As with any specific program or piece of workout equipment, whether or not you can lose weight depends less on the program or gear, and more on your approach to using it. With a mini stepper, understanding how it affects your fitness and calorie burn will help you develop an approach that makes weight loss more likely.
Mini Stepper Basics
The brand name Mini Stepper belongs to a portable NordicTrack device that consists of two platforms for your feet, which are attached to a frame with a pair of stretch bands. The platforms are on a piston system that provides resistance. Using the Mini Stepper puts the legs through the motions of walking uphill, while the arms of the device pump by stretching and releasing the stretch bands. Besides the NordicTrack model, a variety of similar devices are available from off brands.
Weight Loss and Calories
Weight loss comes from burning more calories than you take in, forcing your body to get the extra energy by burning off fat. Exercise, like a session on a Mini Stepper, contributes to this by increasing the number of calories you burn. A 30-minute stepping session will burn about 250 calories for a 160-pound person. Heavier people will burn more calories in the same session; lighter people will burn fewer.
"Significant" Weight Loss
"Significant" means different things to different people, but health resource organization Kaiser Permanente recommends a pound a week as a healthy target for meaningful, sustainable weight loss. At 250 calories per workout, it would take 14 stepping sessions to burn the 3,500 calories that constitute a pound of fat. By this metric, a stepping workout alone won't produce significant weight loss.
Any exercise program, no matter how vigorous, is only one half of successful weight loss. Supplementing a stepping program with a diet that removes an additional 250 calories a day from your regular diet would bring your total calorie burn up to a pound lost per week. Bottom line: using the stepping machine alone isn't likely to produce significant weight loss, but using as the exercise portion of a complete weight-loss program, it's an effective choice.