Can You Lose Weight Using an Elliptical? – Absolutely!

Ask fitness trainers if you can lose weight using an elliptical, and they will quickly tell you that ellipticals have become the most popular machine at the health club and that they can be used for effective weight loss. It’s a low impact activity that elevates your heart rate even in a light or moderate workout.

You can lose weight using elliptical trainers because they are the ideal combination of cardio workout and calorie burning machines. Not only are they easy to use and less stressful on the joints when compared to jogging on a hard surface, the display console gives you a wealth of information about your workout. Ellipticals give you an estimate on the number of calories burned, METs, the time and distance of your workout, and your Target Heart Rate.

TreadFit - 9 Weeks to Your Ultimate Body Using an Elliptical

You can start losing weight using an elliptical by designing your own workout program, or find a guidebook online, such as personal trainer Gerard Thorne’s TreadFit: 9 Weeks to Your Ultimate Body to begin understanding the theories behind fat burning. You may already know the simple formula of weight loss (eat less + exercise more = weight loss), but books such as this can give you a little motivation to get started.

Browse for Weight Loss Books at Amazon.com

The Display is Telling You Something

But exactly how can you lose weight using an elliptical? First, let’s look at how calories are burned. One calorie burn formula used by scientists is based on a common measure called a MET, or metabolic equivalent. This is a measure of the amount of energy you use during sleep. A single MET is roughly a half a calorie burned per pound, or one kilo-calorie per kilogram of body weight. For example, a 130-pound person burns 60 calories per hour during sleep.

The software used in ellipticals, treadmills, and stationary bikes calculates an estimate of calories burned based on your weight against a standardized MET from a catalog of set values for different weight loss exercises. You may have seen a “MET” readout on an elliptical at your health club and not known what it was. Like the rest of the machine’s information, it also tells you the level you are exercising at.

A high intensity weight loss workout might see METs readouts in the 10-14 range on an elliptical trainer such as a Precor EFX 5.33. But keep in mind that each manufacturer uses their own proprietary algorithms to estimate METs. If you have an elliptical that allows you to input your weight, they are trying to give you a bit more accurate reading to determine your basal metabolic rate. This BMR is then multiplied by your METs to determine calories burned per hour.

Work Smarter and Harder

Losing weight on an elliptical trainer will work even more effectively when your training program is combined with a proper diet. The information on the console is there for you to use to gauge your workout accordingly and to know whether you are in a fat burning zone or not working hard enough to lose weight. You’ll burn calories during light and moderate programs, but for best result, increase the intensity of your elliptical trainer workout. Pay attention to the display! Let the machine help you to achieve optimum cardio output and burn the most calories during your workout. You’ll get the body you want much faster when you let the elliptical do the work it’s designed for. So can you lose weight using an elliptical? The answer is absolutely!

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