We are excited to share one of our fave stories from Prevention here on FitSugar!
By Lisa Hoehn, Prevention
As the weather drops, more and more people head straight to one machine in their gym — the elliptical trainer. According to a 2008 report from the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association, the number of users of elliptical trainers in health clubs grew sevenfold from 1997 to 2007. And while you may be proud of yourself for making it to the gym and squeezing in some cardio, taking a lackadaisical approach to your elliptical workout and casually spinning your legs while reading a magazine or watching TV isn't going to blast away those holiday cookies. Here, 10 mistakes you frequently make on the elliptical and how to fix them so you maximize calorie burn while adding fun to your ho-hum routine.
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1. You’re too lazy to enter your information.
Most machines are calibrated for a 150-pound person — but personalizing your stats will help you get a more accurate calorie read. Aim to burn around 100 calories per 10 minutes, says Jennifer Cassetty, an exercise physiologist.
2. Your resistance is zero.
You might feel like a million bucks spinning at a mile a minute, but without resistance, you’re not going to see results, says Röbynn Europe, a personal trainer at Chelsea Piers in New York City. Make sure that you’re using enough resistance to push and pull through the stride. Then continue at a moderate pace until you feel like you’ve done all you can do. "You shouldn’t feel like you have even five minutes left in you when you step off," she says.
3. You're a sloucher.
Standing up straight helps to lengthen your abs, giving you a chance to engage your core and even work your upper body muscles, Cassetty says. Certified personal trainer Neal I. Pire, MA, CSCS, president of Inspire Training Systems in New Jersey, recommends hopping on a machine with an upper body component so you can engage even more muscles — and blast more fat. Can't find a machine that lets you pump your arms? Let go: some research suggests that leaning on machine armrests during exercise reduces calorie burning.
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4. Your machine sounds like it’s going to take off.
If you can hear the purr of the machine while you’re exercising, it means that you’re going too fast without enough resistance — which means you're not getting the most calorie burn out of your time, Cassetty says. Keeping a steady, moderate pace at a resistance that forces you to use your muscles will get, and keep, your heart rate up.
Learn four more fitness mistakes after the break.