Are Ellipticals Good For Weight Loss?

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There are many machines to choose from at the gym. Find out whether elliptical machines are good for weight loss compared to other options.

To lose weight, you need to make it so you use more energy than is coming in from the things you eat.

Ellipticals are good for weight loss in the sense that they help in this process. The movements involved require more energy than most of the typical daily activities.

One of the additional benefits of elliptical machines is that they are low-impact. In simpler words, they involve a relatively low injury risk.

On the other hand, you have to keep in mind that you may need to spend extra time and money to get access to an elliptical machine. These things make it harder to fit elliptical workouts into your lifestyle.

Additionally, some people find using elliptical machines a bit boring. Enjoying your workouts at least somewhat can really benefit your consistency.

Something else to keep in mind no matter whether you choose elliptical sessions or other workouts is that lifestyle habits like your diet will influence your weight loss results a lot.

Can you lose weight by just doing elliptical workouts?

Many people already understand that exercises like using an elliptical machine can help them lose weight in one way or another.

That being said, you need to know that there are still a few conditions to fulfill before you can start seeing results.

If you want to lose weight, you need to get in a situation where your body needs more energy to function than is coming in from food.

When this happens, you start using energy stores like body fat to get the difference.

Because using an elliptical requires more energy (calories) than typical daily activities, you can say that it can benefit weight loss.

At the same time, you also still need to have habits in areas like nutrition that are good enough.

In simpler words, if you currently have a routine that keeps you at the same weight, just doing more elliptical workouts should be enough to lose at least some weight.

On the flip side, many people will also have to make some changes in other areas like nutrition sooner or later to see weight loss results.

man on elliptical trainer to lose weight

Calories burned elliptical vs workout alternatives

By now it should be clear that ellipticals tend to be helpful in the weight loss process.

That being said, you likely also want to know how they compare to alternatives since you only have a limited amount of time to exercise more.

To get an idea of this, you can look at how many calories the ellipticals burn and compare this with the estimations for these other activities.

Before checking out the list below, you want to know that these are very rough predictions. The actual amounts will likely look different for you due to many factors that are not included in the calculation methods.

At the same time, the amounts of calories burned still offer some idea of how good ellipticals are for weight loss compared to these other activities.

A 155-pound (70 kg) person can burn more or less the following amounts of calories when doing the activities for 30 minutes (1):

  • Elliptical Trainer (general): 324 calories
  • Water Aerobics: 144 calories
  • Stretching (Hatha Yoga): 144 calories
  • Walking 4 mph: 175 calories
  • Stair Step Machine (general): 216 calories
  • Swimming (general): 216 calories
  • Rowing, Stationary (moderate): 252 calories
  • Bicycling, Stationary (moderate): 252 calories
  • Running 5 mph: 288 calories
  • Jumping rope (fast): 421 calories

Of course, your exact elliptical trainer intensity will still influence your results a lot.

That being said, while there are a few more effective elliptical alternatives, it is fair to say that this machine offers a relatively high amount of weight loss results.

Are ellipticals good for losing belly fat?

There is a common myth that you have to do specific exercises or eat certain foods to lose fat from areas like your stomach.

Unfortunately, it is generally not possible to target fat loss in significant amounts. This applies not only to ellipticals but other exercises and gym machines for weight loss.

That being said, it is still possible to lose the fat around your stomach.

To do this, you have to lose enough weight overall. As you see more and more progress, your body will start to use more and more of the fat from around your stomach.

So you can say that ellipticals can help you lose belly fat.

However, you will likely also need to pay extra attention to other lifestyle habits like what you eat. Even then, it may take a while before you hit your belly fat loss goals.

How long should you be on the elliptical to lose weight?

It is nice to know that elliptical machines can help you burn nice amounts of calories but you likely want to know how long your sessions need to be to lose certain amounts of weight.

As mentioned above, your exact results will also depend a lot on your habits in areas like your diet.

That being said, let’s say that you manage to get to a point where all the calorie-burning from ellipticals results in fat loss.

In that case, a 185-pound (83.9 kg) person can burn an extra 2646 calories or about 0.76 pounds (0.33 kg) of body fat by using an elliptical for 30 minutes a day for a week.

If this same 185-pound (83.9 kg) person uses the elliptical for 30 minutes a day for 2 months (8 weeks), they can theoretically burn an extra 21,168 calories which comes down to about 6.05 pounds (2.65 kg) of body fat.

Something important to note is that this person (and you) will burn fewer calories with the elliptical as they lose weight. Your body weight influences calorie burning a lot.

Additionally, again, keep your lifestyle habits like nutrition in mind.

It is possible to lose weight without any exercise but it is also possible to spend 30 minutes a day on the elliptical without any results.

Cardio and HIIT versus weight lifting for weight loss

Are ellipticals a good choice when losing weight?

When it comes to how many calories they can help you burn, ellipticals can be a great choice when losing weight.

One of the additional advantages of ellipticals is that they are easy on your body. This can be helpful for avoiding injuries if you are relatively new to exercising and/or have a few extra pounds to lose.

You may also like that you can do elliptical workouts indoors where you are protected from suboptimal weather.

Something you do want to keep in mind is that you need an elliptical machine to do this exercise.

This means either spending the extra time and money on going to the gym and a subscription or making the investment in your own elliptical machine.

Some people also find using an elliptical machine a bit one-sided. Enjoying your workouts can be helpful to stay consistent.

Next, there are a few alternatives that are more effective than ellipticals for losing weight too.

No matter what cardiovascular workout you choose, doing resistance training exercises to build some muscle mass tends to be helpful for weight loss too.

The extra muscle mass helps you burn more calories during everything you do. This includes any elliptical sessions.

Lastly, if you want the extra energy ellipticals make you burn to come from fat, you want to make sure your habits in lifestyle areas like your diet are good enough.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.