I am looking for a way to accurately workout how many calories I am burning on my bike. I have a standard bike mounted on a cycle exercising stand. At the moment, I have no way of working out anything. I only have a heart rate monitor.

  • The 'scientific' way of calculating how many calories you burn is based on how many Watts you generate on the bike. You're method is trying the exact opposite, which therefore has to be based on estimates based on your body composition, fitness and age. While it will serve as a useful baseline to track your progress, don't expect it to be very accurate.
    – Ivo Flipse
    May 25, 2011 at 14:54
  • 1
    @IvoFlipse: Do you think adding a basic cyclometer with a long enough cable to reach the rear wheel would give enough data to work it out? Or would a cyclometer that includes cadence (additional sensor measuring pedaling activity) be required?
    – freiheit
    May 25, 2011 at 18:14
  • They do make cyclometers that can be put on a regular bicycle that measure your power output, but they tend to be pretty expensive since they typically have to include a strain gauge. If you can work out what the resistance is you should be able to use a cheap (under $50 USD) cyclometer to give you enough data to work out watts or calories/kCals.
    – freiheit
    May 25, 2011 at 18:18
  • Here's an article from LiveStrong.com that explains how to estimate it. Which is exactly my point, don't bother trying to estimate an indirect/irrelevant measure and instead focus on something you can measure directly: rotations/minute or heart rate.
    – Ivo Flipse
    May 25, 2011 at 18:33
  • I do have a heart rate monitor. May 25, 2011 at 18:55

2 Answers 2


There's a VERY accurate approach, but it requires being in a lab and having equipment hooked up to you.

Another approach is using a calories burnt calculator. (If you look up calorie burned calculator you'll find dozens - they should be based on type of exercise, your weight and the exercise duration).

Some points to keep in mind:

  • You can do the same exercise, the same way, but burn calories differ based on what you ate prior to the workout, room temp, etc.
  • Calories burned related directly to weight loss, but not the same every time, depending on your eating habits, intensity, sleep level - you will most likely not burn the same # of calories, but if you did, most likely not 'lose' the same amount of weight
  • Post exercise 'after' burn needs to be taken into consideration - the more aerobic the exercise the less 'after' calorie burn is present

If you spend a few min's performing one of the general fitness assessments, to obtain your approximate VO2max volume, then your heart rate and activity duration should offer enough data to calculate a fairly accurate value, see: Is it possible to measure calorie burn from heart rate alone?

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