Does Fitbit Calculate Calories Burned? (Question Answered!)

Fitbit smartwatches and activity trackers are among the best wearables for tracking health and fitness activities. Some of the health and fitness activities Fitbit tracks include sleep, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, ECG, steps, distances, and swimming. But, what of calories! Does Fitbit calculate calories burned?

Yes, it does! Apart from tracking steps, distances, sleep, heart rate, SpO2, and ECG,  Fitbit will calculate the total number of calories your body burns throughout the day while active. To estimate total calories burned Fitbit combines calories burned when active and resting.

How Does Fitbit Calculate Calories

In Summary: Fitbit calculates the calories burned in a very simple manner. It will combine your Basal Metabolic Rate and activity data to determine the calories you’ve burned the entire day.

Your heart rate is always the key element Fitbit uses to count the number of calories burned. In addition, this amazing tracker takes into account your information that is, your age, gender, weight, and height to come up with calorie burn results that are more reliable. Let’s briefly  discuss the two most important factors Fitbit uses to determine calories burned:

1. With Heart Rate

As you work out Fitbit tracks your heart rate to get your resting heart rate and active heart rate data and then uses the data to estimate calories you’ve burned.

2. With Basal Metabolic Rate

Fitbit smartwatches and fitness trackers use your age, gender, height, and weight to determine your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) can be defined as the number of calories burned when you are doing nothing for example sitting watching TV, or sleeping.

Is there a Fitbit that Counts Calories

Fitbit watches are available in different models and for that, their calorie burn estimations vary. The newer Fitbit models tend to calculate calories burned more accurately than the older model. For instance, Fitbit users are upgrading to the newer Fitbit Charge 5 because it has been found to be more accurate when tracking total and active calories.

Fitbit Charge 5 Advaced Health and Fitness Tracker

Check Fitbit Charge 5 on Amazon

How Accurate is Fitbit Calorie Burned

Calorie burn accuracy on Fitbit watches has come a long way. Even though there’s a need for improvement Fitbits still remain among the most accurate trackers available on the market.

The calorie counter on Fitbit can estimate calories burned accurately however, there are 5 certain factors that may affect its results. These factors include heart rate variability, activity intensity, wrist placement, weight, and overall activity levels.

Factors that Affect the Accuracy of Fitbit’s Calorie Counter

Let’s briefly discuss the factors that affect the accuracy of Fitbit’s calorie burn counter below:

1. Weight

Fitbit also uses the weight information you provide to calculate calories burned. Calories estimations may be less accurate for Fitbit users who fall outside a given weight range.

2. Activity Intensity

The Fitbit calorie counter may end up estimating your energy expenditure when it detects intensive activities. Waking, which is a good example of a low-intensity workout can also affect your calorie estimation.

3. Heart Rate Variability

Your heart rate doesn’t beat the same as that of someone else; heartbeats vary. The Fitbit calorie counter may fail to record the correct heart rate for some people and this may result in inaccurate calorie burn estimation and general tracking.

4. Wrist Placement

Fitbit has designed its smartwatches and activity trackers specifically for the non-dominant wrist. Positioning Fitbit loosely or wrongly on the wrist may result in inaccurate heart rate readings, which can lead to inaccurate calorie estimation.

Also, if you want precise calorie burn estimations avoid wearing Fitbit on the ankle instead wear it two to three fingers from your wrist bone for accurate heart rate reading. 

5. Overall Activity Level

Fitbit may underestimate your calorie burn when you are resting or seated and overestimate them when you are very active. To get your Fitbit to give the most accurate calorie burn report do moderate to vigorous activities on a normal basis.

Total Calories Burned and Active Calories Burned: What’s the Difference?

Active calories burned on Fitbit refer to the number of calories burned as a result of doing activities whereas Total calories burned refers to the number of calories you’ve burned while doing activities and resting.

Improving the Accuracy of Calories Burned on Fitbit

You can adjust and improve the accuracy of Fitbit calorie burn in the following manner:

1. Wear Fitbit on the Non-dominant Arm

Fitbit smartwatches and activity trackers should be worn on the non-dominant wrist to get accurate heart rate readings for proper calorie estimation and I would suggest you keep it that way.

On the other hand, even though Fitbit is designed for the non-dominant wrist by default the Fitbit app lets you set up the watch for the dominant wrist too.

2. Update Your Weight

Fitbit Watches also use your weight information to estimate the total number of calories burned. Since weight changes, you should measure yours from time and then open the Fitbit to update for precise calorie burn results.

3. Keep the Fit Snug

You need to ensure your Fitbit stays in constant contact with the wrist for proper heart rate monitoring. Remember Fitbit uses your heart rate and activity data to estimate the total numbers of calories your body has burned throughout the day.

If Fitbit is somehow loose on the wrist it won’t collect heart rate data and that will comprise calorie burn results. So, make sure if tight but not too tight on the wrist for proper HR monitoring.

4. Stay Active

Always ensure that you are doing something, remember,  Fitbit calculates calories burned more accurately when you indulge in moderate to vigorous activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is My Fitbit Calories Burned So High?

Fitbit smartwatches and trackers may overestimate or say you are burning calories more calories than you are actually supposed to because it detects your indulgence in intensive activities. Also, remember calories burned are just estimations and thus not 100% accurate.

2. Does Fitbit Provide an Accurate Calorie Burn Estimate?

The accuracy of calorie burn estimation on Fitbit depends on the Fitbit smartwatch or tracker model you use and how you use it. Latest models like Fitbit Charge 5, Fitbit Versa 4, and Fitbit Sense 2 are found to be the most accurate on the market.

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Jashon Kanaiza

I’m Jashon Kanaiza, a lover of life, books, gadgets, and coffee. I spend hours testing, researching, reviewing, and troubleshooting wearable tech by an array of brands. My goal with JayFinity is to help you push your wearable to its limit. From tips to how-to guides to reviews, you deserve the best wearable information – without a paywall behind it.

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