- Low intensity – for walking slowly (~3.5 mph)
- Moderate intensity – for something in between walking and running (~4 mph)
- High intensity – for running at ~4.5 mph speed
- How many calories can you burn on an Elliptical?
- How many Calories does 30 minutes of Elliptical Burn?
- How many calories can you burn on an Under-desk Elliptical?
- How to Burn More Calories on Elliptical?
- Pros and Cons of Burning Calories on Elliptical
- Alternatives to Burning Calories on Elliptical
- Calories Burned on Elliptical Formula
How many calories can you burn on an Elliptical?
An elliptical is one of the most frequently chosen machines by people who want to burn calories.
An average person should burn between 160-240 calories on the Elliptical in 30 minutes at moderate intensity.
Depending on the body weight, in 30 minutes at an average intensity you can burn:
- 187 calories for 160 lbs person (72.57 kg)
- 210 calories for 180 lbs person (81.65 kg)
- 227 calories for 195 lbs person (88.45 kg)
You can check the number of calories calculated for your weight or the custom intensity in a calculator placed at the top of this article.
Remember, the faster you move and the heavier you are, the more calories you burn.
Here is a table that shows the estimated amount of calories burned by people of different weights depending on the intensity levels:
|160 lbs||180 lbs||200 lbs||220 lbs|
|Low intensity||351 kcal/hour||394 kcal/hour||438 kcal/hour||482 kcal/hour|
|Moderate intensity||373 kcal/hour||420 kcal/hour||467 kcal/hour||513 kcal/hour|
|High intensity||434 kcal/hour||489 kcal/hour||543 kcal/hour||597 kcal/hour|
Some athletic people can try a much faster pace than the one suggested in the calculator.
Since an elliptical workout is comparable to running (1) we can suggest the following MET values:
- Running at 6 mph – 9.8 MET
- Running at 8 mph – 11.8 MET
- Running at 10 mph – 14.5 MET
- Running at 12 mph – 19 MET
If someone aims to make 5 miles in 30 minutes on an elliptical, they should reach an average speed of 10 mph. With the suggested MET value of 14.5, they can burn about 483-690 calories, depending on their weight.
How many Calories does 30 minutes of Elliptical Burn?
Using the Elliptical can be quite tiring, which is why not many people make such training for more than one hour a day.
Typically, people opt for regular sessions several times a week, 30 minutes each time.
Here are some examples of calories that can be burned on the Elliptical for 30 minutes at a moderate speed by people of various weights:
|150 lbs||180 lbs||210 lbs||240 lbs|
|15 min||88 kcal||105 kcal||123 kcal||140 kcal|
|30 min||175 kcal||210 kcal||245 kcal||280 kcal|
|45 min||263 kcal||315 kcal||368 kcal||420 kcal|
|1 hour||350 kcal||420 kcal||490 kcal||560 kcal|
|2 hours||700 kcal||840 kcal||980 kcal||1120 kcal|
As you can see, 30 minutes on the elliptical allows you to burn a decent amount of calories. For many people, it would be enough to do this every day and consistently burn ~200 calories.
Burning an extra 200 calories a day adds up to a total of 73,000 calories a year.
Assuming 1 lb is about 3,500 calories, that could give us over 20 lbs in a year. Not bad for only 30 minutes each day.
How many calories can you burn on an Under-desk Elliptical?
There is a thing called an “Under-desk elliptical”. It is very popular amongst people who have desk jobs.
Thanks to Under-desk Ellipticals, people can burn calories quite efficiently during their work or surfing the web.
But are they as efficient as normal ellipticals in terms of burning calories?
No, usually, under-desk ellipticals allow you to burn fewer calories than normal ellipticals. They don’t engage your hands, and you are probably sitting while using them.
If you want to calculate the calories burned on the under-desk elliptical, select the custom MET value in our calculator and define it. You can use one of these:
- 1.3 for light intensity
- 2.6 for moderate intensity
- 3.6 for high intensity
While doing something on your computer, you can probably be able to reach light or moderate intensity. Going faster may tire you and grab too much of your attention if you want to continue doing your work.
Look at how many calories can burn people of different weights on the under-desk elliptical with moderate intensity:
|150 lbs||180 lbs||210 lbs||240 lbs|
|15 min||46 kcal||56 kcal||65 kcal||74 kcal|
|30 min||93 kcal||111 kcal||130 kcal||149 kcal|
|45 min||139 kcal||167 kcal||195 kcal||223 kcal|
|1 hour||186 kcal||223 kcal||260 kcal||297 kcal|
|2 hours||371 kcal||446 kcal||520 kcal||594 kcal|
According to this table, an average person can burn about 186-297 calories an hour using an under-desk elliptical.
This is great considering it is a type of activity you can do during your work, reading e-mails, or scrolling through social media.
How to Burn More Calories on Elliptical?
1. Train in intervals
Ellipticals are an excellent machine when it comes to interval workouts (HIIT).
You can for example make 1 minute of high-intensity workout, and then rest with 1 minute of low-intensity. You can repeat it many times.
Thanks to this kind of training, you are able to achieve higher intensity and rest with lower intensity (also burning a decent amount of calories), so you should not end such a workout after only a few minutes.
From my experience, the interval workout is more tiring than the whole workout with moderate speed, but it’s very effective in terms of burning calories.
2. Walk or run faster
Increasing the speed may allow you to burn much more calories.
Running at 8 mph speed should allow you to burn 2 times more calories than running at 4 mph speed in the same time.
So, don’t be too easy on yourself, and if you are not tiring at all, consider increasing the intensity.
However, remember not to overdo it as well.
Being too ambitious may not be as beneficial as you may think. I will write more about it in the next tip.
3. If you are not in a hurry, slow down, but extend the training length
Let’s say you can manage to run on the elliptical at 10 mph speed.
Good, but can you keep this pace for 30 minutes, 20, 10, or maybe 5?
I believe you see what I’m trying to say here: being fast is great, but it makes no sense to go all in and then be too exhausted to continue your workout after just 2 minutes.
In 2 minutes of running at 10 mph speed, an average person weighing 180 lbs (81.65 kg) can burn 41,4 calories.
The same person can instead slow down and be more patient because, during 30 minutes at moderate speed, they can burn 210 calories.
It’s 5 times more, and I strongly believe they will be much less tired!
Weight loss takes time. I know it because I’ve lost more than 60 pounds within the last two years. Don’t rush it, just be consistent.
Pros and Cons of Burning Calories on Elliptical
Ellipticals are great, but as always, some people may not like them.
Here’s a list of pros and cons of elliptical:
- It’s very effective. An average person can burn about 200 calories in half an hour using this machine at a moderate speed that shouldn’t be too tiring.
- Ellipticals are stationary, which means you can easily do other things while you are on the elliptical. You can for example: Watch your favorite TV shows, listen to podcasts, or talk with friends. This is very important, especially for people who don’t enjoy workouts.
- Many muscle groups are involved, which allows you not only to burn a relatively large amount of calories, but also to train different parts of your body.
- You can potentially do this at home or at the gym, depending on whether you like being around other people or not. Being around others may motivate you, but it’s not necessary – losing weight is more about consistency and habits than pure motivation. It’s really hard to rely on motivation only.
- You are staying on it instead of sitting. While it may be a con for some people, I think it’s way more comfortable in the long run, and may be beneficial for people with sedentary jobs.
- It’s quite expensive if you want to have it at home. In my opinion, it’s worth it, but there are plenty of comparable machines that can be just as good while being quite cheaper (for example, a stationary bike). However, there are some cheap ellipticals starting with ~$200. Most of them should do perfectly fine for non-professionals whose only goal is to lose some weight.
- It takes up some space, but you don’t need to buy it since you can use it at the gym. Moreover, if you decide to have your own elliptical, you can consider reselling it after losing weight (that could be motivating as well, right?).
Alternatives to Burning Calories on Elliptical
If Elliptical isn’t for you, here are some great alternatives that have many in common, but are different enough to be a great replacement.
1. Under-desk Elliptical
Some people are too busy to work out on a regular basis.
Before I started my weight loss journey, I thought I wouldn’t find enough time for it. So when I really didn’t have that much time, I would replace my normal walk with walking during my breaks.
Instead of scrolling social media, I would work around my house for 5-10 minutes a few times each day. Believe me or not, but usually, at the end of the day, I had more than 6000 steps done with this method (it’s ~200-350 calories).
If you, however, don’t have any breaks, you can use an under-desk elliptical. It should allow you to train quite efficiently while doing other stuff (for example, on your computer). Personally, I wouldn’t be able to focus on programming while using this kind of elliptical, but I’d definitely be able to read some e-mails while using it at moderate speed.
It’s usually not as effective for burning calories as a normal elliptical, but it’s still decent, especially if you want to mix it with other activities, so you would have more time for it. It should be way better to use an under-desk Elliptical for an hour daily than a normal elliptical for 5 minutes.
2. Stationary Bike
If you prefer sitting, and you like riding a bike, a stationary one may be a better choice than an Elliptical.
Personally, I prefer Ellipticals, since I have a sedentary job, but I know many people who like Stationary Bikes more.
I would suggest you go to the gym (the first entry is often free or discounted) and try both of these machines to decide which works better for you.
A Stationary Bike, same as an Elliptical, allows you to watch some TV shows or listen to podcasts while working out. You don’t have to focus that much, as, for example, on a normal bike.
The amount of burned calories is pretty similar, depending on your effort. Since on the elliptical we engage also our hands, there is potential to burn a little bit more, but it’s really not a big difference. At the right speed, you can burn a lot of calories both on a Stationary Bike and an Elliptical.
As you may know, walking was my main activity during the weight reduction.
The reason is simple. I was able to start the same day I made the decision to start losing weight.
I didn’t have to buy any equipment, gym membership, or go anywhere.
I just installed the step-counting app, put on my shoes, and went outside for an hour. I burned ~300 calories, repeated that for over a year every day, and eventually lost over 60 pounds.
I had no time to overthink or get discouraged by the cost, time involved, and so on.
For this reason, if you have any concerns and keep reading these types of articles instead of starting to lose weight, walking may also be the right activity for you, because you can probably start in as little as 5 minutes from now.
If you don’t want to walk in an open space, because you would like, like on the Elliptical, to be able to watch TV series while exercising, a treadmill may be a great choice.
Importantly, many treadmills have an adjustable incline, thanks to which you can increase the number of calories burned even more.
It is also a great and very efficient machine for people who want to burn some calories.
Calories Burned on Elliptical Formula
In order to calculate the number of calories burned on Elliptical, you can use the following math formula:
- CB – Calories Burned
In the calculator, we use the following MET values:
- Low intensity – 4.6
- Moderate intensity – 4.9
- High intensity – 5.7
Example: A person weighing 190 lbs trained for 30 minutes on the elliptical at moderate intensity. How many calories did they burn during this time?
Firstly, let’s convert the weight unit:
- 190 lbs ≈ 86.18 kg
Now, we can start calculating:
CB = time [min] × MET × 3.5 × weight [kg] / 200
CB ≈ 30 × 4.9 × 3.5 × 86.18 / 200
CB ≈ 44339.61 / 200
CB ≈ 221.70
Answer: A person weighing 190 lbs burned about 221.70 calories during 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercising on the elliptical.