You guys made me smile with all your early bedtimes. I love that I’m not the only one who doesn’t do well staying up late. 🙂
Some people love the elliptical, some people hate it. I have a love-hate relationship with it. But with cold, dark days and the need for cross-training (I get injured if I run everyday), I often turn to the elliptical for a little cardio boost that isn’t too demanding on my body, like RPM can be. But it can get tedious.
I don’t get too bored on the treadmill – it’s easier for my mind to stay entertained with thoughts of work, writing, projects. Or, on good days, my mind will just clear completely while I run. But that mind freedom doesn’t happen on the elliptical. So here are some things I’ve found that help keep me entertained. This morning, I used tip #1 (with Self magazine).
5 Tips to Avoid Elliptical Boredom
1. Have a “treat” magazine that you read only on cardio machines.
I love Shape, Self and Marie Claire. When I get them in the mail, I set them in my gym bag and then bust them out when I’m on the elliptical. They make the time fly by. I know, I’m lucky I don’t get nauseous reading on the elliptical. But the elliptical machine I use is more forward & back motion, and not so much up & down. And I tend to save this tactic for easy days.
2. Switch cardio machines every 15 minutes.
Not only does this prevent boredom, but it works a variety of muscles. I like 15 minutes on the elliptical + 15 minutes on the stair climber and if I’m extra motivated, 15 minutes on the treadmill for a 45 minute cardio session.
I select the interval program on the machine and go to town. On the intense interval, I really pick up the speed to spike my heart rate and then catch my breath when the machine eases up. (Disclosure: I really have to push it to get breathless on the elliptical, but pushing a higher resistance with a higher speed gets me there.) If the machine doesn’t have an interval setting, I use the manual setting and just switch back and forth on speed and/or resistance, anywhere fro 60-90 seconds intensity with 30-60 seconds recovery. (You can read about my treadmill running intervals here.)
HuluPlus allows you to stream TV shows on your computer, phone or TV (for a low monthly fee). I use the app my iPhone and catch up on Gossip Girl and Revenge while working out. Or, I’ll plan my workouts around the time that shows are on regular TV and use the TVs built onto the machines to get my Nate Archibald fix.
I like listening to NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. A friend recently introduced me to Jillian Michael’s podcast that I plan to add to the mix. And sometimes, I’ll download a book to my iPod and listen to that while I work out.
On the elliptical, I do have to be conscious to make sure I’m working hard enough. It can be easy to slack off and not get my heart rate up enough. That’s when I’ll do intervals or the machine switch-up because I can more easily push myself. On days that I’m recovering from a tough workout, the magazine, Hulu or podcast options keep me entertained while I just loosen my muscles up and break a little sweat.
Do you get bored on the elliptical? Do you avoid it all together? How do you stay entertained on the elliptical?