How Many Calories Should I Burn A Day Apple Watch


How many calories should I burn a day apple watch? If you’re looking to calculate how many calories you should burn a day, then read on. I’ll show you where to start, what to do and even how to work out how many calories you need for your activity level.

In a recent study, Apple’s first smartwatch was compared to popular fitness trackers such as the Fitbit Charge HR and Jawbone UP3. The conclusion was that on any given day, the Apple Watch will provide you with more exercise burn than these wearable devices but how accurate are apple watch calories?

There’s no question about the value of exercise. But calculating the amount of physical activity you need to achieve what you want may be trickier than it sounds. If a moving goal is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, It is important to learn how to cause this simple formula to reach optimal fitness results. Below you will learn how to calculate your move goal along with the health benefits of weight loss.

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How Many Calories Should I Burn A Day Apple Watch

Getting a fitness tracker is exciting. You think this gadget will transform the way you work out. You’ve seen its impact: you’ve watched your friends walk circles around their kitchen at 11:55 at night trying to do what they can to complete their circles and meet their goal for the day. So immediately, you rush to get your new Apple Watch out of the box and set it up.

When it comes to how many calories you should burn a day apple watch, it all depends on your weight and your fitness goals. Simple right? Well, maybe not. Let’s talk about calculating just how many calories you should burn each day and what factors can alter these results.

Country- check language- check, calorie goal… uhh. 300 sounds like a lot, right?

how to set apple watch goal

After various dinner table banter with friends and family, I’m convinced that no one actually knows what they should set their Apple Watch calorie goals at and we all just kinda guess. Not anymore, I did the research and have the answers on what your Apple Watch move goal should be.

What should my move goal be?

I talked to professional trainers, read accounts from the team at Apple who designed the feature, and surveyed over 250 of you – and I have answers!

It can be confusing to try to figure out what your goal should be for the day, but let’s break it down. Two of the three are auto-populated on the Apple Watch.

  • Stand for at least 1 minute at a time for 12 hours a day
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes.

Easy enough. But what about when you try to set your “move” calorie goal?

One thing to note is that your “move” goal on your Apple Watch only tracks your active calories burned. That means none of your sedimentary calories count i.e. the freebies you get from living and breathing every day (more on that below).

Other fitness trackers like Fitbit will give you some resting calories but don’t be fooled by the inflated numbers. This post is specific to what to set your active calorie goal at.

What Is The Apple Watch Calorie Goal, And What Exactly Does It Measure?

We asked professional trainer & Atlanta fitness boutique studio savant, Jeff Toney, what he thinks about how you should set up your watch or fitness tracker for optimal results. Jeff is the co-owner of Fit9 ATL, Stellar Bodies, and Eclipse 1on1 studios. Here’s what he said:

The Apple watch measurement during a workout automatically subtracts calories burned due to exercise. It uses your height, weight, gender, and age to calculate how many calories are burned during your workout. Your Apple watch calorie goal should not be a general statement, but more of an individual goal such as thinking “What do I want to achieve?”

What are the 3 Move goals on Apple Watch?

You have 3 rings that keep track of your movement and activities on your Apple Watch. One of those rings represents the Move goal. This one keeps track of the active calories that you burn throughout the day.

All your activities are considered for this goal. From climbing the stairs to cleaning the house, it doesn’t matter what pace you are moving at, as long you move.

The second ring is the Exercise ring and this one only takes into account brisk and fast-paced activity. You will need to complete 30 minutes of brisk activities to earn exercise points and remember that your fast-paced activity can be broken up throughout the day.

The final ring on your Apple Watch is the Stand ring. This one is simple and great for those of us working at a desk every day. It requires that you stand and move a little for a minute once every hour to have the hour count toward your goal. The goal is for 12 hours out of the day.

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What is the difference between Moving and Exercising on an Apple Watch?

The move goal on the Apple Watch calculates the active calories burned throughout the day. The exercise goal counts the minutes that you’ve exercised (with a goal of 30 minutes per day). In short, it’s active calories burned vs. time spent exercising.

What should I set my move goal to on my Apple Watch

The formulas for BMR are:

  • Women: BMR= 655 + (9.6 * weight [kg]) + (1.8 * height[cm]) – (4.7 * age [years])
  • Men: BMR= 66.47 + (13.7 * weight[kg]) + (5 * height[cm]) – (6.8 * age [years])

BMR Calculator

For fun, I calculated this for Sahir (my husband) & me:

  • Sabrina: BMR= 655 + (9.6 * 50.8 [kg]) + (1.8 * 155[cm]) – (4.7 * 29 [years]) = 1292.6
  • Sahir: BMR= 66.47 + (13.7 * 88.4[kg]) + (5 * 185.4[cm]) – (6.8 * 29 [years]) = 2010.75

How to Calculate Your Move Goal

Great, now that we have this – how can we set our goals? Well, there’s a magical thing called a Harris-Benedict formula. Here’s the rundown on how to calculate your move goal. To determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:

  • Sedentary (little or no exercise)= BMR x 1.2
  • Lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week)= BMR x 1.375
  • Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week)= BMR x 1.55
  • Very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week)= BMR x 1.725
  • If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & a physical job)= BMR x 1.9

Get the most accurate measurements using your Apple Watch

Your Apple Watch uses the personal information that you provide to help calculate metrics for your daily activity. You can further improve its accuracy using these tips.

Keep your personal information up to date

Your Apple Watch uses your personal information — such as your height, weight, gender, and age — to calculate how many calories you burn and more. 

To update your personal information, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Tap the My Watch tab, then tap Health > Health Profile. Tap Edit, then tap the item that you want to change.

Health Profile on iPhone showing Birthdate, Height, and more.

Make sure that you earn Move and Exercise credit

Every full minute of movement that equals or exceeds the intensity of a brisk walk counts toward your daily Exercise and Move goals. With Apple Watch Series 3 or later, your cardio fitness levels are used to determine what is brisk for you. For wheelchair users, this is measured in brisk pushes. Any activity below this level counts only toward your daily Move goal.

To make sure that you earn Exercise credit during walks, allow the arm with your Apple Watch to swing naturally. For example, while walking your pet, let the arm with your watch swing freely while the other holds the leash.

If you need both hands while walking, for example, to push a stroller, you can still earn Exercise credit with the Workout app. Open the app on your Apple Watch and tap Outdoor Walk. The Activity app relies on arm motion and an accelerometer to track movement, but the Workout app can use the accelerometer, the heart rate sensor, and GPS.

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Make sure that Wrist Detection is on

If Wrist Detection is off, you won’t get Stand notifications, and your Apple Watch can’t track your Stand progress. Background heart rate readings (like resting and walking rates) won’t be taken if Wrist Detection is off. 

To check the setting, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Tap the My Watch tab, then tap Passcode. Make sure that Wrist Detection is on.

Resting and walking rates are available only on Apple Watch Series 1 or later.

Passcode settings on iPhone

Check the fit

Wearing Apple Watch with the right fit — not too tight, not too loose, and with room for your skin to breathe — keeps you comfortable and lets the sensors do their job.  

You might want to tighten your Apple Watch band for workouts, then loosen it when you’re done. In addition, the sensors will work only if you wear your Apple Watch on the top of your wrist.

Get the most accurate heart rate measurement

To get the most accurate heart rate measurement when you use Workout, make sure your Apple Watch fits snugly on top of your wrist. The heart rate sensor should stay close to your skin. Learn about the accuracy and limitations of the heart rate sensor.

If you have an Apple Watch Series 3 or later, set up Cardio Fitness Levels to measure how hard your heart is working during an outdoor walk, run, or hike in the Workout app.

If you turn on Power Saving Mode during a walking or running workout, the heart rate sensor turns off. To see if Power Saving Mode is off or on, open Settings on your Apple Watch, then tap Workout. You can also find this setting in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. 

If you turn off Heart Rate in Privacy settings, you also won’t get a heart rate measurement. To see if your Heart Rate is off or on, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then tap Privacy.  

Choose the best workout

When you use the Workout app, choose the option that best matches what you’re doing. For example, if you’re running on a treadmill, choose Indoor Run. If you’re doing a workout that isn’t listed, like strength training, choose Other.

Indoor Run workout

Calibrate your Apple Watch

Calibrate your Apple Watch to improve the accuracy of your distance, pace, and calorie measurements. Calibrating your watch can also help it learn your fitness level and stride.

How Accurate are Apple Watch Calories?

Understanding how the Apple Watch calculates is critical to understanding its accuracy. Your Apple Watch uses your personal data to calculate the number of calories you burn for each activity. To get accurate results, you must supply accurate information.

First, your Apple Watch will use your height, weight, gender, and age to determine your calorie burn. To see what you’ve entered, open the Apple Watch app on your phone and select My Watch. Then select Health and Profile.

Apple tracks your calorie burn via Active Calories. They do this because you burn calories constantly. Your body burns calories whenever it needs energy, which is all the time, even when you’re sleeping. Exercise accelerates calorie burn by increasing energy expenditure. Your body requires steady energy from eating. This is your basal metabolic rate (BMR).

Your BMR is the cornerstone for calculating your calorie burn. It isn’t easy to quantify precisely, but there are methods for predicting it. Apple employs the Harris-Benedict Equation, which takes your height, weight, gender, and age into account.

So long as you enter your personal data carefully and use third-party applications to track your exercise, you can receive a pretty good estimate of how many calories you burned with your Apple Watch.

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How to see Apple Watch calories burned – active, passive, and total

Apple Watch – active calories

  1. On the Apple Watch head to the Activity app
  2. Swipe or scroll down with the Digital Crown
  3. You’ll see your active calories burned under the Move goal
  4. You can also add the Activity complication to a variety of watch faces or use an Activity watch face to see active calories burned at a glance
How to see Apple Watch calories burned, active and passive walkthrough

iPhone – active and passive calories

  1. The Activity app on iPhone allows you to see more calorie data
  2. Once you open it, tap the Activity rings at the top
  3. Just under the move data, you’ll see your total calories burned for the day in the bottom left of your screen
  4. Subtract your active (“Move” goal) calories from the total to get your passive calories burned (base metabolic rate)

To see the total calories burned for more days, choose another day from the top of your screen, or tap the calendar icon in the top right corner.

Here’s how these steps look on iPhone:

Health Benefits of Weight Loss

Weight loss is one of the best things that a person can do for their health and fitness. Most people benefit from losing weight in some way, but some health benefits of weight loss stand out from others. These benefits you can enjoy from losing weight include better skin, a stronger immune system, and a higher energy level. Let’s take a closer look at these three specific benefits that everyone enjoys once they commit to losing weight.

One of the greatest benefits of losing weight is that it can have a tremendous impact on your health. It will not only impact you in the short term, but it can lead to long-term health benefits for you that could last a lifetime.

1. Helps regulate blood sugar and diabetes

Losing weight improves insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes, says Preeti Pusalkar, a certified clinical nutritionist with Hudson Medical Center, a primary care provider in New York City. 

Excess body fat leads to an increase in adipose tissue, which causes inflammation and interferes with the function of insulin — the hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. 

Weight loss reduces adipose tissue, which allows the body to manage blood sugar more effectively. Plus, you don’t have to lose that much weight to see results. Research has found that just a 5% reduction in body weight improved blood sugar levels in adults. 

2. Improved heart health 

Losing weight can also improve heart health by reducing pressure on arteries, meaning the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood through the body. The result is lower blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels — the “bad” kind of cholesterol that can increase your risk of heart disease, Pusalkar says. 

And it doesn’t matter if you lose weight through diet and exercise or weight-loss surgery like metabolic surgery — you’ll reap benefits regardless, according to a large 2020 study.  

Researchers examined the effects of weight loss surgery on obese patients who either had weight loss surgery or who lost weight through lifestyle changes. The risk of heart disease for the surgical group decreased after a 5% to 10% loss of body weight while the nonsurgical group saw a decrease after losing about 20% of body weight. 

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3. Decreased risk of stroke 

Excess weight can increase blood pressure, and therefore your risk of stroke. This is because high blood pressure puts a strain on your blood vessels, making them stiffer and more likely to cause blood to clot. 

Losing weight helps improve the efficiency of the heart due to less constricted blood vessels,” Pusalkar says. 

4. Better sleep 

Overweight people are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea — a disorder characterized by disrupted breathing while sleeping. Excess weight can increase fat deposits in your neck, which can obstruct your airways. 

If you suffer from sleep apnea, losing weight likely won’t entirely cure the condition. However, losing just 10% to 15% of your body weight can improve sleep quality and reduce the severity of sleep apnea in moderately obese patients, according to the National Sleep Foundation. 

5. Improved mobility 

Losing weight alleviates pressure on knees and joints, which can improve mobility, Pusalkar says. A large 2012 study of obese adults with type 2 diabetes found as little as a 1% drop in weight cut mobility limitations, such as difficulty walking or climbing stairs, by more than 7%. 

6. Higher self-esteem 

While there is no direct correlation between weight loss and self-esteem, some studies show that weight loss can improve mood and self-confidence. 

A 2014 review examined 36 studies to determine the psychological benefits of weight loss. Researchers found consistent improvements in body image, self-worth, and general well-being among subjects who lost weight. 

7. Decreased joint pain 

Excess weight can cause joints to become stressed, damaged, and inflamed — but losing weight can help.

A 2018 study examined obese adults with arthritis pain in their knees. Researchers found that losing 10% to 20% of body weight resulted in less pain and improved joint function than losing just 5% of body weight, which did not show any significant joint pain benefits.   

The reason likely has to do with how quickly joints wear down when under additional stress from excess weight. “As the smooth surface at the ends of bones, or cartilage, becomes damaged and worn, you feel pain and stiffness in the joint,” Pulsalkar says.

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