Fitness + Well-being

The Best Workout: Treadmill vs. Elliptical

Find out which one machine burns more calories.


Ever since cardio machines were created, there has been an ongoing debate as to which is a better workout: the treadmill or the elliptical. Some people claim that you can burn more calories on the elliptical. However, others say the treadmill is better because it works your entire body. Recently, Fox News Magazine viewer Katie wrote in posing the same question. We asked Gloria Vitolo, a certified personal trainer, to shed some light on the issue in the video above.  We also went to our go-to weight loss expert, Chris Mohr, to get his answer on the cardio machine mystery. Read what he had to say below!

Katie: I really prefer to do my cardio workouts on the elliptical over the treadmill. Someone recently told me that the treadmill is actually a better workout for you than the elliptical. Is this true? Does it work different areas of your body and is it better for overall weight loss? Or is any cardio "good cardio?"

Chris Mohr: To be honest, the best cardio workout would be outdoors. While I personally do prefer the treadmill over the elliptical, I prefer walking/running outdoors even more. The reason is that on a treadmill, the moving belt virtually eliminates the back of your leg (from your butt down to your calves) from doing any work. Sure, they work a bit, but not like they need to when you're propelling your own body forward outdoors.

But do you know what I like even better than any of those? Sprinting! Now, you may be thinking, "I'm just getting started with a routine, it's not safe to sprint," and that would be true. But when I say "sprint," that means going as hard as YOU comfortably and safely can, for a short period of time. If you normally walk pretty slowly, pick up that pace so you're challenging your body as much as possible, then recover by walking more slowly again, and repeat.

Here's an example:

After a sufficient warm up, go as hard as you can for 30 seconds. Recover with a walk or slow jog for 90 seconds, then repeat. Start with five and build up to 10 sprints, adding one sprint each week. Do this two to three times per week. It's very efficient, effective and the quickest way to lose fat.

But if you do own a treadmill or elliptical, you don't have to throw them out just yet. Just try this trick: Promise yourself you won't turn on the TV unless you're on your exercise equipment. Then every time a commercial starts, go as hard as you possibly can until the show comes back on.

Good Luck!

About the Expert: Dr. Chris Mohr is a weight loss expert who teaches people how to lose fat permanently. He is the sports nutritionist for Under Armour and his expertise has been sought out by LL Cool J, Food Network chef Emeril Lagasse and fitness celebrity Denise Austin. He has written over 500 articles for consumer publications such as Prevention, Men's Health and Weight Watchers, and serves as a nutrition advisor for Men's Fitness Magazine. An athlete himself, Dr. Mohr is a finisher of the 2008 Louisville Ironman. For more information, visit