Ask Bwog, Series Premiere

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Each Friday, Bwog will be airing a new feature: 
.  Ask Bwog about Columbia, college life, or anything else…we’ll find you the expert and post the results.  This week, one of our staffers wondered about the accuracy of the cardio machines up at Dodge. He looked to Stacy Toner, the aptly-named acting coordinator of the Personal Training Program at Columbia for some answers.

Bwog: According to the calorie counter on the cardio machines in the gym, the

elliptical trainer burns more calories per hour than just about any other exercise, treadmill and stair climber included.  But when I use it, it feels like I’m using a lot less energy than when I run, and I’m certainly putting forth less effort.  Am I really burning more calories, or is the machine lying to me?  What gives?

Toner: There are a few explications for your fitness results on the elliptical.

 1. Elliptical machines use the upper and lower body during the activity (if you are pushing and pulling the moving handle bars). Whereas, the treadmill, bike, stepper do not use any upper body resistance.  Therefore, this may increase the amount of calories burned.

 2. You may be feeling less effort on the elliptical due to the low impact movement and the smooth fixed gait pattern.  It could also be that the muscles you are using on the elliptical are more fit (endurance and/or strength related) than the targeted muscles on the other machines.

Send us your questions! Email us at

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  1. guess  

    is that a microsoft wordart logo? classy.

  2. guess again  

    or maybe one of photoshop's built-in styles...that'd be a step up.

  3. better though  

    than a font change to some script-y font.

  4. Anna  

    Thanks bwog, I was wondering about this too!

  5. i thought  

    bwog would be doing the answering, not some "expert." I would have preferred a tongue-in-cheek, pretentious explanation revolving around an obscure Lit Hum reference, with subtle sexual overtones.

  6. umm

    epliticals only work optimally when you have your body aligned exactly right. If it doesn't feel hard, you're not doing it correctly and hence not burning the full amount of calories. Also, the calorie burning of ellipticals is much less studied than it is for running and manufactures have every incentive to over exaggerate the burn.

  7. oh god  

    this is so boring.

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