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TOPIC: How many calories does an eliptical really burn????

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January 27, 2010 11:15 AM
I have been on this program since Nov 11th. I thought I was doing really good. My favorite machine at the gym is the eliptical and I am on that thing everyday!!! I have been using the calorie counter on the machine to imput into my fitness pal. I thought I was doing great at burning over 700 calories in 1 hour!! I always pushed myself harder to get higher numbers. Today, I was having a conversation with one of the ladies at the gym and she laughed when I said how proud I was for hitting 700 calories in a workout. Is my thinking incorrect? Does an hour on the eliptical not burn 700 calories??? I want to do this properly, so if there is anyone out there who can straighten this out for me, I would so appreciate it!!!
I do know the machine I use is not to old, but it does not have the moving arms. I do that all on my own. :-)
Please help with any suggestions.
January 27, 2010 11:19 AM
You can burn quite a few calories on the elliptical but it all depends on your heart rate. The only truly accurate way to know is to wear a Heart Rate Monitor. It depends on how fast you go, the resistance, upper body varies a lot
January 27, 2010 11:19 AM
I just checked the elliptical on here and it says just over 600 calories for 30 minutes.
January 27, 2010 11:20 AM
I have been using my elliptical every day for 20-25 mins depending (trying to build myself up to it after having not used it for AGES!!)
And I mine says I burn 250 when I use it for 20 mins and I burnt 300 when I did 25 mins. I've always thought it was
January 27, 2010 11:21 AM
I use an elliptical at my gym and I work out for about 45 minutes. I really work hard and lose about 400 calories.
January 27, 2010 11:22 AM
It depends on your weight a lot as well - are you entering your weight into the machine before you use it? Somebody who weighs 130lbs, for example, won't burn as many calories as somebody who weighs 200lbs. Also, it can only ever be a guide in the gym as it's never 100% accurate, too many factors to be taken into consideration. Using the guide amount from the gym is good enough for me though!
January 27, 2010 11:24 AM
I consistently use an elliptical at my gym for an hour each day and it says I burn 700 calories in that hour. However, by the time I'm finished, I'm pouring sweat so I know my heartrate is up there. My goal is to burn 100 calories or more every 10 minutes.
Edited by Miss_Chievous_wechange On January 27, 2010 11:26 AM
January 27, 2010 11:24 AM
Mine pretty much says 10 minutes - 100 calories.
January 27, 2010 11:25 AM
Also what your weight and fitness level are can affect how much you burn. My husband is about a foot taller and 100lbs more than me and he burns more calories doing the same exercises that I do. As you get closer to your goal and more fit you body doesn't have to work as hard to do the same stuff. So if the woman at the gym was in really good shape she may burn way less than you.
Edited by cc_campbell81 On January 27, 2010 11:27 AM
January 27, 2010 11:25 AM
I had been wondering the same thing. I have read that the calories burned readout on cardio equipment is over estimated up to 30%. I did an experiment with my heart rate monitor and it said I burned 386 calories in an hour while the machine said 650. So unfortunately, I have had to increase the amount of cardio I do to reach my 800 calorie goal. Definitely not the news I was looking for!
January 27, 2010 11:25 AM
the machines don't have your heart rate, your height, or your gender, so they're rarely right.

the best indication is a heart rate monitor. aside form that, when your entering your weight, always enter 10 pounds lighter than you actually are, and then subtract 20-25% of the calories from the final number,
January 27, 2010 11:31 AM
Today I did 30 minutes (working hard!) and burned 275 calories according to my HRM. The machine said I burned over 300.
January 27, 2010 11:36 AM
Another thing to remember that even if the 700 is right, that in that hour you would have burn calories at rest. Even if the machine was right that you burned 700, you have to minus off the cals you would have burned anyway or you are double counting those calories. As an example if you burn 2 calories per minute at rest then the cardio machine says 700 you only burned 580 extra that you would not have burned otherwise so in this example you wold enter 580 not 700 in MFP.
580 comes from (700 - 120(2*60min)). Hope this helps. This applies even when you calculate using your HRM.
Edited by erickirb On January 27, 2010 11:37 AM
January 27, 2010 11:37 AM
I agree with everyone else. Get a HRM, while I doubt they are 100% accurate, they are more accurate than the machine.

Also, one other misconception is the amount you sweat is not an indicator of calories burned, or just means your body was trying to cool you off.
January 27, 2010 11:41 AM
I usually try to estimate my calorie burn on the elliptical because I find the machine count is usually way off. For a person around my weight ... FAST running burns around 10 cal per minute and walking is about 5 or 6 per minute so it depends on how hard I work on the elliptical. I usually do at least a level 5 resistance and wind up sweating a TON. If my heart rate is up the whole time and I'm sweating like crazy and feel like I'm working hard then I estimate between 8 and 9 calories per minute. When it comes to entering my calories on I always UNDER-estimate my calories by a little so that I don't go over my food calorie allowance for the day.
January 27, 2010 11:42 AM
get a HRM & get one with a chest strap. I have a Polar F6 & it's great. Good luck.
January 27, 2010 11:44 AM
oh and try this website for calorie counts ... it's pretty acurate.
It's pretty acurate and they wouldn't even put the elliptical on their website for the longest time because they were having research done ont he calorie count and wanted to finish the study before they added it as an exercise to the site.
January 27, 2010 11:47 AM
I read in "Prevention" the "Flat Abs" issue "that elliptical trainers overestimate calorie burn by an average of 30%."

The article suggests that you get a heart rate monitor since that will calculate how many calories you burn a little more accurately. I also find there is a big difference between machines at the gym and the stationary bike I have at home. I burn about 100 calories every 10 minutes, with every vigorous exercise, and the machines at the gym tell me that I burn WAY more.

Remember, gyms want your buisness!
January 27, 2010 11:51 AM
I went on one at the gym today that has a built in heart monitor. I also entered my weight.
It said I burnt 275 in 45 mins. It is such a struggle. Ugh.
January 27, 2010 11:52 AM
my HRM always shows atleast a 100 or more cal less than the elliptical machine at the gym.
January 27, 2010 7:26 PM

the machines don't have your heart rate, your height, or your gender, so they're rarely right.

the best indication is a heart rate monitor. aside form that, when your entering your weight, always enter 10 pounds lighter than you actually are, and then subtract 20-25% of the calories from the final number,

My machine has a heart rate monitor on it...but not every one does I am sure.
January 28, 2010 6:17 AM
I agree with the 30% less calorie burn. I consistently burn almost 75-100 calories less than the machine calculations, during a 25-30 minute run.
January 28, 2010 6:58 AM
I am on my elliptical everyday for 45-60 minutes. Today I was on for 60 and it said I burned 1400 calories, I use the imput here on when I log in the workout and for 60 min, it says 676 calories. I am more apt to believe the latter.
January 28, 2010 9:00 AM
I use the elliptical at the gym with the swinging arms. I do not have a heart rate monitor so I am only telling you what the machine reading says after inputting my age and weight.

I move between 4 minutes of level 4 and 4 minutes of level 9 for about 30 minutes and the end result is generally about 320-340 calories burned. I can totally see how an hour on elliptical could give you 700 calories burned. I guess it depends on your current weight, intensity and speed.

I try to aim for burning 11-12 calories per minute on elliptical.
January 28, 2010 9:20 AM

get a HRM & get one with a chest strap. I have a Polar F6 & it's great. Good luck.

I have the same one & I LOVE IT!!!!!

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