Reader Mailbag: Which is better – Treadmill or Elliptical?


The Treadmill Sensei will be back later on today with a new review, but I wanted to start the day off by opening up the old reader mailbag here at the DOJO. I get in tons of email every day. While I may not get back to every single person who writes in, I do read every single email I get — well, except the Spam ones for Viagro. Although, Mrs. Sensei may be sending those to me. I’ll have to check in to that.

Our first email of the day is from Renee who is having problems decided what kind of equipment to buy, a treadmill or an elliptical. Let’s see if we can help her out (or confuse her even more!). Take it away, Renee!

Hi! I looked at all the articles on your site and couldn’t see this question addressed: Which is better for a daily workout, an elliptical or a treadmill?

I am 51 years old, 5’3”, and 130 lbs. I need to lose 10 lbs., but haven’t been successful at this for the last 12 years.

I would like to define my waist and get more toned overall.

Are either of these machines “miracle-workers”?!!?!?!

Thanks for taking the time to reply. -Renee


Thanks for your note. Truthfully, there isn’t a huge difference between an elliptical and a treadmill in regards to weight loss. The main difference is in how they affect your joints and your own person preference. An elliptical is an almost zero impact workout but you can’t run as fast or as hard on it as you can on a treadmill. Either one is a great cardio workout. I would suggest doing some strength training a couple of times a week to help tone and shape you body, otherwise you might wind up weighing less but still look flabby and out of shape.

Neither one of the machines is a miracle worker. Weight loss depends on you and your dedication to it. Getting on a treadmill or elliptical for ever just 10-15 minutes a day is going to help improve your health, but without a proper diet it may not be as effective as you need. Now, when I say “proper diet” I mean eating healthy and consciously, not going on a “DIET.” Diets tend to be temporary and short term solutions. Most people really just need a minor life change in how they eat, in addition to excercise, to dramatically change their weight and their health.

I’d suggest going in to a local store or gym and trying out both machines to see what feels better to you. If you do go in to a retail store, I’d stay away from big chain stores because the employees will generally be pretty clueless about equipment. Try and find a smaller specialty shop who only deals in fitness equipment. Try and speak with the manager or owner to get the most qualified help. If you go in to a gym, just ask to speak with one of the personal trainers and they will generally answer any of your questions.

I hope that helps!

Our second note for today comes from David who just ordered a treadmill. Take it away, David!

Hi Mr. DOJO,

I want to thank you for all the time you’ve taken from your personal family activities to devote to your website. Your imput and inbiased opinions have helped me immensely in making a choice which thanks to you I feel fairly secure about despite never trying the treadmill out before my making this purchase. We all need more people like you who keep unscrupulous manufactures/ dealers on their toes for fear of being exposed for their deceitful ways. My thanks again and my best to your and your loved ones. -David ( p.s. I purchased the SOLE 77 and I eagerly await its delivery )


Great to hear from you and I’m glad you enjoy the website. Good luck with your new treadmill and write us back to let everyone know how it is working out for you. Take care!

-The Treadmill Sensei

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