Can an Elliptical Machine Help You Lose Weight?

With the new year, many people have once again vowed to get healthier and lose some weight. There are many ways to do this, and we often get asked, “Can an elliptical machine help you lose weight?” The fact is, it can! However, the amount of weight you lose will really depend on how you use the machine, and how often. This article will go over the weight loss basics of using an elliptical trainer as well as giving some tips on how to maximize the weight loss benefits it produces.

Weight Loss Basics

The combined motion of cross-country skiing and stair climbing produced by an elliptical trainer allows its user to work up a pretty good sweat and burn some calories while being easy on the bones and joints. However, if you really want to lose some weight using the elliptical, you’ll need to concentrate to get the most out of it. A normal half hour workout will only burn around 125 to 350 calories depending on the user’s size. That’s hardly enough to make a dent in the typical person’s daily caloric intake of 2000 to 2500 calories. To see better weight loss results using an elliptical machine you’ll need to up your game to increase your calorie burn and create a calorie deficit for real weight loss.

Interval Increases

Many machines will have an electronic display with a timer and speedometer. Your machine may also have a readout that tells you when you’re in the “fat burning zone.” The fact is, this won’t be calibrated specifically to you and even if it is, it’ll usually have you working at 60 to 70% of your maximum capacity. To really start burning the fat you’ll need to get closer to 90% of your max heart rate. Of course, you don’t need to do this constantly, but by adding in minute-long intervals where you go full out, you’ll burn a lot more calories and fat.

Foot Placement

When the going gets tough on an elliptical, many people have the tendency to get up on their tiptoes to push the pedals down. By raising your heels off the platforms, you lower the number of leg muscles you’re using and the calories you’re burning. Keep your feet firmly planted to get the best calorie burning results.

Arm Movements

Some people just hold onto the handles for balance more than anything. What you should really be doing is ensuring your arms are doing work by pushing and pulling the bars rather than just holding on. This will increase your heart rate and your calorie burn rate more than if you don’t use your arm muscles at all.


Most elliptical machines have resistance controls. By increasing the machine’s resistance during your high-intensity intervals you’ll not only increase your calorie burn rate, but you’ll also create an incredible workout for your leg muscles. You may end up going slower, but you’ll benefit in the amount of work you’re doing.

Now that you know how elliptical machines can help you lose weight, download this month’s promotions to save.

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