The latest Men's Health magazine comes down on elliptical machines
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.
First, on page 52 of the December, 2008 issue, Men's Health warns,
"Never trust elliptical machines".
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
Exactly. 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
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?
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
For more interval training and bodyweight workouts, visit:
These are all better options in your fight against the fat,
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS