Posted by: Nadine | March 10, 2009

Damn f*&^%^g elliptical trainer!!!

I’m a little irritated – no actually, a LOT.  I just spent $350 on an elliptical trainer – took me FOREVER to save up for it – and I was really excited to start using it.  It came equipped with a pulse rate moniter, and counts how many calories you burn.  PERFECT!  Well, not so… I was on it this morning for 25 minutes, and it said that I burned (are you ready for this) 38 calories.  No joke.  I went on it again this afternoon for thirty minutes, it said I burned 42 calories.  What the $*#$#@*???  I e-mailed the manufacturer asking why this was happening and this is what they wrote to me:

Thank you for contacting BH North America and we apologize for any inconvenience
The accuracy of both calorie counters and pulse meters on fitness equipment vary greatly.   This variance is based on the level of intricacy built into each specific unit.   Whether it is a $300 home unit versus a $6,000 health club mode, the calorie counters on most machines are based upon ‘old school data’ averages and should only be used as a gauge between workouts.   If from one workout to the next an increase is experienced, then an improvement has occurred.  
The same concept applies to the pulse meters as they measure blood flow in the hands versus actual heart rate.   That said, it is my personal recommendation to anyone who wants to accurately monitor their workouts is to use a separate wireless heart rate measuring device.   The most popular brand of these is Polar.
I hope this offers some explanation and answer to your question
All the best”

So basically what they are saying is that the pulse rate monitor and the “calories-burned” features are useless.  I feel so ripped off… So now what?  How am I supposed to calculate how many calories I’ve burned?  I’ve looked it up on the internet and the information varies from site to site – some sites say that 30 minutes will burn 300, some say 400, some say 450…. my mind is spinning!  Any thoughts or opinions on this would be greatly appreciated.

That being said, I worked out today.  Twice.  Something I haven’t done in years.  25 minutes the first time, 30 minutes the next.  So yay me!!!


  1. Hey girl! Congrats on the new toy! I’ve always wanted one, so I am a little jealous. As for the calories thing-that does really bite. I doubt if you are going to find an accurate readying, because it depends on not only how long you use it for, but what you get your heart rate up to and can maintain it. However, as long as you enjoy using it and will continue to use it, then I think it is money that you well spent. It’s not all about burning calories. It’s about being active and doing it in a way that will make you keep doing it. So, when I’m at the gym, sweating on an eliptical that god knows how many people of sweated on before me….I’ll be thinking of you…and our buns and legs of steel we’re creating!! Congrats and have fun-remember-it’s only a number!!


  2. Thanks jo – since I am trying so SO hard to lose weight, I am a little hung up on the numbers… but whatev, every little bit I do counts. And no kidding legs of steel – my ass is fine but my legs hurt like fuck!!!

  3. Timex has a heart rate monitor that is reasonably priced.. but really I doubt at your level of training you would need it… doesn’t nutra mirror track your calories burned? I thought that’s what Dee said?

    • It does – for everything BUT the elliptical trainer! But I’m going to try and not get too worried about it – tracking calories lost is so subjective to the amount of effort you put into it, and the only way to be absolutely sure is to get a heart rate monitor. I just spent enough on the machine, I’m not going to spend more, dammit!!!

  4. Not to be a total douche.. but are you sure that you set it up right? I only ask because it usually lies up on the calories burned… not down… so maybe something is set wrong?

    Try these:

    I think the second one is your friend it has really specific activities 🙂

    • Yeah, I’m pretty sure – Ryan and I both set it up separate times, and got the same problem. I think the calories burned is linked to the pulse monitor, which is also a total liar…. that’s my theory, anyways! Thanks for the links, I’ll check those out 🙂

  5. LOL I love that it lies 😉

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