Happy Fitness Friday friends!!
Today’s post is a slightly recycled post from August 24, 2009. But I think I’ve collected a handful of new readers since then (hi!) amongst my long-time followers (hi and thank you!).
I originally wrote the post on elliptical machines to point out the differences between the slew of cardio machines you’re confronted with at most gyms. To some people, an elliptical is just an elliptical. Well I am here to tell you they are all very different! Learning these differences will also help you find the machine that best suits you. I know, because that’s how it worked for me :)
We’ll start with the basics:
I like to think of some ellipticals as almost a standing exercise bike. What I mean by this is that there is a wheel that spins based on the movement of your legs. On the rear drive elliptical, this is in the back. It’s meant to mimic running and walking without the high impact that strains your joints.
Because of patents on some of the ellipticals, other companies had to design their own. The wheel on this one is in the front. The main difference between this and the rear driven model is where your power comes from. On the rear driven model, you’ll notice you often lean backwards to force that wheel around. On this front driven machine, you’ll lean forward slightly. Your joints and muscles will respond a little differently and one will likely feel better than the other.
This is my personal favourite model. The motion here is coming from directly under your feet. Personally, I find the stride length on these machines matches my individual stride better. Finding a machine that matches your stride is key! Otherwise it will just feel awkward and could even hurt your joints.
Those are the basic elliptical designs and ones you’ll likely spot in your gym. There are however a few other kinds that offer different movements and resistance.
A rear-driven machine with a “crossramp” in the front that moves up and down to add incline to the exercise. It’s almost like a smooth stair climbing motion. You also don’t get that slight bounce in the feet that you get on the other machines.
The arc trainer offers a slightly different motion, one I would compare more to skiing (or the Gazelle!) It’s supposed to take the pressure off your knees that happens on other ellipticals, with more work in the quads and glutes. This one also has an incline.
Adaptive Motion Trainer (AMT)
This is probably the coolest elliptical I’ve tried yet. As someone with freakishly long legs, I have trouble finding machines that move well with my body. On this machine, you can make your strides as small or big as you want to. You can rotate your feet in that classic elliptical motion, swing them back and forth like the Arc trainer, or step up and down like on a stair climber! If you push yourself hard enough on this machine, you can get a great workout without getting bored.
It’s also worth mentioning that as a trainer, I prefer putting people on machines that move their arms as well. Your posture is better when you don’t have a stable surface to lean on. It’s more natural to get upper body movement in there, and it’s a great way to warm up your whole body and not just your legs.
Now that it’s getting cold and snowy, you may find yourself retreating to the gym more often. Hopefully this will help you tackle the cardio area with more confidence. And let’s face it, December is just around the corner. A little extra “ellipticizing” can’t hurt ;) Have fun!
For those of you that leave your pets at home all day and wonder what they’re doing while you’re gone – I have your answer.
They spend the day sprawled out on the furniture they’re not allowed on when you’re home.
Puppy nose!!! Paige posted a picture of her dog’s nose a few days ago and my heart melted into a giant puddle. Best doggy part there is.
Followed closely by paws. And I die.
The dogs weren’t the only comatose beings in the house today – my mom and I both slept until 9am!!
That’s 9 hours of sleep. I’m not a solid sleeper, so that’s very rare for me. I must have needed it. Or the step-fam was just quiet rushing off to school today.
Bacon was had to celebrate my lovely night’s sleep, with an egg, mayo, lettuce and tomato on ezekiel bread.
Unemployment is starting to get to me…
…I thought it was Waffle Wednesday!
Instead, it was just another Tuesday. Boo. The Van’s Mini Waffles at least make for a great snack when topped with homemade maple pecan peanut butter.
After this, I went to the gym for a 3-mile run, followed by 10 minutes on the rowing machine, and then 10 on the stairmaster. Not gonna lie, my treadmill sesh was bruuuutalll. Not nearly as fun as this contraption I played on yesterday:
It’s the Precor Adaptive Motion Trainer. I’ve tried it before, but couldn’t figure it out and hopped off after a couple minutes. Then Julie posted about it, and I felt the need to step back on. You can do a circular motion like a regular elliptical, swoosh back and forth like an arc trainer, or step like a stair machine.
I did 15 minutes using a regular circular motion and I really liked it!! The best part is that it doesn’t have a set range of motion like most other ellipticals. My freakishly long legs were able to move freely :)
This is where I show you I ate green food today, because the following set of pictures may lead you to believe otherwise.
It is no secret that I favour sweets above all else. Chocolate chip cookies and brownies are my favourite sweets, ergo my favourite foods. Ever.
I had never heard of blondies until I started reading food blogs. They are not popular around these parts. Our idea of a “sweet” is a boston cream from Tim’s.
It eventually dawned on me that blondies are like brownies without the brown. Or, “blonde” “brown”ies if you will ;) I still thought it sounded like a boring ole’ square. Give me my chocolate brownies, or regular chocolate chip cookies and I am good to go. Why would I need more sweets in my already sweet-filled life?
Oh, how very, very wrong I was. For blondies are like a combination of my two favourite foods in the world. As I explained to my little step-brother while he poked at what I was making, “They’re like brownie cookies!” Sold.
The recipe is incredibly simple:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 1 cup flour
And then there are the fixins. People tend to get crazy creative with blondies. Me? I just like a little chocolate with my butter and sugar please.
It is approximately here where I regret committing to these blondies, as I’d prefer to just gobble up the rest of the dough from the bowl.
But I know this is one treat so good that it must be shared.
Just don’t forget to save a lick for yourself!! Baker’s rights!!
Then my mother and I proceeded to get in our first argument since I moved back home.
After 25 minutes in the oven, I felt they only needed one more minute. She felt they needed 5. We bickered before compromising on 3. This is serious business people!!!
My secret to baked goods such as these is to portion them out reeeeal small. I cut it into 24 squares, making them 108 calories each.
Perhaps still a lot for you volume eaters out there, but I assure you, worth every single calorie.
Not to be outdone, my mother prepared salisbury steak for dinner.
Along with garlic mashed potatoes and assorted veggies.
I must admit though, I don’t really care for steak all that much. People say chicken is flavourless, but I find steak is a lot more bland.
No surprise what dessert was.
With two blurry dog faces in the background. Mind my chocolate-y fingers ;) I think it’s safe to say half the squares are already gone. I heard my mother say “These are so good I’m going to DIE.” :P
Last, but definitely not least, it is time to set my goals for June! June is shaping up to be another crazy month. I leave for Calgary next week, to spend a week in Banff with Holly. Then it’s off to Ottawa for 10 days to hang out with my sis, then finally move to Toronto on June 25! Gah!
I thought long and hard about what I wanted to achieve this month, and I’m happy with what I’ve come up with. It’s something I will at times have to consciously work on, but it is most certainly achievable.
My goal for June is to SMILE.
I want to have fun on all my travels and soak up every experience. I can’t say I’ll be able to adhere to a strict exercise or eating schedule. I know there will be times of stress and anxiety. But I think June has the potential of being one month I will look back on fondly for the rest of my life. I want to keep a smile planted on my face no matter where I am or what I’m doing, hopefully collecting a few good belly laughs along the way :)
Question of the Day: Your turn! What are your goals for June??
P.S. I loved hearing everyone’s lessons learned. Those posts always get some of the best comments!!
I’m on my weeekeennd!!! Tomorrow, I will be arriving here:
Sigh. One thing I will miss about the Maritimes is being so close to the ocean. My mommy always used to bring me to Halifax when I was a kid and ask me if I could see England :P
But let’s be realistic here, a good chunk of my time will be spent here:
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. It’s still Thursday!
I got up this morning for a cardio machine workout. I’ve been doing a lot of these lately because I lost my iPod. I used to run on the treadmill for my cardio days. But 60 minutes on the treadmill without music sounds mind-numbingly boring to me. So instead I did the now-usual 35 minutes intervals on the elliptical, 10 minutes on the rowing machine, 10 minutes on the stair mill. The elliptical intervals get my heart pumping, the rowing machine works my upper body and the stairmill does a number on my lower body. Perfection!
Then it was off to work for another successful cold breakfast.
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
- 1/2 chopped apple
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
Another winner!! Well, as far as cold breakfasts go. We have a microwave at my office, but the room it’s in is always locked till later in the morning :(
Morning snack was a peanut butter & jelly Larabar.
Lunch was spectacular!!
I know, looks like a boring sandwich and orange. But for the sandwich I spread on 1 tbsp peanut butter then mixed 1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder with a touch of water to make it into a thick goo. Then I spread it on the other slice of bread. Omg. So. Good. It tasted like nutella!! Plus, it was a great way to add some protein to a PB sandwich :)
Afternoon snack included baby carrots and Olive & Feta Hummus.
Also, I tried another Yogi tea in my attempts to be an office tea-drinker.
I expected this to taste like NeoCitran, but it was really good! More ginger-y than lemon-y. For some reason, I don’t like fresh ginger, but I love ginger-flavoured things. Plus, it totally cleared up my sinuses :)
Came home and tried something different for supper – parsnip fries!
And by “fries” I mean, “sliced in small strips and sprayed in oil, salt and paprika.” I do the same exact thing with all root veggies and call them “fries.”
Next to the fries was an egg scramble.
Aaalll together now!
This was only my second time using chipotle, and hot damn those things are… hot. My lips were burning! But I really enjoy the smoky taste of it. The parsnip fries were quite good as well. They hold up really nicely, and don’t get floppy like some other veggies tend to.
Well I wish I had more exciting things to ramble about, but I jut finished putting all the posts up for this weekend and I’m all blogged out! I will miss you guys this weekend… but not too much ;) Have a great Valentine’s Day! <3
Question of the Day: What’s your favourite spice? Four of the C’s get the most use in my kitchen – Cinnamon, Chili, Curry and Cumin. Sometimes all together! ;)