How long does it take to do 500 calories on an elliptical?

Doing 500 calories on an elliptical depends on a few key factors, including your weight, fitness level, and intensity. Generally, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour to burn 500 calories on an elliptical machine.

Quick Answer

For the average person weighing 150-180 lbs, it typically takes between 30-45 minutes of moderate intensity elliptical exercise to burn 500 calories.

What Impacts Calorie Burn on an Elliptical?

Several variables influence the number of calories you can burn on an elliptical in a set time period:

  • Body weight – Heavier people burn more calories for the same exercise duration as lighter people.
  • Fitness level – Those who are more fit and have higher cardio endurance tend to burn calories faster during exercise compared to beginners.
  • Intensity – Higher intensity cardio burns more calories per minute than lower intensity exercise.
  • Incline – Using higher incline levels can increase calorie burn on elliptical machines.
  • Individual physiology – Factors like age, gender, and genetics impact metabolic rate and calorie burn.

By optimizing these variables, you can maximize the number of calories burned in a 30-60 minute elliptical workout.

Calorie Burn Rate on Elliptical

Most elliptical machines display an estimated calorie burn rate based on your weight and intensity. Here are some general calorie burn rate guidelines on an elliptical:

  • Low intensity (50% max heart rate): 5-7 calories/minute
  • Moderate intensity (70% max heart rate): 7-10 calories/minute
  • High intensity (85% max heart rate): 10-12+ calories/minute

So at a moderate pace, you can expect to burn around 300 calories in 30 minutes (10 calories/minute x 30 minutes) and around 500 calories in 50 minutes.

Calorie Burn by Weight

Your body weight has a major impact on calorie burn because it takes more energy to move a heavier body. Here’s an estimate of how long it would take to burn 500 calories on an elliptical based on weight:

Weight Time to Burn 500 Calories
120 lbs 60 minutes
150 lbs 45 minutes
180 lbs 35 minutes
210 lbs 30 minutes
240 lbs 27 minutes

As shown, lighter people need to exercise longer to burn 500 calories, while heavier individuals can burn 500 calories faster when using the elliptical. A 120 lb person may need to elliptical for an hour, while a 240 lb person could burn the same in just over 25 minutes.

Tips to Maximize Calorie Burn

Here are some tips to help maximize the number of calories burned using an elliptical:

  • Use higher resistance levels – This makes your legs work harder with every stride.
  • Incorporate incline – Increase the incline to intensify the workout and burn more calories.
  • Use interval training – Mix up spurts of high intensity with moderate pace intervals.
  • Work your arms too – Pushing and pulling the arms handles engages the upper body.
  • Maintain good posture – Standing tall engages the core and helps optimize calorie burn.
  • Rev up the RPMs – A higher stride rate keeps your heart rate up. Shoot for over 100 RPM.

Calorie Burn by Fitness Level

Those new to exercise tend to burn fewer calories during an elliptical workout compared to experienced exercisers. Here is the approximate time it would take to burn 500 calories based on fitness level, for a 150 lb person:

Fitness Level Time to Burn 500 Calories
Beginner 55 minutes
Intermediate 45 minutes
Advanced 35 minutes

The more cardio fit you are, the more calories you tend to burn in a shorter period of time. Interval training is especially effective for more advanced exercisers to maximize calorie burn.

Workout Recommendations

Here are some elliptical workout recommendations for burning 500 calories:


Time required: About 1 hour

Intensity: 50-60% max heart rate

A beginner workout would involve exercising at a relatively moderate pace with minimal resistance for an hour to burn 500 calories.


Time required: 45 minutes

Intensity: 60-80% max heart rate

An intermediate can utilize moderate resistance levels and cardio intervals like 2 minutes fast pace and 2 slower pace repeatedly to burn 500 calories in 45 minutes.


Time required: 30-35 minutes

Intensity: 80%+ max heart rate

An advanced elliptical workout would involve high resistance, incline, an fast intervals of 30 seconds hard and 90 seconds moderate for a high intensity calorie burn.

Weight Loss Benefits

Using the elliptical machine can provide powerful weight loss benefits. Here are some of the key advantages:

  • Burns substantial calories – Ellipticals allow you to burn 500+ calories per workout.
  • Engages both upper and lower body – Works major muscle groups for total body calorie burn.
  • Low-impact – Elliptical provide a joint-friendly cardio workout.
  • Adjustable intensity – Can be tailored for any fitness level.
  • Convenience – Ellipticals are easy to use anytime, especially at home.

Combined with a healthy diet, doing regular elliptical workouts that burn 500 calories can lead to significant weight loss over time. It’s an ideal exercise machine for losing weight.

Adding Variety

While using the elliptical is a straightforward movement pattern, adding some variety can help spice up your workouts. Here are some ideas:

  • Interval training – Alternate between high and moderate intensity intervals.
  • Backwards pedaling – Pedal backwards for a change of pace.
  • Incline intervals – Mix up your incline levels throughout your workout.
  • Plyometric jumps – Carefully lift feet off pedals for light plyometric intervals.
  • Arm toning – Do arm strength moves while maintaining stride to combine cardio and strength.

Changing up the intensity, interval timing, resistance levels and movement pattern provides variety. Just be careful not to compromise proper form.

Pre-Workout Fueling

Fueling properly before elliptical workouts helps maximize energy and performance. Some pre-workout fuel tips:

  • Eat 1-2 hours before – Allow time to digest.
  • Consume carbs – Choose high fiber whole grains and fruits.
  • Include protein – Lean meats, nuts, Greek yogurt etc.
  • Stay hydrated – Drink 16-20 oz water.
  • Caffeine boost – A cup of coffee can provide a stimulant effect.

A well-balanced meal or snack of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats 1-2 hours before your workout will provide long lasting energy. Hydration is also key.


Burning 500 calories on an elliptical typically takes between 30-60 minutes depending on your body weight, fitness level and workout intensity. Heavier individuals can burn 500 calories faster than lighter people. Intermediate and advanced exercisers also tend to burn more calories per minute than beginners. Employing strategies like intervals, resistance, incline and total body movements can help enhance calorie burn. Fueling properly before your elliptical workout and adding variety keeps your routine effective and enjoyable.

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