do treadmills accurately count calories

Do Treadmills Accurately Count Calories Burned?

This post contains links that we may earn a small commission for at no cost to you read more

Do you know how accurate your treadmill calorie counter is? If you’re like me, you probably assumed that it was fairly close, give or take 25 calories, right?

Unfortunately, this isn’t really the case. Most treadmills will not give an accurate measurement of the calories you burn, but don’t panic! There’s a reliable way to do that when you’re working out on a treadmill or other fitness machines, and we’re letting you in on it.

Hi friends! If you’re sincere about your diet and exercise plan, then calorie counting is a vital part of that overall plan, right?

You’ll want to know how many calories you burn when using your treadmill so you can accurately estimate the number of calories you can consume and still lose weight or maintain your current weight.

My name is Kathleen, and in today’s article, I want to explain about the calorie counter on your treadmill and/or fitness watch works, as well as how to more accurately find your calorie burn for any workout.

Are you ready to learn a more accurate calorie burn calculation than relying on that treadmill calorie counter? Let’s rock and roll, friends!

Are Treadmill Calories Burned Measurements Accurate?

The short answer here is probably not.

There are so many variables that go into the number of calories you burn, you won’t believe it!

bike vs treadmill calories burned

Your weight, age, sex, and even the room temperature, all play a part when determining that burned calorie number.

Your treadmill might ask for your weight, but that’s where the digital calorie counter information ends. If your treadmill doesn’t ask for your weight, most are set up with a standard measurement of 150 pounds, which would be a miracle if you weighed exactly that amount.

If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll want to create a negative caloric imbalance. It means that you burn more calories than you are consuming, but how can you do that if you don’t really know how many calories you’re burning on your treadmill workout (see my hiit treadmill workouts )?

How to Improve Your Calorie Burn Calculator

Believe it or not, one of the best ways to help calculate an accurate number of calories burned during a workout might be right on your treadmill, or you might have it on one of those wearable fitness trackers, like FitBit.

Fitbit Inspire 3 Health & Fitness Tracker


A heart rate monitor is one of the best ways to calculate the calorie count for any activity. If your treadmill has one built-in, you’re in luck. Otherwise, you might want to purchase a heart rate monitor or use one of the many fitness watches that are on the market.

Polar Verity Sense - Optical Heart Rate Monitor Armband for Sport

How Can a Heart Rate Monitor Help You Lose More Weight?

Using a heart rate monitor will more accurately tell you the number of calories you are burning on the treadmill or during any workout.

You will be inputting more information than most treadmills require, such as your sex, age, and current weight.

The heart rate monitor will use a mathematical formula to more accurately estimate the number of calories someone your age and weight will burn during exercise.

Some heart rate monitors simply tell you what your heart rate is, while most wearable fitness trackers will tell you the number of calories burned.

fitness tracker

If you have a heart rate monitor that only tells you your heart rate, you can use this calculator to give you a more accurate picture of the number of calories you’ve burned than the traditional treadmill calorie counters.

Don’t be surprised if you find that your treadmill calorie counter says you’ve been burning more calories (or in some cases, fewer calories) than your heart rate monitor tells you. Most treadmill calorie counters overestimate the number of calories burned by as much as 40 percent.

Is It Possible to Burn 1,000 Calories a Day?

It surely is, but the truth is that this big of a number will be easier for very overweight people or for men who are bodybuilders than the average person.

The more overweight you are, the more energy it takes to move that weight. This means that you will burn far more calories than a person who is only 10 pounds overweight.

Muscle mass also burns more calories than fat so even if you aren’t overweight, a person who has been practicing weight training and has larger muscles will burn more calories than someone who has been a couch potato. Side Note: You might also like to read my other article about smart treadmills here.

Chubby man walking on treadmill

In my experience, it’s much easier to set a more realistic goal for calorie burning than deciding on a big number and trying to make it work.

For example, if you’ve been a Netflix surfer for the past couple of years, telling yourself that you’re going to burn 1,000 calories a day and lose X number of pounds in two months is a plan set for failure.

You aren’t in good shape, and you probably will be so sore from excessive amount of exercise, or you’ll be starving from not eating that you will break that promise quickly.

Start off slowly and just keep at it. Start with 20 minutes of exercise 3-5 days a week and try cutting out 150-200 calories per day (That’s equivalent to one can of soda).

Next week, increase your exercise to 30 minutes and try to cut back 250 calories per day.

This type of plan will have much more success than trying to burn 1,000 calories or run on the treadmill for two hours a day.

The Final Takeaway

Whether you are trying to lose weight or maintain your current healthy body weight, keep in mind that those treadmill calorie counters are not all that accurate.

You will be far better off choosing a heart rate monitor, fitness watch, or using another type of wearable fitness trackers for counting calories and determining how many calories you have burned.

Remember that when it comes to losing weight, you’ll want to create a calorie deficit, which means not only monitoring how many calories you burn, but how many calories you consume.

Eat a healthy, plant-based diet, get in some good Z’s, and you’ll be reaching a new fitness level before you can say “I need a new wardrobe!”

Stay happy and healthy, friends! Life is too short for anything else!