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The Facts About Cardio Machines

There's nothing like that sense of accomplishment when you look down after sweating it out on your cardio machine of choice - whether it's a treadmill, elliptical or bike - and seeing a big number in the calories burned column. But don't be fooled.

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When you put in all that personal info - weight, gender, age, etc. - at the beginning of your workout, the number it spits out at the end is simply an estimate that can err by dozens or even hundreds of calories! On average, most people burn about 100 calories per mile traveled on a cardio machine. If your machine estimates your burn way higher, then take note. And just because the program you choose is labeled "fat burning" doesn't mean that's what you're doing. A fat-burning workout means you might be burning fewer calories because it's designed to keep you a bit lower than your maximum heart rate.


Try interval programs or create your own by working out intensely for 30 seconds, then 2 minutes at an easier pace. Repeat for up to 30 minutes. As it gets easier, increase the 30 seconds to 1 minute. If you like to keep up with your heart rate while working out, those handles that supposedly measure it sure do come in handy! But again, they may not be accurate, especially if you don't have a solid hold on them.{relatedarticles}Heart rate measured closer to the chest, not in the hands and fingertips, is much more accurate. Consider investing in a heart rate monitor, or simply measure your intensity on your ability to talk while you work out. If you can keep the pace and speak while slightly breathless, then you're working at the right intensity.