5 Reasons that I Think Treadmill and Elliptical Machine Workouts are a Waste of Time

5 Reasons that I Think Treadmill and Elliptical Machine Workouts are a Waste of Time

 

Plus 10 workout ideas

 that I believe are more effective and fun!

 

 Why Big Box Health Club Memberships don’t make you Healthy, Fit or Happy!

 

I was reading an article the other day and while I agreed with its sentiments, it made me realise that we join gyms to Loose Weight, Meet People and have some Fun.  But what actually happens is we join up and are immediately put on a treadmill – everyone can walk right! – and told to warm up before we do our  ‘personal’ program.

 

If you’re lucky a member of the gym team will chat to you while you complete your induction, but soon, very soon, when you arrive you, like all the other members, will get onto your cardio machines, attach your ear phones and watch TV or listen to your iPod and training solo

 

Now, is it just me, but there seems to be a major mismatch between the reasons members join Health Clubs and what is actually offered to them.

 

 

Goal 1 – Lose Weight.

Doing more and eating less = weight loss, yes I hear you say.

Ok, so lets say that’s true.  What happens if you keep that programme up? I’ve been training client for 30 years and no-one has faded away yet!

I’ve watched people jog, cycle and row for hours every week with ever decreasing rewards for their efforts as time goes on.  If you’re lucky a gym team member will advise you to increase intensity (work harder) or if you’re unlucky they’ll advise longer sessions.

Cardio training has its place – but science has proven that in good studies it’s a really poor way to lose fat!!  In fact there are 8 better ways to lose fat than long, slow duration cardio!!

 

Goal 2 – Make Friends.

I know lots of singles that hoped to meet a partner at the Gym.  Sadly you might spot someone, but it’s tricky to get to know them if they’re isolated in their own TV world.

Most gyms don’t have regular social events. And if you’ve ever attended group exercise classes – you’d get withering looks from the Instructors if you dare speak to anyone.

 

 

Goal 3 – Have Fun.

Knowing how many and how quickly members stop going to the gym I don’t think there’s a whole lot of fun!

 

You’ll quickly give up on the promises that ‘This gym is friendly and Fun’.  You’ll forget that everywhere else staff talk to their customers and that at your favourite coffee shop they chat, smile and even remember your order!!  Of course eventually you’ll remember and that’s when you decide to stop your Direct Debit.

 

So, here we go-

 

Treadmill and elliptical training machines a waste of your fat burning time

 

Now that I’ve upset all of the treadmill and elliptical machine worshipers… let me say that if you really enjoy mindlessly pumping away on a treadmill or elliptical (or exercise bike for that matter too), then by all means, keep doing what you enjoy, because enjoying your exercise is one of the most important aspects to sticking with any exercise program… and I think  enjoyment is THE most important factor!!

 

However, don’t say that I didn’t warn you that you were wasting your time with all that mindless cardio machine boredom.

 

If I haven’t said it before, I don’t believe in cardio machines, and to be quite honest, I don’t think I’ve personally used a treadmill, elliptical, or exercise bike for at least 10 years. As a group exercise instructor I never had to use them for warm ups so don’t look to them for warming up now I’m a certified metabolic fitness coach.

 

Nowadays, I prefer to do mobility and ATR  mixed with bodyweight exercises as the perfect full body warmup at the beginning of my workouts.

 

So why do I have such hatred for cardio machines?

Well, here are 5 reasons:

 

1) Treadmills, ellipticals, and exercise bikes are mind-blowingly BOOOORING! Personally, I can think of a million things I’d rather be doing than pedaling my way to nowhere! There are so many more important things to do before any workout, like mental prep, working on postural imbalances, learning new exercises and improving muscle tissue quality.

 

 

2) Mindless steady state cardio exercise while watching TV or reading creates a mind / body disconnect resulting in poor results from your exercise routine. Instead of reading a gossip magazine or watching a cheesy reality TV show on the TV screen in front of the cardio machine, a REAL workout consists of actually having your mind engaged strongly in what your body is doing!

 

 

3) I’ve seen studies that indicated that treadmill running may be less effective than outdoor running for various reasons such as stride abnormalities on treadmills vs natural running, slightly less caloric burn compared to outdoor running, etc.

 

…although I never recommend just “jogging” anyway … Instead, variable intensity walks / runs or sprints are so much more effective, training your heart rate in a much wider range instead of just the same pace during the entire workout.

 

4) Treadmills and ellipticals are ridiculously expensive and a waste of money for people that workout at home… there’s so many better options for home workouts you could have spent your money on rather than wasting it on a treadmill, bike, or elliptical.

 

 

The perfect home gym setup is MUCH cheaper… there’s no reason you need anything other than a jump rope, bodyweight exercises, a few dumbbells, stability ball, maybe a few kettlebells (if you want to get fancy), and perhaps high tension bands for some more variety.

 

 

5) Treadmills and elliptical machines are just a very ineffective way to workout compared to other options. The metabolic response is much lower compared to the types of workouts ideas that I describe below. Why should you do treadmill or elliptical workouts when you can get better results by doing more interesting forms of training that actually stimulate a fat-burning hormonal response and stimulate your metabolism to a greater extent…

 

So what are the alternatives to treadmills, exercise bikes, and elliptical trainers? Here are TEN of my favourite types of alternative workouts:

 

Skipping rope – great mind-body connection – try speed jumping, crossovers, and double jumps once you get skilled at it. An amazing metabolic exercise with one of the cheapest pieces of equipment available. There’s a reason that every world class boxer uses this exercise!

 

Kettle bell training – nothing will get your heart pounding like high repetition KB swings and snatches or clean & presses (can be done with dumbbells too, but I prefer KBs). Personally, I think one of the most intense body changing exercises ever invented are double kettlebell snatches (snatching both kettlebells at the same time overhead from the floor).

 

Cardio sprinting (the ultimate exercise for a rock hard ripped body… just look at the chiseled powerful bodies of world class sprinters, and compare that to the weakling withered physique of a typical marathoner… enough said! We do sprint training 2-3 days a week. Short, all out intervals that raise your heart rate, make you breathe hard with very short rest intervals for over 20 minutes total time.

 

 

Metabolic Training – Total Body training of 20 – 60 seconds work with short rest intervals repeated for maybe 20-30 minutes.

One Amazing workout.

 

 

Rowing Machine – I don’t include this as a “cardio” machine like treadmills and ellipticals… I think the rowing machine is actually a great full body workout that actually uses resistance…

Just like the other classic…

Schwinn Air Dyne bikes – both use air resistance to give you a great intense workout.

The best results come from using variable speeds and really pulling hard to challenge your body.

 

 

Sprint style swimming workouts – a more muscular workout than steady state distance swimming… I actually love the upper body pump you get from sprint style swimming — this is the same concept as sprinting vs jogging but in a pool instead. It’s all about intensity!

 

 

Combat – heavy bag punching / kicking workout, speed bag, rebound bag – all are great forms of training and much more interesting than boring cardio machines. These exercises are also great examples of exercises that require an intense mind-body connection, which is missing in boring cardio equipment like treadmills and elliptical machines.

Shadow Boxing – This is an awesome workout, but if you’re shy, this is best saved for your home workouts since you’ll get some crazy stares doing this at a typical gym from people who think they’re “too cool” for stuff like this.

 

Dumbbell, Med ball, Kettle Bell Circuits — This super metabolic workout that involves alternating between various full-body multi-joint exercises to get a crazy fat-burning workout in minimal time. A good example would be alternating between dumbbell lunges, overhead presses, bent over rows, step ups, and squat presses all with minimal rest between. The sort we do 6 days a week to great effect.

 

Bodyweight Training – bodyweight squats, pushups, lunges, jumps, bear crawls, mountain climbers and jumpers, planks, and the list goes on and on. An example of great mind-body connection and much more metabolic than treadmills and ellipticals.

 

Well, I hope this article helps give you ideas on how you can get away from all of these mindless and ineffective treadmill and elliptical training machine (and exercise bike) workouts that are just wasting your time and energy that could be better spent on more effective workouts.

 

If you want maximum results, it’s all about your intensity levels and also your mind-body connection… and that all important mind-body connection is usually missing when it comes to elliptical and treadmill workouts, that most people do while watching TV or reading.

 

 

Get out there and actually ENJOY your workouts

Rember which would you rather be a sprinter or a marathoner?

 

Don’t be lazy, be lean.

 

Jax Allen

Certified Metabolic Trainer

Pilates and Yoga Instructor

 

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Adrenal Fatigue? Do You Have It?

What You Need to Know About Adrenal Fatigue

 

I found this article about Adrenal Fatigue by Justin – I think it very relevant to many living this fast paced, always ON life with iPads, smart phones and emails chasing us everywhere…..

 

Chances are you have heard of adrenal fatigue, but you may not be quite sure what it is. Understanding this condition is important however, because some experts suggest that 80% of the Western world will be affected by adrenal fatigue at some point in their lives.

The adrenal glands are located above the kidneys and are responsible for secreting more than 50 different hormones that are essential for life. Among these are adrenaline, cortisol, progesterone and testosterone. Because they regulate so many important hormones, their proper function is critical for many functions essential to life such as producing energy, balancing electrolytes and storing fat.

These glands also help you deal with stress. When you are under stress, the adrenal glands engage many different responses in your body to make it easier for you to handle that stress.

But during periods of intense, prolonged stress or chronic illness, the adrenal glands begin functioning below the level needed to maintain health and well-being in the body. They still function but at less than optimal levels. The result is adrenal fatigue.

 

Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

 

There are some symptoms that are common among people who

are suffering from adrenal fatigue. These include:

 

Feeling tired for no reason

Craving salty or sweet snacks

Morning fatigue

Mid-afternoon sleepiness

Increased energy in the late afternoon

Decreased sex drive

Mild Depression

Weight gain, especially around the waist

Forgetfulness

Low body temperature

 

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue.

 

Treatment

 

Treatment for adrenal fatigue focuses on making changes to your lifestyle and diet. If you have minor adrenal fatigue, you can expect to be better within 6-9 months. Moderate to severe adrenal fatigue can take between 12-24 months to heal, and severe cases can take even longer.

 

Stress: One of the first things you should do is reduce the stress in your life. This may mean clearing your schedule, reworking some relationships or learning time management skills. In order for your adrenal glands to heal, the demands placed on them should be lightened.

 

Sleep: Sufficient sleep is also important. The main repair work on your adrenal glands takes place between 10 pm and 1 am. If you are prone to late nights, consider training your body to go to bed earlier. It is also a good idea to reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet in order to help you sleep more soundly.

 

Exercise: Adrenal fatigue can also be helped by exercise. Exercise regulates cortisol, relieves depression and increases blood flow. Each of these benefits will contribute to your recovery. Shorter more intense bouts of exercise (like we do in our programs) are more appropriate than long duration workouts, like treadmill or elliptical cardio or running when suffering from adrenal fatigue.

 

Supplements: Finally, adding supplements to your diet can speed healing of adrenal fatigue. Calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, E, and B complex are recommended. Also try to avoid ‘junk’ food as much as possible. Rather, add plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet.

 

If you suspect you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, don’t be discouraged. You can start the recovery process by making the above changes to your diet and lifestyle.

 

JaxAllenFitness.com

 

Why Crossfit May NOT Be Good For You

Why Crossfit May Not Be Good For You

I found this and thought you should have a read….. a few interesting points about who Crossfit is aimed at, how hard you should train and do the coaches have enough training?  Anyone can ‘Beast’ a client  not many can ‘Coach’ clients……

This discussion seems to make sense to me – Coach Boyle is very respected in his field and in the industry as a whole.

 

Michael Boyle
                       

Crossfit gyms are springing up all over the world. They are cheap and easy to open, with only a weekend certification and a few thousand dollars worth of equipment. This appeals to many in the fitness business. You can be part of a rapidly growing trend and you can do it without great expense. I am not a Crossfit fan so some might view this piece as yellow journalism. I will try to keep my personal opinions to myself and deal with what is generally agreed upon as safe in strength and conditioning.

First, a little background. To be honest, I knew very little about Crossfit until I was contacted by representatives of SOMA, the Special Operations Medical Association, in 2005. Crossfit was their concern, not mine. I was asked to come to the SOMA meeting in Tampa, Florida to discuss training special operations soldiers. At a panel discussion in 2005 I offered answers to questions asked about Crossfit and the controversy began. What follows is not from the SOMA meeting but, my thoughts since.

Major Question 1- Is planned randomization a valid concept. Crossfit is based on the idea that the workouts are planned but deliberately random. I think that the term planned randomization is an oxymoron. Workouts are either planned or random. I believe strongly that workouts should be planned and that a specific progression should be followed to prevent injury.

I sometimes plan sessions that relate to each other week to week – but not Day to Day – is this also planned randomisation.

But seriously, I know what Coach Boyle means. To be effective programmes should gradually build in frequency, intensity, duration and type of training, over the short and very long term.

 

Major Question 2- Is Training to Failure Safe? Because Crossfit is, at it’s heart, a competitive or self-competitive program it becomes necessary to train to failure. There are two layers or problem here. One is the simple question of whether training to failure is beneficial to the trainee. Some strength and conditioning experts believe training to failure is beneficial, others caution against. I must admit that I like training to failure.

However, this brings up the larger question of what constitutes failure. Strength and Conditioning Coach Charles Poliquin (another non-Crossfit fan) popularized the term “technical failure” and, this is the definition that we adhere to.

Technical failure occurs not when the athlete or client is no longer capable of doing the exercise but, when the athlete or client can no longer do the exercise with proper technique. In training beyond technical failure the stress shifts to tissues that were not, and probably should not, be the target of the exercise. The third layer of the training to failure question relates to what movements lend themselves to training to failure. In the area of “generally agreed as safe”, high velocity movements like Olympic lifts and jumps are not generally done to failure and never should be taken beyond technical failure. Is it one bad rep versus multiple bad reps? How many bad reps is too many?

It seems mad to train beyond the point of having good form (therefore safe execution of the exercise)

 

Major Question 3- Is an overuse injury (generally an injury caused by repeated exposure to light loads), different from an overstress injury (an injury caused by exposure to heavy loads). Both are injuries.

The first is overuse, the second is trauma. In my mind injuries are injuries, period.

I agree – I am always looking for ways to include mobilisations to improve movement patterns, prepare for training and get more value out of the warm-up/prep phase of every workout.  My 5 week programme gives us a chance to really focus on muscle balance, injury prevention, 3 Dimension training and recovery.

 

Major Question 4- Should adults be Olympic lifters? I don’t think that Olympic lifts are for all adults. Most adults can’t get their arms safely over their head once much less fifty times with load. The other question that begs to be asked is should anyone do high rep Olympic lifts. I know the best Olympic lifters in the world say no. With all that said believe it or not my biggest problem is actually less with the actual workouts than it is with the false bravado and character assassination of dissenters. The community can be pretty venomous when you question Coach Glassman.

 

The Crossfit community is also filled with people who tell you that injury is a normal part of the training process. I have spoken up against endurance athletes who willingly hurt themselves and to me, this is no difference than the current Crossfit controversy. I know that this will generate more controversy but, Crossfit might be the biggest controversy in strength and conditioning since HIT training.

I use HIIT as a method in some programs….

Quite different to HIT.

HIT is High Intensity Training, HIIT is High Intensity Interval Training….  I can vary the interval to build endurance before I progress the load/weigh Intensity to improve strength.

This way, beginners can work alongside experienced clients without fear of injury or embarrassment!

 

 

Hope this will encourage you to question training methods and the quality of the ‘coaching’ available to you.

 

Jax Allen Fitness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refresh & Renew Your Muscles After Training

Refresh & Renew Your Muscles After Training

 

Help avoid injuries and speed recovery with this regeneration routine

 

ATR Active Tissue Releases will improve your muscle tissue quality, banish trigger points, knots and tightness.

 

  Exercise Kit   Reps/Time
1 Arch Rolls Golf Ball Left / Right 30 secs
2 Quads / Hip Flexor Foam Roll Left/Right 30 secs
3 Adductor Foam Roll Left/Right 30 secs
4 Hamstring Foam Roll Left/Right 30 secs
5 I T Band Foam Roll Left/Right 30 secs
6 Quad/Hip Flexor

Kneeling back foot elevated

Stretch Left/Right 10
7 Hamstring

Straight Leg

Rope Stretch Left/ Right 10
8 Hamstring

Supine Bent Knee

Stretch Left/Right 10
9 I T Band / Glute

 

Rope Stretch Left/Right 10
10 Adductor Rope Stretch Left/Right 10

 

Invest some time in your recovery and you’ll train better and feel great.

 

7 Ways to Ease Pain and Avoid Injury

7 Ways to Ease Pain and Avoid Injury

Sue FalsoneDecember 10, 2008

Dave Cruz

Everything you do in the gym, at work, and at home either makes you more susceptible to injury or helps reduce your risk for pain. Tip the scales in your favor with these seven simple tips.

 

1. Straighten Up

Most people realize there’s potential for injury when moving or performing an athletic activity, but what you may not realize is that poor posture can have similar if not more detrimental effects on your body than sports and exercise.

When you slouch, lock your knees, or sit with your head forward, for instance, you place unnecessary stress on areas of the body that were never built to handle it. Over time, your muscles will tighten from trying to compensate for poor posture and your joints will ache from the excessive stress placed on them. So what’s the fix?

  • Sit up straight, but keep your back naturally arched—your back’s natural curve is meant to help transfer force
  • Keep your ears aligned with your shoulders, hips and ankle bones when sitting or standing
  • Avoid hours of the same posture—try to change your position as often as possible.

2. Invest 5 minutes a Day in Injury Avoidance

We all live busy lives, but what’s more important than your health? Don’t wait to think about your body until it lets you down. That’s like thinking about retirement when you’re broke. You spend time and effort investing your money to achieve a great return. So invest in your body with proactive exercise, or what we call “prehab.” To get started, use Floor Y’s and T’s to help protect your upper body, mini band walks for your lower body, and planks, pillars & bridges for core stability.

3. Stay in Control of Your Body

Flexibility is not only movement through a range of motion, but it is the ability to control the movement through the range. Without neuromuscular control, range of motion is useless. Think of a fast car that can handle successive curves on a road. If the car did not have the appropriate braking and accelerating actions, the drive would not be smooth or safe. The same concept applies to movement in the human body. The greater the flexibility you have, the more coordinated strength you need to direct your movement appropriately.

4. Wake Up Your Muscles

Injury is often caused by one muscle group—often times, your glutes or shoulder stabilizers—being completely shut off. This causes other areas of the body to compensate, leading to injury. Following your movement preparation program will activate these inactive areas and enable your body to recall movements you may have not used since childhood.

5. Pay Attention to Your Feet

Improving the strength of your foot intrinsic muscles (the small, stabilizing muscles) will build a greater base for movement. On the other hand, lack of foot intrinsic strength will lead to inefficient movement patterns, placing excessive stress on the foot, ankle, knee, hip and low back. To check the status of your arch, see if the inside bones of your feet touch the ground. If they do, you can benefit from simple exercises to support your arch. Here are a couple:

Towel Crunches

  • Sit in a chair with feet flat on the ground with toes pointing straight ahead.
  • Then, place a towel under feet and curl toes trying to pull towel under foot while rolling feet out to lift arch up.
  • Go for 1 minute, and repeat a total of 3 times.

Tennis Ball Foot Massage

  • Place your foot on top of the ball and slowly apply pressure as you roll your foot over it. You may find some tender spots. That’s OK.
  • Apply enough pressure so it’s a little uncomfortable, but not painful.
  • Do this for about 5 minutes on each foot once a day.

6. Stay on the Lookout for Warning Signs

Pay attention to the small aches and pains that creep up in your training. They’re usually a red flag that some part of your training is not being performed correctly. It may be related to training intensity, mechanics (compensations), or slight positional faults. Ignoring them can only lead to bigger problems that may significantly impact your training later on. You’re probably already aware of your weaknesses. Start training them.

7. Follow a Real Plan

Performing workouts at random can result in injury if your training is unbalanced. You may strengthen some muscles at the expense of others, creating imbalances that result in pain or injury. So set long term goals to help set your motivation in place and help define direction and purpose in your training, but also set specific, clear, short-term goals to guide and focus you along the way. At the end of each day, ask yourself, “Did I move closer to my goal today?”