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How to Use an Elliptical Trainer to Lose Weight

By Linda Ray ; Updated July 18, 2017

Elliptical training machines are a good choice of exercise equipment for those with back, leg or joint problems who cannot withstand the jarring caused by running and fast walking on a treadmill. Because of the features that make the elliptical safe, the benefits and effectiveness of elliptical trainers often are overlooked, report fitness consultants at All Ellipticals. Elliptical machines can be an effective addition to any weight-loss program.

Use the entire machine when you workout on an elliptical trainer. By using the upper and lower body, you are making the most efficient use of the time and burning the most calories. Since there is no strain put on the body, you can maintain the workout for longer and break into a pound-reducing sweat.

Burn calories on an elliptical and keep track of the calories with a monitor that comes with many machines. If you input your age and weight into the equipment, you will get a better perspective on the number of calories you are burning. Estimates from consultants at All Ellipticals report that in a 30-minute workout, a 150-pound woman can burn 340 calories, on average. A 180-pound man burns about 500 calories in the same amount of time.

Increase the intensity of the workout to burn more calories. Pedal faster and--if your machine allows--set the base on an incline to increase the burn. Break up your workout into two 15- or 20-minute sessions so that you can pour it on heavy for the time you are working out.

Switch between going forward and backward. The more muscles you build, the more calories you'll burn, because toned muscles are more efficient at burning calories while you are working out and for a longer period of time following your workout.

Adjust your workout as you become more efficient on the equipment. Add time to your workout and build up the intensity over a period of time as the workout becomes easier. Elliptical machines are good fitness trainers for beginners who want to start out slowly and stick with the same workout to increase efficiency.

Tips

Combine your workout with a calorie-reduction plan to lose weight faster. A pound is equal to about 3,500 calories so if your burn 500 calories a day on the elliptical and reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories, you can expect to lose about 2 pounds a week. Rest your muscles and give them time to heal between workouts. Use the elliptical trainer every other day at least until you get a solid foundation.

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