Everyone has a favorite.
A favorite color. A favorite food. Favorite pair of jeans. Shoes.
Place. Person. Pet.
[Shhhhhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but I sort of like my boy Chihuahua a bit more than my girl. Proof is that he has his own Facebook page and she doesn’t. Whoops!]
Everyone is guilty of having favorites in almost every aspect of their life, including their fitness regime.
I happen to have a favorite type of cardio exercise: the elliptical machine.
Image source: http://www.ellipticals.us/
I don’t know what it is about this machine in particular, but I can literally spend 90+ minutes on it and feel great. The TV distracts me, I’m often rocking out to some killer tunes, and in some cases, I’m reading a book for the duration of the workout.
Unfortunately, you can have too much of a good thing.
I’m extremely guilty of not diversifying my workout. I have a tendency, especially when I’m tired or not motivated, to do the exact same exercise [60-90 minutes on the elliptical] every time I go to the gym.
For the past three weeks, other than one super motivated day in which I did a strength circuit, I’ve ONLY done the elliptical machine as my exercise.
The same machine. Always for 60-90 minutes. Every week, 4-5x per week.
As you can probably guess… it’s not helping my weight loss. In fact, as of this morning, I’m up a pound from my starting weight on June 11th.
It’s frustrating, because, despite the repetitious-aspect, I’m putting in effort. I leave the gym pouring sweat. I feel an ache in my legs the next day, which is normally a good indicator that I’ve given those muscles a pretty strenuous workout.
Why isn’t that enough?
I was reading a few fitness articles online and I discovered there are a couple of major CONS to doing the same workout over and over.
- For one, you’re more prone to injury! As this article by Body4Life states, doing the same workout over and over creates a “repetitive-task” response, which can lead to an increased chance of injury.
- The workout becomes less effective. As you continue to do the same workout over and over, your muscles learn the motion and it requires less energy/effort to mimic the action. Practice makes perfect – but, in this case, it means the workout provides less overall caloric burn because it’s not a challenge to your muscles anymore.
- You won’t see the same results. If you continue doing the same exercise over and over but expect different results [aka, new definition or muscle development], you’re going to be sorely disappointed. [get it? sorely disappointed?! I’m such a pun-artist!]
So, with all of that being said, I guess I’ve fallen into the cardio-rut and it’s time to overhaul my workout a bit.
I hate to say this, Mr. Elliptical-by-the-Door, it’s time to take a break. I need to see other machines.
That treadmill is looking mighty sexy. And I’m pretty sure Mr. Stairclimber has been checking me out all night. Don’t get me started on the rowing machine… he’s been dying to bend me over since he laid eyes on me.
Don’t be upset. We can stay friends. I’ll still visit from time-to-time. I’m just not ready for a committed relationship at this point, you know?
I’m glad you understand. I love you and I’ll never forget the joy – and the sore buttocks – you’ve brought me.
Bon appetit, my friends —