As I recently posted, I've purchased an elliptical. I used it for the first time and found that I could only do 5 minutes without feeling like I was going to pass out. Usually, I can walk 3 miles without a problem. I've even done Tae Bo and been fine, though it was hard. Did any of you who are considered obese have problems getting your time up on an elliptical? I've personally decided to do small 5 minute workouts throughout the day until I get up to 20 minutes for the time being. Hopefully, I'll eventually get to the point that I can do 20 minutes straight without having to stop.
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad it's so hard to do because that was what I was looking for when I bought the machine. I'm just surprised because my only being able to do 5 minutes at a time seems crazy. It has a heart rate monitor and my heart rate was up to 145. Does that sound too high to any of you? I've never used a heart rate monitor before and I have no idea how high my heart rate should be. All I know is I was basically gasping during the whole 5 minutes. Which is odd seeing as I had the resistance level at 1, the lowest available. Gosh, I feel like such a slob.
By the way, I'm 6'1", 33 years old, and weigh 258 pounds.
145 isn't a very high heart rate... it's probably so hard for you because it's an unaccustomed exercise - you'll get used to it. Caveat - I've never used an eliptical in my life so I don't actually KNOW! But starting any new form of exercise is hard work.
First of all, good for you for making such an awesome investment in yourself! It makes total sense that you would find the eliptical hard when your previous exercise was walking - your heart rate while walking on a flat surface was probably no higher than 130 so to go to working at 145 when your not used to it is a big jump, and you're right, it's where you want to be working out to improve your endurance and cardiovascular health. (Make sure you've got the OK by your doctor though). If you start feeling dizzy take a break. Doing several small sessions within a 12 hour period is nearly the same as doing it continuiously in terms of improving fitness, so your absolutely doing the right things. I run quite a bit and my heart rate usually averages about 160 on a run, which is a bit high, but everyone is unique - I've even ran a half marathon pushing at a 180 heart rate so don't worry about your heart rate being too high unless you have other heart health considerations.
On an inspirational note, 6 years ago my bf couldn't run for more than 30 seconds without having to take a walk break ... now he runs 100 mile races (you read that right). A drastic change in your fitness is possible and you can do it!
It sounds like kajikit is right, it's unusual exercise. It requires balance, which engages your core muscles, and it requires a forward momentum that is engaging your arms, legs, thighs, feet, etc.
The resistance could have been set high too, check that.
As far as your heart rate, I don't find the monitors included with the equipment super reliable, but they are close. Take them with a grain of salt.
You should aim for 50 - 80% of your standing heart rate. Based on the american heat association's site, at 35 you should not top 185, and generally keep it between 93-157.
you're doing better than i did when i started. i was recently looking over my journal & checked out my very first entry: 3 minutes of fast walking at level 3 resistance. i almost died. i can feel my lungs & legs burning just thinking about it. *shudder* 6 months later & i can jog at resistance 7 for almost 3 miles.
just set small goals for yourself each day & keep a journal of your progress. it's not an overnight thing but one day you’ll look back over your old entries & be immensely pleased with yourself. it's totally worth it.
This is my first post to this site, so I hope it goes right.
I just saw this post and had to comment. I am 36 yrs. 5' 4.5" and weigh 181. 5 Years ago I started at 178 and was down to 136 in 3 months. A big part of that success was the elipitical workouts. By the last of those 3 months I was doing 45 min. on level one but had my heart rate up to about 165 the whole time.
Now, 5 yrs later, I have done a lot of little things in which I have let my weight advance back on me. 25 lbs in the last two years have been the quickest and most irritating. I have been back on the eliptical and here is my comment to momof2kid - my first time back, I could only do 5 min on level one. After 5 DAYS, I easily get up to 30 min, heart rate 145 -155. Usually I stick to level one, but have found that even level 5 is OK if I go slow. I do that when I am just back after a lapse and want to go slow but still have the heart rate up to AT LEAST 145. I never go below that. When I am at it for at least a week or two, I really get into a mode of heart rate at around 155 - 165. That seems to be about the limit for me now at my age and fitness level.
I have a very sporadic schedule and have really been struggling to get into a routine of any kind. So, this is info on my workouts from last spring till now. I have not made any progress at all, have even gained another 5 lbs, but now I am in the right position to get it together. My goal is 125! YIKES!
But, I just wanted to say that the eliptical can feel hard at first, yet it gets easier quickly. NOTE: It took me at least a good month to get up to 45 minutes at a time, don't push it and STOP if you feel dizzy. A goos cool down of 5 min or so is really good, too, because, when you are on it for a long time, you get the equivolent of "sea legs". I fell down a few times because your legs need time to adjust.
This isn't necessarily the case for you, but I used my boyfriend's mom's elliptical when we were visiting over the holidays, and it kicked my rear in a major way. I can run three miles without stopping, and I often bang out a 50 minute session on the ellipticals at my gym, but within about 5 minutes I had turned the level down from eight to one and was HURTING! I had missed a couple of days working out but not enough to explain how much trouble I was having. It could be the brand of home elliptical.
Anyway, I agree with leaner/meaner. Don't judge yourself for where you are, just start writing it down and pushing toward slow, steady progress.
Don't be discouraged you are at exactly the right place, the starting point. And even if all you could do was 3 seconds that would be the perfect place for you to start.
An elliptical machine is not the same motion as walking or running and can activate muscles differently so if your performance is not on the same level with those exercises dont be discouraged at all.
Lastly, your target heart rate for losing weight is between 120 and 130 any higher and your gonna be tiring out from a cardiovascular endurance standpoint, which gives you less time to burn fat.
Check out my post on the subject here
I appreciate all the support and advice. You've all been very helpful.
Just have to say, "been there" and it's normal. I'm 5'3" and when I first started changing my life in July 2006, I was 205 pounds. I joined a gym and I started with the elliptical. At first, on lowest setting, I could not go fast enough to keep the freaking thing ON -- it kept telling me I'd paused and needed to continue the workout! And yes, my heart rate went nuts. But improvement came pretty quickly. Just be careful about keeping heart rate highly elevated for longer than a couple minutes. Listen to your body, carefully. It'll tell you when you're going to much, too long.
The elliptical is my machine of choice, and it is definitely a good and unique workout. I was in great shape a few years ago, and was working out 5 days a week, doing 45-50 min sessions on the elliptical.
Over the last couple years, I had a back injury and a surgery that kept me from working out for a long time, and the weight slowly crept back on. January 1st I started back on a workout program and started eating better. The first few days on the elliptical were super hard....I was huffing and puffing around 5 mins and could barely push myself to get to 10 or 15 mins. I've been using the ellipitical 3-5 times a week and am now back up to 45-50 mins.
Try giving yourself small goals, like tomorrow say, "I'm going to do 7 minutes on the elliptical." And, the next day, shoot for 9 mins, 12, 15, etc! Go slow, don't get discouraged, and you will see results! Make yourself a good workout music mix with high energy songs to help power you through. I have lost about 5 pounds so far (total goal is 30 lbs!)
Just had to reply, beacuse I remember thinking exactly what you are thinking the first time I tried my ellitical. In October I started my weight-loss at 225. Over 6 weeks I build up my walking until I was walking for an hour almost every day at about 4 mph...but the first time I tried it, I barely lasted 6 minutes on the elliptical. (I was now about 212 or so). The next day I had aching calves & thighs and stayed away from the machine. By the third day I could barely walk but managed 6 minutes on the machine. I kept at it every second day, going for as long as I could (Which helped with the pain).
Now, about six weeks later, I can go for an hour at a steady pace. I have just increased the resistance to level 2 of 8. I go slower but my heart rate is right where it is supposed to be and I am back at only 20 minutes. I'm down another 11 pounds and I've lost an inch off my hips in 2 weeks!
Remember to go backwards too...it's a bit awkward at first but it works out different muscles...I often change directions if I feel I am getting tired - gives one set of muscles a break while the others get a good workout.
It really doesn't matter how long you go for - just make sure your heart rate is where it is supposed to be. You'll get better. Don't give up!
It's odd because the first time I used it, I could only do 5 minutes. The second time, I increased it to 10 minutes. Now, I can do up to 20 minutes without stopping, which was the third time I seriously tried. It does seem like it's easily learned, just hard to get started. Today, I'm going to shoot for 30 minutes without breaking. If I can do that, I'll stop for a couple hours then hit it for another 30 minutes later today.
All I know is, I simply LOVE this thing! It's wonderful for burning calories and I can do it in conjunction with a little strength training. I liked walking, but walking is highly dependant upon the weather and we've been getting a lot of rain lately. I couldn't get in my exercise. Now, I can everyday. I wish I had had the money to buy one much sooner.
I have to say, this was the best investment I've made in a long time.
Edit: Woohoo! I just did 45 minutes nonstop! When I got off, I could barely stand. Whoever mentioned sea legs was certainly right on the money. I'm so proud!