How Many Calories Does an Elliptical Cross Trainer Burn? And How to Burn More?

If your main goal is to lose weight, you might find yourself wondering how many calories an elliptical cross trainer burns?

Now, there are many people that say that elliptical machines don't produce enough caloric burn when compared to other types of cardiovascular equipment. 

However, if you use the elliptical machine properly, you can burn a lot of calories and lose weight in the process.

Let's take a look at how many calories an elliptical cross trainer burns, as well as some tips on how to burn more.


The Basics of Calories

The Basics of Calories

Before we talk about burning calories on an elliptical machine, it's important to discuss how calories actually work. 

Calories are just measurements of the amount of energy that various foods produce in your body. If you don't use that energy, such as during exercise, your body will store those calories as fat, which leads to weight gain.

In general, how many calories you burn is dictated by your metabolism or metabolic rate. This is the process through which your body converts food into energy. Your metabolism is composed of various important components, with your BMR or basal metabolic rate being one of the most basic ones.



Your BMR is the amount of calories that your body needs on a daily basis to perform basic life sustaining activities, such as brain activity, maintaining a heartbeat, and breathing.

This can vary based on a number of factors including body size, age, and sex.



Besides your basal metabolic rate, we also have the resting metabolic rate, which is the amount of energy your body uses while you are not active.

This could be while you are just sitting around watching TV or while you are asleep. 

How large and tall you are in part dictates what your resting metabolic rate is. For instance, the larger you are, the more calories you use during rest. An interesting fact is that resting metabolic rate can make up as much as 75% of the calories you burn on a daily basis.



Another important component of caloric burn is thermogenesis. This is the digestive process, or more specifically, how much energy your body uses for digestion.

It is estimated that roughly 10% of your metabolic rate consists of this thermogenesis activity.



The other determining factor of your metabolism is exercise and physical activity. The more you exercise, the more calories you should end up burning.


The Importance of Physical Activity for Calorie Burn

We really can't overstate just how important it is to engage in regular cardiovascular exercise to burn as many calories as you can. Cardiovascular exercise is by far the best way to burn calories and lose or maintain weight. 

For the record, cardiovascular exercises are any type of exercise that causes your heart rate to remain elevated for anywhere over 15 minutes.

This could include the elliptical machine, running, swimming, rowing, cycling, or anything in between.

One of the best ways to burn calories is by engaging in so-called anaerobic workouts. These are stop-start activities where you engage in short bursts of high-intensity exercise. These could include things like strength training, sprints, jumping rope, and high-intensity interval training. 

If you are looking to burn as many calories as possible, HIIT or high-intensity interval training sessions are especially beneficial.

They can even lead to burning a higher number of calories for up to 48 hours after the high-intensity interval training is already done.

Strength training helps to increase muscle mass, which is also beneficial for weight loss.

The fact here is that the more muscle you have the more calories you need to maintain those muscles.

What you also need to realize is that the very best way to burn as many calories as you can is to exercise at a sustained and consistent rate for at least 20 minutes, with more than 60 minutes being ideal.

Keep in mind that your body also adapts to the various exercises you do, so switching things up is very important as well.

The more you do the same exercises over and over again, the more efficient your body becomes at doing them, which means that you end up burning less calories.

Therefore, constantly switching up the types of exercises you do will help you burn as many calories as possible.

Related Post: Calories Burned Using a Rowing Machine


The Benefits of Using an Elliptical Machine

The Benefits of Using an Elliptical Machine

Before we start talking about exactly how many calories the elliptical machine burns, let's first take a closer look at the various benefits that you get by exercising on one of these awesome pieces of workout equipment, to begin with.

  • Elliptical machines are low impact, which means that they don't cause much stress on your hips, knees, ankles, or back.
  • The vast majority of elliptical machines work out both your lower body and upper body at the same time, which is unlike most other cardio machines. This allows for a high degree of muscle involvement and therefore higher caloric output.
  • On that note, the elliptical machine also works out many different muscle groups, which is a big benefit as far as toning your whole body from head to toe is concerned. You can expect your biceps, triceps, chest, shoulders, back, calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps, glutes, and more to all get a good workout.
  • Elliptical machines are also really cool because you can often move both forward and backwards on them, providing you with more variety.


Burning Calories on an Elliptical Machine

Burning Calories on an Elliptical Machine

How many calories you burn on an elliptical machine depends on a variety of factors, with one of them being your initial body weight.

The more you weigh, the more calories your body will burn when exercising, compared to someone who is much lighter.

On that note, your body composition also plays a role here. If you have more muscle mass, you'll likely burn more calories.

Related Post: How Many Calories Does an Exercise Bike Burn?

Related to this, gender can also play a role. Men often have more muscle mass and are heavier than women, which means that men burn more calories. 

Also, keep in mind that both the duration and intensity of your workout will determine how many calories you burn.

With all of that said, keep in mind that how many calories you burn on an elliptical machine varies greatly.

It is estimated that a person burns roughly 2.16 calories per pound of body weight for 30 minutes of elliptical exercise. This would mean that a person weighing 160 lbs would burn roughly 345 calories during a 30-minute session.

Below are some rough estimates in terms of how many calories both men and women can expect to burn based on body weight.

  • A 120-pound woman can expect to burn between 250 and 310 calories in 30 minutes of elliptical exercise, and up to 600 calories in an hour.
  • A 150-pound woman can expect to burn up to 400 calories in 30 minutes of using the elliptical machine, and up to 800 calories in 60 minutes.
  • A 180-pound man can expect to burn up to 500 calories in 30 minutes of using the elliptical machine, or up to 950 calories in 60 minutes.
  • A 200-pound man can expect to burn up to 550 calories in 30 minutes of using the elliptical machine, or up to 1000 calories in an hour.

    Tips to Maximize Calorie Burn

    Let's go over a few quick tips on how to maximize calorie burn when exercising on an elliptical.

    • Don't always keep your workout the same. Your body gets used to doing the same things over and over again and will become more efficient. The more efficient your body is, the less calories it will burn. Therefore, go forward, go backwards, and go through the different training programs on your elliptical machine.
    • Don't always move at the same speed either. Once again, high-intensity interval training is a great way to maximize calorie burn.
    • Always pay attention to your heart rate while on the elliptical machine. You should aim to be at around 85% of your maximum heart rate for the entire workout.
    • The bottom line here is that the faster you exercise and the more resistance you encounter, the more calories you will burn.

    Related Post: How Many Calories Does Lifting Weights Burn?


    Final Thoughts on Burning Calories on the Elliptical Machine

    Final Thoughts on Burning Calories on the Elliptical Machine

    When exercising on the elliptical machine, expect to burn over 2 calories per every pound of body weight. This means that even when exercising at a moderate intensity, the elliptical machine should be able to help you burn a significant amount of calories and contribute to your weight loss and weight maintenance goals.

    Author's Photo

    William Parrett

    Will, co-founder of Home Gym Supply, launched the company in 2019 after 15-years in the fitness industry. His expertise stems not only from his professional background but also from his athletic pursuits. A former competitor in the World Beauty Fitness & Fashion (WBFF) and a competitive rugby player, Will has always been dedicated to health and fitness.