How Many Calories Can You Expect to Burn While Exercising?

If you have made a commitment to improve your fitness, you may be investigating all of the different pieces of exercise equipment available and trying to determine which one will help you burn the most calories, giving you the best workout possible.

One measurement to determine the cardio fitness you are achieving from the machine is the number of calories burned. Calorie burning gives you an indication of how many extra calories you are expending to complete the exercise. If you continue to burn more calories everyday that you consume, the result will be a net weight loss. Remember that 3,500 calories equals one pound of fat!

It can be confusing given the vastly different exercise machines out there. This calorie comparison chart gives you an opportunity to quickly see how the various pieces of cardiovascular equipment stack up against one another.


Amount of Time

Number of Calories Burned


60 minutes

705 - 865

Stationary Cycle

60 minutes

596 – 604

Cross Country Ski Machine

60 minutes

595 – 678

Rowing Machine

60 minutes

606 - 739

Stair Climber

60 minutes

637 - 746

Elliptical Trainer

60 minutes

645 - 710

Moderate Swimming

60 minutes

345 - 450

Intense Step Aerobics

60 minutes

600 - 650


60 minutes

397 - 556

Moderate Skating

60 minutes

295 - 400

The estimates highlighted in grey come from a study completed by the Medical College of Wisconsin and the VA Medical Center in Milwaukee. These figures are estimates only as there are a number of individual factors contributing to the number of calories burned.

With regards to the elliptical trainer specifically, most manufactures claim that you can burn up to 720 calories an hour with an elliptical workout. Here's some weight and sex specific estimates:

•  150 pound woman, 30 minutes of elliptical exercise: 387 calories

•  180 pound man, 30 minutes of elliptical exercise: 464 - 500 calories

•  120 pound woman, 30 minutes of elliptical exercise: 310 calories

There are many individual factors such as your metabolic rate, and equipment related factors that affect the number of calories burned on each piece of equipment:

•  Interval training

•  Tension settings

•  Weight

•  Body Composition – muscle to fat ratio

•  Whether you are new to exercise or a regular exerciser

•  If you are male or female

•  Upper body usage.

For example, on a treadmill, if you have increased the incline significantly, you will be burning more calories than if you were working on a straight plane. On the rowing machine, if you have set the tension quite high, you will be burning more calories than if the tension was fairly light. You get the picture.

The harder you challenge yourself, the greater the results. Try not to get too hung up on the amount of calories you burn. While this is useful information to help you gauge how you are working at each workout, it is only an estimate. The most important factors are working out to the best of your ability and having fun!

All the best,


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