Are the calorie counts on cardio machines accurate? And how can I trim my waist?

by Erin Kurdyla

Here are 2 questions about cardio machines and waist:

Cassab says: I have a question about the cardio machines at the gym…if I enter my weight and age can I depend on the calories burned that it displays? Is it usually an accurate range?

Answer: Newer machines which ask for height, weight, and gender tend to be more accurate; while I read older machines can be off by as much as 25%. Knowing that, you can still use the calorie counter on the cardio machines to help gauge your workouts?by comparing your numbers from day to day if you use the same machine.

Yazzy72 says: My question is: I would like to make the most of my waist and “nip it in” a little. I already do about 30-45 minutes of cardio and am slim (don’t want to lose weight). I also do about 100 sit ups a couple times a week. They tone my upper stomach, but I would like to get that waist “defined” look if possible. Is there a sit up that does that, or is it all just genetics? Thanks so much!

Sounds like you might need to add some oblique work into your routine. Try scaling back on your sit-ups (I think less is more; aim for 2 sets of 15 to 20 quality crunches) and add in some rotations. If you work out at a gym, the Captain’s Chair is a great option. In fact, a recent study named this machine the most effective for training the obliques. At home: Sit with knees bent, feet flat, and grab a medicine ball or dumbbell with both hands. Keeping your back at a 45-degree angle, twist your torso side-to-side (think: steering a car). Raise your feet off the floor for more of a challenge.