calorie consumption varies more with speed because of wind resistance. Using this result then the factor to convert running calories to cycling calories for the same distance would be 0.28 (20 X 0.28 = 5.6).

    Presumably the actual factor is somewhere between 0.28 and 0.62

    Read more:
    and reference other articles at the site

    ** I also assume that the operative word in "runnng at any speed" is "running". My guess is that the cutoff between "jogging" and "running" is somewhere below a 10-minute mile pace. Note that there is one school of thought that calorie burn is independent of pace for the same distance since a slower pace just means you are working out longer, though at a lower heart rate which increases fat burn (the kind of calories we love to burn most).