been using the heart rate monitor and comparing its calorie estimates vs those of different cardio machines. the rule is to trust the heart rate monitor and ignore the estimates of cardio equipment. i agree with that because i've been able to recreate the same heart rate levels of a workout on different pieces of equipment, and the caloric estimate of the HRM was identical while the different machines varied widely. e.g. estimates from treadmills were within 10% of the HRM, while an elliptical machine and recumbant bike estimated twice the # of calories burned.
i don't understand why the HRM only sends heart rate info to cardio equipment, but it doesnt send age and weight info as well. i'm assuming the chest strap and watch have bidirectional communication. if so, the chest strap could get age, weight, HR zone from the watch and pass it on to the cardio equipment. and since the watch is doing its own caloric estimate, it could pass that on to the cardio machine as well.
so what do i burn? lifting for an hour (7 to 9 reps), i burn 250 to 400 calories depending on muscle group. arms/chest are on the low end and back/legs are high. for a half hour of cardio, i burn 150 to 200 calories with light to moderate intensity (haven't done any high intensity cardio yet). but just sitting on my ass, picking my nose, i burn 100 calories an hour. for a complete workout, i'll burn an extra 350 to 600 calories a day. those numbers actually mesh up : need 2500 calories at rest, i've been eating 2250 to 2500 calories a day, burning an extra 300 to 600 working out ... which ends up averaging about a 500 calorie deficit per day, or losing 1 lb each week.
now i'm taking off 5 days to let my body heal and recharge. the thing is ... i'm physically addicted to endorphins. tomorrow, i'll be bouncing off the walls feeling the 'need' to go workout.