When “calories burned” is one of the key measures for your exercise or weight loss program, it’s essential to get consistent, accurate feedback. Your elliptical machine will generally provide a figure on the screen, so you have some indication when you step off at the end of your session.
The equipment will give what you might call a “one-size-fits-all” number, but it may not be accurate for you. The actual figure for calories burned during the session depends on a few variables that are the same for you, but will be different for each person stepping onto the machine.
What you actually expend, in terms of calories, will be determined by your weight, muscle mass, body’s metabolism rate, and gender. To get an accurate estimate of the number of calories burned during a session, you must also take into the intensity of the workout, as well as how you maintain proper form as you exercise. For example, a low-intensity session without focus on keeping the back straight and feet in the right position, will yield different results than a medium-intensity session in which your form is excellent.
Take a quick look at two examples – different people, different results. If you exercise on an elliptical for 30 minutes at a moderate level of intensity, and you weigh 180 pounds, you will generally burn approximately 350 to 400 calories. A smaller person, weighing about 125 pounds, exercising for 30 minutes at the same level of intensity, would burn calories in the range of 250 to 270.
These numbers will also vary depending on those other variables, such as form maintained during exercise, metabolism, and so on. If you don’t have accurate numbers, you won’t know the actual results. If you measure strictly by the screen/readout on your equipment, which might show an “average” number of calories burned, you could be off by 1,000 or 2,000 calories in a five-day program. This can lead you to believe you’re getting better results than you actually are.
Just as it’s best to have two or more sources for information for a news story, it’s important to have two or more sources for measuring your elliptical training results. You can work with calories burned and weight, as long as you keep the pattern and variables the same each time you measure.
Best Machine for Burning Calories?
To answer the question posed in the subtitle, it’s not necessary to dig into brand names so much as it is essential to understand the different designs of elliptical equipment. In general terms, most veterans in this field agree you should have a machine that works both the upper body and the lower body – at the same time. Consider this advice from the viewpoint of walking for exercise. When you walk at a brisk pace, you will get the best cardio results and the best overall body toning when you also swing your arms in a similar rhythm. Doing this on elliptical equipment gives you the most efficient rate of calorie burn.
You should invest in equipment with handles that move with the motion of the legs (back and forth) to get an effective workout session. You might also invest in a machine that allows you to change the incline and the resistance level, for best results with legs. Of course, when you make the legs and arms work a bit harder, you also gain in the overall lung/heart benefits.
When you’re just starting your elliptical program, it’s probably best to begin at a low level of intensity, along with a relatively easy resistance and incline. You should be able to tell right away if the settings are challenging enough for you. Consider your weight, body size, strength, and general health to avoid making the settings too high for your personal situation.
Tip: Don’t make the resistance and incline so difficult that you have to bounce/jump to get the paddles to make a revolution. Elliptical training should be a rather smooth motion, even with proper resistance and incline.
It’s for You
Just as you should consider your personal abilities and needs when measuring calorie and weight results, you should keep those same individual factors in mind when choosing your incline setting and resistance setting. Ask yourself what feels “right” rather than choosing your settings according to a manual or equipment guidebook. This latter guide is fine for those who have no experience with elliptical training, but as you spend time on your program you’ll be able to make decisions based on you!
Think about the variety of body sizes and shapes of people who use exercise and training equipment. An effective workout for one individual will probably not be as effective or efficient for someone who weighs more, is taller, or who has a different long-term goal in mind. The beginning of an elliptical program is a great time to try some of the classic “bio-feedback.” Listen to your body. Tune into your body as you increase or decrease intensity, resistance, or incline.
Summing It Up
There are individuals, and specific times during that person’s life, when a low-intensity workout will yield results of a certain type. People who have an injury or a heart problem that doesn’t keep them from engaging in limited exercise could remain active without endangering their health.
Low-intensity workouts might also help with those who struggle with uneven insulin levels, to cite one example. Naturally, it’s always best to consult with your medical professional before beginning an exercise program.
Going back to the original question of calorie burning, you will get better results with a medium-intensity or high-intensity program. Lung capacity will improve and your body will even burn a few calories after the high-intensity session.
Remember, the number of calories burned will depend on factors other than the machine. You should take into account such elements as weight, intensity of the session, time spent on the elliptical equipment, and so on. Do a bit more research on calorie-burning and related subjects to get the best results from your elliptical.