Exercise! - Calories burned vs. quality of workout

01-16-2013, 03:39 PM
I alternate my cardio days between the elliptical and the treadmill. And I notice that I burn a lot more calories doing the elliptical than I do on the treadmill; however, I really feel like I'm getting a harder workout on the treadmill.

I do roughly the same amount of time on either machine. On the elliptical, I just run it straight through; adjusting speed/resistance to whatever "hill" I'm on. Usually, the higher the hill, the more I up the resistance, and the slower I go, and the lower the hill, the lower the resistance, the faster I go. My heart rate usually hovers in the 150s. This usually burns ~350 calories.

On the treadmill, I alternate between brisk walking and jogging. This last time I went, I did 5 minutes walking/5 minutes jogging for 30 minutes straight. When I walk, my heart rate is in the 130s or 140s. When I jog, my heart rate shoots up to the 160s, sometimes going into the 170s. I always feel like I'm working harder when I do this workout than when I'm on the elliptical; however, I only burned 210 calories.

If the latter workout seems to be working my body more, then why am I not burning as much (or more) calories than I am when I'm on the elliptical? Seems like I'd burn less on the elliptical and more on the treadmill with the way my body reacts to it.

01-16-2013, 04:11 PM
I feel that way too. Are you going by the calorie counts on the machines or by your heart rate monitor or what?

the ARC TRAINER is a real butt-kicker...

01-16-2013, 05:22 PM
I use a mixture of what the machine says and what My Fitness Pal says.

What is an ARC trainer? I don't think my gym has one of those. It has ellipticals (the kind w/ the moving arms and w/o), stationary bikes, stair-steppers, and treadmills.

01-16-2013, 05:45 PM
Heart rate is a more accurate predictor of calorie burn than what any machine or online source tells you. It is harder for YOUR body to jog on the treadmill, as evidenced by your increased heart rate.

01-17-2013, 05:22 AM
If you got some spare change I recommend investing in a Heart Rate Monitor. I LOVE mine. Takes the guess work away and uses your height, weight, and age to facter in along with your heart rate. The machines aren't totally accurate, and your heart rate can fluctuate during exercise quite a bit. It's always a reward to see how many calories you burned at the end..I find it motivating!

01-17-2013, 12:21 PM
I'm the opposite of you. I struggle on the elliptical. I feel it in my calves and thighs and I can only continue for a few minutes, even though my rpm is usually between 50-75. It also feels uncomfortable for my knees, which I have acute arthritis in.

I usually power walk at 3.5 mph on the treadmill and do short bursts of running at 4.8 mph. I feel like I can burn more calories this way because I can do it for longer periods of time without my body giving up on me.

01-17-2013, 01:55 PM
Arc Trainer

01-17-2013, 07:10 PM
Firstly most machines overstate calories burnt. But the difference is that you are not aerobically fit enough to jog continuously and walking isnt taxing enough so your calorie burning averages out.

On the elliptical due to the lower impact means your body can work at a higher intensity for a longer period of time hence higher calorie burning. Also the artificial resistance adds to your workload which you fail to get on a motorised treadmill.

01-17-2013, 07:18 PM
There is a table around showing calories burned running 1mile at set speeds and weight. At 200lb do a 12min mile will burn 121 calories ish. When i get to a pc ill copy the link but its at runnersworld.co.uk

01-17-2013, 11:14 PM
I've never heard of the Arc Trainer either. So I did a little google search, and found that on Cybex' website, you can search for gyms in your area with Cybex equipment. And after that search, you can tell it to only show you gyms that have the Arc Trainer.

My gym apparently has them. The cardio floor is so huge, it's hard to know everything that's there. When I go tomorrow, I'll look for it. Thanks for the tip!

01-17-2013, 11:38 PM
Never rely on machines - if you feel you are working harder on the treadmill (as shown by your heart rate) you are burning more calories.

It's one of the reasons I don't believe in eating back calories - those estimates are always wrong!