If you have ever stepped foot in a gym, you will typically see treadmills, exercise bikes and the beloved elliptical machines. I am a big fan of all three, but the elliptical machine is basically a hybrid of the treadmill and exercise bike. The elliptical machine still allows you to bear weight on your joints, but prevents the constant impact of hitting the floor or pavement that is associated with treadmill running. Keep in mind; however, constant impact is not necessarily a bad thing. Impact on the ground when running can help to preserve knee health because the impact cause your knee joint to create more lubricating fluid inside the joint. But some cannot tolerate constant impact because of pain. In this case, the elliptical machine is the best option.  For most, alternating between the elliptical, treadmill and bike is probably best.

When it comes to using the elliptical machine, certain training methods are best for burning fat and improving both aerobic and anaerobic endurance. If you are serious about burning fat and truly getting in shape without wasting your time, you will use one of these research-based methods for optimal results.

FAST PACE

The Exercise Menu FAST PACE method is one that I designed and have been promoting for years. The main principle is to make sure that you keep up your intensity throughout your entire workout. A common problem with using the elliptical machine is that many “lull” or go at a continual slow to moderate pace the entire time, which is not the best method for fat burn. With the Exercise Menu FAST PACE workout, you will burn more fat because your intensity is higher.

How to Perform:

  1. Perform the elliptical for 10 minutes at a challenging pace, faster than a jog, but not quite a sprint pace.
  2. Note how many steps you have taken in 10 minutes.
  3. For the last 10 minutes, try to beat the number of steps that you accomplished for the first 10 minutes.
  4. Keep a log so you can monitor your improvement.

High-Intensity Intervals

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is gaining a lot of momentum as far as being the best way to lose weight and improve your cardiovascular health. Research has not fully proven why HIIT training is superior to traditional training, but the best theory to explain the benefit may be based on what occurs after exercise. When you perform exercise at a maximal effort, as you do with HIIT training, you body must use a lot of energy (calories) to rebuild muscle and replace fuel stores after your workout. In a sense, you are burning calories during and after your workout routine – and for some time. In fact, you may be burning calories for up to 14 hours after your workout thanks to the afterburn effect. 

How to Perform:

  1. Perform a 4-5 minute moderate paced warm up.
  2. Move the elliptical machine as fast as you can with 100% intensity for 20 seconds.
  3. Move at a slow, walking pace for 20 seconds so you can catch your breath.
  4. Repeat this cycle for at least 10 minutes, but up to 30 minutes.

Use these two exercise patterns for work on the elliptical and you will surely notice the fat melting off quickly!