One of the reasons (there are many) that I don’t like to go to the gym is because I get bored. I feel like I am running on a treadmill and getting nowhere, except I am doing it on the elliptical machine.
To make the gym more interesting I had to make a game of it and change up my workouts. I started by watching some of the other people in the gym and seeing what they were doing. I look for people who look the way I want to be. I want to be fit and trim with some nice muscle tone but I don’t want to look like a weight lifter. I started to notice how they work out, they don’t just walk/ride/run on the machines, they change it up, they do leg lifts, walk sideways, go backwards, go fast and then go slow.
I then spent some time with one of the exercise teachers and she gave me some interesting insight into working out. She said your body will develop muscle memory if you just do the same exercises over and over again at the same level and or speed. You will not see results as quickly as you like. You need to change it up often, even within the workout to keep your body confused. To lose weight and get in shape you need to do a whole body workout don’t focus on exercises that just isolate specific muscles.
She explained to me that our muscles are like tapestries interwoven with thicker and thinner fibers. When we workout we usually focus on the larger fibers and forget the small ones that hold the tapestry together. You will get better and faster results if you change it up, change the angle, and try different exercises. Dancing is a great cardio exercise because you move your muscles the way they move naturally (at least for some) but you also move in several different directions. You have to get all body parts involved including your hands and arms. By the way this woman is incredible, she is over 70 and is in better shape and looks younger than most 40 year olds I know, including me. She also mentions diet and nutrition are huge factors but more on that later.
With my knee injury I am not doing any major dancing in the near future but here is the workout she recommended I start with until I build up more stamina and my knee heals (This workout helps to mix it up, works different muscles, gives a good cardio workout, and keeps me from getting bored).
Start with one of the cardio machines – Any machine, only do 10 minutes then switch to another type of machine. Do this with at least 3 different machines. So you get a total of 30 minutes of cardio minimum. Take it easy and slow at first and build up. Start at a low intensity (to help prevent causing more damage to my knee) but the main point is to try and keep moving. She mentioned even switching up between different types of elliptical machines will work muscles differently.
So here is the workout I have been doing this week and I love it. Just when I get tired and bored on a machine I notice I only have a couple of minutes left or it is time to get off. I take several drinks of water while I walk to the next machine so I feel hydrated and notice I am actually drinking more. I also feel better, after the workout my knee doesn’t hurt as bad as when I was doing 30 minutes on just one machine.
10 minutes on the elliptical at levels 8-10 (I start at 8 to get adjusted for a minute or 2 then go up to 10)
10 minutes on the stair climber level 2 fat burner setting.
10 minutes on the treadmill incline 2.5 speed 1.5 – 2
Now these levels may seem slow or low to you but remember I am nursing an injury and eventually I will build up. The main thing is I am moving, I feel I am getting a good workout, I am building up a sweat, and I am doing something!