Treadmill vs. Elliptical: Which Helps You Lose Weight Faster?

Does a treadmill or an elliptical help you lose weight faster? It’s an age-old question. The answer? It depends. Hear me out.

It’s not just calories in and calories out

All calories aren’t created equal and weightloss is more than calories in and calories out. Even the best treadmill or elliptical workouts can be counterproductive if you’re not considering other things that factor into weight loss such as:

  • Genetics
  • Sleep
  • Smoking/alcohol consumption
  • Medications
  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Menopause
  • Diet

Benefits of a Treadmill Workout 


  • High intensity 
    • It’s easier to get your blood pumping running on a treadmill since it takes more effort to run as opposed to the gliding motion of an elliptical.
  • Variety 
    • Most modern treadmills have built in programs for interval training, hills, etc. The same machine gives you dozens of workout options.

Finding the perfect treadmill

If you’re in the gym, you don’t typically have much variety with the type of treadmill you can select since they’re typically all the same brand. Since new treadmills hit the market all the time, some gyms have a few fancy high-tech versions they are testing. Opt for one of these and play with the settings to see if you can spice up your workout.

If you’re shopping for a treadmill for your house, look for a machine with a solid frame and a wide running belt. These features will allow you to use the machine comfortably without modifying your natural stride. The best treadmills have larger motors that allow the belt to rotate smoothly and quietly. Features that allow you to track your progress through multiple workouts will also make your routine more enjoyable.

Benefits of an elliptical workout


  • Lower impact 
    • If you have joint problems, the elliptical is your friend. You can get a pretty good cardio workout with less risk of injury.
  • Beginner friendly 
    • People feel the elliptical is a lot less intimidating than a treadmill. You just get on and start pedaling. That’s it.
  • Active recovery/rest days 
    • The elliptical is a great workout for an active recovery or rest day where you want to get moving but not beast mode your workout.

Selecting an elliptical

As with any piece of exercise equipment, it’s important to compare elliptical machines until you find one that perfectly fits your needs. Look for a durable machine that will be able to fully support the weight of all its users and has a heavy enough flywheel to offer a smooth, quiet workout. Quality proform ellipticals are designed to mimic your natural body posture and movement.

The bottom line

Selecting a treadmill or elliptical workout is completely up to you. You just need to get moving, challenge yourself and eat a healthy diet to reach your weightless/fitness goals.

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