Bike Vs Elliptical – Ultimate Showdown – 1 Scores a KO!

Today’s Main Event: Bike vs Elliptical. Which is better and why? You’re about to find out now…

When you do cardio are you a little confused by what program to do? Well, then you’re not alone. Below is a quick question that I get quite frequently.

I have a question for you and I hope you have the answer. I want to lose this last 20 lbs. The machines at the gym give the option to do either cardio or fat burning. Which one is best for me to lose the weight the proper way? I get frustrated when I do fat burning for 1 hr. and see I burn less calories than when I do cardio for an hour. What’s up with these machines?

Bike vs Elliptical


That’s a very good question and I’ve been asked it many times. The information provided by the machine is just an estimate. If you want to burn body fat you need your heart rate to be at 65-75% of your max.

What you must understand is that ALL cardio equipment gets created and then it gets marketing flare. The piece of equipment that claims to burn the most fat/calories is usually the most popular. Take the elliptical machine for example.

What most people don’t realize is that the calories are counted by the revolutions and tension (level – how hard it is) of the machine. On the elliptical you are using your body weight to move the machine and a lot of momentum is being used.

The bike on the other hand is ALL YOU. You do not use your bodyweight to push the pedals; it’s all muscle and heart. I am not saying the elliptical is not a good workout, just comparing how the two machines operate.

So now think about this, think of the full revolution of the elliptical and the full revolution of the bike…See how much bigger the elliptical is?…maybe 3+ times bigger. And the calories are counted by the distance and tension of the revolution. Do you smell what I am cooking?

I can spend 30 minutes on the bike at my target heart rate and burn 200 calories, according to the machine readout.

I can spend 30 minutes on the elliptical at my target heart rate and burn 600+ calories, according to the machine readout.

Marketing BS at it’s finest. It is about your heart rate and duration, that’s all. The fat burning programs are supposed to keep your heart rate in your 65-75% fat burning zone. The cardio programs are supposed to keep it higher, to build your cardio endurance.

I personally always set the machine on random and for 60 minutes, which is probably a control thing. I don’t like the machine telling me when to speed up, slow down, grab the handles, and when to stop, etc.

Pay attention to your breathing and understand how your heart rate coordinates.


One last thing to be aware of – sometimes, once you slow down and get into a fat burning zone you feel like you aren’t doing anything. It can mess with your mind as having your heart rate up in a cardio level can be addicting.

Cardio level is for endurance.

Fat burning level is for fat burning.

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