Without a doubt, the elliptical machine is a modern staple for aerobic exercise and muscle strengthening. But how long do you need to use it to actually notice a difference? With so many of us focused on instant gratification and quick resultcs, it’s no surprise that the answer to this question is top of mind.
How Long on Elliptical to See Results?
As a general rule, adults normally need a 150-minute aerobic workout session per week to experience any notable difference. To make the whole ordeal more manageable, you can divide this time into smaller chunks over the course of several days.
Of course, the daily exercise time may vary depending on the intensity of your routine. For the most part, you can expect your workout routine to go in one of two directions:
30-Minute Elliptical Workout
This is widely regarded as the starting point for your workout time – 30 minutes of moderately paced elliptical exercise per day. It’s an ideal session for those who are on the precipice of their fitness journey and don’t quite have the endurance or stamina to go any longer just yet.
Generally speaking, this would roughly add up to about 280–378 calories, depending on your current body weight and activity level. If you do this for five days each week, you can expect to cut down on 4000 – 6000 calories in a month. In terms of weight loss, that would translate to approximately 1 lb or 0.5 kg in just four weeks.
1-Hour Elliptical Workout
If you have more ambitious fitness goals and want to see more substantial results in a shorter amount of time, then an hour-long elliptical session should do the trick.
Compared to its half-hour counterpart, the longer duration of this exercise routine will allow you to burn more calories. And with a higher level of resistance from the machine, you can further enhance the impact of your workout.
This could translate to a massive 800 – 1200 calories burned in just one session, depending on your body type, gender, and age. That’s 11 lbs or 5 kg of fat shed in 30 days, which is an impressive feat by any standards.
In both cases, you’ll be seeing some real benefits in just 3 to 4 weeks, so you don’t have to wait long before reaping the rewards of your hard work. Remember to take rest days in between, though – your body needs to recover in order to make progress.
What Results Can You Expect from Your Elliptical Workouts?
The overall workout time is ultimately a means to an end – what you’re hoping to achieve once you’ve finished your exercise program. Naturally, it helps to know what to expect from your elliptical machine so that you don’t get discouraged along the way.
Improved Leg Muscle Strength
This form of exercise focuses on the larger muscles in your legs, including those in your quads and glutes. The continuous movement from the machine’s pedals gives your core muscles a proper workout, thereby improving overall strength in your lower body. It can also help you if you feel knee pain and need a soft recovery training.
With regular exercise, you should start to feel a difference in terms of endurance and power. This workout can also help with balance training, as you need to engage your core muscles to keep yourself upright during the session.
Better Cardiovascular System Function
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of using the elliptical machine is its impact on your cardiovascular health. When done at a moderate pace, your heart rate will increase and your breathing pattern will become more efficient.
This inherently raises your blood oxygen level as your body has a greater ability to absorb it and deliver it to your muscles. As you use this cardio workout machine more, you’ll be able to work out for longer periods of time without becoming winded as quickly.
Greater Aerobic Exercise Capacity
In contrast to some of the more demanding exercise sessions like weightlifting or HIIT workouts, the elliptical trainer allows you to exercise at a low intensity level. This means you can use it for longer periods of time without overexerting yourself.
Your aerobic capacity will naturally increase over time, which, in turn, helps with endurance. You’ll find that you can complete more rigorous workouts without feeling like you’re running out of steam.
Significant Caloric Burn
The overall calorie burn rate during elliptical machine workouts is quite high in a short span of time. This can be attributed to the fact that you’re using multiple muscle groups simultaneously, which raises your metabolic rate.
Even at a low to moderate level of intensity, you can still shed hundreds of calories in just one session. This can have a significant impact on your weight loss goals if you’re consistent with your exercise regimen and follow it for at least 30 days.
How Can You Maximize Your 30-Day Elliptical Workout?
Of course, we all want a little push in order to get the most out of our exercise routines. Sometimes, this requires a change in your approach – and that’s something you can do without elliptical training.
Give Interval Training a Try
If you space out your cardio sessions with intervals of high and low intensity, you can really give your body a challenge. This will help you to break through plateaus in terms of your progress and also make the session more interesting.
You can start by pedaling at a low or moderate speed for a full minute before switching to 20 seconds of high-intensity interval training. Repeat this pattern for the duration of your workout, and you’ll see improved results in no time.
The key is to ensure that you have adequate rest time between intervals so that your body can recover. And don’t forget to focus on your breathing patterns – this will help you stay energized for longer.
Increase the Resistance Level and Inline Settings
Naturally, it helps to increase the challenge of your workout in order to reap faster results. Increasing the level of resistance on the machine will help you to tone and strengthen your muscles, while raising the incline settings can add an extra kick of intensity.
By experimenting with different settings and configurations, you can really work your body in different ways. Once you get used to a certain level of intensity, you can always move up and challenge yourself further. Plus, it’s a great way to keep things interesting – no one likes to do the same thing in all elliptical trainer sessions.
Make Wise Use of the Handrails
As full-body exercises, ellipticals engage your arms as much as your legs. Your full body weight is distributed evenly across the elliptical pedals, and you can use the handrails to maintain your balance.
But you don’t have to use them in the same way throughout your entire workout. If you want to work on your arms and upper body, you can intermittently push the handrails or even just hold them for extra resistance.
When you want to switch to your lower body, you can switch to using your legs as the main source of power. This can help you maintain a better balance and also engage those all-important leg muscles.
How Long On Elliptical To See Results: Try Different Pedaling Variations
Most of us are used to the classic forward motion of the pedals. But you can mix things up and try different pedaling variations to keep your muscles guessing.
For example, you can try reverse pedaling and focus on the backward motion of your lower body. You can also add lateral movements to your routine and focus on shifting your body weight from side to side.
Another option is using the elliptical while squatting. This may seem a bit advanced, but it’s a great way to engage more muscles and also develop better balance. Make sure to start slow and gradually build up your intensity before attempting this variation.
By using different modes of elliptical pedaling, you essentially create a full body workout that can help you to achieve your goals faster. You’re fully immersed in a dynamic, ever-changing training routine that can help you to push yourself and take your fitness goals to the next level.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I have to use the elliptical to lose weight?
This primarily depends on your current fitness level, weight and goals. Generally speaking, 30 minutes on the elliptical per day can be a great place to start if you want to shed some extra pounds. As you get fitter and better at using the machine, you can gradually increase your session duration to an hour or more and achieve even more impressive results.
What happens if I use an elliptical everyday?
Despite its many benefits, you should still take a break from the elliptical occasionally. Just like with any other form of physical activity, it’s important to keep things varied and give your body the time it needs to recover. If you’re engaged in training sessions every day, no matter how brief, you run the risk of overtraining. Aim for workouts that are spread out and supplemented with other forms of exercise such as walking, running, cycling or swimming.