Moderate (MET = 4.9)
Calories per hour

Elliptical Calorie Calculator

By Joanna Michałowska, PhD candidate
Last updated: Jul 28, 2020

The elliptical calorie calculator helps you to estimate the total amount of calories burned on a elliptical trainer. Have you ever wondered how many calories does an elliptical burn and how are they calculated? Go ahead and read the article below!

If you want to know how many calories you're burning when performing other activities, feel free to visit our calories burned, running calorie or steps to calories calculators.

Elliptical training

An elliptical trainer, or a cross-trainer, is a stationary exercise machine that you can use to stair climb, walk, or run without causing too much impact on your joints. Cross-trainers offer a cardiovascular workout that can vary in intensity (depending on the resistance settings and speed). This kind of an activity has many health benefits, including:

The WHO recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity) a week. If your are not sure that you are meeting this recommendation, check our MET minutes calculator.

How many calories does elliptical burn?

Let's answer the most important question - how many calories does an elliptical burn? The simple answer is that an average person burns 350-450 calories per hour on an elliptical machine, when exercising at a moderate level. However, this estimate can be more accurate if you use the following equation:

calories = time * MET * 3.5 * weight / (200 * 60)


time is the time spent exercising in seconds;

weight is your weight in kilograms; and

MET is the Metabolic Equivalent of Task, which varies anywhere from 4.6 to 5.7 on an elliptical.

MET is a unit that measures how much energy an activity consumes when compared to being at rest. Here's some basic information regarding the metabolic equivalent of task:

  1. One MET:
  • represents an activity where you burn 1 kcal per kilogram per hour;
  • is more or less the energy cost of sitting still;
  • can be defined as an oxygen uptake of 3.5 ml per kilogram per minute; and
  • is the rate of energy expenditure at rest.
  1. Initially, the concept of MET was designed to represent the activity level of those taking a nutritional survey.

  2. We frequently use the idea of the metabolic equivalent of task in guidelines and physical activity recommendations.

  3. If you know the MET value of the physical activity and its duration, you can estimate how many calories were burned.

Elliptical calorie calculator

The elliptical calorie calculator uses the formula presented in the paragraph above to estimate the calories burned on elliptical equipment. There are three different resistance levels (and MET values) to assess the calories burned during training:

Activity type
Resistance level 2, light effort
Resistance level 5, moderate effort
Resistance level 8, vigorous effort

*The MET values used in the elliptical calorie calculator are based on the 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities Reference List.

Calories burned on elliptical - a practical example

In a practical example, let's estimate the elliptical calories for Richard, who weighs 75 kg (165 lb). He exercises every other day for 45 minutes using a cross-trainer. How many calories does Richard burn during every training session?

  1. Estimate the calories burned using the following formula:

calories = time * MET * 3.5 * weight / (200 * 60)

  1. In the second step, you need to convert minutes to seconds:

45 minutes * 60 = 2700 seconds

  1. Let's assume that Richard sets his elliptical trainer to resistance level 5 (MET = 4.9), so he trains with moderate effort.

  2. The next step is to substitute the numbers into the equation:

calories = time * MET * 3.5 * weight / (200 * 60)

calories = 2700 * 4.9 * 3.5 * 75 / (200 * 60)

calories = 3,472,875 / 12,000

calories = 289.4

Richard burns approximately 290 kcal during his training.

Joanna Michałowska, PhD candidate
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