Do exercise calories include bmr?

Do exercise calories on cronometer include bmr? Therefore am I double counting my calories for those time?

For example, if I walk two hours and I input that, it says I burned 204 calories. Is that in addition to bmr or including my bmr?

If it includes my bmr (50 calories per hour), then that’s 100 unnecessary calories that’s being added to my total calories. The walking really only would have added 104 calories.

I just started using cronometers exercise calculations vs my own (which I made sure didn’t include bmr) and I’m now gaining weight faster than expected.

Best Answer

  • Options
    Answer ✓

    Looking at this again, Cronometer seems to deduct bmr from exercise calories. I haven't seen this confirmed but this is why I think that:

    Cronometer uses MET:

    "Our exercise estimates are based on the adjusted MET values given from the Compendium of Physical Activities."


    If you go to Cronometer and input 60 minutes of "lying quietly and watching television", Cronometer says it burns 0 calories. The MET for "lying quietly and watching television" is 1.0. Meaning it burns 1.0 times the amount of calories you burn at rest (bmr).

    Meanwhile, playing the flute is 2.0 METs. When I input 60 minutes of playing the flute in Cronometer, I burn 51 calories.

    The formula to calculate calories burned from METs is:
    METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories per minute

    More accurately, the formula would be METs x BMR cal per minutes = calories per minute. But It seems Cronometer is going by the body weight formula, which is close enough if you're not extremely fat or extremely lean..

    According to the body weight formula, I would burn 51 calories at 1 METs for 60 minutes. 1 MET is your BMR. So it looks like Cronometer discounts the first MET when calculating.

    Answer: Cronometer doesn't seem to count the BMR. Great job Cronometer.

    Comparatively, if I input an activity with 2 METs for 60 min into my MyFitnessPal it gives me 120 calories. A 70 calorie over estimation. MyFitnessPal is counting the BMR calories. Boo MFP, yay Cronometer.


  • Options

    I don't know how Cronometer is calculating calories, but I do know that they're off a little bit from what I'd expect. Not enough to worth worrying about but...


    First of all, MET is not the same thing as BMR. A MET is a formula where lying quietly = 1kcal/kg/hr = 1 MET. So, a 170 lbs person should burn 77 kcal/hr.

    BMR calculations also consider age, sex, and height. So, a female-bodied person who is 35 years old, is 5'6" and weighs 170 lbs has a BMR of 1649 kcal/day or 69 kcal/hr (Mifflin-St.Jeor equation).

    Now let's consider exercise calories. Cronometer says that the person in the example above burns 183 kcal walking at 3mph for 60 min. Walking at that pace is 3.5 METs (2011 Compedium), so that should be 193 kcal net.

    However, MET is explicitly not intended to calculate exercise calories for individual people; it's only supposed to be used to classify types of exercises (apparently that's useful for someone out there). "The values ... do not estimate the energy cost of physical activity in individuals in ways that account for differences in body mass, adiposity, age, sex..." etc.

    As an alternative: Runner's World published formulas for calculating how many calories you burn when walking or running based on your weight and the distance. Their formulas are based on research using direct measurements of people exercising; I think they're probably more accurate.

    The example person, according to Runner's World, should burn lbs0.3mi for walking, or 153 net calories. Cronometer is over by 30 kcal, and MET by 40 kcal.

    None of this probably explains the OP's problem, however; these are trivial differences, and Cronometer's numbers are Just Fine. If OP is gaining weight at a rate that they do not expect, then there are other issues that are far more likely to be responsible:

    1) They have misjudged their daily calorie needs. People are not machines, and unless you get your actual metabolism measured in a lab, all the formulas are just estimates. Did the OP do a two-week baseline period where they determined what their actual needs were, or did they just go with the formulas? That could be a source of error. It happens.

    2) They're not weighing their food. Studies have shown that even nutritionists are completely terrible at visually estimating portion size; if they can't do it, normal folks should not expect to be very good at it either. Weigh your food.

    3) All recorded calorie values have a +/- 10% error rate. If you have bad luck and happen to eat a bunch of mismeasured values, then you could be eating 10% more calories than you thought you did...especially if you are eating processed foods, because food companies are incentivized to under-report calories as much as they can get away with (or maybe I'm just cynical??). Basic whole foods will have ordinary error rates because no one makes money off of under-reporting them, and they've been tested multiple times over the decade.

  • Options

    Calories burned from exercise do not include calories burned from BMR in Cronometer.

    We use the corrected MET values to estimate how many calories you burn during an activity; these take into account your age, sex, height and weight.

    Karen Stark
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • Options
    edited October 2020

    Ooooooooh I didn't know there are corrected values! (scurries off to nerd a little harder)

  • Options

    I have an Oura ring and I'm figuring it is a better way to estimate my calorie burn than a formula based on my activity estimates. The device IS linked to Cronometer, but C doesn't seem to use the data. I tried to input it retrospectively (i.e. the day after) and it seem that C adds its basal metabolic estimate on top. Anyone know how to turn off the basal calculator? Yes, I could try subtracting C's calculation from Oura's before entering it. One more step, and I can combine them on the backend output files, but I like to see it in my phone app for motivation.

  • Options

    @mmschladen you can customize your BMR in your profile settings in Cronometer, if that helps! Though it sounds like we might not be importing your calories burned from Oura properly? We would love to look into this if you could send us an email at support@cronometer.com. It would be helpful to see some screenshots from Oura with your activity calories burned and the same day in your diary in Cronometer.


    Karen Stark
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • Options

    Sure. I can do that. Thanks, Karen!

Sign In or Register to comment.