So, you have a device, with a heart rate monitor. You have it linked to you MFP account. By now you’ve probably noticed that it takes a while before the two applications get synced. Maybe you’ve even had the same problem as I did a couple of weeks ago, when it doesn’t sync at all!

Don’t worry though! I found out how they calculate the exercised calories, so you can estimate yourself how much you’ve burned during the day.

First, we would of course want the sync to work again. For me it helped to first revoke the permissions inside my FitBit account for MFP. Then I removed the application from MFP. Now for me, I had to wait a few hours before I reconnected them. Just like a sync sometimes can take like an hour or so, the registration of a disconnected/connected device may take some time. My recommendation is to do this at night, let them be disconnected over night, and then reconnect them in the morning.

Secondly . . . With the sync not working, how much exercise should I log? There are 2 ways you could calculate this. One is a more straight forward method, while the other include some formulas. I will cover both.

Throughout this post, I will use my own numbers as example in the calculations that will be made. My goal is to lose weight slow and steady at a rate of 1 pound per week. This journey is a lifestyle change, and you need to get your body used to your changes. Doing it too fast will give quick results, but it will be harder to keep, since your body, and maybe even your mindset has not caught up enough to keep it up. Anyhow, let’s get started!

Basic Numbers


For both version, you need to know how much deficit you want each day. As you can find in many places, we know that 3500 calories = 1 pound. So if you want to lose 1 pound per week, you take (1lb*3500cal)/7days. This will be your calorie deficit goal per day.

The other thing you need for the calculations is your BMR. This can be easily obtained by checking it under the Apps link on MFP, or you can calculate it as described here: How to calculate your BMR (

Now, I don’t know for sure how much each activity level adds to your maintenance goal, but I know the the “lightly active” level adds 500 calories per day. So if this is your setting, you want to add these 500calories to your BMR. Now you have how much you may eat if you want to maintain your weight with a lightly active lifestyle. I will call this value MV for maintenance value.
Note: Lightly active is really most people in general. Unless you’re sick, you usually move enough to get those extra 500 calories. E.g. Walk to and from the car, go grocery shopping, walking around the office, etc . . .

easybuttonThe Simple Version

The simple version really only works at the end of the day. All you do is to take whatever your HR device says you’ve burned so far, and subtract your MV. If you log this value into MFP, you can eat back those calories and still maintain your calorie deficit that you have in MFP. And that’s that! Simple no? 😉

The Advanced Version

Like most things, the more advanced version is also a tad bit more accurate. You can also check this throughout your day, so you can get an idea of how much you’ve burned at any point of the day. Remember also, that just because you’ve gone to the gym, doesn’t mean you have all those extra calories, if you’re not moving anything more the rest of the day. This is something that shows more clearly in this version.

Here are the steps you need:

  1. How many minutes are there in a day?
    I will do this calculation for you. There are 60min*24hours=1440 mins in one day.
  2. How many calories do you burn on average per minute?
    My BMR is 1340, and I am slightly active, which means I need to add 500 to this number as mentioned above. That means I will on average burn (1340cals+500cals)/1440mins ≈ 1.3 cals/min.
  3. How many minutes of the day has passed?
    For this you need to use the 24h system for easiest calculations. Let’s assume it’s 2:40pm (14:40 in 24h time). You then need to do the following:
    (14h*60min+40min) * 1.3cals/min = 1144cals
  4. How much does it differ from what my device claims I’ve burnt?
    Let’s assume my FitBit is showing I’ve burned 1234 calories so far. The calculation would then be:
    1234cals – 1144cals = 90 cals
  5. I can now log 90 calories into my exercise log! 😀


Remember that the above numbers are based on my numbers. Also remember, that if you have a surplus of calories at one point of the day, doesn’t mean it will stay that way if you’re sedentary the rest of the day. As with the simple version, this will be most accurate at the end of the day, but this advanced version will allow you to check int through out the day. It’s quite easy to create a spreadsheet for this, and if requested, I will post a link to a google spreadsheet later.

Also note, that these calculations are based on a lightly active lifestyle. If you are sick for example, or just haven’t moved around enough, you will get a negative number in step 4.

Lastly, I know it became a long post, but I hope that it helped a little. Please feel free to ask me any questions that may arise.

See you next time! 😀