Unfortunately the answer is, no.

Reasons I dislike movement trackers when it comes to tracking calories.

  1. Why are we tracking calories burned? So you can make up for the food you ate? That’s incredibly unhealthy mentally and physically. When you work with a qualified nutritionist they will take into account your movement based upon formulas that have been tested and proven through years of studies. Are they 100% accurate, no but they are close and that’s why you need a good coach, they will adjust the calories as needed based upon your biofeedback and metrics.
  2. They are very inaccurate. Studies show the best tracker to be Apple Watch and that is 20% inaccurate assuming that you wear it perfectly. All the time, during every workout and all of your movement. Apple even has a disclaimer that tells us HIIT workouts can’t be accurately tracked. The worst is the fitbit which was off by 27-93%. Facepalm
  3. I touched on this in #1 – it really bothers me when I hear people saying “how many calories did you burn during your workout” NOBODY KNOWS. Who Cares? Are you working out purely to burn calories?
  4. Unpopular truth- if you are working out with the main objective of burning calories good chance you will never reach your goals or get the body you want. When you train for the purpose of getting stronger, playing a sport, enjoying your time, perfecting a craft- the body you want comes along with the joy of the activity.
  5. METs – metabolic equivalent you often see METS on cardio machines. We do a formula that is MET X bw in KG to find how many calories you would burn per hour then go from there. Nutrition professionals have METs broken down into each specific sport and activity by output and intensity.

I do like movement trackers to encourage more activity. To increase steps walked, to remind people that they are sitting too much, to create friendly competition between peers. For that purpose they are awesome.

Things to strongly consider

  • Fitbit was off by 27-93%
  • Apple Watch was off by 20%
  • Stanford did a study comparing the devices to a direct calorimeter which measures oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange
  • Machines at the gym and peloton are way off as well. METS are pretty accurate, they are the gold standard for research studies. Peloton gives us the total watts used which can be converted into METS and the formula they use is off by 100-330 calories on average.

When it comes to heart rate these trackers are much more accurate.