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Ask the Expert: Burning Calories

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Our health expert answers your questions about burning calories.

I receive many questions about health and fitness throughout the week. Here's one from a weight loss client that is trying to lose 60 pounds in 60 days. Being that he is over 400 pounds, there is a great chance he will meet his goal.

The Client's Question

Hey Andrea,  

How many calories am I burning during this workout? I'm up to doing an hour on the elliptical every night. I start with the incline maxed out at level 10. I start the tension out at level 60 and work my way up to the max level 100. I'm burning 2200 to 2400 calories according to the machine.  However, tonight I decided to do the "weight loss" program on the elliptical.  It went up and down throughout the hour in tension and incline. I moved way faster because I'm used to pushing the maximum level on the machine. But tonight I only burned 1644 calories during the hour. Would you mind letting me know which is better and/or should I do max on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while doing "weight loss" on Tuesday and Thursday? Or should I stick with one or the other?

Thank you,
Steven Jones


Andrea's Answer

The machine cannot accurately assess your calorie burning due to weight, body composition, because even sleep and foods affect the calorie burn. Work on duration and heart rate. Interval training is much better and burns more calories than steady state work. Work on a 3 to 5 minute blast with a 1 to 3 minute rest. Also, work forwards and backwards with and without incline to "cross train" or keep the muscles guessing throughout. That's how you'll maximize your workouts!  GREAT JOB!  

For more health and fitness advice, visit Andrea Metcalf's site.


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