Hello and thanks for reading my question.

I like using the following type of skiing like machines in the gym which I'll describe, I couldn't find a name for it: I have to rest my both hands leaning slightly on the machines or just hold on the handles and move my legs side wise: each leg goes from the top position to the bottom position, but not at the same time; when the left leg comes to the top position the right leg attains the bottom position and vice versa. But there is no protruding handle which I've to handhold. It kinda feels like skiing, except the hands are not moving, but just resting on the machine. There are 25 different levels on it. I'm not sure what they call this cardio machine. I'd appreciate if you give me their names.

I always use it at the level 25 (supposed to be the highest level as far as my observation of calorie consumption goes), and it shows to burn 20 to 22 calories, mostly just using the quick start option. I've used these machines in more than one gyms in the US and France, the observation is the same. Generally, I know that the calories shown by cardio machines are not factual, but my question is: are these particular machines way off the actual calories that I burn or they are somewhat close? Burning 20 calories a minute seems to good to be true, but same kind of machines from at least 4 gyms in the US and France gave me same results over the last 2 years! I'm 30, male, about 5'6", 152 pounds (=68.95 kilograms) and muscular built, have 19.1% body fat, 8.1% bone mass as my weight scale shows, work out 3 times a week with cardio and different kind of weights.

Did anyone test themselves on the machines I'm talking about and tell me whether I'm seeing the right amount of calories burnt?

  • 2
    Interesting question. While I do think 20kcal per minute is a bit high (that's 1200 kcal per hour!), I don't have any sources and/or experiences to back that up. I wouldn't be surprised if manufacturers vastly overstated calories burned, just to make you think their machine is better than the ones that don't overstate.
    – user8119
    May 8, 2014 at 11:48
  • Larissa: I understand your point about overstating, but assuming I'd use different instruments (treadmill, skiing) manufactured by the same company in the same gym, and these companies will be different in France than the US, I wonder why all these companies will make their certain machine show lot more calories than the other machines manufactured by themselves.
    – Mathmath
    May 8, 2014 at 11:53
  • The first one does it to get an advantage over his rival manufacturers. All others follow suit to catch up to the first one. In my expericence most cardio people (no offense, I don't know you) don't care what the effect is, as long as they can tell themselves 'I burned 400kcal, I can eat a cheeseburger now'. And the industry delivers. Boy, am I cynical...
    – user8119
    May 8, 2014 at 11:59
  • Your cynicality is fine with me, except for my case, it's at least 800 calories to eat a cheeseburger :-)
    – Mathmath
    May 8, 2014 at 17:30
  • 2
    They probably base their figures on cross country skiing. If you look at a chart showing calories burned per minute of exercise, you will see that uphill cross country skiing burns about .125 cal/minute/lbs. At 152 lbs. that would calculate to 19 calories per minute. May 8, 2014 at 18:28

1 Answer 1


They aren't particularly accurate, however, it is not out of the realm of possibility. It largely depends on the type of exercise you're doing and the intensity at which you're doing it. 1200 calories/hr isn't insane for a rowing machine (I personally have gone to around 1500 calories/hr on a concept2 rowing machine, however this was during HIIT training and I couldn't sustain such a rate for more than a minute. From your description, it sounds like you're talking about a lateral trainer of some sort that simulates what I think of as being a cross country skiing style motionenter image description here. Regardless, due to the recoil speed of the stepping machine and the limited amount of resistance (body weight) and the fact that your legs aren't really lifting your body if there isn't enough resistance to overcome your weight and if you're using too much resistance your range of motion suffers due to the machine moving your body instead of your body moving the machine. So while 1200 cal/hr is not absurd on it's face, based on the machine description, I'm going to have to say it's not a fair representation as I just can't see you being able to get the proper combination of cadence and resistance that is required for high caloric consumption. From my personal experience, the best cardio in terms of cardiopulmonary health and caloric consumption, comes from swimming, rowing, or a stair machine (http://s4.hubimg.com/u/4846263_f260.jpg )enter image description here) Additionally, sprints, especially loaded sprints, will burn more calories per unit of time (HIIT also has the added perk of burning calories for about 24 hrs after exercise.)

Side note: Be wary of using charts to base your caloric consumption. (a) people's metabolisms are different (b) time based caloric consumption values are rate and weight based (the former being highly variable and the latter being dependant on how much weight is supported by something other than your body and how your body moves said weight.)

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