Let's face it. The gym can be quite the intimidating playground of fitness buffs and yoga-wear fanatics. And those exercise machines have so many buttons on them, it can make your head spin. Before you ditch your workout plans, do know that it is possible to ease into a beginner routine with the help of the elliptical machine, which gives your arms and legs a workout but stresses your body less compared to the treadmill.
Every effective workout program begins with a warm up to prepare the muscles, increase your heart rate and reduce your risk for injuries. Use the first five to 10 minutes by stretching your limbs and doing a few light aerobic exercises to get your heart pumping. You can even start by treading lightly on your elliptical machine before powering through the remainder of your fitness program.
As you begin your workout plan on the elliptical machine keep in mind that slow and steady wins the race. In this case, the race is a healthy body and strong, toned and sexy arms and legs. Shoot for training on the elliptical two to three days per week until you feel comfortable with the controls and the feel of the machine. As a beginner, you should set your resistance somewhat low and gradually increase it in order to tone and tighten your legs. Change directions and pedal backwards to emphasize work on your hamstrings and glutes. Add weighted wrist bands as you use the handle bars to work your arms.
Need a little more motivation from your elliptical training routine? Staring at your caloric burn or heart rate can get to be a bit boring. Spruce up your workouts by joining an elliptical class at your local gym or reach out to a trainer for guidance on advanced training. If looking to change things up in the comfort of your own home, get inspired while listening to your iPod with an elliptical program. For example, fitness trainer Stephanie Vitorino’s guided program “Elliptical Coach” walks you through intervals, motivates you to push through your workout and makes it so easy for you to hop on the machine and be told exactly what to do.
The Work Isn't Over
Once you’ve mastered your cardio routine on the elliptical machine, step into the wonderful world of strength training, which helps to reduce body fat, build muscle, increase metabolism and burn calories. MayoClinic.com suggests using your body weight for gym-free exercises you can easily incorporate at home, including push-ups, pull-ups, abdominal crunches and leg squats. You can also perform strength training exercises with free-weights, barbells, dumbbells and kettle bells just two to three times per week for up to 30 minutes per session to notice a significant difference.
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