Focus on your intensity while using a cross trainer to maximize calorie burning.
Most people want to make sure they're getting the most bang for every minute spent doing cardio, so it's important to know the relative efficiency of each machine. The three most widely used and available pieces of cardiovascular equipment are the treadmill, cross trainer and bike. All of these machines have the potential to blast serious calories, but your burn is directly related to your intensity level. Always talk with your doctor before making changes to your exercise routine.
Tackle The Treadmill
The treadmill is probably the least forgiving of the cardio machines because once you set a speed and incline, you're forced to keep up with the belt. This is great for calorie burning because it forces you to hold an intensity level. Try to always maintain an incline grade of at least 1 to 2 percent to increase calorie burn, and do a variety of workouts, including hills and sprint intervals, to help avoid plateaus.
Crank Up The Cross Trainer
The cross trainer, or elliptical machine, can provide an effective total-body workout if it has moving handles to integrate the upper body. The problem with the elliptical is that most people use them at a very low resistance level and cadence. Unlike the treadmill, which will send you off the back if you slow down too much, cross trainer machines are designed to move at an exerciser's chosen intensity. This means that unless you concentrate on keeping a moderate cadence and utilize the resistance or incline settings to maximize the workout, you could burn very few calories. On the other hand, if you focus on maintaining moderate to high intensity, the elliptical can provide an excellent calorie-burning workout.
Blast the Bike
Like the elliptical, the bike is a great low-impact cardiovascular option. However, it also requires exercisers to monitor their own intensity levels. Some exercise bikes have programmed workouts that will automatically adjust resistance, but they still require users to maintain cadence and intensity on their own. On an upright or spin bike, maximize calorie burn by integrating sprints, seated climbs and heavy standing climbs. Focus on keeping a cadence of 90 to 100 revolutions when using low resistance, and don't go below 60 when using higher resistance. Use the resistance settings to push yourself and keep your heart rate elevated throughout the workout. recumbent bikes offer exercise that may be more appropriate for those who need to maintain a lower intensity.
Tips to Maximize Your Burn
A great way to monitor your intensity level while using any cardiovascular machine is to wear a heart rate monitor. Most monitors provide an estimated calorie burn and they'll help be aware of your intensity levels. Many can be programmed to beep when you drop below a certain heart rate zone. Another effective way to keep your calorie burned maximized is to consistently change up the workouts you perform. If you use the same machines and complete the same workouts every time, your body will become more efficient and you'll burn fewer and fewer calories, eventually running the risk of plateauing.
Estimated Calorie Burns
The treadmill, cross trainer and bike all provide solid calorie-burning workouts, but what burns the most for you will be the machine you're most likely to use with the highest intensity. For most people, running on the treadmill will burn the most calories. In 30 minutes, a 155-pound adult will burn about 350 calories running at 6 miles per hour. On average, an adult of the same weight will burn about 260 calories in 30 minutes of indoor cycling. The cross trainer generally comes in last place in terms of calorie burn, providing a 155-pound person with an average burn of 240 calories in 30 minutes.