Distance / Calorie Burn Calibration & Activity Mode for Water Aerobics

CocoCali Registered Users Posts: 1
New Traveler
edited January 24 in TomTom Sports
I have a few questions that I am hoping you can help me with. Most of the answers I've located are a several years old and I am hoping there's updated info:
  1. Is there a way to calibrate/re-calibrate the GPS/steps? My freestyle map is showing me going through several neighbors yards each direction and crossing streets....when I'm only in my backyard pool. (map attached) :thinking:
  2. Because my TomTom seems to think I prowl my neighborhood, I believe it is over estimating my calories burned. If I get the GPS corrected, will it auto correct this part too? ie: TomTom says I walked 3,379 steps and burned 2,564 calories...this can't be correct, right? :hushed:(More info about this below)
  3. What is the best activity option to select while doing water aerobics and then swimming laps? I've tried Swim and Freestyle but think I'm not selecting the right one for the water aerobics part. Also, I read that you can enter size of pool but I am not able to locate that on my watch.
More info: I am obese. The steps reflected above in #2 are for the whole day of normal walking, not speed walking and not set as official 'activity'. But when I did my Freestyle in the pool, it only logged 205 calories burned for 1.5 hours.
Backstory: I was in the hospital for 5 months after being hit by a DUI driver (I was a pedestrian). I have had to learn to walk again. For the moment my goal is 2,000 steps p/day plus water aerobics and swimming laps (modified) 3-4x a week which will help with both physical therapy and weight loss.

It is EXTREMELY important that I get as close to accurate as possible so I can make the best decisions about amount of food, time, etc. Any help you guys can provide would be truly and deeply appreciated...you don't even know....seriously.

Many Thanks,
(Not Your Regular Neighborhood Prowler) :wink::joy:



  • tfarabaugh
    tfarabaugh Posts: 16,948
    Let me preface by stating that this is a consumer device, not a medical one and should not be relied on for accurate calorie burning. No device can do this, they are all estimates in one form or another. As to the specific questions:

    1) There is no way to calibrate GPS or steps. For GPS are you updating the QuickGPS file a minimum of every three days by syncing the watch? This caches the expected satellite locations and makes for quicker attainment. Also, do not try to get signal while moving, you are just making it harder on the watch. Best to just sit still with the button pointing skyward (or take it off and place it on a flat surface) until it finds the GPS. Make sure the watch is in an unobstructed area without large buildings, tree cover or reflective surfaces as this will cause a lot of interference. It will also take longer the first time you are in a new location but will speed up thereafter as it caches the location data for that spot. Once you get the Go it is best to give it another minute or two as Go is just the minimum satellites locked on. The longer you wait the more it will grab and the better your signal will be. As to steps, honestly, the TT devices do a fairly crappy job on counting steps. they are meant a s a general guide for the day. If you are within 1,000 - 2,000 steps you are fine, if you are way off it means to walk more. It is taking a count based on inferring steps from arm movement so extraneous movement can trigger steps. To get accurate steps you are better off with a pedometer that sits on the leg or waist.

    2) Calories are tracked 2 different ways. There are the daily 24/7 tracking, the watch computes a BMR based on your gender, height, weight, etc. and takes this along with steps and sports activities to come up with calories burned. It is taking the base calories from being alive (breathing, digesting, etc.) adding the calories burned during sports activities and then adding calories to reflect active time (including steps). Steps are going to include steps taken during the sports activities, so they might not add anything as the associated calories have already been accounted for. This is exactly what it and all other activity trackers are designed to do. In my experience it is generally accurate (or as accurate as BMR based calculations can be as they are based on averages). This does not look at HR and will continue to count even if you are not wearing the watch. For sports activities it is using either METs tables or your HR to calculate calories done during that specific activity.

    3) For water aerobics you would want to use gym mode as you do not need GPS. It will calculate time spent and calories based on HR (although this will be possibly inaccurate as the HR sensor does not work well in the water. For laps you can use gym as well and it will calculate calories on HR but you will not get lap data. Otherwise you would want to do a separate activity in swim mode which will get you lap counting based on pool size (although is fairly inaccurate and is very dependent on form) but it will use standard MET tables for calories as the HR is disabled.

    Ultimately, this is a consumer grade fitness device and is going to be of limited utility for serious calorie tracking (although on the other side, it is also very hard to track calories eaten accurately as well). You really need to treat it as an estimate and understand the limitations built into the device. Some brands do a better job with the step counting but no device can tell you how many calories you burned during the course of a day, it is a guess.

    I hope this helps answer your question. If so, please mark it as a solution so others can look for it if they have the same question.