How Many Calories Can You Expect to Burn While Exercising?

burning calories on treadmill

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.

Equipment Time # Of Calories Burned
Treadmill 60 Minutes 705 - 865
Stationay Bike (Upright) 60 Minutes 596 - 604
Ski Machine (Cross Country) 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
Jogging 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 absolute most important thing is to keep improving week after week. For example, if you did 20 minutes on the exercise bike at moderate levels one week, try and do 30 minutes the following week or ramp up the difficulty level and continue to do 20 minutes. The point is to keep improving. Do this and you'll see results.

If you're looking for a good elliptical workout, try this one.

All the best,


As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

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