Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Calorie Burning Factor - Which Cardio Machine Burns the Most

While the benefits of working out are far more than simply burning calories, a vast number of people hitting the cardio machines in the gym are hoping to shed some pounds of fat. And let's be honest, one of the greatest perks about being a fitness fanatic is that you are granted the liberty to be a little more flexible with your diet and indulge in your fav fares. So when it comes to what kind of specific cardio activity or cardio machine that burns the most calories here's the skinny.

A couple of things to keep in mind are that the more muscle groups that you engage the more energy you will be expending, and similarly the more calories you will be burning. Also, the larger the muscle group, the more the caloric expenditure will be. (For example you'd be working harder doing an activity with your legs, like running, than you would if you were using your arms, like with an arm biking machine.) Here are how the most popular cardio machines at the gym stack up:

1) Treadmill: Running burns the most calories per minute of exertion than any other activity. Think about it, you're using pretty much every muscle in your body from your legs propelling you, your arms pumping, and if you're using proper running form your core muscles are taut. The only negative here is that running is a very high impact sport and is hard on the joints; so you need to be carefull about not doing too much if you are prone to injury.

2) Elliptical: This is very similar to running, but it negates a lot of the impact on the joints. You'll burn slightly fewer calories than actual running but you can make sure to make the most of your cardio effort by using your arms as you would in a running stride. Some ellipticals have moving arms, but even on those that don't you should swing your arms and not rest them on the side rails; nor should you support yourself on the rails or hunch over.

3) Stair-Steppers: These also engage most of your muscles and just as the case with the eillipticals you shouldn't drape yourself over the arm rests and 'cheat.'

4) Rowing Machine: Surprised? Many people think the rower is only an upperbody machine...but they're wrong. You are using your legs to push you back and forward, your core is engaged, and then of course your arms are working hard as well. Don't underestimate how hard this baby can be when done right; I did a lot of cross training on this back in high school and I can attest to how high I was able to get my heart rate up to!

5) Bikes: The bike is an excellent cardio activity, but it burns the least amount of calories per minute because only your legs working. Don't poo-poo it though because you can crank up the resistance and trust me, Lance Armstrong is no slouch and those bikers are known to put down some serious food to keep up their energy stores. But for gym-goers you can take advantage of this tip: go for an upright bike over one with a back that allows you to recline as you'll be working less on the latter.

In closing, it really does come down to the level of your exertion in anything that you do. You also want to pick an activity that you enjoy and you will be consistent with. You want to elevate that heart rate, keep it there, and remember...that burning feeling is a good thing! :)

You can check out some awesome calorie blasting workouts at

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