Disclaimer: The information below is for educational/entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional help. Before beginning a new exercise regimen or making any other changes in your lifestyle, always consult with your physician and/or a certified coach.
But several months ago, I was hit by a really bad IT band syndrome on my left leg. Even walking became difficult. The pain creeped up really slowly during the weeks before, and I just thought it’s one of those sores that’ll go away as long as I keep moving those muscles. But the pain only got worse.
It forced me to stop playing during one of my weekly tennis rallies – I couldn’t run after the balls as fast as I could, much less control my shots as accurately as I’ve done before. And then there’s the crazy painful sports massage. The following weeks after left me completely restrained from hitting the treadmill whenever I’m at the gym. Either I skip cardio entirely or choose to work with some other cardio equipment until I fully recover.
This leads me to reunite with my longtime pal, the elliptical trainer, and it’s something I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with.
It doesn’t help that out of the four basic components of physical fitness, i.e. speed, strength, flexibility, and stamina, I value stamina the most. Too often, the longer I stay during an elliptical workout, the more I find myself ended up compromising myself and go easy.
It just doesn’t take as much mental effort to last through an elliptical workout as on the treadmill, and there’s always the voices in my head that will come while the clock is ticking (“I’ve got resistance to keep up with the intensity”, “I can lay low for a bit with my balance”, “No need to go long when I’m already this fast”).
It’s very different from running, at least for me, where your balance, posture, and movements are entirely arbitrary.
But here’s the good news: This machine is much easier on your joints, as you’re not stressing them a lot like when you’re pounding the pavements. When used correctly, the elliptical shouldn’t cause knee pain. As it turns out, those precise reasons I don’t find the it as challenging have become the reasons that allowed me the time to heal while still keeping myself active. So I figured it can also benefit anyone who’s recovering from a running injury, but still wants a gripping workout to keep those cardiac muscles strong.
That said, I want to share this particular workout today. It’s the minimum standard whenever I’m running short on time:
So the next time you rationalize yourself out of cardio with the after-burn effect, or simply decide to forgo the gym, think about this: The time you need for this workout is equals to the time you use watching a sitcom episode (or about seven cat videos on YouTube). Choose one that your future self will thank you for.