A cross trainer, also known as an elliptical, has become a popular choice at most gyms. This is because an elliptical machine allows you to work both the upper body and lower- body at the same time.
Is a cross-trainer helpful when you want to lose weight? It certainly is! When you complete a full-body workout session, such as what you do using a cross trainer, you burn more calories than if you were to work out for the same number of minutes on a treadmill or a stair climber.
When it comes to losing weight, a healthy diet absolutely counts, but you need a cardio workout as well. In today’s article, I’m going to tell you how you can maximize your fat-burning potential and dump that excess fat around the middle when you know this one trick.
Want to know what that trick is? Keep reading and be prepared to be both amazed and inspired by what you’re about to learn.
How to Lose Weight Using a Cross-Trainer
To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit. It means that you burn more calories than you consume, and one of the easiest ways to do that is by using an elliptical machine.
Ellipticals are popular because they offer a low-impact workout that works the entire body without harming your joints.
Elliptical cross trainers have multiple benefits, which include the following:
- Major fat burner
- Improves your cardio health and stamina
- Provides a full-body workout
- Low-impact exercise, so even those with injuries can usually use one
- Improves balance
- A weight-bearing exercise that is good for building or maintaining bone density
- Easy to use
With all these benefits, it’s not surprising how an elliptical workout routine has become the choice of many people.
In order to lose fat and drop weight with an elliptical trainer, you need to do the following:
- Work hard enough that you increase your heart rate and make it work at about 85 percent of its maximum. You can find out your maximum heart rate number here.
- Stay within the target range using a cardio machine (such as an elliptical machine) for a minimum of 20 minutes. Fat loss only occurs after this time, so if you can increase your workout time, try to do 30-60 minutes of exercise for the fastest weight loss.
- Commit yourself to using your cross-trainer at least 5 days per week.
- Always allow yourself one day of rest each week.
One of the keys to helping your body lose weight is to vary your routine. Keep your body guessing and continually challenged by not doing the same exercise for the same number of minutes week after week.
In the beginning, your body will respond to nearly any exercise, including using a cross trainer, by losing weight and toning up the muscles.
However, our bodies are extremely smart. After a while, our bodies learn to do the same exercise more efficiently, slowing down your weight loss efforts tremendously and causing you to hit the dreaded weight loss plateau.
The best way to avoid this is to keep your body guessing. Plan on doing different types of physical activity or changing the way you use the elliptical trainer.
You may want to increase the resistance level, or do a lower resistance level but work out for a longer period of time.
Add a different workout machine that still provides cardio exercises, such as rowing or swimming. both of these are excellent cardio exercises that burn fat but are still low-impact.
- You Might Like to Read: What Parts of the Body Does an Elliptical Work?
How Long Should You Use a Cross-Trainer For?
Most people find that weight loss happens when they do an elliptical workout that lasts between 20 and 60 minutes ( see my list of best ellipticals for a heavy person ) .
The longer that you can work out on an elliptical cross-trainer, the faster you will lose weight. You should try to work out at least 5 days per week, for a minimum of 30 minutes.
If you find that you can’t do a full 30-minute workout, do as much as you can. Add one minute to each workout or add 1 minute each week to your workout time.
With practice and over time, your body will become stronger and capable of working out longer.
Don’t be discouraged if you find that you can barely finish a 20-minute session. You’re still burning fat, and you should experience weight loss.
Add a minute or two to each session, or each week, and before you know it, you’re completing 30 minutes or even 60 minutes of cardio exercise like a pro!
Beginners can also try working out for 20-30 minutes 3 days a week, and then switch up their cardiovascular fitness by using another machine or doing other exercises.
For example, you may try doing elliptical workouts three days per week, and then swim laps the other two days. Or you might try cross-country skiing, weight lifting, or just going for a walk.
You want to keep up that steady-state cardio, so if your machine does not have a heart rate monitor, you should buy a third-party monitor.
Here Is My Trick: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Perhaps you’ve heard about HIIT or maybe not. The idea behind this physical training is really quite simple, but it works by making your body burn calories like a furnace!
HIIT is terrific for weight loss since it appears to provide additional fuel to your metabolic fire.
Remember that if you’re going to do a HIIT program, you should allow your body to rest for 24 hours before you do another type of exercise or another HIIT exercise program.
You can perform a HIIT program doing almost any type of exercise, including walking, rowing, jogging, running, lifting weights, using a stair climber, or whatever machine you want. In this case, we will talk about elliptical cross trainers and interval training.
Let’s say that you want to work out for 30-35 minutes.
You need to warm up for about 4-5 minutes.
Start off at a moderate pace (about 60 percent of your maximum heart rate) for one minute, then start using the elliptical trainer intensively, hitting 85-90 percent of your maximum heart rate for 2 minutes.
Now you can slow back down for two minutes, back to your medium intensity level. Now return to your heart-pounding intense training.
Repeat this sequence for 20 minutes. Don’t forget that a good workout includes a warm-up period and a cool-down period.
Elliptical training using a HIIT workout has multiple health benefits, including:
- You will burn as much as 30 percent more calories than if you simply held a steady pace on your cardio equipment.
- Your increased metabolic rate lasts for hours after you stop exercising.
- The fat burn is also super intense.
- You will gain more muscle, especially in the legs.
- It reduces your resting heart rate.
- It lowers blood pressure.
- You can exercise for shorter periods but get the same calorie burn as you would if you did a regular workout for longer.
As you can see, in addition to the many extra calories burned with an HIIT program on your elliptical machine, there are many other health benefits and reasons that will have you adding HIIT to your workout program.
The Bottom Line
Elliptical machines are a fantastic way to help you reach your weight loss goal, as well as your fitness goals.
As always, if you have health problems, or if you’re under the care of a doctor, you should always consult with your physician before starting any exercise program, even one as safe as elliptical workouts.
Be patient, stick with it, and add HIIT to your workout routine, and you will be ready for beach or pool season before you know it.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does a cross-trainer burn belly fat?
Yes, it can. While you cannot spot-reduce body fat through exercise, you can burn fat all over the body when you use a cardio machine, keep your heart rate in the maximum zone for your age, and cut back on your caloric intake.
2. Is a cross-trainer better than a treadmill?
Yes, it is. Treadmills work only the leg muscles, including the glutes, but they do not work the upper body like a cross trainer does. While an HIIT workout can result in fat loss when you use either machine, I like the fact that with a cross trainer, you can work your shoulders, arms, and upper back without having to do additional training or use another machine.
3. How long should you use a cross-trainer for?
In order to burn fat, you need to work out at close to your maximum heart rate for at least 20 minutes, 3 to 5 times per week. To burn fat faster, you will need to gradually increase the amount of time you exercise or start using an HIIT program.