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As the weather drops, more and more people choose to work out at the gym rather than venture out into the wintry cold weather to get active, and this often results in heading straight to one machine – the elliptical. According to reports, the number of people using elliptical machines has increased dramatically in the last 15 years but still many people find it a boring chore or simply don’t use it correctly and fail to get the most out of this versatile machine. Here are five ways to get more out of the elliptical machine so you can maximize calorie burn while adding fun to your routine.
More advanced elliptical machines will have an array of technological options available; overcoming boredom on the elliptical machine can be the biggest challenge of all, but many machines at gyms these days have screens where you can watch TV or go online, as well as places where you can place your tablet to check emails, read magazines or watch your own downloads. However, it’s important not to slack off and become half-hearted about the exercise you’re doing as technique is often something that gets left behind when we get too distracted. However, elliptical machines will also have features designed to challenge and inform you, such as an option for you to add your height and weight in order to get a more accurate calorie reading, plus options to measure blood pressure and log progress. Some machines also have interactive trails where you can ‘walk’ along the mountains of New Zealand or the rocky landscapes of Utah which give you a nice view while you’re working out, but the trails are also programmed to change resistance automatically according to the difficultly of the trail, meaning you’re challenged more while you’re progressing.
Don’t be a sloucher on the elliptical machine - standing up straight helps to lengthen your abs, giving you a chance to engage your core and work your upper body. Elliptical machines with an upper body component help you to engage more muscles and blast more belly fat, but if there aren’t any, then just let go! Research suggests than holding onto the stable handles reduces calorie burn plus going hands-free while you keep your posture forces you to try and balance while you move which helps to engage your core and works your abs more. Another elliptical mistake is putting too much pressure on your toes which can make your feet go numb and cut your workout short. Instead, sit back into your heels, which allows large muscle groups to work harder and gives you the stamina to go for longer.
Going backwards doesn’t just stop you from getting bored, it also changes which large muscle groups are working hardest. While moving forwards works your quads, going backwards puts emphasis on your hamstrings and glutes. To maximize this effect, sit back slightly and keep your toes at a 90-degree angle as you stride.
Intervals are a great way to break up the monotony of the machine and maximize your calorie burn. You can do this by leaving the resistance steady and changing your pace, such as going fast for a minute and then keeping a moderate speed for 4 minutes, or maintain the same speed and change your resistance, such as opting for a challenging resistance for a minute and then a more moderate resistance for 4 minutes. If keeping track of minutes isn’t your thing, a great suggestion if you’re listening to music is to go at a moderate speed or resistance during the verse of a song and then really push yourself during the chorus. Then there are also the options of going backwards and forwards, so maybe for two or three minutes in each direction and continuously swapping, or sometimes working your upper body with the arm bars and sometimes letting go in order to work your abs more.
Although the elliptical machine can provide a good full-body workout, you shouldn’t make the mistake of heading straight for it every time you enter the gym, or sticking to it for your entire workout. Instead, you should supplement your routine with weight training and other cardio equipment, such as the rowing machine. Making sure you incorporate variety keeps your body from getting used to a single movement and also continues to help you build muscle mass – which, in turn, will keep your metabolism boosted. An ideal typical workout would be to warm up on any of the cardio machines for ten minutes, workout individual sets of muscles using the weight machines and then finish with 30 to 45 minutes of cardio, mixing it up between the rowing machine, the elliptical machine, the treadmill and the stationary bikes. Not only will your workout be less monotonous, you’ll also feel and see the benefits more.
Exercise is an important part of your new healthy lifestyle to ensure that this will be your last and most successful weight loss journey. However, if you need an extra boost of energy to get you up and moving, we recommend the weight loss supplement Phen Caps which work to give you energy and improve metabolism so that you’ll have more motivation to exercise, plus better results with the hard work that you put in on the elliptical machine!
So, do you now feel ready to take on the elliptical machine and give yourself a more challenging and beneficial workout? Let us know by commenting below!