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TOPIC: Elliptical - Five days in a row or every other day?

 
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April 24, 2013 8:25 AM
I am just getting back into a fitness routine and have never really done much strength training, but when I did I would do one day strength, the next day cardio, to give my "muscles a chance to rest" as I was instructed to do. I'm still recovering from a foot fracture but need to get back into an exercise routine, so I'm using the elliptical trainer for the lower impact. I'm up to 30 minutes a day in just two weeks and feeling really good about it, but I was told today that I should only be doing it every other day, rather than five days in a row and two days off.

My ultimate goal is to take off the weight I regained when I had to be non-weight-bearing, as well as continuing on with my previous weight loss goals. What is the recommended schedule? Can you do cardio daily or should it be every other day?

Thank you, in advance, for the opinions and advice!
April 24, 2013 8:56 AM
There is nothing wrong with doing cardio everyday in and of itself, but..and this is a BIG but. if your goal is to lose fat, and not just weight than too much cardio will actually trip up your weight loss rather than help.

Far and away, it is your lean muscle tissue that is your body's fat burning furnace. The more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories and therefor fat, you burn when your NOT exercising. To much cardio, especially steady-state cardio(the kind your probably doing) will eat into your muscle tissue and actually slow down your metabolism.
The way you combat this is with proper training and nutrition.
From a training for your goals perspective you are far better doing a strength training/cardio/strength training routiune.

In other words alternate full body strength routines with cardio days in an A/B/A fashion for five to six days allowing AT LEAST 1 day of rest(or 2 days rest if you want the weekend off) As a matter of fact, for the final workout of your week I would recommend yoga if you can. It is a great way to improve flexibility, build strength and help your muscles and nervous system recover after a tough week.

As for your cardio, stay away from long, steady bouts on the elliptical. Using the machine is fine and has actually been shown to burn more calories per session than other cardio equipment. But instead, do High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT.
This means that you do your cardio workout in intervals of high and low intensity instead of a continuous pace.

for example: hop on the elliptical, and after a 5 minute warm up do 30 seconds at 80-90% of your maximum effort, than slowdown and do 1 minute at 60-70%. Repeat the cycle for 20 minutes, followed by a cool down.
Bam! You've just done far more work in less time than your typical cardio. The added benefit of HIIT is that it helps maintain your lean muscle and it burns calories for up to 48 hours AFTER the workout is over. Of course, you can vary the intensity and duration of the cycles based on your fitness level.
April 24, 2013 9:09 AM
QUOTE:

I am just getting back into a fitness routine and have never really done much strength training, but when I did I would do one day strength, the next day cardio, to give my "muscles a chance to rest" as I was instructed to do. I'm still recovering from a foot fracture but need to get back into an exercise routine, so I'm using the elliptical trainer for the lower impact. I'm up to 30 minutes a day in just two weeks and feeling really good about it, but I was told today that I should only be doing it every other day, rather than five days in a row and two days off.

My ultimate goal is to take off the weight I regained when I had to be non-weight-bearing, as well as continuing on with my previous weight loss goals. What is the recommended schedule? Can you do cardio daily or should it be every other day?

Thank you, in advance, for the opinions and advice!


Unless you're doing super intense cardio, i.e. running all out for 5 miles to try to beat your personal record time, there isn't anything wrong with doing some cardio every day. I would also not add much cardio if you had a physically demanding job, i.e. construction work, or carpentry. If you're otherwise sedentary then you have to do "something" daily. The human body falls apart if you just sit there and "rest". Do you need rest from showering and brushing your teeth? Do you need rest from getting out of bed? Move around a little every day and weight loss will be easier. Get plenty of "rest" and weight loss is a nightmare.
  41589374
April 24, 2013 9:28 AM
Were you told not to do cardio every day as a general rule? Or so as not to aggravate your foot injury?

If it's the latter, I'd listen to whoever said that an incorporate rest days... maybe do it every other day.

If it's the former... ehhh... There seems to be quite a bit of debate on this forum how and whether people should do cardio. I do not know exactly what science is behind "steady state cardio" but I have to wonder whether it really applies to the majority of people who do 30 minutes of moderate intensity walking, jogging, elliptical.
Edited by cleback On April 24, 2013 9:29 AM
April 24, 2013 9:33 AM
QUOTE:

Were you told not to do cardio every day as a general rule? Or so as not to aggravate your foot injury?

If it's the latter, I'd listen to whoever said that an incorporate rest days... maybe do it every other day.

If it's the former... ehhh... There seems to be quite a bit of debate on this forum how and whether people should do cardio. I do not know exactly what science is behind "steady state cardio" but I have to wonder whether it really applies to the majority of people who do 30 minutes of moderate intensity walking, jogging, elliptical.



It depends on your goals. If your looking to increase endurance or say if your a long distance runner, or training for a marathon, than consistent steady cardio is fine, but in the case of losing fat while maintaining muscle, there is no contest.

Just compare the physique of a sprinter to that of an endurance runner.
April 24, 2013 9:47 AM
QUOTE:


It depends on your goals. If your looking to increase endurance or say if your a long distance runner, or training for a marathon, than consistent steady cardio is fine, but in the case of losing fat while maintaining muscle, there is no contest.

Just compare the physique of a sprinter to that of an endurance runner.


Both have very little fat and lean muscle. One has different muscle definition than the other, but I think that just comes from working the muscles differently. Both look fantastic, in my opinion.

But do those examples of extremes really apply to someone who jumps on the elliptical 30 minutes to be a little bit more active that day? For that, I'm still unconvinced.
April 24, 2013 11:20 AM
If the goal is to just be active, thats one thing. Hell, you can take a couple laps around the block to do that, and if that's your goal, that's awesome. If your trying is to lose fat and get into better over all shape, some methods are better than others. The more muscle you have, the more effectively you can burn fat and the stronger you will be for it.
HIIT is a better protocol for maintaining muscle while still burning fat, than consistent running, which will also help shed fat and increase endurance, but also has a tendency to eat up muscle.

It all comes down to your particular goals. What good is losing fat if there is no muscle to fill in the space.
Edited by Cajunmalakai On April 24, 2013 11:21 AM
April 25, 2013 2:51 AM
Thank you for all of the replies! To answer some of the questions, I was told "as a general rule" rather than as a result of my injury. I do not get winded doing routine activities. I am trying to lose weight but overall better health is my main goal. I work in a second floor office and take the stairs every day, but I have a desk job so for 8 hours a day I am forced to be sedentary and I was completely non-weight-bearing for eight weeks. I think I will try to find some sort of strength training and alternate days. I like the idea of some sort of daily workout.

Because I am not in a position to join a gym, and I own no weight-training equipment, any suggestions on strength-training? Thanks again! I really appreciate the support!
April 25, 2013 1:11 PM
You absolutely do not NEED to join a gym, especially if your goal is to get into shape after a long hiatus. You can strength train with only your bodyweight. Squats, lunges, pushups, pullups .Etc;
There are dozens of variations of each and can give you one hell of a workout.

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