An elliptical can be a great choice if you want to burn calories and lose weight from the comfort of your own home, and it does not have to be too pricey. This best elliptical will help you find the perfect option for your needs.
Can Ellipticals Help You to Burn Fat?
Weight loss is one of the most common fitness goals for many reasons. You might want to lose weight so you can wear certain outfits and feel confident about your body, or you might just want to shed a few pounds because your doctor told you it would reduce your risk of heart attacks and diabetes (1).
Whatever your reason for weight loss, you might be wondering if ellipticals actually help with burning fat. It can be hard to tell what actually works when you are constantly seeing Facebook posts for “booty bootcamps,” cleanses, and fad diets.
The reality is that cardio exercise is one of the most effective methods for losing weight. Cris Slentz, an exercise physiologist at Duke University, explains that regular cardio exercise is the best option for reducing fat (2).
Running on an elliptical machine requires your body to burn calories for energy. This calorie consumption helps you to burn more calories in a day than you eat, and this caloric imbalance directly translates into fat loss.
Is an Elliptical More Efficient Than Running?
Now that you know how an elliptical burns fat, it is time to show it compares to other types of cardio exercise.
The motion of using an elliptical is similar to running, but it involves your arms and torso in the workout too. On similar settings, people running on an elliptical burn roughly the same amount of calories as those jogging normally (4).
An elliptical becomes far more efficient at calorie burning than running once you crank up the difficulty. If you use the machine on higher settings, you end up building a lot of muscle while doing an intense cardio workout.
It is worth pointing out that an elliptical machine definitely beats running if you have joint injuries. Since your feet stay on the pedals throughout the workout, you are not wearing out your knees and ankles by pounding them into hard pavement (3).
What Should You Look For in an Elliptical?
Once you decide that you want an elliptical to lose weight on, it is time to start shopping for options. You will quickly find that there is a huge range of elliptical styles to choose from.
Of course one of the first things you need to do is set your budget. There are a lot of fancy, overpriced ellipticals, but selecting one of the candidates for best elliptical will let you get a solid choice without spending too much.
After you have picked your price range, you need to pay attention to the durability, size, and features of the elliptical. Go for an elliptical that is made from sturdy materials and is a decent size to fit in your home gym.
With countless features to pick from, the options are limitless. If you want to be entertained while you workout, select an elliptical with a shelf to hold a book or a low profile that lets you watch your own tv.
Make sure the machine has several resistance options, so you can get a full workout on the elliptical. Consider selecting a machine that tracks your speed, calories, and distance to more easily monitor your weight loss progress.
Finally, you need to make sure the elliptical is right for your body shape. Look at the length of stride to make sure it will suit your leg length, and check the weight capacity to make sure it works for you.
How Can You Use an Elliptical for Fat Loss?
If you want to really shed your extra pounds of weight quickly, there are a few things you can do to increase the effectiveness of the elliptical.
Try selecting high interval training regimens that alternate between sprinting and a brisk jog for the most calorie burn (4). Avoid letting the machine do the work for you. Keep your feet planted firmly on the pedals and do not lean forward onto your toes.
It is also a good idea to turn up the difficulty on an elliptical. A higher resistance means you have to push your arms and legs harder to move on the machine. This lets you burn more calories while building muscle.
A high resistance is key because it lets you grow muscle tissue as you workout. Muscles burn more calories even at rest, so it can boost your metabolism a little. This results in more calories burned throughout your day.
Keep in mind that an elliptical machine is most effective for fat loss when you combine it with a calorie restricted diet. The equipment burns calories regardless of what you eat, but you get the best results if you are also lowering your caloric intake.
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The Top 5 Ellipticals
The Exerpeutic Magnetic Elliptical Trainer
This elliptical from Exerpeutic uses a magnetic tension system for absolute control over resistance. There are 24 resistance levels you can pick from when using the elliptical, so you can fine tune your workout. A back mounted flywheel makes this machine stable and well balanced.
- 18 inch stride length results in a comfortable workout for a variety of heights.
- A holder gives you a place to rest a smartphone, e-reader, or tablet.
- Control panel has large buttons for easy adjustments while running.
- The elliptical comes with 12 workout programs and 7 training modes that let you create your perfect workout.
- You can view your heart rate, RPM, distance, time, and watts on the LCD console.
- No wheels for easy moving of the machine
- Takes a while to assemble the product.
The Body Champ Cardio Dual Trainer
The great thing about this style of elliptical is its two in one design. You can use it like a traditional elliptical, or if you want to switch up your workout, you can sit on the seat and use the machine as a stationary bike. It is made from sturdy steel that works well even for tall or heavy people.
- LCD console provides details about your workout and lets you select from 12 preset workout programs.
- Included DVD offers workout suggestions.
- The adjustable seat lets you turn the elliptical into a comfortable stationary bike.
- Small size lets you store it away in a corner of your home.
- Foot pedals are not very adjustable because there are only two slots.
- The instructions for putting it together may be slightly confusing.
- It may be noisy if you do not put it together tightly enough.
Xterra Fitness FS1.5Elliptical Machine Trainer
Xterra Fitness’ elliptical trainer is ideal for people who want something compact and sleek. It has a very smooth feel when you use the machine thanks to the heavy duty flywheel system. There are 16 resistance levels and 13 workout programs, so you have a lot of exercising options if you pick this elliptical.
- A stylish all-black design helps the machine to blend in with home decor.
- You can manually program in your favorite workout styles.
- The large LCD screen is easy to read even when you are in motion.
- Pedals have an anti-slip grip for better traction while you use the equipment.
- The stride length of 14 inches may be a little short for taller users.
- There is no place to put a book or tablet while you exercise.
The Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine
The wide range of features makes this elliptical ideal for people who want a high-end machine without paying too much. It has plenty of useful items like heart grip monitors that track your rate during your exercise. You get all the advantages of luxury gym-quality ellipticals in a compact machine that will fit neatly in your home.
- 7 different present programs let you tailor your workout to your needs.
- A perimeter weighted flywheel results in a smooth and quiet workout.
- The big LCD console shows you your speed, time, RPM, distance, heart rate and calories burned.
- 8 resistance levels make the machine work for a lot of different fitness levels.
- Those who are over 250 pounds may feel like the machine is a little unstable.
- The shorter pedals may be tricky to manage for people with very large feet.
Best Fitness Cross Trainer Elliptical Trainer
This is a fairly no-frills elliptical design, and it gets its place on our list for being sturdy and durable enough to still function after years of continuous use. It is very stable and quiet, so you can use it anywhere in your home.
- There are eight different levels of magnetic resistance, so you can increase and decrease the intensity of your workout.
- An LCD display tells you all the details about your workout.
- Heart rate sensors monitor your heart rate for you.
- The back mounted flywheel moves smoothly without any squeaking.
- Wheels on the frame allow for easy storage and transportation.
- The small machine has a lower weight limit than most other ellipticals on this list.
- A short stride length of 12 inches makes it difficult for those over 6 feet to use the machine.
The Exerpeutic Magnetic Elliptical Trainer is the favorite choices on this list of best ellipticals for several reasons. It is sturdy enough to accommodate taller or heavier people, and it functions smoothly and quietly through many workouts. The elliptical has plenty of workout programs, training modes, and tension settings to let you customize your workout. The only reason to pick another is if you need a really compact machine or want extra exercise modes. All of the items on this list are great choices for people who want to lose weight without spending a lot of money, so you have plenty of options to pick from.
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