The great allure of the elliptical trainer over the treadmill is that it is a low impact exercise machine, which means it provides an intense workout without putting any pressure on the joints of the user. This has made the elliptical a particularly popular method of weight loss among the elderly and those whose joints have been damaged by obesity.
In the summer of 2004, Harvard Medical School published the results of a study which found that in one 30-minute elliptical session, the average person will burn 2.16 calories for every pound of bodyweight. So, we know that the elliptical certainly burns fat – something which is often denied by the machine’s detractors – but can the elliptical burn belly fat and how effective is it?
Importance of Losing Belly Fat
While belly fat is certainly unsightly, it is far from an exclusively cosmetic issue. In fact, in cases of abdominal obesity, cosmetics should be the least of the sufferer’s worries. We say this because belly fat is generally recognized as one of the most dangerous fats and has been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure, among other issues. As you can see, burning excess belly fat is an absolute must for anybody who cares about their health. Unfortunately, doing so isn’t all that easy.
Belly fat is notoriously challenging to get rid of, largely because the development of belly fat is heavily influenced by one’s hip-to-waist ratio, which is itself influenced by one’s genetics. Many people find belly fat’s resistance to exercise so disheartening that they resign themselves to it and abandon their workout routine altogether.
While this frustration is understandable, we urge you not to give up on your weight loss mission. Belly fat can indeed be burned and, if you aren’t in a position to use a treadmill or a rowing machine, an elliptical is essential for doing so.
Using an Elliptical to Burn Belly Fat
Despite being a low impact exercise machine, the elliptical is an exercise for both the upper and lower body. When an exercise requires both halves of the body to be moving, more muscles are working, which means more calories are burned, including those which are responsible for belly fat.
Although belly fat does take time and patience to burn, those who are hoping to do away with their belly fat ASAP can try a couple of tricks to speed things up. Most elliptical machines allow the user to increase the incline, stride, and resistance as they please. Increase any of these three things and the intensity of your workout will increase with them.
Increase all of these three things and you will burn significantly more calories than you would through a simpler elliptical session. You may also want to try increasing the frequency of your elliptical workouts. Many trainers suggest dedicating 30 minutes to the elliptical every second day. If you have grander aspirations, however, try upping that to a full hour every second day or increasing the frequency of your workouts to 30 minutes every day.
Elliptical Trainers vs. Treadmills for Burning Belly Fat
A treadmill is good if you like jogging, walking, or running. It has different intensities that you can use so it is also ideal for beginners.
However, an elliptical focuses on both upper and lower body. Your feet do not leave the pedals while working out on the elliptical trainer. This is perfect for those with joint problems, muscle pains, people recovering from injury and elderly people. An elliptical trainer essentially allows you to focus on a group of muscles all at the same time. This makes it a great option when getting rid of unwanted belly fat.
While an elliptical trainer is certainly effective in burning belly fat, it is important to remember that you are unlikely to see any results if you do not pair it with other cardio exercises. The elliptical can be the foundation or center of your workout, but it definitely shouldn’t be the lone star.
Try complimenting your elliptical workouts with other cardio exercises such as push-ups, squats, and sit-ups. All three exercises contribute to the burning of calories while the final one deals almost exclusively with belly fat. If building muscle is of concern to you, we advise some light weight training every second or third day in conjunction with your cardio sessions.
We say this because the elliptical, for all of its benefits, is designed only to burn fat and so does not develop muscle. We also suggest you try incorporating planking into your workouts. Planking, much like sit-ups, deals primarily with the lower abdomen.
However, it will also work a number of other muscles in your body and will contribute to the building of your core strength. One 30-second plank per 30-minute elliptical workout, when combined with the other exercises mentioned in this article, will wear that belly fat down and expose the abs underneath.