How Accurate Is Apple Watch Outdoor Cycling Calories? Here’s Your Answer!

How Accurate Is Apple Watch Outdoor Cycling Calories

Apple Watch is no longer unfamiliar to passionate cyclists. Yet, how accurate is Apple Watch outdoor cycling calories? How does it measure the number? Click on!


You might want to know how many calories you can burn after cycling. Luckily, you can find quick calculations for energy burned with just one click.

Yet, sometimes it’s not as simple as that, as even good GPS devices cannot guarantee an exact number.

What about the Apple watch? How accurate is Apple watch outdoor cycling calories? Let’s find out in this blog.

How Does Apple Watch Calculate Calories Burned When Cycling?

Apple applies the principle of metabolic rate to calculate calories burned.

You burn calories whenever your body uses energy, even if you’re resting. According to this fact, Apple uses Active Metabolic Rate (AMR) to exactly give you the energy burned when riding.

First of all, the watch uses your heart rate and movement as you cycle to measure the Total Calories. Thanks to this data, it’s easier for the watch to record how much energy you expended for every activity.

How Does Apple Watch Calculate Calories Burned When Cycling

Since such measurement is not enough, Apple relies on Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). The BMR reflects the body’s metabolic rate under resting- in turn, helping estimate the actual calories.

When you set up the smartwatch, you will provide your gender, weight, height to the Health app. Then, based on the Harris-Benedict Equation, the watch calculates such information to measure your BMR.

By subtracting BMR from the Total, the screen shows you the exact amount of energy you burned. What’s more, it advises about how many activities users should do to burn calories.

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How Accurate Is Apple Watch Outdoor Cycling Calories?

Apple Watch outdoor cycling calories measurement is quite accurate. According to a Stanford University study, Apple beat 60 competitors in calorie tracking. 

How Accurate Is Apple Watch Outdoor Cycling Calories

Earlier, calculations by this system can sometimes be flawed due to several factors. For example, using distance to calculate can be wrong if you go downhill. At that time, speed and distance increase while you burn very little energy. 

Fortunately, the latest series have updated GPS and heart rate calculations. They can now easily detect whether you’re working hard to pedal or not.

If your heart rate does not increase equal to your bike speed, the watch then uses your heart rate to calculate the energy. Regardless of how long the distance or how high the bike speed is, the result remains likely accurate.

More impressively, outstanding features such as Automatic Cycling Detection, Fall Detection, or Auto Pause and Resume give cyclists the best experience than ever.

Now, you don’t have to worry about wrong calorie counting if you forget to start tracking or when you stop suddenly.

With such a smartwatch, ensure you enter the correct personal information to get the correct energy burned. 

In case you want the most accurate readings, you can use third-party applications to support calculations better.

How to Improve Apple Watch Calories Tracker?

Calibrate Your Watch

Calibrating a smartwatch after a period of use is a must to improve its accuracy. Such calibration ensures the most accurate information, including the calorie measurement when cycling.

To perform this process, wear your watch during the ride. If you have a Series 2 or later, you can wear it. Otherwise, bring a phone with GPS to complete the calibration for Series 1.

How To Improve Apple Watch Calories Tracker

Make Sure Your Personal Information Up-To-Date

As mentioned above, the device utilizes your height, weight, and gender to calculate energy burned. Keep in mind to regularly update your information to produce the BMR correctly.

To update information:

#1. Open the Apple Watch app on your phone.

#2. Select My Watch > Health > Health Profile.

#3. Here, tap Edit and change the parameters you want.

Wear Your Device Correctly

The more snugly you wear your watch, the more accurate your calorie reading will be.

To achieve the desired results, make sure the device’s back contacts your skin to bring features like Wrist Detection or heart sensors to their full potential.

The right fit keeps you comfortable while riding, and your skin can have room to breathe. If your smartwatch doesn’t read your heart rate, tighten it up a bit.

Wear Your Device Correctly

Keep in mind: Tattooed skin may reduce the accuracy of the heart rate sensors.

Choose The Suitable Workout Type

Many people often forget to set the workout type, leading to miscalculation of calories.

Cycling has two features, indoor and outdoor. Hence, choose the one that best suits the activity you’ll be participating in.

Depending on the Series, you need to bring your phone while cycling to calculate some metrics.

  • Speed and distance: Wear the watch for Series 2 or later. Yet, with Series 1 or earlier, you need to bring your iPhone to track the speed and distance.
  • Elevation: For Series 3 or later, you only need the watch. With Series 2 or earlier, be sure to bring your phone to record this metric.

Check Workout Detection Feature

Auto Workout Detection most benefits users that normally forget to start their workout manually.

To enable this feature, follow these steps:

#1. Open Settings on your Apple Watch

#2. Select General > Workout

#3. Select “Start Workout Reminder” and “End Workout Reminder.”


Why Does Outdoor Cycling Not Count As Exercise On My Apple Watch?

The device calculates your exercise based on movement level and heart rate variability. If your heart rate while cycling is almost the same as your resting heart rate, it may not count your activity as an exercise.

Why does my Apple Watch say I’ve burned so many calories?

Don’t worry; since many people have been in the same situation as you. This problem results from the incorrect resting calories reported from the Health app.

Please check your information at the Health app and calibrate your device to fix this error.

How Can I View My Distance Information For My Workout?

To view distance information, make sure you complete the following steps.

#1. Go to Settings on iPhone > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Enable Motion Calibration & Distance.

#2. Go to Apple Watch app on iPhone > Privacy > Turn on Fitness Tracking

#3. Go to Date & Time settings on iPhone > Enable “Set Automatically.”

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The Bottom Line 

So, how accurate is Apple Watch outdoor cycling calories? – This device is surely worth trying for technology lovers who want to keep track of their fitness effortlessly. As mentioned above, the latest generation of this device undoubtedly provides you with precise measurements.

Do not hesitate to allow yourself to experience this product line. Thanks for reading!

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Jame K. Thomas

Jame K. Thomas

Hey guys, I am an avid cyclist who have raced competitively in the amateur ranks until my mid 30s. I love cycling because it offers both physical and mental challenges, as well as the sense of freedom that comes with riding outdoors. I have devoted myself to the communities and shared all that I know about this supper-duper lovely cycling. Hope that my experience in this blog could give you help.

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