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Arc Trainer-Calories burned

I've been gauging calories burned on various cardio machines. I know it isn't all that accurate, but comparing the calories burned (on a consistent energy/effort level) on bike, elliptical, treadmill walking and arc trainer are all very different.

Arc trainer burns the most -- but it is the only machine that doesn't ask for your weight.

Does anyone know what (non-running) cardio machine burns the most calories per minute? Assuming a consistent energy level on all machines?

Sat. Sep 16, 12:36am

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I think it's really hard to compare effort levels between the machines. At what feels like similar effort to me - meaning, when it feels like the same percentage of the most I can possibly do - and believing their calorie displays, the elliptical gives the highest calorie numbers, followed by the Arctrainer, treadmill, bike in that order. That's just my personal take, nothing scientific.

Saturday, September 16, 2006, 10:45 PM

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I read in a magazine like Self or Fitness a couple of months ago that the elliptical is a huge favorite because people like the high calorie burn and the physical ease of the machine. Everyone reports a lower level of perceived exertion on it, which in turn allows them to stay at it longer...the calories burned readout is not exaggerated - at least, no more than other machines anyway.

Saturday, September 16, 2006, 11:30 PM

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But how can that be true? I just cant understand how something so much easier (Im comparing elliptical to treadmill here) can burn so many MORE calories. The elliptical uses momentum, how can that be BETTER for your bod?? I need answers...anyone have any hard facts (NOT opinions) on this????

Sunday, September 17, 2006, 2:15 PM

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I wouldn't assume that perceived exertion tracks energy expended. One of the ideas behind combined action machines (like most ellipticals and some models of Arctrainers, not all) is that by involving more muscle groups, the workload on any specific part of you is lessened. For aerobic exercise, this will increase the amount of work you can do because the limiting factor is often the blood supply to specific muscles, which limits the supply of oxygen and energy sources and also limits the removal of metabolic "waste" products. By spreading the work over more muscles you can sustain a greater total metabolism. But no matter how cleverly the machine is designed, you eventually reach some other limit, maximal oxygen uptake, for example.
I don't know how careful a job the machine designers do, but the science is there to calculate quite accurately how much energy you are transferring into the machine. But this doesn't measure how much energy you expended in "inefficiency" that never got to the machine. I assume they are estimating this in some way based on a few lab experiments that track other forms of energy dissipation. This cannot be accurate for everyone - it's just some sort of average.
I think there's also confusion sometimes about the role of metabolic and biomechanical efficiency. It goes back to what your goal is. If you just want to consume energy to lose weight, it really doesn't matter exactly where that energy is dissipated, in the machine or directly from you to your surroundings. If you were competing in an event like a race, then efficiency is very important because you want to convert your energy to a specific form of work, not just radiate a bunch of heat to warm up the air around you.

Sunday, September 17, 2006, 8:27 PM

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