So you’ve found a cardio machine that works for you, and it’s the elliptical. I’m with you 100%. The elliptical is easier on the joints than a treadmill, or outdoor running, and it still gives you the maximum calorie burn you’re looking for in a workout. The best part about the elliptical is that because it’s easier on the joints and requires less manual forward motion, you can go for longer. Another great thing about ellipticals? Bowflex has a fantastic selection of these machines to choose from. Use a Bowflex coupon code and you can get the maximum burn without even leaving your house!
One thing to keep in mind though – if you’re hopping on the elliptical and doing the same thing every time, you’ll eventually get bored and lose interest. Your body will get used to this kind of workout, it’ll become easier and you might stop pushing yourself as hard. Know what that leads to? Decreased calorie burn, frustration, weight loss plateaus, even more frustration, excuses, less workouts per week, maybe even weight gain, stress eating, binge TV watching, clothes that no longer fit, recluse behavior, and then total misery.
Just kidding. It won’t be that dramatic. Unless you let it become that kind of downward spiral, of course. But there’s no need to let that happen when there are ways to shake up your elliptical routine and keep it fun. Here are six tips to spice up your elliptical workout.
1. Use Your Hands
If you’re one to hold onto the static bars for support during your entire workout, let go! Grab hold of the moving bars that move with the foot plates and make it an arm workout too. To take it one step further, let go completely and rely on your core to keep you balanced as you pedal.
2. Increase Your Speed
If you have a set speed that you always use, try increasing your speed. It’ll be a much more effective cardio workout and will add to your burn.
3. Add Resistance
Or, you could add resistance. I actually like pushing the resistance way up, to the point where it almost feels like I’m running through knee-deep water or quicksand. It’ll be a different burn, but intense and just as wonderful.
4. Go Backwards
Wake up your glutes and your calf muscles by switching directions and pedaling backwards. Take it one step further by adding any of the tips above to a backwards pedal workout.
5. Add Intervals
High intensity interval training or (HIIT), is a method of taking basic exercises and adding explosive movements in short periods of time, with recovery breaks in between. This has proved to be more effective in terms of toning and weight loss than doing the same exercises at average intensity for longer periods of time.
A sample interval workout to try from Bowflex Insider suggests the following: “Try 5 to 15 minutes of an easy warm-up followed by 10 intervals of 30 seconds at a high-intensity, specifically 8 to 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being extremely difficult. Each interval should be followed by recovery of 1 to 2 minutes. Finish with a 5 to 15 minute cool down.”
6. Shuffle Those Tunes
Playlists are as important in my workouts as sneakers and water. There’s no way I could push as hard as I do without the hard beats of Muse or Jay-Z in my ear. If you have set workout playlists, try hitting “Shuffle” so you won’t know which song is coming next. Some songs just have the power to make you push harder than others, so keep yourself guessing and when those pop up unexpectedly, PUSH IT.