Who doesn’t wish for the perfect body? There are only a handful of persons out there who can truly say that they wouldn’t change a single thing about the way they look, may it be facial features, their hair and last but not least, the way their bodies look.
We all vary in shapes and sizes and with nowadays’ society and media, only one or two body shapes are seen as “beautiful”. The rest are left thinking that there is something wrong with their bodies and that they have to change them. Here is where the craze for burning calories comes along. People seem obsessed with counting the number of calories they ingest, as well as the number of calories they burn in a workout session. This is where cardio exercise comes along.
We are all familiar with the benefit of a good cardio workout. But over time, you will begin to notice the negative effect that high-impact activities such as running can have on your body, which is why you might want to consider an alternative in the shape of an elliptical trainer.
Elliptical trainers have become increasingly popular, and are seen in many gyms and homes across the world. Athletes use elliptical machines as a way to improve fitness and strength. They are a good alternative to other cardiovascular machines. Essentially, ellipticals are a cross between a treadmill and a stair climber, with the addition of upper-body work with arm levers. They can be customized to different fitness levels, are easy to use and a good way to burn calories.
Harvard can’t be wrong
According to Harvard Health Publications, you can burn up to 400 calories in just 30 minutes exercising on an elliptical machine, depending on your weight. The heavier you are, the more weight you’ll burn in this time frame. Besides body weight, a number of other factors influence the rate at which you burn calories. These factors include gender, age, genetics and medications you take.
Men typically burn calories at a faster rate than women, and younger individuals burn calories faster than older individuals. The intensity of your workout also impacts the amount of calories you burn, so increase the machine’s resistance or interval train on the machine to increase the amount of energy you expend during workout sessions.
Here are examples of how many calories a person would burn during a moderately challenging workout on an elliptical:
- A person who weighs 125 pounds would burn 322 calories working out for 30 minutes and 645 calories working out for 60 minutes.
- A person who weighs 150 pounds would burn 386 calories working out for 30 minutes and 773 in 60 minutes.
- A person who weighs 175 pounds would burn 451 calories in 30 minutes and 902 in 60 minutes.
You can increase the number of calories you burn by increasing the tension on the machine. Most ellipticals come with tension or resistance settings. When you increase this setting, the machine requires more work from you to keep it going at the same rate, so your body is forced to work harder and burns more calories.
The reason is because you’re using more muscles during the exercise, as long as you make sure to use the arm movement when you’re doing the elliptical machine. The more major muscle groups you use doing an exercise, the more overall calories you will burn during the workout. This is the reason why cross country skiing, swimming and jumping rope are such great exercises. The calories you burn during these whole body exercises is incredible.
A Burst of Speed
Adding interval training also burns more calories. Instead of staying at one speed throughout your workout, increase the resistance setting for 30 to 60 seconds, recover at a lower setting for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat this cycle for 10 to 20 minutes. Interval workouts challenge your heart and muscles to work harder for short bursts, which will ultimately burn more calories. This is a great way to also keep your workouts fun and interesting, because rather than doing the same speed over and over again for 30 minutes, you get to change and spice it up a bit with different speeds.
Now remember, when you lose body fat, it will come from all over your body. When someone says, “I want to lose fat in my hips and thighs”, this triggers thoughts of spot reducing. The term “spot reducing” really does not work. You can’t reduce fat from one specific area on your body. You should focus on burning calories with cardio exercise and you will start losing body fat from all over your entire body.
Achieving weight goals is a simple equation of calories consumed versus calories burned. If weight loss is the goal, calorie burn needs to be greater than calories consumed. Calories should not be drastically reduced, as this can be potentially unsafe and counterproductive for weight loss. This is another point to be remembered if you want to lose weight. Keep your calorie count at a balance by not over-exaggerating neither with dieting, nor with working out.
All in all, as with many exercise machines, an elliptical is only as effective as you make it. Because you choose the settings for duration, speed and resistance, you control how much you benefit. If it is too easy, you will not benefit from the exercise. Choose a setting that will challenge your body, burn more calories and strengthen your cardiovascular and muscular systems as much as possible.