How Accurate Are Elliptical Calorie Counters? Here Is How To Find Out
Category: Fitness Machine & Workout Tips
If you are using an elliptical to workout and lose weight, am sure you are asking yourself: how accurate are elliptical calorie counters?
Sometimes people can get preoccupied with how many calories their ellipticals say they’re burning. Burning calories means weight loss, so it’s a good thing, right?
The only issue is that it’s not clear whether ellipticals give you an accurate reading. If you’re basing your entire weight loss program on an incorrect figure, you can become disheartened because it doesn’t reflect your actual progress.
So how can you accurately work out how many calories you’re burning on an elliptical? Let’s try and find out.
How Do Ellipticals Calculate The Amount Of Calories Burned?
Most ellipticals use a formula based on the Compendium of Physical Activities. This is a list of the amount of energy you use doing particular activities in comparison to simply sitting and doing nothing.
It uses a value called a Metabolic Equivalent (MET). One MET is the same as one kilocalorie per kilogram you weigh per hour. According to the Compendium, elliptical training burns 5 METs.
The formula for exactly how many calories you burn using this figure is:
[METS X Your Weight in Kilograms X Hours Spent Exercising] = Calories Burned
Here’s an example. Say someone weighs 70 kg and exercises for two hours. The number of calories they will burn on an elliptical is:
[5 X 70 X 2] = 700 calories
As you can see, this equation only factors in your weight and no other features that can influence how many calories you burn. This is why it’s not always a reliable estimate.
Factors That Contribute To Burning Calories
Most calorie counters on elliptical machines focus on two aspects: weight and occasionally your age. If your machine isn’t asking for these factors, you can already assume that any figure it gives you is inaccurate.
Although these two factors are important in determining how many calories you’re burning, there are many more aspects that influence your workout, such as:
Age and weight
Although these two have been mentioned already, it’s necessary to know why they’re important. Age has an impact on how many calories you burn because the younger you are the easier it is to lose weight. On the other hand, the less you weigh, the longer it takes to burn calories.
Size of your body
If you have a larger frame, you’re more likely to burn calories faster than someone else who’s smaller even if you weigh exactly the same amount.
Body fat percentage
Someone who has more body fat in comparison to muscle mass will burn calories slowly. Once again, even if two people weigh the same amount, the person with less body fat will lose weight more efficiently.
This can be linked to body fat, as a taller person is more likely to have less body fat. Most elliptical machines don’t take note of this factor. An example is that a tall person who weighs 140 lbs. but only has 20% body fat will burn calories faster compared to someone else who also weighs 140lb but has 40% body fat.
Your metabolism is based on how active you are. If your lifestyle is more vivacious, your fitness levels will be higher and you’ll burn more calories a day. Someone who is sedentary won’t be as fit and will struggle more to burn calories.
Level of skill
The more you use an elliptical the better you’ll be at knowing what workouts are more effective for you. This means you’ll be able to efficiently plan training programs so that you can burn the most calories. If you’ve barely used an elliptical, you’ll not know the best exercise for your body. Luckily it just takes some practice and you’ll become a pro in no time.
Based on these factors, it’s clear that elliptical calorie counters don’t account for every reason why you burn calories. This is why you can’t always trust the machines.
How Accurate Are Elliptical Calorie Counters And How Do You Do Your Calorie Count
Here’s the deal breaker: it’s extremely difficult to account for every single calorie you lose and gain throughout the day. As a result, accurately calculating how many calories you burn during exercise is challenging. Using the Metabolic Equivalent (MET) figure is probably one of the means of getting an accurate answer but there are three other ways that might be more reliable.
The Harvard Way
According to a study done by the Harvard Medical School, for every pound you weigh, you’ll burn 2.16 calories for every 30 minutes you spend on an elliptical. The math for this equation is simpler, purely because there are no tricky conversions. It also gives you a more accurate estimate.
The only problem is that this solution only accounts for weight and no other factors that influence your calorie count. If your training is more vigorous, for example, you’ll most likely burn more calories than this.
The Technological way
In our wonderful era run by technology, there’s a bounty of apps that will do all the math for you. These apps tend to factor in a lot more variables such as your:
- BPM and heart rate
- Level of activity
- Even food intake
The combination of so many variables means this method is a lot more accurate than most. You can even buy devices such as Fitbit that you wear so it constantly notes your activity. Just remember – even apps might make mistakes and can’t keep track of everything so these won’t always be 100% correct.
The Cheat way
Finally, if all this math seems unnecessary and it’s too much work to input every single facet of your life into a device, there is a simpler way. All you have to do is deduct 20% from how many calories the elliptical says you burned. This figure is a lot more accurate than the machine’s reading for most people and it’s a quick practical solution if you don’t really want to waste so much time calculating numbers.
So how accurate are elliptical calorie counters? Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to accurately calculate how many calories you will burn on an elliptical. You’re constantly gaining calories and burning them. It’s how your body keeps functioning.
Knowing how many calories you’re burning can be helpful in regards to managing your weight. But progress can mean a lot of things, even the numbers growing smaller on the scale or simply feeling better about yourself. So, use these methods, but remember to focus on what’s important.
Other posts & articles that may be of interest to you:
Moving can be a pain, especially when you have heavy exercise machinery that needs to be taken from one place to another. Even relocating your equipment from your top floor to the bottom one can lead to damaging…
Are you looking for a treadmill for home use? This treadmill buying guide is will give you some handy tips in choosing the best treadmill to suit both your budgetary and exercise goals. You might be one of those…
Elliptical machine doesn’t specifically target the stomach and abdominal muscles, burning calories generally reduces the waistline to some degree anyway
Sometimes going to the gym can feel embarrassing because the idea of people watching you while you exercise is mortifying. You want to be dedicated to being healthier but simply can’t get yourself through the…
Ellipticals have a variety of benefits, such as: Causing less impact on your joints Providing a full body workout Being a suitable form of exercise for people who are ill, elderly or pregnant Improving your cardiovascular system On…
How Long Should You Run On An Elliptical To Lose Weight Effectively? One of the most frequent questions I have been asked has been, “how long should you run on an elliptical to lose weight?”. After some thinking I figured I could not keep on ignoring this question and have been compelled to write an…
Before you decide on the best elliptical to buy, there are some general and personal considerations you should keep in mind. This will help you check all the right boxes and make sure you end up…
Speed training is an important part of any sport and it can also be beneficial to anyone who is trying to improve their overall fitness. Speed training not only helps you to run faster, but can help you improve the…
Are you optimizing your daily schedule to its fullest potential? If you are someone who works out on a daily basis, you probably understand the importance of having a set schedule daily workout routine. However, in today’s…
Are you tired of not seeing results from your current weekly exercise plan? Whether you are trying to lose or gain weight, your workout routine demands a dose of variety. In today’s society, it is so…
Most fitness experts will tell you that bodyweight ab workout exercises by themselves are not likely to give you those washboard abs you are seeking. Neither will they help you burn that excess body fat or improve your overall health. If…
Are you considering buying an under desk bike or for a home gym or exercising while at the office? If so, you may want to read this article before you proceed and spend your hard earned money. Getting your…
So you have decided to finally get off the couch and get back into your fitness routine and back on track for get your weight loss goals but are wondering what the best home exercise equipment for weight loss…
So you are you are interested in finding, picking and buying an indoor cycling bike. With the overwhelming types and choices out there where do you start? How do you choose not only best exercise bike…
Upper body workout and strength is extremely important since your upper body controls many of your daily activities including, reaching, pulling, pushing and lifting. In addition, having a strong upper body helps to improve your overall flexibility, mobility…
For years fitness watches were to be used by men and fitness watches for women were practically unheard of – forcing women who wanted a watch to track their fitness to wear fitness watches designed and made for…
There are two basic types of exercise bikes, the upright bike and the stationary recumbent bike and many people simply don’t know which bike is right for them. In this article “Upright vs Stationary Recumbent Bike: Which One Is Right…
It does not matter whether you live in a rural area, a small town or a large city, you can enjoy the many health and other benefits of jogging as an exercise. You can jog as a part of…
If you are having difficulty deciding which one is better for you then this article on treadmill vs bike will give the information you need to decide which one of these two pieces of exercise equipment will best meet your needs…
How would you track your daily calories intake and how many calories you burned while exercising? It all comes down to picking the right and best fitness activity tracker. So this article will help and provide you with best…
Elliptical machines and treadmills have a range of pros and cons. It really does come down to personal choice, and what you want to achieve.
Everybody is different and finding the right can often be a chore. Some machinery doesn’t accommodate people with sensitive joints while others can be too expensive to maintain. That’s why ellipticals are here to stay. They can be useful tools…