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And The Best Cardio Machine Is…

Posted Aug 24 2009 11:24am

With so many cardio machines out there, it’s really hard to distinguish the difference from one machine to another. One of the most common questions I get, as a trainer is,  “Which machine will I burn the most fat on?”


Before I let you know what I recommend lets take a quick look at some of the popular choices.

1.  Treadmill

The treadmill is one of the most popular cardio machines to date. You can expect to find a treadmill that supplies you with tons of running options. You can even change the grade (incline) to simulate walking or running up a hill. The treadmill is also a great tool to use to stay on top of your training even if it snows or rains.

With the technology we have today, you can track your heart rate and accurately stay within your training zone. The treadmill is also a great piece of equipment for exercise beginners. The learning curve is minimal since it just involves walking on a moving belt.

But there are some down sides to using treadmills. Of course if you have any lower body injuries the treadmill won’t be your first choice.  Also keep in mind that when you run, every stride you make puts about 3 times your body weight on your foot. If you over do it you can injure yourself from the amount of impact your body goes through while running.

2.  Upright/recumbent Bike:

Any bike machine is really good for all beginners. It’s one of the easiest machines to operate and also provides excellent cardiovascular benefits.

Upright and recumbent bikes differ slightly in regards to the muscles you use at each machine. The upright bikes focus more on building and toning the front of the thigh, back of the thigh, back of the lower leg and the front of the lower leg, where as the recumbent bike focuses on all the muscles listed, as well as the gluteal muscles (your butt!).  Another key benefit to using a bike is that takes a whole lot of strain off the knees.

With any bike machine you’ll get an awesome leg workout. But if you’re also looking to work your arms, don’t count on the bike to deliver that wish. As much as the bike is great for cardio and leg workouts, it really lacks in the upper body benefits.

3.  Elliptical

The elliptical trainer or cross trainer is a very popular machine (especially with the ladies.  A lot of women love this machine because of its smooth and graceful fee.  The elliptical machine allows you to not only get a great cardio workout but it also provides you with resistance to get a cardio and resistance workout  all in one shot. Because you really have to use your muscles and push against the resistance, you will tone and firm your muscles. But the elliptical trainer doesn’t stop there, it also works your upper body as well.

While you’re on this machine you hardly ever lift up a foot, which makes it the perfect machine for anyone with ankle, knee, or hip problems.

The learning curve for the elliptical does take some time to getting use to. If you’re a beginner you might feel frustrated if you can’t get your legs and arms to move all at once.

4.  Stair Master

The stair master has been around for quite a while. The great thing about it, is that it conditions the legs and heart extremely well. It also helps tone and define all the different muscles of the lower body. Plus, while on the stair master you can perform powerful leg movements by placing your weight on one foot and then pushing off of it onto the next step.

Again, if you have any injuries in the ankle, knee, or hip you’ll want to stay away from this machine. There will be too much pressure on the joints and you will do more harm than good.

So that covers some of the popular cardio machines you might find at your gym or have in your home gym. So which one will burn the most fat?

Well..the machine that’s gonna burn the most fat is the machine that you’ll actually use. If you hate running with a passion – don’t hop on a treadmill. If you enjoy cycling then a stationary or recumbent bike will fit your needs best.  It’s simple. Do what you like.

If you don’t get any enjoyment out of using a specific machine you won’t put in the effort and work hard on it – which means less results for you!

Like to run? Hop on a treadmill. Like to bike? Cycle away. Want to really tone your lower body? Hit up the Stair master.

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