Are the Calorie Controllers on Cardio Machines Effective?

Are the Calorie Controllers on Cardio Machines Effective?

Last update: 12 August, 2018

When you want to lose extra kilos and have a formidable figure, it is interesting to know the reason and the factors that affect the calculation of how many calories you burn during the exercise.

Are the Calorie Controllers of Cardio Machines Effective?

This concern is common for people who attend the gym to lose weight. Find out why the calorie controllers on cardio machines are not as reliable as you may think.

Even so, they fulfill other objectives from which you can benefit. Find out how you can use these machines in the gym to keep your body healthy and in good physical shape.

Why are calorie controllers unreliable?

Controllers on Cardio Machines

These controllers do not exactly measure the calories consumed because they do not record the necessary data of the person who is exercising. In general, the drivers of the most modern machines will only ask you to record your weight and height.

To inform you of how much energy you consume while doing exercises, you should know your percentage of lean mass. You also need to know your  heart rate and your fat mass, in addition to your weight and height.

Percentage of errors in cardio equipment

According to experts in this field who have studied the caloric controllers on cardio machines, they have found a high percentage of errors that overestimate the calories consumed. The results are:

  • Ellipticals: these have the highest percentage of error, at 42 per cent.
  • The climbers: at 12 per cent.
  • Treadmills: at 13 per cent.
  • Stationary bicycles: these have the smallest margin of error at 7 per cent.

What you should know about caloric controllers

People exercising on cardio machines

These controllers are designed with standard formulas to decipher the amount of calories burned, therefore, it is not possible to specify them in each person.

For the most part, these machines are calibrated for men , which is not the same as for women. In addition, there are other elements that are characteristic of each individual. These influence the results given by the calorie controllers.

How to measure the calories consumed when doing exercises?

Through a pulsimeter, you can have an approximate idea, but never exact. In this device, you can include all the data required to calculate the calories consumed.

Factors that prevent quantifying the exact caloric consumption

Influencing factors are: body temperature, body fat, and include hormonal changes. In addition, while increasing the intensity of the exercises, the caloric consumption becomes inaccurate.

Another factor that affects the reading is the physical condition and the capacity of each person. For example, a beginner exercising will use more energy than an experienced athlete.

Different cardio machines

These machines for cardiovascular exercise, regulate the hardness and intensity with which each person moves on it. At the same time, they help you to lose weight and increase your muscular endurance.

Stationary bicycle

You will not need any technique to use this machine, you just have to cycle. What you must take into account is to always adopt the correct posture for your back, that is, to keep it straight.

They have a pre-installed program with which you can change the daily intensity, so it will not be monotonous for you. It has no great impact on the joints, so there are more physical benefits, such as  improving the cardiovascular system.


This cardio device is designed in the form of a step. It has a program to change the intensity of the movement. It should be noted that it is only recommended for professional and experienced athletes.


Man running on a treadmill

The treadmill is present in any gym that you go to, it is a classic gym machine. Its programs will allow you to walk, run, and incline up and down.

It is somewhat risky because of the impact that it can exert on the knees, however, the most modern ones are adjustable, to avoid severe damage to the joints.


This is considered one of the best cardio machines as it works both your upper and lower bod y. Their programs have integrated games to make the exercise more fun. If you work intensely, like you do on a treadmill, you can burn the same amount of calories in less time.


Although this machine is not as well known, it has great acceptance among men and women. The use of it means that the upper and lower body are worked simultaneously. The recommendation is to keep the abdomen contracted during the exercise, this will help to tone you.

Although lowering calories is important, it should not be the main focus when doing exercises. Strive to enjoy, have fun, eat healthily and be constant, in this way, you will achieve excellent results.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Stahl SE, An HS, Dinkel DM, Noble JM, Lee JM. How accurate are the wrist-based heart rate monitors during walking and running activities? Are they accurate enough? BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2016 Apr 25;2(1):e000106.
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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.