Treadmills and ellipticals come in handy for personal training sessions, lunchtime workouts, and rainy days. Other than that, I encourage people to get outside for their exercise. Reason being is that fresh air, varied terrain, and vitamin D are excellent for your mind, body and spirit.
But when you need the convenience of the treadmill or elliptical, I want to make sure you are smashing your workout and not just going through the motions- Because when that happens, you are wasting a lot of your precious time. Imagine spending the time to workout and actually getting the results you have always been looking for.
Here are some mistakes you may have been making all along that could be stopping you from making huge strides within your fitness goals.
-You read on the cardio machines. Ok, I admit, about three weeks ago I read a magazine on the elliptical. To be honest I just killed my body in an awesome strength training workout and wanted to use the elliptical to run out the lactic acid and zone out for a little. However, I can honestly say that I was aware of my pace and resistance the whole time. When you read, you are more likely to zone out, get into the book or article you are reading and slow your speed down dramatically. I say split those two up and give yourself thirty minutes of a hardcore cardio workout and then nuzzle up with a book afterwards. Your body and mind will thank you.
-You hold on to the treadmill or elliptical. I cringe when I see people holding on to the arms of the cardio equipment during the meat of their workout. Not only does it create you to hunch over and have extremely poor posture, but it also takes away forty percent of your caloric expenditure. If you are holding on, that means you are going too fast or on too much of an incline for your body to work and you need help. The object of working out is to build up a strong foundation without needing too much assistance. If you have to go slower in the beginning, so be it, but I promise you… you will build up your strength and endurance if you let go.
-One key component of the treadmill and elliptical that goes untouched by many is the incline button. Any time you are on a machine that helps you move, you should have the resistance on at least a two and the incline on at least a one percent. This mimics running or walking outdoors. Otherwise, it is like you are walking slightly downhill and are not doing your muscles much of a favor. Play with the resistance and incline buttons. They will challenge you in the best way possible and shape really nice legs and booty.
-Not doing interval training. Interval training is such an integral part of fitness. If you really want to become stronger, faster, toner and all around super lean, I heavily suggest interval training. This entails a faster pace of cardio or strength training followed by a recovery period. So if you were on the treadmill, I would recommend sprinting for thrity seconds or one minute and then walking or jogging for one minute. Try doing that for twenty minutes. You will feel gassed and drenched in sweat. Now that’s a good workout!
-Using the same cardio machines over and over again. You need to switch up your routines on a regular or at least monthly basis. This is called Constantly Varied in the fitness world. If you do the same things over and over again and expect different results, you will go insane. In fact Einstein termed the word insanity by that definition and I whole heartedly agree. Your body will get used to doing the same workouts and you will hit some major plateaus. Not just in your stamina, but with your body goals as well.
There you have it friends. It is time to get more creative with your workouts. Mix it up. Another thing I like to do is jump on the treadmill for a quick five minute run, jump off to perform some strength training moves, then repeat. Play around and push yourself. You will thank me later ;)