The Best Gym Equipment to Lose Weight

If your fitness goal is weight loss, you might be wondering which machines are worth spending the most time on during your gym sessions. All exercise burns calories, but some machines can help you do this quicker than others.

A Harvard Health study looked at the calories burned in 30-minute activities using various gym machines. We’ve taken the results for a person weighing 155lb (or 11 stone) as an example, so you can compare the calories burned in the same amount of time on different machines.

Read on to find out what exercise equipment is best for weight loss. 

woman measuring her waist with a tape measure

Table of contents:

  1. Treadmill
  2. Cross trainer
  3. Stair machine
  4. Stationary bike
  5. Rowing machine
  6. Weight lifting
  7. What determines calories burned in exercise?
  8. How to calculate your fat burning zone


The treadmill is one of the best machines to lose weight. We know running is a great way to shed calories. In fact, a person weighing 155lb (or 11 stone) can burn 360 calories by running for 30 minutes at 6mph (10 min/mile).

To burn calories faster, increase the incline on the treadmill. Running at the same speed but on a higher incline will burn more calories in the same amount of time. 

As well as burning calories quickly, running has the added benefit of being great for strengthening your leg muscles and glutes.

Cross trainer/elliptical machine 

The cross trainer/elliptical is another great machine for weight loss. According to the study, a person weighing 155lb can burn 324 calories in half an hour on an elliptical machine

If you’re struggling with joint pain or recovering from a physical injury, a cross trainer is also a good alternative to the treadmill, as the movement puts less pressure on your joints.

The cross trainer is a great machine for toning, too. Unlike some other cardio machines, the cross trainer has the advantage of facilitating an upper and lower body workout. You’ll work your legs and glutes, as well as your chest, biceps and triceps!

Woman working out on a cardio machine

Step/stair machine

On a stepper/stair machine, a 155lb person can burn 216 calories in 30 minutes. A stepper machine is essentially a never-ending staircase, so not only does it burn calories quickly, but you’ll be sure to feel the burn in your legs! 

As well as helping you lose weight, the stair machine is fantastic for building muscle in your quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes.

Cycling (stationary bike)

A 155lb person can burn 252 calories during half an hour of moderate cycling on a stationary bike. 

Whether it be a spin class or a session in the gym, you can quickly pedal away the pounds on a stationary bike. Some people prefer an upright bike that best emulates a bicycle, or you might find the lower seated position of a recumbent bike more comfortable.

Like the cross trainer, a stationary bike can also be a good low-impact option for your joints.

Rowing machine 

Rowing machines are some of the best gym equipment for weight loss and muscle toning. A 155lb person can burn 252 calories rowing for half an hour. Plus, did you know rowing is a full-body workout? A session on a rowing machine uses 85% of your body’s muscles!

If you’re looking to tone up while you burn calories, add the rowing machine into your workout schedule. Not many machines offer the same levels of strength conditioning and cardio benefits.


Weight loss is not just down to cardio – weightlifting is also a great way to burn calories. A 155lb person can burn 108 calories while weight lifting for 30 minutes – and 216 with vigorous lifting. Some of the best gym equipment to lose weight includes free weights such as barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells.

Though weightlifting doesn’t usually burn as many calories as cardio while you’re working out, research has shown that the body continues to burn more calories after a weight training workout than it does with a cardio session!

A great way to get the hang of using weights is to join a strength training gym class or work with a PT who can show you the right techniques to train safely and efficiently.

Woman using free weights to work out

What determines calories burned in exercise?

There are a few factors that determine how many calories you burn per workout, including:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • BMI 
  • Workout intensity

Generally speaking, the more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn per workout session. This is because your body is working harder to move. 

Your workout intensity is another crucial factor. A HIIT workout (high intensity interval training), for example, will burn more calories than a low or moderate intensity workout. 

You can do a HIIT workout on any cardio machine. It involves a combination of high intensity bursts of cardio followed by a rest period. For example, a minute of sprinting, followed by a minute or two of walking. Do this for 10–30 minutes, and you can torch some serious calories per session! 

Your fat-burning zone

When exercising to lose weight, the sweet spot for the most effective workout is known as the ‘fat-burning zone’. This refers to the intensity you have to hit for your body to burn its stored fat for energy.

Your fat-burning zone is approximately 70% of your maximum heart rate.

You can use this calculator to work out your fat-burning zone. 

Or, to work it out manually, subtract your age from 220. This is your maximum heart rate in beats per minute. Then, calculate 70% of that number. The number you’re left with will be the number of beats per minute your heart rate needs to be at to enter your fat-burning zone.

Explore our cardio and strength training equipment

You can find the best gym equipment to lose weight at FitKit UK. Shop a wide range of premium cardio and strength training equipment to burn fat, torch calories and improve your general fitness. 

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