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Hitting a Wall with Your Elliptical Routine? Discover the Key to Unlocking Faster Results

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

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Many people who start using an elliptical trainer are eager to see results quickly. But how long does it actually take to see a difference?

The truth is, it depends on a variety of factors, including your individual fitness level, goals, and workout routine.

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This article dives deep into the factors affecting elliptical results, providing you with a realistic timeline and actionable tips to help you achieve your fitness goals.

How Long On An Elliptical to See Results

If you’ve never been exercising at all, you probably will see some results fast. Because you’re going from zero to whatever fitness levels. If you’re a person that is already working out and you’re trying to target your abdominals or your arms or increase your cardio work, that might take you a little bit longer to see results. 

Generally, after 2-3 months of a regular elliptical routine, you can see your first results. But remember that consistency is where you see the best results.

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If Your Goal Is Building Muscle Mass

You can reach this goal, only if you set a high resistance on your elliptical trainer. If you have a beginner fitness level, then you can lose fat and build muscle at the same time.

Typically speaking, a good healthy sustainable rate of muscle gain without gaining too much fat is going to be anywhere from 0.5-1 pound per month. If you’re within that range, that means you are building a good amount of muscle mass in your body while minimizing the fat gain on your entire body. 

However, to go into a muscle-building phase, you should go into a calorie surplus, which means you’re eating more calories than what your body burns. If you go into a calorie surplus, some fat gain is going to be normal. 

If Your Goal Is Losing Body Fat

It’s going to be anywhere from 0.5 to 2 pounds per week on average. It is going to be a healthy sustainable realistic rate of body fat loss. If you want to lose 25 pounds, it can take you 25-50 weeks, and maybe add 4-8 weeks on top of that.

How Many Days a Week Should You Use the Elliptical to See Results?

There are several reasons why it’s enough to use the elliptical 3-5 days per week:

  1. You need a recovery period;
  2. You decrease the risk of injury;
  3. You avoid stress. And it prevents slowing down your metabolism.

Your volume requirements and level of intensity increase as you gain more experience. It would be a good idea to distribute your additional volume throughout the week. So, you need to add more training days to your workout routine in the course of time.

Is It Bad To Use the Elliptical Every Day?

If you’re performing this physical activity daily, you can overstress your joints and muscles. If your body feels highly sore after the previous day’s cardio workout, you should rest. So, don’t use the elliptical again.

Generally, it’s recommended to rest for 72 hours before working out the same muscle group again. If you use the elliptical on a high level of resistance constantly, you need time to recover your muscles. However, if you do elliptical training without increasing the level of resistance or incline, you can perform your elliptical workouts every day.

By the way, you can use your elliptical cardio machine as an active recovery workout. It’s often considered more beneficial than sitting. Also, to recover fast, studies recommend spending about 5-10 minutes after your workout session performing a light aerobic exercise on ellipticals.

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How Long Should Be Your Distance on Elliptical?

Beginners can use elliptical machines for jogging or walking between 12–20 miles per week for maximum benefit. A pro athlete can perform a cardiovascular exercise with a longer distance on an elliptical cross trainer. The main rule is to allow yourself enough time to recover and get enough sleep.

Factors That Impact How Long Elliptical to See Results

Everybody responds to workouts a little bit differently. Three factors impact that process.

1. What Is Your Goal?

The first one is what your goal is. Is that a weight loss goal? Or are you planning on toning up them?

Let’s take, for example, a weight loss goal. So, if you’re trying to lose body weight, you are exercising and looking at your diet for weight loss, you’re going to see the results, the body weight coming off. You’re going to start feeling a little bit better.

However, there will come a point possibly where you start to plateau when you’re not seeing your results. The weight doesn’t come off as quickly as you would like. And when that happens a lot of the time, people give up. And they’re not as consistent as they were. And possibly, they don’t appreciate the other factors that go into weight loss when it comes to trying to lose weight in your 40s and beyond.

How to Reach Your Fitness Goals

So, in terms of your goal, it’s all about getting the right balance and having a good understanding of your body and your age. It’s about having the knowledge of how to do that and what can help you achieve that goal. It’s also about having the support behind you when you feel like quitting.

But once you’ve decided on your goal, you need to forget about the goal and focus on what are the things that you need to be doing on a daily basis to keep you moving forwards. That will include exercise and eating the right foods. But you also need to think about your sleep and your stress levels. 

You can be doing all the right things but if your stress levels are through the roof it’s completely counterproductive when it comes to weight loss.

2. How Much Time Are You Prepared to Commit to Achieving That Goal?

Obviously, the more time you put in, the quicker you’re going to see results. If you are doing that on a daily basis and you’re consistent with it, you will get fast results.

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3. How Committed Are You to Achieving This Particular Goal?

Depending on how committed you are depends on how consistent you’re going to be.

Consistency is key. This is true of exercise intensity, frequency, and duration. You must consistently put in the effort and time to reach your fitness goals.

Consistency is also important when it comes to another aspect of weight loss, which is proper diet. It is necessary to create a caloric deficit. Only by consuming fewer calories through diet and a calorie burn through aerobic exercise on a regular basis, can you lose weight.

So, if you have those three factors in place, you are going to get results. If you’re taking your measurements, then it becomes motivating. It will push you forwards into continuing with that.

How Long Elliptical: 3 Tips to Achieve Your Fitness Goals

Here are our top tips that help you get the body of your dreams:

1. The Importance of Tracking Progress Accurately

Physical change, as you can see, takes a long time. If you’re looking to lose body fat or even build muscle, it is very important to track your progress accurately. If you’re not tracking progress, you’re going to think you’re not seeing progress and you’re going to quit. Because the most motivating thing in the world is seeing progress.

Also, track your entire workouts. It’s very invigorating and motivating to see yourself get stronger.

2. Take Progress Pictures

Since physical changes take a long time, if you don’t take progress pictures, you’re probably not going to see that big change. Because you see your body every single day.

3. No Matter What Your Goal Is Mentally Dedicate a Year

Having proper expectations up front is the most important part when it comes to reaching fitness goals. If you truly dedicate one year of your life to learning about habits, consistently hitting body workouts, sticking with your nutrition, and all that kind of stuff, you will reap the rewards for the rest of your life.

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How Long On Elliptical: FAQs

How long on an elliptical a day to lose weight?

Exercising for 30-60 minutes per day is enough to lose weight in the long term.

How many minutes should a beginner do the elliptical?

If you want to lose weight using an elliptical machine, aim for at least 30 minutes of high-intensity interval training per session. 60 minutes of steady-state aerobic workout also works. Exercise at least 4-5 times per week and include a caloric deficit in your diet.


Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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