Putting NordicTrack’s Incline Trainer To The Test: Can You Really Burn 5x The Calories?

One of the big claims NordicTrack makes for their incline trainer treadmills is the ability to burn 5 times the calories at a 40% incline. This makes sense, as a workout is nothing more than putting stress on your body for positive results. However, if you follow the little asterisk next to the claim to the bottom of the page, you will find the small print saying the average user it was based off of was 200 lbs.

Well, here at Treadmill Reviews, we were curious about that claim and decided to test it out on the NordicTrack x11i. It’s on eof our favorite treadmills so we decided to test NordicTrack’s claim for ourselves!

Testing Parameters For The x11i

To make sure we tested this claim fairly, we came up with a few testing parameters. First, we walked at 2.5 mph and 0% incline. Wearing the chest strap heart rate monitor, we walked until the x11i told us we burned 100 calories. This test was performed without any previous strain or exercise previously done that day. Our starting heart rate, final heart rate, and duration were recorded and compared.

Then we tested the x11i by walking at 2.5 mph (no change in speed) at 40% incline wearing the chest strap heart rate monitor. We walked until the x11i told us we had burned 100 calories. Then we recorded our starting heart rate, final heart rate, and duration were recorded and compared. Again for this test, no exercise was previously performed this day.

We chose 100 calories as our testing metric because it is when you start to really feel the calorie-burn and those who are looking to burn more calories can easily assess which type of workout is more worth it. At a 40% incline, 100 burned calories was quickly obtained; however, it was very difficult.

Meet The Treadmill Testers

None of our testers were 200 lbs; on average, our testers were 140-170 lbs with varying levels of athleticism. We ranked the athleticism by:

  • Athletic – Works out 6-7 days a week, for 1-2 hours at a time
  • Average – Works out 4-5 days a week, for 60 minutes at a time
  • Casual – Works out 1-3 days a week, for 30 minutes at a time

As for the testers themselves, we had:

Braden – Athletic. He is an avid mountain biker, rock climber, canyoneer, and speed kite flyer. Braden spends his work week peddling through trails, in the office, and at the gym. But you’ll never see him in town on the weekend. He is always off conquering a new canyon or climbing a terrifying wall in the desert.

Paige – Average. With two kids and a dog in tow, Paige runs 3-4 times per week and enjoys lifting things that are heavy. You’ll see her in our treadmill review videos from time to time picking out the pros and cons for consumers.

Diana – Average. Diana runs regularly and has a number of races under her belt. She’s an avid fan of local hiking trails and enjoys a good amount of movement through out her week.

The 0% Incline Test

SPEED2.5 mph2.5 mph2.5 mph
(100 Calories Burned)span
00:23:16 sp00:23:10 sp00:23:16

The 40% Incline Test

If you haven’t tried out what 40% incline feels like, you really should (after you finish reading this!). Every one of our testers was breathing hard and sweating from testing the x11i at 40% incline and none of them had even been on the machine for more than 4½ minutes before they had burned 100 calories.

ENDING HR168174163
SPEED2.5 mph2.5 mph2.5 mph
(100 Calories Burned) span
00:04:02 sp00:04:14 sp00:04:09

Compared Test Results

Theoretically, we should have burned 100 calories at a 40% incline in 1/5 the time it took us to burn 100 calories at 0% incline. Did that happen? Not exactly. But it didn’t rattle our faith in the x11i. Undoubtedly, walking 2.5 miles at a 40% incline was an immense struggle for each of our testers. For anyone looking to squeeze in a thorough (butt-kicking) workout in a minimal amount of time, you’re going to want a NordicTrack incline trainer.

What Does 100 Calories Look Like?

  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1 oz low-fat cheese
  • 13 large, steamed shrimp
  • 15 cashew halves
  • 21 preztels
  • 33 seedless grapes
  • 50 seedless raisins
  • 60 green beans
  • 100 raspberries

Each serving is 100 calories, with so many more ideas all over the internet. Just 4 minutes on a 40% incline trainer can burn any one of these snacks. Imagine what kind of calories you could burn by doing 4 minute spurts multiple times through out your day?

If you want to learn more about the NordicTrack x11i incline trainer, check out our full review and pump up your workouts with a higher calorie burn.