Calories Burned Calculator for Elliptical Trainer at FitClick

What Is a Treadmill?

A treadmill has long been used as staple equipment in commercial and home gyms. It makes running easy and convenient, and some amount of cardio is a key part of any exercise program, even if you aren’t training for a running event. The technology used in making the treadmill has been carefully researched, developed, and perfected over the years.

Maximize Your Calorie Burn On Any Cardio Machine

The reality is, if you have one person on a treadmill, another on an elliptical and a third on an exercise bike, without knowing anything else about the workout other than the fact that all of them are exercising for an hour, you could not say with any confidence which individual was burning the most calories.

Why?  Because there are just too many factors that contribute to that total, and any one of them could have burned more in the period of time.  

Let’s assume for our purposes that all three users below are identical and see how each one of the three can burn the most calories in an hour’s time…

User #1: Elliptical

User #2: Treadmill

User #3: Bike

How the Elliptical Could Burn More Calories Per Hour

If User #1 is fully exerting, engaging both the arms and legs, maximizing resistance and incline levels, doing interval training…all of these things alone, or just a combination of two of them, will add up to a much higher calorie burn than User #2 simply walking or jogging, or User #3 at a regular pace.

How the Treadmill Could Burn More Calories Per Hour

Now, if User #1 is not fully exerting, not taking advantage of the higher resistance levels and incline, and User #2 is doing a decent run for the entire hour, User #2 will definitely burn more calories in that hour’s time, given the same regular pace of the User #3.

How the Bike Could Burn More Calories Per Hour

Let’s say User #1 is again not fully exerting, not using the higher resistance levels and incline, User #2 is doing a light jog and now User #3 has cranked up the resistance levels, incline if the bike has it, and doing HIIT training….well now guess who burned the most calories per hour?



  • Less Dynamic

Most elliptical units lack incline features, which limits you from having intensity variations. This will also give minimum resistance to your movements.

  • Less Impact Effect

The the suspended pedals of an elliptical mean there is no weight-bearing aspect of the workout. You’ll still burn calories, but you won’t necessarily develop as much bone and muscle strength as compared to running, which is particularly important to older people.

The presence of suspended pedals doesn’t allow you to pick up your feet, which in turn can cause numbness. Also, the use of your quadriceps will possibly give a burning sensation when the muscles are being used to their maximum. Embrace the burn! These pains should subside after several sessions as your body responds to the routines.

Calories burned estimation from elliptical machine is not accurate

Elliptical machines appear to overestimate caloric expenditure by a large number of calories. Some people who are looking for weight-loss strategy are dependent upon amount of calories burned which are estimated and provide by elliptical machines, and make nutritional intake decisions. Therefore,accurately estimating calories burned on elliptical machine is very important. These devices claim to provide an accurate estimation picture of the current body related stats and its capacity to burn calories.

These devices tend to use an algorithm which estimates the energy expenditure by any individual, based on his pedal rate and steps per second. However, oftentimes people resorting to these measurements fail to achieve their desired weight.

These devices, as such, fail to provide an accurate caloric expenditure estimated value when you exercse on elliptical machines.

But we all know that the caloric expenditure estimates obtained from exercise equipment are not accurate. In recent years, many experiments have proved this point.

Below are some of the experiments from the past which have proved them wrong using detailed surveys.

Precor and Life fitness elliptical exercise trainers are quite popular when it comes to measuring heart rate, distance travelled and calories burnt. A study in 2015, some experts estimated energy Expenditure while exercising on elliptical machine through a research and experiment. 3 men and 3 women performed on both the trainers for 2 bouts per day. The order was randomised and post workout results were recorded. According to the experiment, the PRECOR model EFX 556i overestimated the energy expenditure, while the Life Fitness EFX 556i overestimated the energy expended.

Another study was conducted to compare EE estimates of an elliptical trainer from open circuit spirometry. These were recorded at different resistance levels and pedal speed. 10 male and 10 females volunteered for the study. A 3 times 15 minutes session of training on the elliptical trainer was conducted by each of them with a 24 hour gap between bouts. Pedal rates were capped at 50, 60 and 70 RPM and resistance was increased at a uniform rate of 5 every 5 minutes. The modulations were completed in a randomised order between participants. Heart rate, distance and EE was measured every minute. Linear regression models were used to measure the precision of these trainers. The result greatly varied as there was a bias to overestimated EE. Health professionals suggesting these trainers to their clients should be aware if the default in the measurements that these devices can produce.

Another study in 2018 was aimed at comparing the difference between caloric estimation between an elliptical machine and a calorimetry device. 20 females and 14 males volunteered for this study. The measurements from each device regarding calorie expenditure was recorded. There was a major difference in overall calorie expenditure. The difference does tend to be greater for females. Individuals should enter as much data as possible when using cardiovascular exercise equipment as this should serve to decrease the overestimation of caloric expenditure. The difference in estimation methods of calorie expenditure between males and females was not very substantive. However, the study concluded that too much dependence on elliptical machines for calorie measurement can lead to inaccurate pictures.

Based on this study, amount of calories burned on elliptical machine in 30 mintues of exercise at moderate intensity maybe overestimated up to approximate 100 calories.

Caution should be taken while using such devices for energy expenditure estimates.

Increase your resistance and incline

Not a fan of interval training? You can still burn more calories on the elliptical by upping your resistance and incline levels.

Doing so allows you to naturally recruit different muscle fibers during your cardio training, according to Brooke Taylor, fitness instructor and creator of TFIGNITE PROGRAM and Taylored Fitness.

“By elevating the incline, you activate the glutes and hamstrings a little deeper, working the extension of the hip,” she says.

Try long, slow distance

This type of training on the elliptical still burns a lot of calories but is ideal for those trying to take it easy on their muscles and joints.

“LSD (Long Slow Distance) is working at a slow pace for long durations, in order to increase aerobic endurance,” explains Steiner.

“The elliptical, with strength and stability exercises, will protect the joints and reduce the risk of injury, while still improving endurance.” Hook up your favorite Netflix show, hop on the elliptical, and just sweat!

How To Burn 500 Calories On The Elliptical Machine?

The elliptical trainer is a great piece of equipment for cardio exercise. It targets the legs, behind, arms, and torso, and so provides a well rounded workout.

If you are aiming to burn a certain amount of calories instead of aiming to workout for a certain period of time, it may be beneficial for you to consider increasing the speed and resistance during the exercise. This leads the body to burn more calories than at low resistance.

The formula for Calories Burned Per Minute = (MET x body weight in Kg x 3.5) ÷ 200, where MET stands for resistance. At resistance level 2, the MET is 4.6, resistance level 5 MET is 4.9 and so on.

A person of 85kg can burn 437 calories on the elliptical in 60 minutes at resistance level 5. At resistance level 8, the same person can burn 509 calories in that same 60 minutes!

An easy thing to keep in mind is that the best way to burn calories on the elliptical is simply to do the exercise on the maximum resistance that your body is capable of, and try to slowly build up strength to go to the next level of resistance.

Calories burned on elliptical – a practical example

In a practical example, let’s estimate the elliptical calories for Richard, who weighs 75 kg (165 lb). He exercises every other day for 45 minutes using a cross-trainer. How many calories does Richard burn during every training session?

  1. Estimate the calories burned using the following formula:

calories = time * MET * 3.5 * weight / (200 * 60)

  1. In the second step, you need to convert minutes to seconds:

45 minutes * 60 = 2700 seconds

  1. Let’s assume that Richard sets his elliptical trainer to resistance level 5 (MET = 4.9), so he trains with moderate effort.

  2. The next step is to substitute the numbers into the equation:

calories = time * MET * 3.5 * weight / (200 * 60)

calories = 2700 * 4.9 * 3.5 * 75 / (200 * 60)

calories = 3,472,875 / 12,000

calories = 289.4

Richard burns approximately 290 kcal during his training.


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