My New Friend

Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Two blog posts in three days...holy cow. Now that things are winding down over here, I'm trying to make a point to post more often.

I've had a few people ask about my newly formed relationship with the elliptical trainer. I've mentioned a few times that the elliptical and I have never been friends. As an athlete who get's her jollies from nearly killing myself during workouts, the elliptical and I have never had much in common. I always thought of it as a cop out. Which isn't really fair...because I never gave it a chance.
Now, the machine who's direction I sent many eye rolls in the past, is now my BFF.

When I reached somewhere about 28 weeks pregnant, my body started telling me new things. My runs were getting less frequent, because I was starting to have more "bad days". By "bad days" I mean days that just didn't feel right, when I got out there. By 30 weeks, I was doing the majority of my cardio on the elliptical. I was still running a few times a week, but the majority was the elliptical. By 33 weeks I had made the decision to work the elliptical in place of my planned runs.

It was heartbreaking to make the decision to stop running. Mostly because my body still felt good while running. I could still handle it in my muscles, my legs and my back. I was slower, but when you're carrying 22 extra pounds all in one location, thats to be expected. The act of running still felt amazing. The problem I kept running into was that the pressure of the baby on my bladder during the jostling, started to make me pee myself.

At first it was just every few times, which I was okay with. I mean, come on. I've peed myself quite a few times the past few years. No not for fun...I'm talking about during races.
But then it became as frequent as every run. Each time I set out for a run, I'd come home with urine on me. Additionally, the intense pressure on my bladder that I was feeling up until the release, was not enjoyable.

After a lot of thought and heartbreak, I decided to change my routine.
I almost made it to the end. Almost.

Occasionally I will still throw in a short run...but I don't schedule them anymore. If I'm feeling squirrely, Harper and I will run for a quarter to a half mile, during our walks. Anything further and I find myself in the danger zone.

So here we are at 34 weeks and some change...and this runner has made a new friend.

Tips for Getting a Good Workout on the Elliptical

1. Music. When I run, I rarely listen to music. However, I've found that the elliptical is a little bit like the spin bike, in that music can totally make the workout. I create a playlist with fast beats to keep me pumping during the session.

So set up some good music and get moving!

2. Let your arms be free. It can be tempting to hold on to the elliptical rail, mostly because it makes it easier. By not holding on, you are actually creating a better workout for yourself. It takes core strength to stabilize yourself, and by not holding on, you work your core the entire duration of your workout.

Some ellipticals have the handles that you move back and forth, to facilitate an arm workout. These can be beneficial to hold on to, because they actually have you doing some work and they provide some resistance. The stationary handle/rail is the one that does nothing for you.

3. Resistance is key! Even if you have your incline set to 10, if your resistance is at 1, it's not going to do anything for you. Resistance should either vary, or be set at a number that challenges you.
This is why intervals are my favorite. For example, I'll have a tough 2 minutes of incline 10 with resistance 10, then a recovery period of 2 minutes with incline 4, and resistance 2...over and over and over.

4. Mix it up. Don't always do the same workout. Although I do have a love for intervals, I switch it up to keep my legs fresh. Doing the same workout every time, doesn't do you any good. Yes, it will get easier as time goes by...but the reason that's happening is because your body is getting used to the workout. It's called general adaptation syndrome.

Once your body is used to a workout, your muscles are no longer working as hard. They've figured it out. You have to keep them guessing and keep the workouts changing, to continuously challenge yourself. Check out the pre made workouts programmed on the elliptical. Those usually have a pretty good variety.

Additionally, don't limit yourself to the elliptical trainer. Spinning, walking, running, swimming are all good options for cardio.

5. Always enter your information at the start of your workout. This is so important. It helps realistically measure calories burned during a session.

Happy Training Everyone!

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