Can You lose Weight on Elliptical Trainers? Best Ways to do it…

can you lose weight on elliptical trainers

Is the elliptical trainer effective for fast weight loss?

One of the most common questions about ellipticals is if you can lose weight using them. The elliptical trainer has become a must-have in gyms and its affordable price means you can now have one at home. This success is in large part due to its great effectiveness in losing fat and slimming while being gentle on the joints. In addition, it works about 80% of the muscles of the body and thus helps to refine its silhouette (buttocks, thighs, calves, arms) while strengthening the back muscles. Its movement reproduces that of walking, but without straining the joints, making it a pleasant and easy to use device.


Practical and easy-to-follow tips to help you lose weight faster with your elliptical

By combining both strength training and cardio training, the elliptical trainer is one of the best sports for losing fat quickly. Cardio-training allows you to burn calories during and after physical activity. Strength training, on the other hand, leads to a muscular gain that increases the basic metabolism, thus the calories expended at rest! Here are a few practical tips to help you use your elliptical in the best possible way and thus optimize weight loss!


Ellipticals combine cardio and strength training

The elliptical trainer is an excellent fat loss and slimming device for 2 main reasons :

  1. It makes the cardio work: cardio-vascular work makes it possible to burn calories, therefore to eliminate fats, during the effort. One hour of elliiptical cycling allows you to spend, depending on the effort and the person, between 500 and 800 kcal, more than road cycling! And that’s not all: the expenditure continues several hours after the session.
  2. It develops the muscles: the increase in muscle mass increases the basic metabolism, thus the energy expenditure at rest. The muscles consume energy even without doing anything. The more their volume increases, the more caloric expenditure increases at rest, even while sleeping! Hence the interest of bodybuilding to lose fat. Don’t worry, this device will not turn you into a muscle man!

Can you lose fat locally (buttocks, stomach, arms) with an elliptical trainer?

If the elliptical trainer is perfect for weight loss, you should know that it will not make you lose fat locally. The body consumes fat globally and not necessarily where you would like it to. Muscular work, however, allows you to refine the limbs that are being solicited (without “chasing away” the fat that surrounds them…). If your objective is to obtain a flat stomach or to lose a bit of buttocks, you will have to be patient and associate a diet adapted to your activity.

Why ride an elliptical trainer to lose weight instead of another fitness equipment?

The interest of the elliptical trainer is to be very complete in terms of muscular work (80% of the muscles are used) and very effective in burning calories. It is shock-free for the joints unlike running. It is one of the best sports to lose fat.

In addition, its affordable price and its reasonable size make it possible to have one at home and thus be able to train whatever the time and weather. All you have to do is put on sneakers and off you go! The device is silent, so it can be practiced without disturbing the neighbors.

But if your budget is limited or your apartment is a bit cramped, then there’s always room to work out if you choose a compact elliptical. Another advantage of the elliptical is that it allows you to do other activities at the same time, such as listening to music or watching TV or even following a virtual reality program with a Google Map trail displayed as if you were there! On the other hand, you need a certain motivation to do it and our advice number 1 will help you on this point.

How many hours of elliptical trainer riding do I need to lose 1 kg of fat?

Half a pound or 1 kg of fat represents 9000 kcal. To lose 1 kg of fat on an elliptical trainer, it is therefore logical to spend 9000 kcal, i.e. 11 to 18 hours of activity, depending on the intensity of the effort.

In reality, it’s not that simple because the caloric expenditure does not only burn fat… A good part of the energy supplied to the muscles comes from carbohydrates (muscle reserves or sugars brought by the blood if you have just eaten or if you eat during the effort). Thus, the fats eliminated represent only a part of the expenditure (20 to 70% depending on the intensity of the effort).

Elliptical Fundamentals – Did you know that:

As a rough guide, 1 hour of elliptical trainer practiced at moderate intensity will make you lose the equivalent of 1.7 oz or 50g of fat. Count the minutes on your machine and multiply them by 0.8 to get the weight of fat burned. For example, 25 minutes of activity will cause you to lose about 0.70 oz or 20 g of fat.

In practice, we can consider that about 1.4 oz to 1.7 oz or 40 to 50 g of fat are burned per hour of elliptical trainer, i.e. 20 to 25 hours are needed to lose 2.2 pounds or 1 kg of fat. At the rate of 3 sessions per week of 30 minutes, you will therefore need 13 to 16 weeks of effort, i.e. 3 to 4 months.

But thanks to the muscular gain, it will be a little less: considering 2.2 pounds or 1 kg of muscles developed with training (~12-15 kcal of additional expenditure per day), you will only need 18 to 21 hours of effort, i.e. 12 to 14 weeks. This roughly represents about 0.03 oz or 0.8 g of fat burned per minute of elliptical trainer.

These figures are of course given as a rough guide. It’s in practice that you can really get an idea. Read also whether sport really makes you lose weight.

Beware, the gain in muscle will offset the weight loss in fat. It is therefore normal, at the beginning, that your weight does not change much but that your waist circumference decreases!


6 Pratical Tips to lose weight on your elliptical machine

Tip 1: The most important thing above all: find the motivation!

One might tend to skip this advice. However, it is essential to help you persevere over time and achieve your goal. One of the shortcomings of the elliptical trainer is that it can be quite monotonous over time. The repetitive movements and the fixed scenery can quickly become tiring. Despite all your good will, if there is not enough motivation to counterbalance this disadvantage, you may abandon your efforts and store your elliptical in the basement. You need to turn your willingness into motivation and even determination.

To do this, you need to identify the real source of your motivation, then define S.M.A.R.T. objectives and use a few simple tricks to achieve them (reward yourself, visualize the objective, etc.). We describe this in detail in a dedicated file: How to motivate yourself and reach your objectives?

Before you start, make sure you have defined your main objective. “I want to lose weight” is a vague goal. Define your goal precisely. For example, “I want to lose 1.5 pounds or 3 kilos in 2 months”, “I want to lose a waistband size by summer”, “I want to be able to wear this skirt or pants again for Valentine’s Day”, etc.

Have you identified your real motivation, defined your SMART goals and set up your action plan? Then you’re ready to get started!

Here are a few more useful tips to make your elliptical trainer sessions more motivating:

  • Plan your sessions: don’t organize your workout according to your current availability. It’s the best way to discourage yourself. Plan your sessions, if possible on the same days and at the same time each week, and stick to it. Planning, regularity and discipline are key to your success.
  • Choose a good location for your elliptical: place your elliptical facing a window so you can look outdoors, or in front of your TV, or use a tablet to view photos, a movie, or listen to music. It’s well known that rhythmic music helps you forget fatigue and increases physical capacity.
  • Vary the exercises! To avoid monotony, explore the programs offered by your device, create your own exercises, change the rhythm. Or follow an elliptical coaching program. We also recommend our exercises for fat loss on an elliptical trainer.
    Keep score! Keep track of the minutes of activity and convert them into grams of fat lost.

Tip 2: Warm up to open small capillaries

5 to 10 minutes of warm-up are sufficient for moderate effort

Do not start your elliptical session without first warming up. This phase is necessary to prepare your body for the effort (heart, muscles, tendons, lungs), minimize the risk of injury and make your session easier and more effective. The heart must be prepared to be able to provide the required effort, the tendons and muscles warmed up to avoid injuries.

If you start your training when you are still cold, you risk not only injuring yourself (muscles, tendons, joints) but also finding the exercise difficult (heart that does not increase in frequency, shortness of breath, leg pain). This can quickly discourage you from exercising. Indeed, when cold, the small blood capillaries are barely open. If the effort is too violent, blood will flow into the large vessels only. The muscle, which is less well nourished, will therefore have more difficulty making an effort. With the warm-up, all the small capillaries will be able to dilate and allow optimal use of the muscle.

Begin your elliptical trainer session with a 5-10 minute warm-up, selecting the lowest possible resistance. If you find it easy (no shortness of breath or pain), increase it by one notch after 5 minutes. Read also why and how to warm up well.

At the end of the session, allow 5 minutes to return to calm (minimum resistance) to reoxygenate the muscles and eliminate lactic acid.


Tip #3: Include fractionated concurrent exercise in your rotine

Including fractionated exercise training in your elliptical trainer sessions is a good way to boost the lipolysis process.

According to recent studies, fractionated concurrent exercise can make you lose 3 times more fat than conventional cardio training. By combining fractionated workouts with your moderate-intensity workout, you will therefore eliminate fat even more effectively.

Be careful, as split or high intensity work (HIIT) requires a good physical condition. Only do it if you already do endurance sports regularly. Ask your doctor for advice.

In practice: include 2 to 3 series of fractioned work in your sessions. For example 3 minutes where you work in 3 series of 20 seconds at high intensity followed by 40 seconds at low intensity. Discover our weight loss exercises on an elliptical trainer.


Tip 4: Practice at least 30 minutes per session and at least 3 times a week

If you want to effectively lose fat on your elliptical trainer, your sessions should last at least 30 minutes. Indeed, at the beginning of the session, other energy channels are involved. Lipolysis (the use of fat as energy) occurs from the start but in small proportion. It increases progressively over time to become optimal after only 2h30 to 3 hours of effort.

To optimize fat elimination, therefore, work for at least 30 minutes. Long sessions are better than short sessions. For example, it is better to train 2 times 40 minutes during the week rather than 4 times 20 minutes.

To optimize lipolysis, we advise you to remain active right after your session. Go for a walk, do some gardening, housework, shopping!

Try to do at least 3 sessions per week: this will not only allow you to burn a lot of fat but also to progress. Your sessions will seem to get easier and easier. You will then be able to increase the resistance of your machine and lose even more weight without it seeming more difficult! Moreover, lipolysis becomes more effective with training: for the same effort, you will burn more fat in proportion to the calories expended and will therefore lose weight faster. It’s a virtuous circle!


Tip 5: Take care of your diet and manage peak blood glucose levels

A healthy and balanced life with a little regular exercise helps to maintain your body and optimize the process of fat elimination.

The elliptical trainer is an ideal sport for weight loss. But for this activity to be really effective, you need to combine it with a healthy, varied and balanced diet. The idea is not to eat less but to eat better.

Respect the balance between carbohydrates, lipids and proteins by combining proteins (meat, fish, eggs, cheese), vegetables and starchy foods (bread, pasta, rice, legumes, cereals, potatoes). Limit the consumption of fats, especially saturated fats (cold cuts, pastries, sauces, fatty meats, whole milk, etc.). Avoid cooked dishes, refined carbohydrates, products that are too salty or too fatty. Favor fruits and vegetables. And drink water!

Avoid eating sweets after your session. You will very quickly make up for the kilocalories lost, even if they will not necessarily be stored in the form of fat (it is first of all the muscle reserves that will be recharged). As an indication, a 30-minute elliptical session allows you to spend the equivalent of 50 to 80 g of dry biscuits. Eat a piece of fruit if you are hungry and drink water instead.

To limit fat storage, eat carbohydrate foods with a low glycemic index. Otherwise, consume carbohydrates wisely to avoid gaining weight.

Tip 6: Stay hydrated before, during and after your session

Drink regularly throughout the session to stay hydrated and promote lipolysis.

The elliptical trainer, like most ergo metric devices, makes you sweat a lot because there is no air movement during exercise. To compensate for this loss, you should drink water regularly throughout the workout, for example one sip every 5 minutes, but also before and after the workout.

Good hydration is indeed necessary to activate the process of fat elimination, eliminate toxins and avoid tendinitis. It also promotes drainage to erase cellulite.


A tailor-made slimming program for maximum calorie burn

To quickly obtain good results and enjoy the benefits of elliptical machines, you can apply this program at a rate of 3 sessions per week, whether it is in the context of home sports or in the gym. Each session lasts 45 minutes, but you can start by doing 30 minutes per session the first few times.

The program is as follows:

  • you start with a 10-minute warm-up at a slow pace
  • continue by gradually increasing the intensity for 25 minutes (also playing on the different resistance levels). Take it easy, but don’t overdo it. To get your bearings, you need to be able to talk without losing your breath.
  • Slow down for the remaining 5 minutes and remember to stay hydrated even while exercising.
  • At the end of the exercise, do a short stretching session, but be careful not to tear muscle fibers.

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