How to Burn an Additional 500 Calories a Day on the Elliptical

You can make your elliptical workouts as high- or low-intensity as you'd like, depending on your desired calorie burn.
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Alongside their cardio-building benefits, elliptical machines can burn quite a bit of calories in a short period of time. And although calories aren't the most important metric in a workout, having an idea of your total burn can help you accomplish certain fitness goals.


Learn exactly how long it takes to burn 500 calories on an elliptical and how to make the most out of your workouts.

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How Long Does It Take to Burn 500 Calories on an Elliptical?

The amount of calories you burn doing any kind of exercise depends on a variety of factors, including your age, weight and fitness level, according to Harvard Health Publishing. It can take anywhere from about 40 minutes to an hour (or longer).

Using your weight, you can figure out, roughly, how long it takes to burn 500 calories on an elliptical. Check the chart below to get an idea of how long it may take to burn 500 calories on an elliptical.

Time on Elliptical to Burn 500 Calories

125 lbs

155 lbs

185 lbs

215 lbs

245 lbs


56 mins

46 mins

40 mins

34 mins

30 mins

Source(s): Harvard Health Publishing

Calories Burned on an Elliptical

While burning 500 calories on a treadmill won't take ‌too‌ long, it's definitely not a goal you need to shoot for during each workout. Instead, aim to get about 150 minutes of steady-state cardio (or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio) each week, recommend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Broken down, that comes to about 30 minutes a day, five days per week. Use the chart below to estimate how many calories 30 minutes on an elliptical burns for your bodyweight.

Calories Burned for 30 Minutes on the Elliptical

125 lbs

155 lbs

185 lbs

215 lbs

245 lbs

Calories Burned

270 calories

324 calories

378 calories

439 calories

500 calories

Source(s): Harvard Health Publishing

Is 30 Minutes on the Elliptical Better Than Walking?

In some cases, elliptical machines can be more beneficial than walking. Walking on pavement can put extra stress on sensitive joints, whereas the elliptical offers a low-impact cardio alternative.

You can also increase and decrease the resistance on an elliptical machine to enjoy some strength-building benefits. Plus, the machine has arm levers, which allow you to strengthen your arms at the same time.

How to Get the Most of Your Elliptical Workout

1. Increase the Resistance

As mentioned above, you can make your elliptical workouts more difficult by increasing the resistance, according to Carolina Araujo, CPT, a New York-based strength coach.


"The elliptical is a great low-impact cardio option," she says. "You can imitate hills by increasing or dropping the resistance. This can help you build lower-body strength and make your workout more challenging."

2. Use the Arm Levers

One advantage ellipticals have over spin bikes or treadmills? Arm levers! Using the arm levers on an elliptical is optional but can help increase your overall calorie burn.


"If using the arm levers for your whole workout is too difficult, you can do intervals," Araujo recommends. "Try doing a minute with the levers, two minutes without. From there, adjust your interval lengths as needed."

3. Train With Intervals

You can make your elliptical workouts high-intensity with intervals. Build a high-intensity elliptical workout by alternating between faster speed and higher resistance levels.

Elliptical Workouts to Try



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