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@marvinmann Yeah, it's funny. I did 650 in thirty minutes on the eliptical, which did seem a little high to me. It wasn't the one I usually use though. I guess some machines are calibrated high. I did 450 on the treadmill. I'm sure it all averages out somehow. I'm never really sure how much stock to put into those numbers anyway, but at the very least, if you use the same machines over and over, it gives you a relative measure of how you're doing.
They're not even vaguely accurate, no, but what you mention is the way to use them. I always kept my time static but tried to beat the calories expended, which was a good benchmark.