Workout Wednesday…. Coming to you stylishly late on a Thursday!
For today’s Workout Wednesday, the topic is:
Crosstrainer- Good or bad?
So many people seem to love the crosstrainer that I thought it deserved a Workout Wednesday post. I normally prefer training outdoors, but the crosstrainer can be a good rainy weather option. However, relying on it solely as an exercise tool isn’t enough. It’s too repetitive and doesn’t involve enough variety in movement to be a complete workout programme. Here are some pros and cons of the Crosstrainer:
- By getting your arms and legs involved, the Crosstrainer engages more upper body muscles than alternative machines, such as the treadmill or stairmaster, so you get more of a whole body workout.
- The main benefits of the crosstrainer are improving aerobic fitness (cardio) and burning through calories. By using your arms, you can raise your heart rate quickly and effectively. This may not actually mean you’re burning more calories though- it really matters how hard your working overall, (whether you’re moving your arms or not).
- Because your feet remain in contact with the paddles throughout the motion, it’s gentle on your back, hips and knee joints. The impact your body takes while running can lead to joint injuries, but using the Crosstrainer allows you to progress with your running training, without the impact on your joints.
- The crosstrainer only requires your body to use one plane of movement, with a great deal of repetition. This means you aren’t provided with a balanced training routine.
- Being in the gym on the Crosstrainer can make you feel like you’re getting a workout, no matter what. But if you don’t work hard, if you don’t push yourself, or if you focus on your magazine more than your workout, you won’t get much benefit… and you won’t see results.
- Cardio can make you hungry. If you eat the calories you burned (or even more!) the calorie-burning benefits won’t pay off.
Effective Crosstrainer techniques
If you do enjoy the Crosstrainer, or want to give it a go, here are a few tips to ensure you’re getting the most effect from your training:
- Assume and maintain a nice tall posture throughout your workout so that you don’t encourage rounded shoulders or a hunched back (the more you train this way, the more they’ll stay this way!)
- Brace (engage) your core throughout the workout. This will be difficult at first, but will become easier. It’s a great core exercise and will really work front back and sides of your core. It will particularly target your transverse abdominus, which acts like a corset
- Reverse your paddles so that you’re “running backwards.” This will help to stave off boredom and will work opposing muscles (although in a very light way, since the crosstrainer is all about cardio training).
- Make sure that you’re working hard to get a good workout. This sounds obvious, but is easy to forget. If you’re reading a magazine, gazing at the tv and allowing yourself to get an easy half an hour you won’t get the same benefit. Get your heart pumping and get sweating!
- Increase the resistance of the machine and play with your speed. You can do intervals or even Tabata on the crosstrainer for varied and effective workouts!
- Do some training off the crosstrainer that makes you move side to side and diagonally to ensure you’re training for a balanced, functional and fit body.
- Make sure that you also include resistance/ weight training and flexibility training in your workout programme to ensure you really improve your fitness levels effectively.
- Always do a progressive warm-up and a gentle cool-down for the most effective and safe workout. You’ll be able to work harder during your session if you do a good warm up
In completely unrelated news… I’ve done something horrible. My husband and I went on safari last year in Tanzania, and when we were there, we were fortunate enough to witness an amazing exchange among lions.
It was early evening and we were watching a group of young cubs playing in the the golden grass. They were bundled up with a group of females and had a protective male watching over them.
Suddenly, another large male appeared up out of the long grass in the distance.
He began a slow approach to the group from where he had been resting. The protective male was clearly unhappy with the new arrival. He started to growl and show aggressive stances. The large male continued his steady approach without any reaction.
We were watching nervously from above, through the open roof of our Landrover.
When the approaching male was within about 10 feet of the group, the protector pounced.
My husband hit ‘video record’ on our new camera.
The two lions leaned into each other with all of their weight- claws protracted, fangs out, and grunting loudly. They regrouped, then collided again, standing several feet in the air on their hind legs. The protective lion then dove behind a bush- the other followed and pounced on top of him.
Our guide started the engine and circled behind the bush for a better view. The two lions were lying, one on top of the other, and they were growling. Then we caught sight of a zebra kill. It turned out that the new lion wanted a taste of the zebra laying half eaten under the bush. They tousled for ownership of it.
We stopped the video, and watched in excited awe for several minutes while the lions continued their stand-off. Then we drove off into the sunset give them their space. The hairs on our necks were prickling as we processed what we’d seen and the haunting growls we’d heard. I attempted to push my heart back down from where is was sitting in my throat. It was amazing. It was a sheer, up-close experience of power. Absolutely amazing.
Fast forward to this week… with me sitting in my living room.
I. erased. the. film.
It was still on our camera (we hadn’t figured out how to retrieve the HD film) and I selected ‘erase all’ to do some photographic Spring cleaning. Then I realised that I was erasing this video… but it was too late. Somehow we have a still shot of the last image in the video, which had uploaded to our iPhoto account with other still pictures.
The only remaining slide of this brilliant film. The last slide. Of course I’m kicking myself. I guess we still have the amazing memories?… Ugh. oh well- you live and learn!
Thanks for reading, and have a Happy Workout Wednesday!
Do you enjoy the crosstrainer, or would you consider using it?
Do you have any tips for getting over the guilt of deleting a treasured family video/photo?