I have a question that I can't seem to find the answer to anywhere... Why do elliptical machines burn sooo many calories, when it feels like you're hardly doing anything? I can alternate walking and jogging on a treadmill and feel like I'm working my butt off when I'm really not, or I can lazily bounce around on an elliptical machine and burn even more calories. Why is that? Or is it all a hoax?
I wondered this myself and did some research. Turns out, the amount of calories the elliptical says you're burning can be off by as much as 50% on the high side. It's kind of more of a guesstimate than an actual solid figure. Sheesh! Kind of makes it hard to hit workout goals, eh?
In general there is about a 25% discrepancy, so if you're shooting for 200 calories, go until you hit 250 to be sure. (Take your goal and multiply by 1.25 for a rough estimate of what to shoot for).
Any machine in a gym is going to be off slightly because of differences in the way each of our bodies metabolizes energy and burns it, but the treadmills are, in general, more accurate than the ellipticals, stationary bikes, and even stairmasters for that matter.
So, yea, your gut instinct was right on and it IS too good to be true that it's so easy to burn calories that fast!
Here's one of the articles I found and there were quite a few: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0846/i s_10_22/ai_101678964
Hope this helps!
I agree completely with Kellybee. Most/All machines in gyms are are off. It's just a rough estimate.
Out of all cardio machines, the elliptical is actually one of the worse ones to use as a good form of cardio.
Thanks! That's good to know. I like doing elliptical because it's less stressful on my knees and ankles, but I wanted to make sure I was actually getting a good enough workout on it! It sounds like I probably am, just not as much as it would like me to think. :)
Elliptical machines can be a great form of cardio at the gym but the key is to make sure you keep the strides per minute under 135. Anything higher than this and the momentum of the machine is doing all the work for you. If you raise your resistance you'll notice the workout will be a lot harder and therefore, more effective. You want to push against the machine but when you don't have enough resistance you're basically riding the machine. Also try to use the pedals backwards as a way to target different muscles. Those people at the gym that go super fast on them aren't actually quite as impressive as they make think they look. :) Resistance is key!
Kaywoah, you said to keep strides per minute under 135. The machines at my gym go by miles per hour. How many mph is 135 strides per minute?
Hmm that's a great question. Let me see if I can find out and I'll get back to you on that one.
I'm not disputing the ineffectiveness of the output reader in the gym and is another reason I'm not a big "gym guy" on top of loving the outdoors. However, all must know that an elliptical machine utilizes the most muscle groups and is why the caloric burn is greater on an elliptical machine than any activity, except maybe for swimming. I am working with the contestants on the NBC reality show, The Biggest Loser and they are burning 14-17 calories per minute on my Elliptical traveler, which is an elliptical trainer that you ride outdoors that takes the low impact of the activity and brings in all muscle groups, including the CORE, due to its three wheeled platform. www.StreetStrider.com