Whenever I walk into my local gym, I notice a bunch of different cardio exercise equipment to the left side of the entrance. Not surprisingly, they are almost always taken and there’s usually a line of people waiting to use it. So, I wondered if these people actually know how to effectively use these cardio machines to their advantage. Unlike other fitness experts, I don’t consider certain cardio equipments to be bad. How much benefit you get out of them will just depend on whether you know how to use them effectively or not. Additionally, one cardio equipment can help you burn more calories in less time compared to others.
Cardio exercise equipments are not made equal. So, I’m going to categorize them into their level of effectiveness. Here they are:
#1 The Treadmill
The treadmill is at the top of my list of cardio exercise equipments. But, not everyone knows how to use them to their advantage. We all know running would burn more calories compared to walking so if you already run on the treadmill, you’re half way there. The common mistake that a lot of people make when they’re on this machine is to either run at a steady, medium speed or hold on to the side handles while walking on an incline. Most people I see commit both mistakes. There’s probably other mistakes out there but these two are very common.
To use the treadmill more effectively, you’d have to give yourself a little bit more challenge by running at different intensities. For instance, you can warm-up at 3 mph for 3 minutes. After warm-up, you can run at a faster pace at 5 mph for 20 seconds then increase your speed to 7 mph for another 40 seconds. You can then repeat this sequence, besides the warm-up part, 4 more times then end with a cool-down.
This protocol is called high intensity interval training or HIIT and the intensity you will get from doing them will help you burn more calories during and after your workout. Beginners can usually follow these intructions without a problem. After you’ve been doing this for about 2-3 weeks, you can progress your workout by changing your speed, increasing the time that you run at a high intensity, perform more intervals, or decrease your recovery time, etc.
So, the next time, you’re at the gym, use this protocol on the treadmill if you plan to run and want to run more effectively.
#2 The Stairmaster
The stairmaster is a great equipment and it can give you a workout as effective as running on the treadmill. When you’re tired of running, this is a great alternative because climbing stairs is also very easy on your joints. This is also a great equipment for people who have need to watch their knee health due to a previous injury.
To use the stairmaster, think in terms of doing high intensity intervals again. Make sure to warm-up for a few minutes and climb at a faster speed for your intervals. You can start with 4-6 intervals at 20-30 seconds and go up from there. Remember to always cool down by slowing down your speed or move on to the Elliptical as detailed below.
#3 The Elliptical
The elliptical is probably the most popular cardio machine in the gym especially amongst the ladies. A lot of people tend to like it because they don’t have to lift their foot off the ground and they can still watch the television while they’re using it. I put it as the #3 machine because it has its place in a fat loss program. But, it definitely shouldn’t be your #1 choice if you want to lose stubborn fat.
To use the Elliptical more appropriately, I suggest using it after you’re done with your intervals on the treadmill or the stairmaster. Head to the Elliptical for another 20 minutes after your interval session. This helps you burn the fat that was released by performing intervals into your blood system so you don’t end up storing it again. Doing it in this sequence is an efficient way to burn more fat in less time. This strategy is particularly helpful when you’re really close to your ideal weight and want to lose a few extra pounds.
In summary, you can use the treadmill or the stairmaster for your high intensity intervals then use the elliptical only after you’ve done your intervals. Keep in mind that using the elliptical in this way is completely optional. The rule is to only use the elliptical as a complementary device to add to your cardio routine. If you use these cardio exercise equipment as directed in this article, you will see that even your most stubborn fats will melt away.