Daily Archives: January 16, 2015

Treadmill vs. Elliptical: Which is Better for Fat Loss?

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treadmill vs ellipticalsTreadmills and ellipticals are two common cardio machines used by fitness enthusiasts. They train your cardiovascular endurance and in the process make you burn calories, fat included. However, it’s hard to pick one machine that’s better than the other because one is going to be better than the other under certain, but not all, circumstances. And after looking over some elliptical reviews on this site, I wanted to make sure this was the right machine for me since the two are so different. I think that it’s important that you know these differences.

Why treadmill?

The treadmill is the easiest machine to use. It’s a frill-free affair on a treadmill. The machine allows you to walk, jog, or run. It’s very easy to use and is thus user-friendly, great for beginners. Gym equipment makers have been coming up with various fitness, but nothing has been simpler than the treadmill. Unless your gripping the handles, you are basically using your body weight. You can also control your pace. So its potential for allowing you to burn more calories is there.

Why not the treadmill?

The biggest downside of a treadmill has to do with how you use it. Technically, it’s a jogging or running machine. You run on it, and running puts a lot of impact on the joints, particularly the ankles, knees, and hips. Thus, you have to warm up properly. Start slow. Build up. Take your time before you do high intensity cardio exercises.

Why elliptical?

The elliptical machine isn’t as hard on your joints as the treadmill is. You can do the same running motions on it. Many ellipticals have movable handles that allow you to move both your upper and lower body, giving more calorie burn. The reverse stride mechanism in most ellipticals recruits more muscles than what classic running recruits.

Why not the elliptical?

Unless you have arthritis or you are recovering from a sprain, then the elliptical may be good as a second option. It’s hard to move to advanced versions of the exercise because the machine doesn’t offer that opportunity. Also, the machine may be troublesome for beginners who haven’t developed coordination yet. Another important thing to mention is that the elliptical machine, with its suspended pedals, does little to strengthen your bones and muscles.

Which is better for fat loss?

The truth is there is no significant difference. Jogging on treadmill makes you burn roughly around 700-850 calories an hour. One hour on the elliptical can make you burn an average of 770 calories an hour. The differences are not that much. It eventually boils down to how you use the machine and how advanced you are in your cardio training.

The secret to maximizing your fat loss on either machines is intensity. It doesn’t matter what machine you use, if you’re not working hard enough, you will not get results. Do high intensity sprints on a treadmill. You can also employ high intensity interval training. On the elliptical machine, utilize the upper body to recruit more muscles.

The most important thing you have to remember about fat loss is it’s largely a function of diet. You don’t lose weight via exercise alone.