How to Lose Weight Using an Elliptical Trainer

An elliptical trainer is a popular fitness machine found in most gyms that creates a similar motion to running. It is known for being kind to your joints, because the bicycling movement your legs undergo while standing up is low impact. If you want to lose weight by using the elliptical trainer, you have to push yourself while using this machine; level 1 will not cut it!

When you first step on the elliptical, it will ask you a series of questions: how long? Which level? What program? Know the answers to these questions prior to your workout. The more prepared you are, the more weight you’ll lose on the elliptical!


In order to lose weight by using the elliptical, you have to use this machine at least 4 or 5 days a week. Aim to stay on this machine for 45 minutes to an hour during each session. When you start your routine, work out for 30 minutes, and gradually add more time. So, when the elliptical asks you how long your session will be, make sure the number you enter is at least 30 (as in minutes)…and eventually it will be 60.


Ah, the infamous level question. While you might be tempted to enter a low number here, make sure you choose a level you know will be challenging. Maybe level 3 or 4 will make you sweat when you first start using the elliptical, but as time goes on, you’ll need to choose level 8 or higher to get an adequate workout. If you don’t continue to add resistance to your elliptical workout, you’ll hit a fitness plateau and you’re weight loss will come to a halt. If using this machine feels effortless, raise the level!


The elliptical will give you a variety of programs to choose from before you work out. To maximize your weight loss efforts, choose the program with interval training. This is the program where the levels constantly go up and down. By alternating periods of high intensity with periods of low intensity, your body will burn calories more efficiently since it has to adjust to different movements. Maybe you can use level 8 for your intense sessions and level 4 for your periods of rest. You can manually adjust the levels according to your fitness level.

Losing Weight

If you weigh 120 pounds, you will burn around 300-320 calories in 30 minutes on the elliptical. If you are 150 pounds, you will burn around 360-390 calories in 30 minutes. The more you weigh, the more you’ll burn, which is why the machine asks for your weight prior to the workout. You need to burn 500 more calories each day than you take in from food to lose one pound in a week. Burning calories on the elliptical can help you create this deficit, but as previously mentioned you have to use this machine often to lose weight. If you workout 5 days a week for an hour, you could burn an extra 3500 calories a week and be on your way to losing a pound a week.


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