Three Tip Tuesday – Elliptical Machine

Some people consider writer’s block the inability to come up with ideas. I consider my writer’s block to be more like I have so many things to say that I don’t know what to write about first, or, I have so many things to say on so many different topics that I stare at the screen unable to write because I don’t know which topic to pick.

I really wanted to tell you all about the school lunch cafeteria tour I attended last week, I also wanted to fill you in on the benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar.


Instead, I have now decided that it is more important to stick with what has been going on with me in terms of my stubborn feet.

I think it is more natural and honest to write about something of importance that is currently going on with me and by doing so, I also think it keeps the blog that much more personal which is something I really strive to accomplish with my posts everyday.

So. Let’s back up to yesterday morning.

I got all dolled up to run a few easy miles. I say easy because I wasn’t quite sure what type of mood my feet would be in. The rest of me was certainly ready for a fun run and I was hoping my feet were game.


Is it me or do I resemble a Japanese Sweet Potato?

About a quarter-mile in I felt that shin splint type feeling in both feet, this time more the left than the right.

So frustrating, yes?

As I have said before, there are plenty of times where you should push yourself to get out of your comfort zone but there are also those times where you just know you need to stop and not push yourself to run when you maybe shouldn’t be running.

Click here for a great link on deciding what types of aches/pains you should/shouldn’t run through.

I made it almost a mile when I decided to cut off my usual path and head straight for the gym inside my community.

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As soon as I stopped running, that uncomfortable feeing went away.

Although heading inside to the gym when you are dressed for the outdoor elements is not exactly comfortable.

My plan once inside the gym was to cross-train on the elliptical machine.

Recently, Amanda over at Running With Spoons posted a link to an article in her weekly Link Love post that discussed workout habits you should drop now. Click here for the article.

When you click on the link and read the article, the first workout listed that you should avoid is the elliptical machine.

While I do agree with some of what the author said, I actually think if you use the machine correctly and stay focused, you can indeed receive a quality cross-training, nonimpact workout.

3 Tips For Making The Elliptical Work For You:


Holding on to any cardio machine alleviates the impact of your workout by relying on the machine as support and assistance.

One trick I learned a while back is if you feel the need to hold onto something, grasp the bottom of your shirt with both hands.

Try it, it works!


I can still hear Ernie, my favorite spin instructor shouting at me, RE-ENGAGE!. He screamed this term constantly throughout  class to keep our minds focused on what we were doing so that we don’t let ourselves wander off.

When your mind wanders, you tend to relax a bit during your workout thereby not consistently pushing and working up to your ability or even past your ability.

It is very easy to get by on the elliptical without even working up a sweat. You can coast yourself along to get in you 30 minutes a day but if you stay focused, constantly RE-ENGAGE, speed up your feet, increase your intensity and do the work, you can achieve a decent sweat and workout session.


Every elliptical machine is different but among all of those techy buttons resides the options for changing interval levels and resistance.

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I always set the elliptical machine to the random setting which plays around with the interval levels for me. As the levels change from uphill, to downhill back to uphill,  I change pedaling direction as well as increase/decrease resistance levels throughout the workout.

I realize that many bloggers post awesome looking charts that offer you specific elliptical workout plans to follow while you pedal away.

I am not one of those bloggers. As pretty and informative as some of those charts look, I have never been one to follow a plan and tend to make up my own elliptical “beat-the-boredom” interval routines as I go along.

I can refer you though to some great elliptical workout routines. Click here for the links to Julie’s workout page. She offers several different options.

So how are my feet feeling today? Totally fine. And that’s the problem. I feel nothing unless I am running.

So don’t run, right? Ha.

It is very hard to not step outside and run, especially when the weather is decent, it isn’t raining and isn’t too cold.

Telling me not to run in these conditions is like putting me inside of a bakery and telling me I can’t pick out a cookie.



Do you like the elliptical machine? Do you feel that you get a decent workout when you use it?

What are your favorite cross-training workouts?

Are you guilty of holding on to the machines while exercising?

Favorite cookie from a bakery? Tough one for me. I love a giant chocolate chip, black and white or rainbow cookies!






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  1. says

    I am loving a machine called a cross trainer at my gym. It’s like an elliptical but you have more control over your feet. It’s basically like running without impacted. You can do anything from stair stepping to full running on it just by moving your legs. With the resistance on its also a great leg and arm workout.
    My favorite cookie from a bakery is a turtle cookie! Cookie with nuts, caramel, and chocolate drizzled on top!

  2. says

    Gahhh that’s how I felt during last night’s run. I wasn’t in like, bad pain – injury status pain, but I just wasn’t feeling good and it sucked.
    And the elliptical is a great tool to use if you do use it properly like you suggested. 🙂
    So glad you had a good run today, I think I’m taking today off (went to cycle this morning) and am going to attempt a run again on either Thurs or Fri. FINGERS FREAKING CROSSED. <3 Have a good day!!!

  3. says

    I don’t use the elliptal much but I like the programmed workouts….some of those are pretty tough. On days I don’t run, I usually weight train or do yoga. I really need to get on the elliptical more though.