Elliptical trainers can be your best friends in the battle of the bulge, but when you don’t really know how to maximize your workout, you may be spending a lot of energy and seeing very little result. Even though your time on the elliptical can burn about 773 calories an hour, many new users don’t achieve anywhere near this number because they’re not using the equipment as well as they could.
Don’t worry, though, you’re not the only person who isn’t entirely sure how to use an elliptical for fat loss! Here are some tips for the next time you’re at the gym or plowing through a workout on your home machine:
Increase the resistance. Beginning exercisers make this mistake frequently — they believe that they need to start with no resistance in order to build up to greater things. Unfortunately, with the way the elliptical works, you’ve got to have some resistance to burn fat. If you can hear the machine purring, you probably need more resistance. Turn up the difficulty until you can feel a little strain in your muscles in just one or two strides.
Reverse gears. Going forward is one thing, but going in reverse works a whole different set of muscles (namely the hamstrings and glutes) — and can help fight your body’s propensity for developing exercise fatigue. Interval train by going forward for a few minutes, then going backward. You’ll work more muscles and bust more fat.
Grab the handles. You should honestly never touch the fixed handles if you want a fat-busting workout, but if your machine has handles that move back and forth as you pedal, hold on to them for dear life. Using the handles works the upper body as well as the lower, creating more opportunities for burning fat.
It’s not a race. Going too fast on an elliptical can actually be counter-productive. When you slam the pedals down, you can increase your momentum to a point where the machine itself can carry most of the load. Take it slow and steady — if the workout doesn’t make your legs feel like Jell-o, you’re doing it wrong. Crank up the resistance and watch the fat melt away.
Vary your workout. No matter how much you mix it up on the elliptical, you can’t be a one trick pony and hope to lose lots of fat — eventually you’re going to plateau. Getting off the elliptical can be as beneficial as being on it — try mixing in some basic strength training once or twice a week and see how much faster your body transforms.
If you’ve been thinking about adding a piece of equipment like an elliptical to your home gym, we’ve got some useful Proform elliptical reviews on our site to help make that decision a little easier. When you’re not sure what type of equipment is right, you should also take a peek at at least one Proform treadmill review. Having one of these machines in your home will give you the freedom to exercise when and how it’s convenient for you. Plus, you’ll never have to wait for or wipe down another sweaty gym machine again!
Which is your favorite cardio machine? Elliptical or Treadmill?