How Do You Lose Weight On A Cross Trainer

The elliptical trainer is one of the best ways to burn calories at the gym. This is typically higher than other cardio equipment such as the stationary bikes because it provides a full body workout.

There are more muscles recruited during the elliptical movement with the upper body and lower body being worked simultaneously. Depending on the resistance, speed and intensity, using a cross trainer has the ability to burn up to 500 calories in just 30 minutes of working out. But how do you lose weight on a cross trainer? To lose weight on a cross trainer you need to workout a minimum of three times a week for 1 hour to lose at least 1 kilo.

But let’s look into this in more detail.

Can you Lose Weight With a Cross Trainer?

Yes you absolutely can lose weight with a cross trainer. This exercise machine is a great tool for burning calories and thus losing weight.

How many calories can you burn using a cross trainer?

See below our handy table showing how many calories you can burn at each given time. It’s important to note that these are estimates as it depends on your own weight and resistance settings.

Every individual is unique, burning calories and losing weight differently. The expenditure of calories is based on the body composition and body weight.

A heavier body requires more calories and energy to perform the same exercise. For example, a person weighing 83kg (185lbs) will burn more than someone that weighs 56kg (125lbs) when exercising for the same amount of time at the same intensity.

how do you lose weight on a cross trainer

Additionally, the cross trainer workout plays an important role. Given the same amount of time you can burn more calories at a faster pace than a slower one.

ActivityCalories burned

 

for 30 minutes of exercise

Calories burned

 

for 1 hour of exercise

Walking (5km/h)100 kcal207 kcal
Elliptical Cross Trainer, low intensity225 kcal450 kcal
Elliptical Cross Trainer, medium intensity325 kcal650 kcal
Elliptical Cross Trainer, very high intensity415 kcal830 kcal

As you can see, the higher the intensity level you use, the more calories you’ll burn in 30 mins or within an hour. You can use elliptical calculators to calculate how many calories you can burn within 30 mins an hour and so on.

Another Tip: High-Intensity workout requires a lot of energy, drink plenty of water. There’s nothing wrong with doing a workout but don’t push yourself or your body too far. Everything in moderation. 

How to burn more calories on the cross trainer

Want to turn your body into a calorie burning machine on the treadmill? We’ve compiled a few tips on how to lose weight on your elliptical trainer.

how do you lose weight on an elliptical

There’s no magic formula to lose weight on a cross trainer, it’s a combination of consistent workouts and a calorie deficit. But as humans we need structure and guidance, let me give you some tips to implement on your fat loss journey.

How to lose Weight on a Cross Trainer

Make a plan

Plan how many times a week you are going to train and rest, split these workout days and rest days apart to allow time to recover. For example if you exercise two days in a row, plan a rest day on day 3.

Rest days are important, your body needs to recover and the muscles rebuild ready for your next workout day.

Make the plan difficult but comfortable. If you push yourself too hard in your cross trainer workout this will put strain on your body which could cause injury. Go to a resistance and speed that you feel fatigued but not like you’re about to pass out.

Mix up the plan with different types of exercise. I’ve already gone through the three methods you can do, split the week up by different exercise methods to keep the body guessing.

This way you not only challenge yourself but also enjoy it, it’s not worth having a plan where you dread each cross trainer workout that’s coming up. The key to burning belly fat on a cross trainer and overall weight loss is consistency.

Use the fat burning setting on the machine

Modern cross trainers are built with pre-set programmes. Most of which will have a fat burning programme which automatically sets the resistance and time for your workout.

This takes the calculations out of it for you but to burn a good amount of calories you need to be working at a moderate level of 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. Set the programme, and keep the intensity at the required level.

If your machine isn’t built with a pre-set programme you can monitor the intensity yourself by wearing a heart rate monitor. Most heart rate monitors detail the amount of calories burned, more accurately than the machine does.

losing belly fat on elliptical

Increasing the resistance

Cross trainers provide an effective total body workout, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of using it at a low intensity. Cross trainers are designed to move at the user’s own intensity so it’s important to increase the speed and resistance of your workouts.

You can utilise high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise. It can further be broken down into two forms but for simplicity we will discuss the most popular version for the avid gym goer.

This involves periods of work of 30 seconds to 3 minutes at around 80% – 100% of your maximum heart rate then rest for a given period. As a rule of thumb the recovery period is the same as the work period. For example 30 seconds work followed by 30 seconds rest.

HIIT training is a fantastic option for those wanting to spend less time at the gym. HIIT sessions typically last around 20-30 minutes not including a warm up. One of the main benefits of HIIT training is that it leads to greater EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) in comparison to steady state cardio.

In layman’s terms, your body continues to burn calories after you finish exercising. This is my favourite method for burning belly fat on the cross trainer. You simply work all out for 30-45 seconds, followed by the same rest period for a 25 minute period.

Most elliptical trainers have this programme pre set so it automatically changes the resistance and time for you. This type of programme allows you to burn a lot of calories in a short period of time aiding weight loss.

Effective Elliptical Trainer Technique

While using the machine pedal, forward motion, it will make the machine easy to use, and you’ll have more balance and simulates real movements just like walking or jogging. Stand up straight while using the machine.

Do not lean forward or backward, as it’s a bad posture and should not be done. Do not grip the handle too hard or lightly. Look straight ahead and avoid leaning too to the side too much. 

Although you have the option to hold onto the fixed handles and pedal through the movement. Make sure you use the moving handles, use your upper body to share the load with your lower body. The more muscles you recruit during the movement the more calories you burn.

How to lose weight on a cross trainer
Young couple working out on elliptical machines in gym

Keep a strong posture with your core engaged and you will also work the abdominals.

Adding these tips to each workout can help get the most out of your calorie burning workout. The most important thing is to be consistent with your workout and try to keep the workouts varied.

Not only will you get bored of the same workout but your body adapts to the level of work you are performing and you won’t be as efficient at burning calories.

Does Cross Trainer Burn Belly Fat?

There are several factors that influence weight loss and specifically with the elliptical is dependent on resistance, speed and consistency with your workouts. But first let’s look at what belly fat actually is.

What is belly fat?

There are two types of fat:

Subcutaneous is the most common and is not dangerous to health. This is the fat located just under the skin. You can feel this by pinching your skin around the stomach.

The term “love handles” is associated with subcutaneous fat around the hips.

Visceral fat commonly referred to as abdominal fat is the accumulation of tissue deeper than the skin. This is fat tissue around the organs such as liver, kidneys or intestines. Visceral fat feels firm and cannot be pinched on the skin. There are risks associated with visceral fat such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

Cross trainer to lose belly fat

Burn calories = Lose Belly Fat

When trying to burn unwanted belly fat, your aim is to burn as many calories as possible. When using an elliptical trainer your workouts not only need to be consistent, but they also need to be intense. Keep your heart rate up and burn the most amount of calories each time you step on.

If you combine consistent workouts with a calorie deficit then you will lose belly fat in no time. It’s important to push yourself to a level that is comfortable for you, don’t go too hard off the bat to avoid injury. Start slow, then build up.

Cross trainer Weight Loss Workout Programme

The cross trainer works both lower body and upper body, meaning more muscles are working at once burning more calories. If you’re currently overweight, the low impact nature of the cross trainer allows you to work out for longer periods of time without causing any pain to joints.

There are three types of workout you can do on your cross trainer. Cardio, high intensity interval training (HIIT) and resistance training. All 3 are great for burning calories and improving cardiovascular fitness. Let me explain each to see which might be most suitable for your fat burning goals

Cardio

Cardio or steady state cardio is simply a continuous and steady effort. As opposed to an interval workout where the energy output is varied. Any aerobic activity that is sustained at a fixed intensity or an extended time qualifies as steady state cardio.

Benefits of steady state cardio not only help lose weight but help to increase cardiovascular endurance. Studies suggest that steady state cardio can increase insulin resistance which defends against insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance can be one of the causes for belly fat so steady state cardio on the cross trainer could be the option for you. Plus a medium intensity cardio session for 60 minutes can burn up to 600 calories for the average adult.

HIIT

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training and is a form of cardiovascular exercise. It can further be broken down into two forms but for simplicity we will discuss the most popular version for the avid gym goer.

This involves periods of work of 30 seconds to 3 minutes at around 80% – 100% of your maximum heart rate then rest for a given period. As a rule of thumb the recovery period is the same as the work period. For example 30 seconds work followed by 30 seconds rest.

HIIT training is a fantastic option for those wanting to spend less time at the gym. HIIT sessions typically last around 20-30 minutes not including a warm up.

One of the main benefits of HIIT training is that it leads to greater EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) in comparison to steady state cardio. In layman’s terms, your body continues to burn calories after you finish exercising.

This is my favourite method for burning belly fat on the cross trainer. You simply work all out for 30-45 seconds, followed by the same rest period for a 25 minute period. Most elliptical trainers have this programme pre set so it automatically changes the resistance and time for you.

This type of programme allows you to burn a lot of calories in a short period of time aiding weight loss.

Resistance Training

Doing resistance training on a cross trainer is a secondary feature. You can increase the resistance to a high level and pedal at a slower pace.

This can help with burning calories but isn’t sustainable. You aren’t able to maintain this level for a long period so it could be used as an add on at the end of a normal workout.

Regardless of which workout you choose, remember the faster you pedal, the more calories you burn so keep the intensity high to torch belly fat!

Here is a sample workout that you is a good balance of each type of exercise and focussed on weight loss:

Workout Plan A

  • Cardio Workout on Tuesday (30 min)
  • HIIT Workout on Thursday (25 min)
  • Extended Cardio Workout on Sunday (45 min)

Workout Plan B

  • Cardio Workout on Monday (30 to 45 min)
  • HIIT Workout on Tuesday and Thursday (25 min)
  • Extended Cardio Workout on Saturday (45 to 60 min)

High Intensity not suitable?

If you suffer from an injury or a heart condition, then a high paced elliptical workout might not be suitable. If a high intensity workout isn’t for you then you can still get an effective workout at a continuous low intensity.

Not only can you still benefit from burning calories, steady state cardio improves blood lipid levels and insulin sensitivity.  

Diet

Using a cross trainer is a great piece of equipment to lose weight. But, you can’t outtrain a bad diet and having a healthy, balanced diet plays a crucial role in weight loss.

It’s important to note that you can’t spot treat areas of fat on your body. Although we are specifically talking about burning belly fat, the aim here is for overall fat loss.

The only way to do this is by creating a calorie deficit.

Creating a calorie deficit is a simple math equation. Are you consuming less calories than you’re burning on a daily basis? If the answer is yes then you are in a calorie deficit. If you have a 500 calorie deficit per week through a combination of exercising on a cross trainer and diet you will lose 1 pound of fat per week.

Losing any more than this is challenging and it’s recommended to aim for this goal. If you are using a HIIT cross trainer workout regularly you can probably afford a calorie deficit of less than 500 calories as you burn more calories than steady state cardio.

Your diet is the key to success in turning your body into a belly fat burning machine. Here are a few more diet tips to follow in conjunction with a calorie deficit:

  • Eat plenty of protein. Post workout try to consume 25-30g of protein for muscle recovery ready for your next workout. Protein sources from meat, fish, eggs or yoghurt.
  • Add metabolism boosters to your diet such as coffee, almonds, turmeric or apple cider vinegar. All of these increase your body’s ability to burn calories.
  • Stay hydrated, the minimum required is 1.5ltrs per day but if you are having regular workouts try to double this on a daily basis to 3 litres.
  • Cut out the booze, this is the easiest way to consume calories without even noticing. A pint of beer contains over 200 calories, you’re back to square one if you don’t sacrifice some diet habits.

Cross trainer Weight Loss Results

The elliptical cross trainer is one of the best fitness machines that can help you lose weight, improve muscles, stamina, and cardio.

Using this machine daily for 30 mins or 1 hour can burn a lot of calories. It’s probably the most efficient and effective machine rather than treadmills and stationary bikes, greatly impacting the workout. 

If you’re looking for a piece of equipment to lose weight, why not try a cross-trainer. This machine is a good investment that can give you a positive outcome in the long run.

Getting a cross trainer is a good choice. It’s fun to use, and most of all, it’s a low-impact exercise great for joints and recovery. For best results for a healthy diet in conjunction.

The amount of calories you burn on a cross trainer is dependent on the intensity of your workout and body weight. It doesn’t matter if you have a good elliptical brand like NordicTrack or entry level cross trainer.

You can use our estimations as a guide to how many calories you can burn on a cross trainer, but remember that every person is different so they will expend a different amount of energy.

Consider using a heart rate monitor to accurately track the amount of calories you burn during each workout. You are able to input your data into the elliptical machine but these aren’t as accurate.

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An ex-triathlete, fitness coach and writer with a Masters in Sports Physiology. Fitness is my passion and I've had my fair share of home fitness equipment tried and tested!

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