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I realized there’s abt 300 Cal difference when calories are calculated between Garmin and Strava. For eg, when Garmin registered 700 Cal during my cycle, and after uploaded to Strava, it becomes 1,000 Cal.

Why is that so and which one shld I trust. 300 Cal is a huge difference.
 

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Which Garmin? Garmins are notorious for overestimating calorie burn. 700 might actually be 500 or less. Strava? No idea.

I'm 165 lb and using a PM for 5 days of riding found that on tempo rides I burn about 600-700 cal/hr. I simply figure I avg 600/hr and use that for any calculations rather than using Garmin numbers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Which Garmin? Garmins are notorious for overestimating calorie burn. 700 might actually be 500 or less. Strava? No idea.

I'm 165 lb and using a PM for 5 days of riding found that on tempo rides I burn about 600-700 cal/hr. I simply figure I avg 600/hr and use that for any calculations rather than using Garmin numbers.
I'm using Garmin Edge 800
 

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How calorie measurement works on Garmin fitness devices | DC Rainmaker

This was interesting to me, I borrow DHs 500 but don't bother putting my stats (so I am using it for ride stats only) in and use my polar f60 for calorie estimation. Polar seem to still have the edge with this calc otherwise I would get my own 500. Maybe the 510 or 810 will prove better? My polar is beginning to show wear and tear with cracks in the buttons.
 

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My edge 500 w/HR monitor shows I average 672 calories per hour with an average HR of 156.

If you only look at my hard rides my average HR is 169 and my Cal/hr is ~765.

If your Garmin is showing a lower number than when you upload it to Strava it's because Garmin uses a different algorithm than Strava. I would trust the lower number.

**Edit
When I compare Garmin to Strava, I show 1416 for Garmin and 1397 for Strava. only a 10% error which is probably in the noise for something as inaccurate as indirect calorie measurement.
 

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My Garmin 500 consistently reports much lower calorie burns than strava
 

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I started comparing each ride and all of mine are very close.

Make sure you're realistic when you enter your profile. I know all you guys are adding an inch to your height and taking off 15 pounds :)
 

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The more data the Garmin algorithm gets, the lower the calorie estimation it throws out. At least that's my experience.

When I ride with just the head unit, the calorie estimation is extremely high. Add a speed/cadence sensor, and it's lower, but still elevated. Add a powermeter, and it drops considerably. In fact, it's usually a couple hundred calories below the Kj number, which some powermeter users use as a calories burned estimation. My Garmin Connect profile and Edge 500 are updated about once a week with my current weight.

No matter what, I use the lowest number reported. None of them are 100% accurate, and should all be taken with a grain of electrolytes.
 

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I would be wary of both numbers. I had the NewLeaf profiles done, which use sensors to very accurately measure your calorie burn at varying heart rates. This can then be loaded into your Garmin device for more accurate computation of calories. You can also load it on their website for analysis. I found that it was slightly lower based upon the new profile than I had been getting on my 310XT. I know the later Forerunner models got a little more accurate, so it may be closer on the newer models. Both are way lower than the online sources. On a 68 minute ride I was burning about 11.7 calories/minute with an average heart rate of 163. That comes out to be just over 700 calories/hour.
 

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Are you comparing Garmin connect or the Garmin device to Strava? Garmin connect said my morning ride was 888 and Strava says 992, pretty close to me.
 

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I've found that strava reports the data differently depending on how you upload it. If I dump the ride file directly from my 500, there is a discrepancy between what is shown there and what shows up in sporttracks. I normally export the ride from ST and bring that into strava, and they then show the same thing.
 

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I realized there’s abt 300 Cal difference when calories are calculated between Garmin and Strava. For eg, when Garmin registered 700 Cal during my cycle, and after uploaded to Strava, it becomes 1,000 Cal.

Why is that so and which one shld I trust. 300 Cal is a huge difference.
Round numbers 20 mph on the flats with no wind is 600-650 calories. Anyone reporting 800+ is riding hard, very strong, or getting bad numbers from their equipment. HR is virtually meaningless as a source of calorie data - two people can be putting out the same power and have HRs that are 30 bpm apart. Bike computer makers have historically put in algorithms that report numbers 30% or more on the high side. On a hilly ride both Garmin and Strava could be missing the details of the grades and if you're on a 5% grade at 15 mph that is a huge difference from 7% at 15 mph.
 

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Round numbers 20 mph on the flats with no wind is 600-650 calories. Anyone reporting 800+ is riding hard, very strong, or getting bad numbers from their equipment. HR is virtually meaningless as a source of calorie data - two people can be putting out the same power and have HRs that are 30 bpm apart. Bike computer makers have historically put in algorithms that report numbers 30% or more on the high side. On a hilly ride both Garmin and Strava could be missing the details of the grades and if you're on a 5% grade at 15 mph that is a huge difference from 7% at 15 mph.
The only thing these numbers should be used for are comparing rides to each other. If you're using it for planning your diet you'll probably get fat since it over estimates how much you've burned.

If all you're doing is comparing and seeing how one ride you expended 20% more energy, then that's probably as far as I'd take it.
 

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Calories burnt is not the only discrepancy between Garmin Connect & Strava. I'm using an Edge 800 and have noticed differences in Max Speed, as well as Av Speed.
 

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Round numbers 20 mph on the flats with no wind is 600-650 calories. Anyone reporting 800+ is riding hard, very strong, or getting bad numbers from their equipment. HR is virtually meaningless as a source of calorie data - two people can be putting out the same power and have HRs that are 30 bpm apart. Bike computer makers have historically put in algorithms that report numbers 30% or more on the high side. On a hilly ride both Garmin and Strava could be missing the details of the grades and if you're on a 5% grade at 15 mph that is a huge difference from 7% at 15 mph.
Heart rate, when properly calibrated to your burn rate, is the best indication of calorie burn. The problem is that the online services are just using averages. When I did my metabolic profile it calculate my calorie burn curves vs. heart rate. That profile was then loaded into my Garmin so now it calculates exactly how many calories I burn based on the work I do.

Without refining to that detail the power is the next best indicator. The problem with power is it is measuring the energy to move the bike and assuming an efficiency level required to make that happen. Those are still a lot of guesses.
 

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Heart rate, when properly calibrated to your burn rate, is the best indication of calorie burn.
Two things wrong with this statement. First is that HR can vary several bpm with temperature, degree of hydration, fatigue, and even just cardiac drift during a longer/harder ride. Second is that getting your metabolic rate as a function of HR is not something that is within the grasp of most of us and could be quite expensive. Unless of course your definition of "calibration" doesn't involve actual measurement of calorie consumption but rather an estimate based on something else.
 
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