The first time I went to the Y, I remember looking at all the machines trying to decide which was for me. It appeared that most girls my age were either on the treadmill or the elliptical, and since there was no way I was going to run if I wasn’t being forced by the gym teacher, I hopped on the machine that vaguely reminded me of the old Nordic track that used to collect dust in our basement at home.
This is pretty easy, I thought. I must be a natural ellipti-cizer!
And so, over the next four years or so, on the very rare occasions that I went to the gym, I ellipticized. I would leave the gym barely sweating, and the only clue that I’d been working out was my clothes.
Then I became a runner.
I didn’t gain the freshman fifteen; I gained the sophomore twenty. I quickly realized that my sporadic elliptical trips just weren’t cutting it, so I started running. And the running, well, it turned me into a bit of a gym snob. After spending 40+ minutes on the treadmill, I would scoff (only in my head, I promise) at people on the elliptical.
You want a real workout you should try running. You’re barely doing anything over there! You’re not even sweating!
Fast forward to 2012, when I have nearly burnt myself out with running. The marathons were great last year, and I’m still signed up for some key races this year, but I just don’t have the drive to run every.single.day. So I had to come up with some alternatives.
On days I truly hate myself, I use the stairmaster. You sweat like crazy and your legs feel like jelly afterward. What’s not to love?
But on the other days, I need something else. So I returned to the elliptical.
In the past month I’ve probably ellipticized three to four times a week, and it only took the first time to realize that I’d been doing it wrong every time before that.
The elliptical is essentially a metaphor for life – you get out what you put in. You want it easy? That’s fine, hit that “quick start” button. You want a challenge? Go ahead and increase the resistance and maybe the incline, too. You want a little something extra? Try using the arms, or going in reverse for a few intervals.
Don’t worry if you stumble the first couple times you try. It happens.
But the workout is totally worth it.