Exercise! - Elliptical not a good work out?

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Tara D
12-27-2006, 12:13 PM
I always take aerobics-type classes for my fitness regimen, but last week, I went to the gym for a class, and found out it was canceled. I thought about going home, but decided to use one of the elliptical ski machines. I'm not sure that's what you call it, but it was an elliptical machine that also has arm movement bars. I'm very much against exercise on machines (I've always thought it's boring -- um...running and not getting anywhere--hamster wheel phenomenon), but I decided to try it anyway since I knew I probably wasn't going to be working out this week.

I did 35 minutes on the elliptical machine, and it said I burned a little over 300 calories. However, for the first 15 minutes, I felt like I wasn't even exercising! It seemed like I wasn't getting near the workout that I get in my cardio classes! After I finished 35 minutes, I did some cardio exercise in the gym on my own because I didn't feel like I'd done too much. It said I burned more calories than my average aerobics class (according to fitday), but I'm not sure I believed it since I really didn't feel like I'd worked out very hard afterwards. My hips were a little sore the next day, but that went away quickly.

Anyone think similarly about elliptical machines? Anyone had a similar experience? Is cardio aerobics more of a workout? Do you believe the calories?

12-27-2006, 12:20 PM
I don't believe the calories on any machines. That said, the elliptical is a good workout - expecially for people who can't tolerate high impact aerobics.

I use it for HIIT workouts...

12-27-2006, 01:30 PM
Mini is right not to believe calories burned on a machine's display...usually over-estimated I think. But the elliptical is a good non-impact workout...you probably didn't feel like you were working out because the elliptical is much easier on your joints. Try upping the resistance on the machine or doing one of the pre-programmed workouts like 'weight loss' where it varies your intensity for intervals.

I have bursitis in my ankle and if it wasn't for the elliptical, i wouldn't be able to do much cardio at all!

12-28-2006, 07:22 PM
I'm the same I never found the elliptical a great workout, I much prefer to run... I never believe the numbers on the machines either...

12-28-2006, 07:29 PM
I agree with Hula - you probably didn't perceive it as intense since there isn't any impact. But the elliptical can be an intense workout, especially at a higher resistance level (do you remember what level you were on?)

The way to really compare is to measure your heart rate while on the elliptical and then when you're running -- if it's the same, then you're burning the same number of calories and getting the same workout. :)

For what it's worth, the elliptical was the only cardio I did during the year I was losing weight (bad knees) and I managed to take off 122 pounds in less than a year. So I'm a believer! :D

12-28-2006, 07:44 PM
With a bum knee from a motorcycle accident--I can't do the steppers or bikes, but I love the elliptical and am learning to love the treadmill.

12-28-2006, 08:13 PM
I am also a devoted elliptical lover. I think anything can be a "good workout" or a "not so strenuous workout", depending on how you approach it.

I spend usually 60 min on the elliptical, with resistance at 13/20 and at varying levels of incline. With no resistance, the elliptical isn't that hard for me. At this level, though, my heart rate gets up comparably to when I jog, but without my knees feeling like they are going to fall apart the next morning (I'm yet another one with not-so-great knees).

12-28-2006, 10:45 PM
ellipticals are great. One of my fav machines in the gym. You have to challenge yourself though like with any other exercise. Try to go faster or bump up te incline a bit.

01-01-2007, 02:41 AM
The ellipicals can be a good workout, but like any machine you have to put effort into it. At high intensity and high incline levels, ITS very challenging and gives me a GREAT workout. Plus is so much better on the knees, im not trying to be in pain when i get older, all that hard exercise on the joints can come back to haunt you later.. its just not worth the risk.

Tara D
01-01-2007, 11:14 AM
The resistance thing may have been the key. I didn't find the button until about 10 minutes into the workout!

01-01-2007, 09:21 PM
I'm a total believer in elipticals! Without mine I'd be lost, I depend on it for a daily 60min cardio and when I step off it I am absolutely dripping. It's quite disgusting actually but I figure hey, all that sweat has got to mean something good is happening! ;)

01-02-2007, 01:38 AM
I love elipticals! When I first stepped on one back in 2005 I could only do 6 minutes...and I hated every minute of it. However, I continued to plug away and managed to get myself up to 60 minutes. I love the Hills portion..which is the one I do most often when I am on the ones with the moveable arms. I don't always use the arms though, as I like to run on the eliptical as it works my legs more. When I use the stationary ones (elipticals without the moving arms) I usually do the cardio 2, 3, 4 programs. There are hills and you also do the backward motion. I love to get one heck of a workout and sweating just lets me know I've worked my butt off (literally). So..as for the calorie counting portion...well its nice to look at..but you know when you've worked yourself over good when using one of those machines so giv'r a go..I bet once you use it on a more frequent basis..you'll find ways to challenge yourself even more on it.

01-02-2007, 11:03 AM
If it was a Precor machine, I think precors at level 1 are very easy (although I've been doing ellipticals on and off for years). Lifefitness at level is a bit tougher than precor level 1. The resistance will really make the difference in your workout.

For me, I love love love ellipticals. I love them so much that I bought a Lifefitness elliptical. It had been my dream for a couple years to own an elliptical and I was so glad I finally got one. I have bad knees (osteoarthritis) and the elliptical is my absolute favorite.

Tara D
01-02-2007, 02:38 PM
Ok...Had to do the elliptical machine again today due to a new cardio class at the gym that turned out to not be so cardio! I hadn't worked out in 1 1/2 weeks, so I thought I had to do something! I'm also moving next week, so I'm going to be missing some aerobics classes, so I wanted to at least get cardio somehow. I decided to do 15 minutes on the elliptical after my class...this time on an interval setting with more resistance. Definitely much more of a workout! I still found it boring compared to taking a class at the gym, but now I see how you can get a good workout on it.

01-02-2007, 04:00 PM
I struggle with feeling my cardio workouts on the elliptical and treadmill are boring too -- I like to listen to music. My gym has TVs and I often try to follow a program, listen to music as I go. Less boring that way.

I am thinking of trying some of the classes my gym offers, but admit to being a little intimidated. I think that is one of my 2007 goals -- try some classes at the gym!

01-03-2007, 05:57 PM
I struggle with feeling my cardio workouts on the elliptical and treadmill are boring too -- I like to listen to music. My gym has TVs and I often try to follow a program, listen to music as I go. Less boring that way.

I'm finding that watching movies is great. I know that doesn't work for gyms, but if anyone has a treadmill at home and can watch movies on it, it really helps me.

I'm on a Humphrey Bogart kick. :D


01-03-2007, 05:58 PM
Some people swear by books on tape (or download). ;)

01-03-2007, 06:30 PM
I put on one of the shows I like to watch and then put on my MP3 player and listen to some good heart pumping music and giv'r a go! The music keeps me pushing myself..especially the songs with a great beat. I put the TV on just to have something to look at. Everyone has their own thing I guess.