I hate you elliptical. A workout whine session.

elliptical calories blah

So, the elliptical machine and I are in a love hate relationship right now. I swear that after 45 minutes of awkward elliptical-ing, I have sweated buckets. Plus, it’s not like I’m taking the easiest program. No, I am not. I’ve tried Cardio, Hill (kill me), strength and interval settings from 30 minutes to 45 minutes. (and one thought-my-legs-fell-off-but-they-didn’t 50 minute session.)

Every single one of these elliptical programs gives me basically the same calorie burn, — 220 to 300  is usually the disappointing number. Monday, I had 300 on The Hill setting. (I don’t think I had the thing set right since I checked after my workout and it was set for a 41 year old 244 pound man. So. Not. Me.)

I find it really hard to believe that when I do remember to check the settings, and adjust them, that the counter shows I am only burning 220-300 calories. This elliptical thing is a pretty intense workout. I am MOVING on it! The Interval training setting has great resistance throughout with many many minutes of high resistance. When I’m on the low end, I pump it up and try to get moving as quick as I can before the high levels kick back in, I’m not taking a walk in the park here folks!

Or, maybe I’m just a wimp.

I can’t believe that. So I Googled “how many calories does elliptical trainer burn” to try and put my mind at ease. Most of the sites I found ask for your weight and how many minutes you were on the elliptical. Easy – I’m 164 (yes, I gained a pound — blah) and wrangled that elliptical beast for 45 minutes.

Results are still conflicting. 

  • sparkpeople.com says 502 calories
  • self.com says 380.78 calories on moderate or 451.08 on vigorous (what counts as vigorous? I don’t know.)
  • shape.com says “the elliptical trainer is the least accurate when it comes to calorie counting, with most machines overestimating your burn by 42 percent” and goes on to tell me that I shouldn’t rely on this machine very often. **cries**
  • MyFitnessPal.com says 511 calories (based on my weight)
  • calorie-counter.net says that on average, you burn 10 calories per minute.

This is crazy! So, my 45 minutes on the elliptical burns anywhere from 220 – 511 calories. I think I will have to stop focusing on how many calories the machine says and just do it. I feel good afterwards and my knees and shins have less pain. When I try to jog / walk on the treadmill, I have pain in my knees, which is why I switched to the elliptical so I’ll just have to suck it up and do he work without truly knowing how many calories I’m burning! I have thought about getting one of those monitors that strap to the arm to show heart rate and calorie burn but it seems like such an unnecessary expense. 

And so, that is my workout whine session for the week!

About the Author

Henrietta Newman is a self-loving empty-nester into smudging, nature, yoga, fitness, healthy living, hunting, camping, hiking, tech, video games, gadgets, recipes, reviews and more.
With a love for the outdoors and visiting local attractions in and around NW PA and Lake Erie, you never know what you'll find in my nest! Subscribe to A Hen's Nest so you don't miss the fun!



  1. 1

    I know, right? I suppose it all depends on your body – everyone burns calories at different rates, but I usually go with the lowest and then if the scale shows otherwise, I get a nice surprise.

  2. 2

    You’re probably being sculpted and more fit and will soon be super glad for it. Workouts have a sneaky way of catching up with you in a good way if you’re consistent (and I see that you are). :)

  3. 3

    It gets really frustrating. I’m in the process of researching HRM but there are so many. I’m tired of not knowing how many cals I’m burning.

  4. 4
    Nicole Robinson says

    Press on towards the mark, Henrietta. I give you credit just for stepping on the elliptical. I don’t last long on elliptical machines or stationary bikes of any kind. I think if you’re sweating a lot, you’re getting a good burn, no matter the calorie count.

  5. 5

    I would just believe the 511 ;). You are doing a great job, don’t get discouraged.

  6. 6

    You got this :) It’s all about momentum building. But I too have had my fair share of frustrtion with elipitcals. Love your site btw!


  7. 7
    Kelly Nicholson says

    I want one..all i have is the river walk,but at least i get fresh air

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