Is Peloton Burned Calories Accuracy Absolute? Here Is Your Answer!

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BY Chery Donald
Updated on 08/29/2022
8 min read

Peloton has been ranked second on Prophet’s Annual Brand Relevance Index for two consecutive years. According to the report by Prophet, Peloton is listed as one of the leading companies in the field thanks to its personalized high-tech products.

Yet, there are still ceaseless controversies surrounding whether the technology of Peloton has been leveraged and their accuracy of calculating metrics, especially calories burned in a workout, is absolute.

This article offers all the relevant answers. So, keep rolling down to learn about them.

How To Calculate Burned Calories?

burning-calories-by-cycling

Burning calories by cycling

As a whole, calories burned are computed by measuring oxygen intake and energy expenditure. There are various ways to carry out such analysis, but their precision varies.

Methods With Absolute Accuracy

Two excellent approaches that produce exact outcomes are:

  • Indirect calorimetry
  • Direct calorimetry

Since they deliver metrics with outstanding accuracy, they are commonly utilized for scientific purposes. To employ these techniques, you’ve got to install expensive and hard-to-access devices.

Methods With Fair Accuracy

Besides the two aforementioned practices, you can assess oxygen and energy consumption by:

  • Metabolic equivalent
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Motion sensors

Though these approaches yield less reliable results, they are more suitable for daily purpose. Therefore, Peloton adopted one of these methods as it means of calculating burned calories, or specifically, the metabolic equivalent technique (METs).

How Does Peloton Bike Calculate Calories?

display-of-cycling-calories-burned-in-peloton-app

Display of cycling calories burned in peloton app

Broadly speaking, the Peloton Bike measures calories burned in a training session by implementing the metabolic equivalent technique (METs).

More specifically, the oxygen intake and energy expenditure are positively related. When participating in intense exercises, we will need to transport more oxygen throughout the body and, therefore, consume more energy.

The Peloton Bike calculates the energy depletion through resistance, cadence, and power output, which are collectively regarded as watts. Watts, at the same time, are in tune with METs, and one MET equals 3.5 mL of oxygen absorbed per kilogram of body weight per minute.

You can look at the table below for examples.

Peloton Intensity METs Oxygen Intake (mL/kg)
30 – 50 watts 3.5 12.25
51 – 89 watts 4.8 16.8
90 – 100 watts 6.8 23.8
101 – 160 watts 8.8 30.8
161 – 200 watts 11 38.5
201 – 270 watts 14 49

After determining your METs, the Peloton Bike will use them to compute calories burned per minute according to the following formula:

Calories Burned per Min = MET x Body Weight (kg) x 3.5 ÷ 200

Since body weight is a element in the formula, you need to keep the Peloton app updated with your current weight to receive more accurate outcomes. Yet, the outcomes can rarely be exact as this technique leaves out some significant components, namely:

  • Lean body weight
  • Fat percentage

Are METs Accurate?

mets-diagram

Mets diagram

The answer is: NO.

As explained above, METs method overlooks several important factors. Thus, it generally produces results with fair accuracy.

Besides, the formula was established based on the oxygen intake while resting of a 70-kg, 40-year-old male, which means that there may be a substantial gap (of up to 60%) if your weight and age differ from this baseline profile (Byrne et al., 2005).

Additionally, most metabolic activities take place in the skeletal muscle. Hence, the more lean muscle mass once has, the more oxygen they need and the more intense their resting metabolic activities they are.

The METs formula ignores the influence of lean body mass on the resting metabolic rate (RMR), thereby making the outcomes less reliable.

Are Peloton Burned Calories Accurate?

a-man-cycling-on-peloton-bike

A man cycling on peloton bike

A small experiment was conducted to see the difference between the total amounts of burned calories measured by Peloton and by Garmin.

In general, the level of calories burned calculated by Peloton are always a bit greater than that by Garmin due to their use of different gadgets: Peloton uses a power meter, while Garmin uses a heart rate monitor.

Peloton Calories Garmin Calories
30-minutes Low-impact Ride 348 278
30-minutes Power Zone Max Ride 567 452
75-minute Power Zone Endurance Ride 970 823
45-minute Rock Ride 616 575
45-minute Low-impact Ride 467 397

Moreover, the METs formula of Peloton is dependant on body weight, age, gender, and height. So, you should update your profile frequently to maximize the calorie calculation.

Does Using A Heart Rate Monitor Improve Accuracy?

using-a-heart-rate-monitor

Using a heart rate monitor

The answer is: NOT REALLY.

Undeniably, employing a heart rate monitor is a good way to measure calories. Yet, your heart rate is subject to a wide range of variables even when you are not physically active.

Following is a list of typical factors that can affect your heart rate.

Factors

Description

Heat Cycling in a humid or hot environment raises your resting heart rate.
Hydration Dehydration reduces blood volume, resulting in a quicker heartbeat and a higher heart rate.
Lack of sleep Sleep deprivation and rapid awakenings cause an increase in heart rate.
Stress Stress stimulates the release of adrenaline, which briefly raises the heart rate and blood pressure.
Caffeine Caffeine raises adrenaline levels and slightly raises heart rate.
Pre-workouts Caffeine and taurine are both found in pre-workout supplements.
Nicotine Smoking lifts heart rate and can result in an abnormal heart rhythm.
Medications Some drugs might have an effect on your heart rate.

As there are so many external causes casting impact on one’s heart rate, the technique exploiting this metric to calculate calories burned is seldom precise. According to  Wallen et al. (2016), the variance may be up to 43%.

Burned Calories Accuracy: By The Peloton Bike vs. By Apple Watch

calculating-calories-by-apple-watch

Calculating calories by apple watch

This is one of the most concerning topics for cyclists. Particularly, those who have experienced both Peloton and Apple and figured out that the results produced do not match will be really curious about this. So, let’s find the answer now!

Why Are Peloton Calories Different From Apple Watch?

Broadly speaking, the amount of burned calories calculated by the Peloton bike is different from that by Apple watch owing to their adoption of different measuring methods. While Peloton applies a built-in power output meter, Apple uses a heart rate monitor.

Are The Calories Calculated By Apple Or Peloton More Accurate?

As a whole, a heart rate monitor gives more correct outcomes when compared to the METs approach. Thus, Apple Watch will provide better insights into the amount of calories you burn in a training class.

Average Calories Burned In A Peloton Workout Session

robin-arzon

Robin Arzon

Overall, a 20-minute Peloton ride may help you burn 300 – 600 calories. This number varies as different body weights, class types and difficulty levels will lead to different output.

How to Track Calories In Peloton?

display-of-calories-burned-in-peloton-app

Display of calories burned in peloton app

To control the amount of burned calories on the Peloton bike, you should pay attention to four indicators as follows.

Track 1: Sessions

Knowing how many calories you burn in a session requires you to track your heart speed, heart rate, and class duration. Moreover, adding sessions across the weeks also aids in the application of progressive overload, thereby calling for more detailed records.

Track 2: Power Output

The Peloton Bike makes it easy for users to measure their power output thanks to its built-in features. The power output responds to body weight, body composition, and workout intensity levels.

As the power output is most closely linked to intensity levels, you should focus on your Power Zone Training while training for performance.

Track 3: Miles or Kilometers

Miles tracking is useful, especially for those who are enhancing their endurance for a marathon or triathlon race. With the Peloton app, you can effortlessly compute your mileage and calories burned over the distance.

Track 4: Calories Burned

On the Peloton Bike, you can measure the amount of calories burned in a cycling class, the length of time you spend exercising, as well as the intensity of your rides.

Conclusion

All in all, the Peloton Bike employs the metabolic equivalent technique (METs) to calculate how many calories you burn in a workout. With such assistance, you can conviniently enjoy the rides and have all the metrics computed for you right after that.

Although the METs formula skips certain elements, tracking your calories on the Peloton Bike may help keep you motivated and know how furthur you need to go before achieving your fitness goals.

FAQs

1. How long does it take to burn 500 calories at Peloton?

Peloton burns 500 calories in roughly 45 minutes.

This figure changes when the intensity and fitness levels change. If you want to burn calories rapidly, you can consider raising the intensity of your bike or integrating hills rides into your routine.

2. Is a 20-minute Peloton ride enough?

It depends.

A 20-minute Peloton ride may be adequate for those who just cycle as a recreational activity, yet it may be deficient for those who want to attain challenging objectives.

Therefore, you should pour attention to your targets and your body’s needs. Don’t just do whatever others say it is good for you.

3. Can I burn fat with Peloton cycling sessions?

The answer is: YES.

Peloton cycling classes may burn 400 – 1,000 calories per hour.

Thus, training with specific Peloton courses is helpful for losing weight as long as you maintain a calorie deficit with a good diet and activity.

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