500-Calorie Workouts on the Elliptical

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Elliptical trainers provide an effective workout while protecting your knees, hips and back from the impact of running. Most machines have handles that allow you to exercise your upper body and lower body at the same time. Many enable you to stride backward to work your muscles differently. The amount of calories you burn through an elliptical workout depends on your body size, composition, gender and age as well as the intensity of the workout. The following workouts burn 500 calories based on a woman weighing 150 lbs.

Continuous Workout

A simple technique is to use the same stride rate and resistance level for the length of time it takes to burn 500 calories. Try 134 strides per minute with a middle resistance setting. Your workout should feel similar to running a 12-minute mile. Warm up and cool down with five minutes at a comfortable pace. You can expect to burn 500 calories in about 60 minutes.

Speed Intervals

This workout changes the speed of your stride. It's based on Bill Phillips’ high-intensity interval training method. The resistance level remains the same, so pick one that is challenging but allows you to move your feet quickly during the intervals. Start at a comfortable pace, around 110 strides per minute. After five minutes, boost your stride rate to 125 for 60 seconds, then 130 for a minute, then up to 135 for an additional minute. Drop to 115 for two minutes to recover. After you catch your breath, go back up to 125, then 130, then 135, for one minute each. Repeat six more times. On the fourth and last time, increase to 125, 130 and 135 just as before, then go as fast as you can for two minutes. You should reach at least 140 strides per minute. Cool down with five minutes at a stride rate of 110. You can burn 500 calories in about 55 minutes with this workout.

Resistance Intervals

This is the same high-intensity interval training method as above, but instead of increasing your speed, you maintain the same speed and increase the resistance. Choose a comfortable stride rate, such as 110 strides per minute, and maintain it throughout the workout. Warm up with five minutes at a Level 4 resistance. After the warm up, jump to a Level 6 for one minute, then Level 7 for 60 seconds, Level 8 for one minute and then Level 9 for one minute. Drop to a Level 6 for one minute, then go up to Level 7, Level 8 and Level 9 for 60 seconds each. Repeat this six more times. On the seventh time, go to Levels 6, 7, 8 and 9 just as before, then increase to the highest resistance level you can manage while still maintaining your stride rate for two minutes. Complete the workout by dropping down to Level 4 and cool down for five minutes. This workout burns 500 calories in about 45 minutes.

Calculate Your Calories

You can't depend on the machine for an accurate count of calories burned. A study published in Research Quarterly for Exercise Sport found that the elliptical machine read-outs significantly overestimate the amount of calories burned during a workout. Use an online exercise calorie counter to get a more accurate estimate.