With a variety of gym equipment at your disposal, it can be difficult to decide which machine will best suit your fitness needs. While the type of machine you use can impact your results, it’s important to note that the number of calories burned during exercise is largely dependent on the amount of effort and intensity you put into your workout. As such, the most effective cardio machine for you is the one you will actually use – and stick with – on a consistent basis.

In terms of calorie burn, there are some clear winners when it comes to cardio machines, with the elliptical and rower earning the top spots. However, if you’re looking to burn the most calories in the least amount of time, consider trying out a different machine on each of your training days. This way, you’ll work your legs, arms, and core while also building muscle mass to boost your resting metabolic rate.


Treadmills have long been a staple at gyms and fitness studios due to their effectiveness, affordability, and accessibility. They are an ideal option for those who are just starting to incorporate cardio into their fitness routine as well as more advanced athletes, since they can be adjusted to accommodate a range of workout intensities.


Treadmills also allow you to adjust the incline of your run, which can significantly increase your calorie burn and target specific muscle groups. A 155-pound person will burn about 300 calories in an hour of treadmill running at a modest pace, according to HealthStatus.


Similar to the treadmill, ellipticals are a great option for those who want a low-impact exercise. Many ellipticals also include movable handles that allow you to work your upper body while working out your legs, making them a great option for a total-body workout. However, the calorie-burning benefits of ellipticals are often overstated, as they do not simulate natural movement and tend to target muscles in a less challenging way than other exercise machines.


The popularity of spinning classes like Peloton and SoulCycle is helping to boost the profile of spin bikes, which offer a full-body workout with an intense calorie burn. However, a traditional upright bike will still get the job done, with a moderate pace burning about 260 calories for a 155-pound person in an hour. For even more calorie-burning power, try adding resistance to your bike ride.

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