Calories Burned Calculator based on Average Heart Rate

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I recommend the Garmin 305 as the best value in GPS Heart Rate training:

I searched google for a way to calculate calories burned during my workouts based on average heart rate. It took some digging, but I finally found some formulas posted in a cycling forum. So, I created this nifty calculator. The numbers are sometimes quite different than what you get using

For example, I rode my bike for 3:20 today at 16.6 miles per hour. My avg HR was 144 bpm. According to the cycling calculator at, I burned 2500 calories in that workout. But I know that can’t be correct, based on my hunger levels and calorie intake: I consumed 2300 calories today and feel quite full right now and my energy levels are fine…and it’s almost bedtime! According to my new calorie calculator, I burned 1800 calories. That sounds more like it.

Go to my Calories Burned Calculator

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12 comments on “Calories Burned Calculator based on Average Heart Rate
  1. Robert says:

    This is an old post, but a few comments:

    This equation depends on the maximum heart rate being around 220 – age. This equation may hold true on *average* but there is a great deal of variability. For example, I’m 50, and my max heart rate is 185. I have to scale the results of this equation/calculator based on my max heart rate, but this is easily done.

    I believe this equation/calculator overstates calories for lower heart rates and understates them for higher heart rates (as a percentage of maximum heart rate). This equation tracks well for me (compared to other methods of estimating calorie burn) when my average heart rate is between about 135 and 155.

    Based on some reading I’ve done, it appears that maximum heart rate changes little with training, and higher or lower maximum heart rates have little correlation to athletic potential. On the other hand, resting heart rate does change with training.

    I have a Forerunner 305 (as mentioned in a comment above). I use it the most for bicycling, and I strongly believe it typically overstates the calories burned by 30 to 60 percent. I use the equation above with the average HR from the Forerunner 305 rather than the calories reported by the Forerunner when I log calories burned.

    I’m fairly sure this equation/calculator could be made better by using both resting heart rate and maximum heart rate as inputs.

    == Rob ==

  2. tara says:

    it helped me on sciencefair project

  3. Adam says:

    To the people who think younger people at 175 are burning less than older people at 175, that seems logical, but you’re also assuming that the rule 220-age is accurate, which my guess it isn’t.

    It’s probably like BMI … just some calculation that might work on average to tell if you’re overweight or not, but for a given person, it might be complete BS. For instance, I’m greatly verweight according to BMI, w/ 13% body fat!

  4. Allanon says:

    So I know this post is rather old but I just stumbled upon in from a google search. I am really confused about all calorie burned stuff I’ve been reading up on.

    For example I just got a Timex watch with a chest strap HRM for my birthday and I’ve been playing around with it. So today I went for a mile run; my avg heart rate from my Timex said 156 and it took me 11 minutes. The Timex said according to the heart rate data it collected I burned 250 calories. But I put all my data into this calculator and it says and it says only 180 calories (28 yrs old, male, 215 lbs, 156 avg bpm, 11 minutes).

    Then because I was curious I left my chest strap on and let it run for an hour while I was at work (I’m a programmer so I’m rather sedintary during the day). So for 1.5 hour my avg HR was 83, and it says that I burned 432 calories and your calculator said 480 calories (28 yrs old, male, 215 lbs, 83 avg bpm, 1 hr 30 min).

    Lets just say that on avg I’m awake 16 hrs out of the day and being a programmer I stay at the 83 avg bpm heart rate for those 16 hrs by the Timex calculator it looks like I’d be burning 4600 calories (432 * 10.6 because 432 is calories over 1.5 hrs and 10.6 * 1.5 = 16 hrs) and by your calculator I’d be burning 5100 calories and thats just in the 16 hours I’m awake. If I had a 3000 calorie diet (which seems like a lot to me) I’d still be at a minimum of 1600 calorie defict for a day. And at 3500 calories = 1 lb I’d be at 3.2 lbs lost each week rather than just maintaining which is where I’m currently at.

    So this leads me to think that these numbers don’t make any sense, my math is way wrong, or I’m eating a whole heck of a lot more calories in a day than I think I am :shock:!

  5. Joe says:

    There are a few issues here, that I think are being missed, most of these “calculators” are geared toward the 90% of the public that are not athletes.

    Question: do you have a Garmin or a power meter??, these give reasonably accurate calorie expenditure value meters, ebay has the forerunner 305 for less than $195, thats a hell of lot less than you’ll on Jenny Craig.

    I am a competitive cyclist, 190lbs, 43 y/o and with an avg HR of 160 I’ll burn 1500cal/hr, 150 avg= about 1200 cal/hr, yes fueling and bonking are always issues, thanks to the gods for gels.

    the 220-age way of calculating max HR is flawed, once again it’s geared toward sedentary people, not athletic folk, I am 43, 220-43 is 177, its not unusual for me to have an average HR ON A 10 mile TT of 180, and my max while climbing is 192-194 (although I can’t maintain that for long) I can do 185 for 10 min.

    You need to look at Heart Rate Zones and anaerobic and aerobic thresholds, then you’ll understand where your body is taking those calories from, and how it’s getting its fuel, you can exercise and not burn fat!

    BTW in 3/07 I was 237lbs, no I didn’t go on a diet, I learned how to read a food label

  6. Ursa says:

    I love the calculator, but how did you come up with that formula? I’m just hoping it’s not telling me I’m burning more calories than I am during my work out.

  7. Carol says:

    “Also, I see that calories burned goes up a little the older you are, at least for women — shouldn’t it go down?”

    I’m not sure, but I think it’s taking into account the fact that an older person has to work harder to maintain a given heart rate as compared to a younger person. For example, I’m 45, and my max heart rate is about 175 (using 220-age). If I’m working out at 175bpm’s, that’s pretty much my maximum heart rate and I”m really working and thus probably burning alot of calories. If a 20 year old female was also working out at 175 bmp’s, they are way below their max of 200bpm. So they are probably burning less calories.

  8. gerg says:

    I agree with the last comment. Don’t we find it harder to keep our weight down as we get older? The formulas you have, have a +’ve relationship with age????

  9. Judy S says:

    This is a great idea. But, there seems to be a flaw in the calculator. For men, the calories burned increases as weight increases, which makes sense. But for women, the calculator tells you that you burn far FEWER calories the more you weigh, which doesn’t make sense. In fact, it says a 600 lb woman can exercise intensely for an hour and burn essentially no calories.

    Is there really that much difference in calories burned between males and females? Maybe I could just use the male calculator.

    Also, I see that calories burned goes up a little the older you are, at least for women — shouldn’t it go down?

  10. Wendy says:

    I used your calculator, and love it! Whenever I use the calculators based only on weight, age, and duration of activity, I can’t believe how few calories I’m burning – I do interval training on trails and it’s really hard to find a duration or activity counter that reflects the intervals and conditions of what I’m doing. Calorie burning is a direct result of how hard you’re working, which is measured by heart rate, so I don’t know why more calculators don’t measure that!! Thanks!

  11. Lisa says:

    I’ve been looking for a calculator like yours (that uses age, weight and average HR) for years! Thank you so much- I saved it as a favorite and use it all the time!!

  12. Susa says:

    Fabulous work with the calculator! Thank you very much!
    Good luck with the training.

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