In today's busy world, most gym-goers are looking to get the most "bang for their buck" when it comes to their workouts. A sure way to do that is to change your boring old elliptical routine to something new and fun. Instead of spending an hour on the elliptical at the same pace, add intervals and sprints to fire up your calorie burn.
Benefits of the Elliptical Trainer
The elliptical trainer is one of the most popular cardio machines, second behind the treadmill, according to the "New York Daily News." A simple machine to operate, the elliptical is a starting point for any exercise newbies. Known for its cardiovascular benefits, elliptical trainers also tone the arms and legs. The pulling motion involved in using the machine targets the upper body, while the skating motion targets the lower body. Elliptical trainers also have a resistance control, which makes the lower body work harder.
Steady-state cardio simply means going at the same speed for the entire workout; for example, running a mile at the exact same pace each time. This way of exercising does burn calories and can help improve endurance, but only at first. As your body adapts to what you are doing, you will need to increase the number of miles you are doing in order to keep burning calories.
Interval Training on the Elliptical
One way to ramp up your calorie burn without increasing your time spent in the gym is to increase intensity. Interval training means increasing your speed for a short amount of time, followed by a longer period of rest at a slower speed. If you usually exercise at the same pace on the elliptical for 30 minutes, add in a few intervals to change it up. Try adding in five to 10 intervals in which you increase the elliptical speed for one minute followed by two minutes of recovery at your typical pace.
When you increase your speed to a sprint on the elliptical, you are going all out with everything you have. You should have close to nothing left at the end of the workout. An example of sprinting on an elliptical would be to pedal as fast as you can for 20 seconds followed by 40 seconds of extremely slow pedaling. Repeat this pattern for a total of four minutes. This is an extremely taxing workout, so you may have to work yourself up to four minutes of all-out sprints.
Kaitlin Condon is a holistic health coach and certified physical fitness/wellness specialist. She is a contributing health writer for the teen magazine "Miabella," as well as several online publications.