Exercise! - Increments.... Like an inch worm? Question.

01-08-2007, 09:26 AM
Quick question (is there such a thing)? Is it better to work on several different machines in 15 minute increments for an hour or to work out on one machine for an hour? For the sake of argument I will say that the intensity level is the same on each machine or similar. Thanks to anyone who has a reply and much appreciation to anyone with a reply and a reason to go with their rhyme. ;)

01-08-2007, 10:26 AM
I don't have any science to back up what I'm saying, of course, but I tend to think this is a matter of personal preference. Sure, different machines work your body in different ways, but if we're talking about cardio machines that you're using primarily for the calorie-burning benefit, it's all about your heart rate. If you're used to the machines and you know just how to get your heart rate up (what intensity, what speed, etc) on each of the machines, then I'd say what matters is how long you worked out with an elevated heart rate OVERALL. Some people would rather have their arm hairs pulled out one by one than stay on the same machine for more than 30 minutes, because it bores them, and others like to stay on a machine long enough to get into a groove. I fall somewhere in between - it depends on my mood - though I tend to stay with one machine for about 40 minutes or longer. I always mix it up, though, with intervals of hills or speed or resistance so that I'm being challenged.

Anyway, bottom line: I think what counts is how much cardio you're doing at an increased heart rate, because that's what burns calories. However you burn those calories is up to your personal preference. They do say, however, that your body gets used to movements and that challenging new muscles by hopping on a different machine can kickstart your calorie burning again. So I suppose an hour on the elliptical every day for the rest of your life might bore your body into some kind of rebellion!

But I'm sure some of the moderators or other posters will have a much better and clearer answer for this!!

01-08-2007, 01:59 PM
That absolutely makes sense. I do wonder if your body gets use to a routine so mixed up.

01-08-2007, 05:01 PM
I would stay stick with one until you are reasonably proficient (if you are new) then work in a second

Overall if you are capable of reaching the same intensity on all machines then you are better off doing some of each to work different joints and muscles and reduce your risk of repetitive motion injury

Since it is unlikely that you will be equally proficient at all machines you have to look at.. are you less proficient because you are less skilled (less of an issue with machines, more of an issue with realworld activities like inline skating) or because it is working you out in new ways and your body is struggling to adapt

The former (low skill level) will make your workout burn fewer calories but in the interest of gaining skill maybe you would do 30 minutes of your "good machine" and 10 of the new one to gain skill

The latter (your body aint used to this!) will probably burn closer to the same number of calories, or even more, as you struggle to adapt. But since new exercises can make you sore, limit it to 15 minutes until you are reasonably proficient, otherwise you might not be able to work out at the high intensity the next time.

Certain exercises by their very nature will burn less calories than others. Biking is not load bearing so it only burns about 1/2 the calories as running, however I do it regularly to strengthen the stabilizers around the knee that running neglects, which makes my running stronger and faster..which lets me burn more calories running eventually.

Muscle confusion (using different muscles, breaking up the routine) is good for many reasons.

01-08-2007, 06:41 PM
The science (exercise psychology) says "whatever it takes to keep you motivated"

As long as you get moderate intensity exercise over a long period of time (minimum is now 40 minutes, blame the Australians, they keep updating thier research!) you will gain the benefits you would expect from your cardio !

So find that zone (60 - 70% MHR) and work it - on whatever machinery you fancy. Just don't change every 2 minutes or you will get more exercise moving form machine to machine than you will on the @#*%$£ things!

I have read that changing at 20 minute intervals is fine! I read that in a journal, but cannot remember which one, so my reference is incomplete - I hate that - but the psychology is fine!