I figure I’ve had at least 100+ workout sessions on the elliptical since I started going to the gym 4 months ago. Those countless elliptical workouts have helped me lose a lot of weight, as you might have noticed.
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Today will be the first day I won’t step onto the elliptical at the gym. I’m trying to increase the intensity of my gym cardio program — something that can’t be accomplished by sticking solely to the elliptical machine. I’ve become much too comfortable with the elliptical and it only gets easier by the day.
That’s why, starting today, my new cardio machine is the treadmill.
With today being the end of an era so to speak, I wanted to take a look at the elliptical workout program (and its progression) that has been the foundation of my physical activity program and has helped me lose 82 pounds in 19 weeks.
At the beginning of my gym career I wasn’t able or even willing to attempt the elliptical. I was on the stationary bike for the first week or so, afraid to step foot onto the elliptical machine because of it’s “bad reputation.”
Early Elliptical Workouts
After a week of going to the gym, I finally tried the elliptical because an old lady was on my stationary bike. After a couple of days of pain I was able to do 30 minutes on the elliptical at level 1 and burned 320 calories.
I was hooked — my career on the stationary bike was over. It didn’t take long until I was going strong (it’s rhyme time, baby) and in just under 3 weeks on the elliptical I was at level 7 doing 40 minutes every workout.
Increasing Resistance & Intensity
After working out on the elliptical for a month I was able to build a steadily progressing routine. Each week I moved into a new level with a jump of two levels every other week. I think it’s incredibly important to keep up a level of resistance and intensity with every workout, elliptical or not.
By skipping levels and by performing endurance “marathons” (workout pledges), I was able to stay one step ahead of my body’s “comfort zone.”
Getting Cocky, Lazy, or Both
While my intensity on the elliptical machine and with elliptical workouts had been progressing and increasing for months, the time I would spend on the elliptical each session would decrease. 45 minute workouts turned into 20 minute workout some days, with an occasional but rare 30 minute workout thrown in.
As I started to lose weight, I found it easy to justify working out less — either because I thought I deserved to workout less because I had lost so much already or I simply thought I could keep losing weight without working as hard.
I believe this is fairly common, so be careful on your workout program.
Coming to an End
On April 17th, I went through with my second workout pledge and also went from level 18 to level 20 on the elliptical. This is where I would stay for the next 6 weeks, leading up to this past Friday.
When I first started at level 18 I was still in the “dip” that I talked about above, only working out for 20 minutes or so on the elliptical a day. But, once we got into the second week of May, I realized that I was getting too comfortable and increased my elliptical workouts back up to 30 minutes.
Will I get on the elliptical machine again and start doing more intense elliptical workouts? Absolutely. Will it be apart of my regular cardio program, Monday through Friday? No, it won’t. While it’s sad, considering the literally days I’ve spent on it over the past 4 months, it’s time for something new in the name of progress: the treadmill.
Starting today, I’ll begin to let it earn its place in this journey of mine. If you have any treadmill workout tips or anything I should know, leave a comment.
Posted by Shawn Tyler Weeks on June 1st, 2009