Why Treadmills and Ellipticals are Useless for Fat Burning
I bet many of you who’ve popped in to read this post are probably elliptical and treadmill worshipers who I’ve pissed off!
But the fact is, grinding away mindlessly on ellipticals and treadmills are probably the two least effective methods of working out. And this is coming from a 10 year+ elliptical user … until I woke up to what a waste of my time it was.
If you decide to read on, you’ll find out how to adopt far more effective workouts to burn off fat without mindlessly wasting your time like a hamster on a wheel.
Now, before I continue… let me just say that if you really & truly LOVE being on your elliptical machine or doing treadmill runs, then I’ll give you my blessing to keep going!
Simple! You see, it’s because you are at least moving your body consistently. So you are realizing some health benefit, unlike the couch potato population.
Sadly, more than 50% of the population just don’t exercise at all. Moving just a moderate amount would be a tremendous health benefit to any sedentary person.
But if you’re reading other articles on this site, it’s more likely that you’ve got the goal to melt off all your belly fat and are wanting to carve out some serious abdominals. If that’s the goal, ellipticals and treadmills are not the most effective way to get you there.
I personally don’t’ use an elliptical or treadmill anymore – not even to warm up – after learning and proving to myself there are better, and far more effective things to do.
5 reasons why I believe these cardio machines are not worth using:
1 – You’ll get better results by doing other forms of training that will stimulate a fat-burning hormonal response and rev up your metabolism to a much greater extent.
2 – To buy a decent quality elliptical machine or treadmill for home use means spending an insanely expensive amount of money. It will cost you at LEAST $1000 for a low-end ‘decent’ machine. If you have not bought one and you were thinking about it – don’t! You’ll see a bunch of ideas further down for home work-outs if going to a gym is not for you.
3 – Several studies indicated results that running on a treadmill is less effective than running outside for various reasons. They found a runners stride to be different on a treadmill versus running outside on natural terrain, making the calorie burn by treadmill running lower.
Most of you treadmill runners maintain a steady pace – which is far less effective if your goal is fat burning. If fat burning is your goal, you are better to vary intensity between walking and sprinting and changing your heart rate.
4 – I’ve seen it far too often in the gym – steady state exercise while watching tv or reading a book, newspaper or magazine, or chatting with a buddy on a neighboring machine… all that means you’re losing the mind/body connection = extremely poor results.
Better results will be realized when you exercise with focused attention on how your body is reacting to the movement. You will push harder and achieve great intensity – but only when you are focused. High intensity = better fat burning.
5 – It’s just mind-numbingly boring to work out on an elliptical and treadmill. That’s why people distract themselves with watching tv, reading or chatting with a buddy!
Now – here are some great alternatives to getting in some cardio instead of using a treadmill or elliptical…
9 Excellent Workout Ideas
- Wind Sprints – Do these outside. Track & field sprinters all do them… it’s the ultimate workout for a rock hard lean body Compare the body of a long distance runner to that of a world class sprinters. Sprinters look lean but powerful, and are ripped while typical marathoners look skinny and like they are withering away. What would you rather look like?
- Hill Sprinting – Try running as hard as you can up a hill, then follow that by walking down. Repeat as many times as you can for a full workout. Just another classic drill to earn you a rock hard & lean body.
- Jumping Rope – You’ll see plenty of boxers doing these. Jumping rope can be both fun and challenging. They offer an incredible mind/body connection. Once you get better at it, you can try doing speed jumping, crossover jumps, and double jumps. And speaking of boxing…
- Shadow Boxing – A killer way to workout. You can do these at home, but if you are not shy, you can do these at the gym too
- Heavy Bag Punching – Actually, a combo of punching and kicking workouts to a Heavy Bag and using a Speed Bag & Rebounding Bag. These are all are tremendous because of the required and intense mind/body connection – which increases results.
- Kettle Bell Workouts – A superb way to get your heart pumping and the sweat pouring like high rep kettle bell swings and/or snatches. The unbalanced nature of Kettlebells also makes you work harder.
- Rowing Machine – Now, I didn’t say I’m poo, pooing all cardio machines! Rowers can’t be lumped in with elliptical machines and treadmills because I think it actually offers a great full body workout that uses real resistance.
Ab Machine – Having a quality ab machine like the Ab Glider or Ab Coaster is much less costly than buying an elliptical or a treadmill. They give combine the opportunity for cardio with focused abdominal strengthening. Plus, these will work your entire midsection and oblique’s. For best results, use an ab machine a few times a week in conjunction with other exercise on this list, and not as your only source for cardio.
- Swimming Sprints – this one gives you a more muscle toning workout when compared with steady paced, distance swimming. With sprint swimming, you swim as fast as you can and exert as much force as you can for 1 lap. Then you rest for 15-20 seconds before doing another swim sprint.
There are many other body-weight movements you can employ to mix things up and to keep your work – outs more interesting like: mountain climbers, squats, push-ups, jumping drills, lunges, bear crawls, plank holds, and so on.
I hope I have given you enough other ideas to use to add more effectiveness and variety into your workouts instead of being like a hamster on a wheel. Have fun!