These are 2 of the most popular home fitness machines on the market right now. They’re both easy to use, flexible and you can burn a lot of calories on them.
So which is best? Well, the answer may surprise you: neither.
Let’s put this a different way:
- It depends on how you’re planning to use these machines and
- There are new hybrid types of treadmills and ellipticals that burn more calories than either (we’ll get to those at the end).
Let’s focus on the first part: Whether a treadmill or elliptical burns more calories really depends on you.
Both machines have the capability to burn around the same amount of calories in general. But if you’re planning on walking at a high incline on your treadmill for example – you’ll burn more calories than a regular workout on your elliptical.
Or if you’re planning on using the upper body arm bars and building high resistance intervals into your elliptical workout, you’ll burn more calories on your elliptical than walking on a non-incline treadmill.
If you buy a treadmill with a desk or TV – then you may lose track of time and end up burning more calories because you work out longer than on a standard crosstrainer.
Ellipticals do have a slight advantage with upper body arms bars. If you’re planning to use these, it can help you work your upper body at the same time as your lower body.
This gives what experts call a “lower perceived rate of exertion”, meaning it doesn’t feel like you worked out (and burned as many calories) as you actually did. So you may feel less tired and actually go longer on your elliptical workout than on a treadmill (thus burning more calories).
But again, this depends on if you’re actually planning to use your arm bars (as many people don’t).
The better option for which burns more calories – a treadmill or elliptical – might be to go with a machine that you actually enjoy using every day. Because if you enjoy using it, then you’ll end up working out more frequently and burning more calories.
There are actually new machines on the market that can help you burn more calories than a treadmill or elliptical. Here are some options:
- Incline Trainer
This is basically a treadmill that has added on a super-high incline to it. Whereas a normal treadmill usually gives you inclines of up to 10 or 15%, an incline trainer comes with incline of up to 40%!
Incline walking incinerates calories because it recruits more muscles in the legs – and this requires a lot of calories. In fact, you can burn up to 5 times the calories on one of these babies as you can on a regular treadmill.
Plus, on those days you don’t feel like working out very hard, you can lower the incline and just use this as a regular treadmill.
The Treadclimber is another take on the traditional treadmill that lets you burn more calories – up to 3.5 times more than a regular treadmill.
It has two smaller treadbelts that rise to meet your feet as you walk. This uses a similar calorie-burning mechanism as the incline trainer above. You’re basically walking on an incline – so you burn more calories.
Plus, because the treadbelts rise to meet your feet (instead of you pounding down on them like a treadmill), you have a much lower impact than a treadmill (which is healthier for people with joint or knee issues).
- Max Trainer Elliptical
The Max Trainer is a hybrid elliptical trainer – stair stepper with upper body arm bars that can burn up to 2.5 times the calories as a treadmill or standard elliptical.
In fact, according to the manufacturer, trial users burned up to 600 calories in 30 minutes! The Max trainer also comes with a 14 minute high intensity interval program you can use to burn maximum calories in only 14 minutes.
And, because it’s high intensity interval program, you’ll be raising your metabolic rate and burning calories for hours AFTER your workout.
So those are some things you should consider when asking the question “Which burns more calories – a treadmill or elliptical trainer?” It really comes down to how you’re planning to use the machine (incline or no incline, resistance or no resistance, arm bars or no arm bars, etc.)