How Accurate are Elliptical Calorie Counters?

How Accurate are Elliptical Calorie Counters?
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Although many fitness fanatics seem to believe otherwise, calories are essential when it comes to maintaining a healthy body. The number of calories in a food or drink denotes the energy you will derive from it, so if we have no calories, we have no energy, which can lead to any measure of issues.

The danger comes not in the consumption of calories but in the overconsumption of calories. When a person is consuming more calories than they are burning or are capable of burning, the excess calories are stored as body fat, which, of course, contributes to weight gain and the complications that come along with it. It’s also important to track calories so let’s look how accurate are elliptical calorie counters.

Keeping Track of Calories

Everybody should seek to burn off the calories they consume, but doing so is particularly important if you are trying to lose weight. Jogging has long been a favorite of those who are endeavoring to burn fat, but the cons of jogging are almost as numerous as the pros. For example, when one’s workouts require them to be outside, they are very much dependent on the weather, as any degree of rainfall renders jogging ill-advised, if not downright dangerous.

For this reason, more and more fat fighters are turning to ellipticals to get and stay in shape. The obvious advantage an elliptical holds over jogging is that it allows the owner to exercise all year round, regardless of the weather. On top of that, ellipticals are easier on the joints of the feet and legs, so strain or injury is unlikely.

Many modern ellipticals boast features designed to make it easier for the user to keep track of their activity, such as a stopwatch, a distance meter, and a calorie counter. It is that final feature that we are interested in today. An elliptical with an integrated calorie counter is a great choice if your main motive for purchasing an elliptical is losing weight, as it will allow you to keep track of the calories you have burned throughout your workout.

Or will it? Many critics of the elliptical claim that elliptical calorie counters are inaccurate and should not be trusted to return a correct reading of burned calories. But do these critics have a point? Just how accurate is an elliptical calorie counter?

Accuracy of Elliptical Calorie Counters

“How accurate are elliptical calorie counters?” is a tricky question to answer as not all elliptical calorie counters are created equal. The accuracy of an elliptical calorie counter largely, if not entirely, depends on the quality of the elliptical itself.

If you go with the cheapest elliptical you can find in an attempt to save yourself a couple of dollars, its calorie counter may not be entirely reliable and that’s if it has a calorie counter at all. An elliptical that is slightly more expensive is likely to be of a higher quality, so its calorie counter can be trusted to return a more accurate reading of the calories burned during any particular workout.

It is important to note that the accuracy of an elliptical calorie counter not only varies from model to model, but from person to person as well. For example, if you have been using your elliptical for a while and feel like you’re ready to up the intensity of your workouts, you may increase the machine’s incline or resistance.

This will, of course, result in a more strenuous workout, which will in turn increase your burning of personal calories. However, many ellipticals will not factor in the change in incline or resistance and so such alterations will not be reflected by the integrated calorie counter.

Similarly, every elliptical calorie counter measures the burning of calories based off a series of tests conducted on dozens of people, the results of which were then merged to get an average rate of calories burned per workout.

As a consequence of this, even the most meticulous elliptical calorie counter is incapable of giving you anything other than an estimation of the calories you burn during your time on the machine. Your actual figure depends on a number of factors that are unique to you, such as your heart rate, your perspiration, and your breathing while you exercise.


To an extent, we can understand where the critics of elliptical calorie counters are coming from. That being said, we don’t share their belief that elliptical calorie counters are invariably unreliable and are to be avoided.

A ballpark figure of the number of calories you burned through one particular exercise is always better than no figure at all, as it allows you to loosely track your progress, which is all you need providing you are not a professional sportsperson with a strict weight limit to which you must adhere.

For the average person, the exact number of calories burned is not of exceeding importance. All that truly matters is that you are indeed burning calories, burning fat, and moving steadily towards the kind of body you want. An elliptical is a great way to achieve all of those things in the comfort of your own home, regardless of the accuracy of its calorie counter.

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