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Want to Burn Fat – 3 Reasons to Avoid Elliptical Machines

elliptical for fat lossThis is a guest post by friend and fitness expert Craig Ballantyne.  Grab a FREE copy of his workout program –> Turbulence Training Workout

Craig has pointed out an issue in Men’s Health magazine that comes down on elliptical machines hard when used for exercises and fat loss. And I have to agree.

This is the article Craig refers to… on page 52 of the December, 2008 issue, Men’s Health warns, “Never trust elliptical machines”.

Get Off the Elliptical Machines For Fat Loss

Now I know elliptical machines are often the only option for people with bad knees, but if your knees are healthy, think twice before using the elliptical machine for these three reasons.

They quote a study that found elliptical machines over-estimated the number of calories burned in a workout by 31%!


So if your “elliptical cardio workout” burned 400 calories, the truth is you really burned closer to only 300 calories.

Second, later in the Dec. issue, Men’s Health magazine interviewed Biggest Loser contestant Ed Brantley. Ed lost 73 pounds on the show, but had this to say about elliptical machines, “I hated the elliptical. It was too easy, I didn’t feel like I was doing anything.”

for the turbulence training workout for fat lossExactly. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

But that’s EXACTLY why elliptical machines are so popular…

You see, the third reason elliptical machines are inferior for fat loss is because they fail my “human nature” test.

Put it this way…

Take 100 people and put them in a gym with 100 treadmills and 100 elliptical machines.

Tell them they have to exercise for 30 minutes at a hard pace, and they have the choice to use either the treadmill or the elliptical.

Guess where 90% of folks are going?

The elliptical!


Because it is human nature to take the EASY WAY out. And that is why elliptical machines are so busy at the gym and you rarely see anyone doing intervals on a treadmill or bodyweight circuits in the corner of the gym.

Often I see folks using the elliptical machine only to say they “worked out”, but without getting any REAL work done.

So if you are stuck at a fat loss plateau, and you’ve been counting  on the elliptical machine to help you out, then forget it.

To burn fat and get more out of your workouts, do interval training outside, on a bike or treadmill, or with kettlebell exercises or  bodyweight circuits.

For more interval training and bodyweight workouts, visit:

Free Body Transformation Workout

These are all better options in your fight against the fat,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

2 comments… add one
  • Cool post. Ellipticals aren’t as effective as treadmills. However, I still think they have their place.

    It’s difficult to judge someone for choosing an elliptical over the treadmill. At the end of the workout, maybe they burned 100 calories less but they still ended up burning 300 calories – this is good!

    But I do agree with the fact that maximum results come from stepping outside of your comfort zone.

  • They do have their place. I stay away from them most of the time but for clients that are very over weight I do sometimes get them on it to give their joints a break.

    Because it is easier it also gives them a mental break. Which is needed too.

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