Is Burning 1200 Calories a Day on an Elliptical Enough for Weight Loss?

by Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D., Demand Media
    Lifting weights will create muscle definition and burn fat.

    Lifting weights will create muscle definition and burn fat.

    You don't have to spend hours at the gym to shed pounds. Burning 1,200 calories each day on an elliptical machine is more than enough to lose weight. In fact, you don’t have to expend that many calories exercising to peel away pounds, especially if you cut your calorie intake. Aim for safe weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week for long-term success.

    Burning 1,200 Calories

    To burn 1,200 calories on an elliptical trainer, you’ll be exercising for quite a while. Harvard Medical School reports a 185-pound woman burns about 800 calories in 60 minutes, and a 155-pound woman expends 670 calories per hour exercising on an elliptical trainer. You’d need to use the elliptical machine for an hour and a half, or longer, each day to expend 1,200 calories. Although some women can squeeze this workout into their busy schedule, long workouts aren’t practical for everyone.

    Exercise Recommendations

    Exercising on an elliptical trainer regularly can help you shed pounds and melt away fat, but you don't need to burn 1,200 calories to do so. According to a review published in a 2009 edition of “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise,” working out more than 250 minutes per week is associated with significant weight loss. This means exercising 50 minutes, five days per week, should do the trick.

    Concerns

    Expending 1,200 calories a day on an elliptical machine has potential to hinder your weight loss efforts. Performing the same exercise day after day can cause muscle fatigue and may increase your risk for injury. Furthermore, a review published in a 2012 issue of the "British Journal of Sports Medicine" suggests individual responses to exercise vary, and some women become hungrier and increase food intake after boosting physical activity. The amount of food you eat is a key component of your weight-loss success.

    Importance of Diet

    Regardless of how many calories you burn exercising, you won’t lose weight if you overeat. In fact, you can shed pounds by reducing your calorie intake even if you don’t exercise. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute notes that active women weighing more than 164 pounds can effectively lose weight eating 1,200 to 1,600 calories daily, while inactive women weighing 164 pounds or less may need 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day. Burning 500 to 1,000 calories more than you consume per day is safe for weight loss, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    About the Author

    Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.

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