5 Ways You Shouldn't Work Out
Avoid the elliptical and drop the excessive cardio: Jennifer Cohen
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Mar 2, 2014 2:20 PM CST
Jennifer Cohen suggests avoiding doing the same routines repeatedly.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Congrats on spending that hour at the gym—but are you spending it effectively? At Health.com, Jennifer Cohen offers tips on improving your workout by dropping some bad habits. Among them:

  • Stop using the elliptical, which is both "boring" and "ineffective," Cohen writes. Its motion isn't a natural one for your body, and natural motions—running, jumping—are better for muscle toning. In fact, 20 minutes of cross-training offers more benefit than 45 minutes on the elliptical.
  • Cut the cardio in favor of strength training. In addition to boosting your heart rate and cutting calories, strength training works for you even when you're not working out: Increased mass allows your muscles to burn calories over the course of the day.

  • When it comes to your routines, stop repeating yourself so much. An exercise that was once challenging gets easier for your body with repetition, and that means you're not using as much energy. Switch it up every day, and you'll "trick your body into working harder and burning more calories."
  • Ditch the Gatorade. Sugary sports drinks are packed with calories. Instead, stick with water, and a healthy snack about 45 minutes before you hit the gym.
  • Stop dawdling. Schedule your water breaks in advance, and quit texting during your workout.
Click for two more tips.

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Showing 3 of 22 comments
Mar 9, 2014 11:38 AM CDT
no.6 not at all!
Tough Guy
Mar 7, 2014 3:23 PM CST
Hi Matt, I'm 54 years old and I have been working out at the club 2 times per week for the last 32 years or so. This is in addition to running (5 to 10 miles), and the occasional ski trip and other activities I do. I work out hard at the club, usually about 2 hours. I use all the machines and have as much or more weight and reps on each machine as I have ever before and am in as good a shape as I have ever been in. I usually end my workouts with 10 minutes on the elliptical. You may say it is useless, but that is where I get my heart rate way up. I still reach about 160 and sometimes 165 bpm, check that out for a 54 year old. :) So yes, the elliptical works for me.
Mar 3, 2014 7:11 PM CST
I use the elliptical for training for mountain climbing with and without snowshoes. I find it's the only thing that keeps me in shape for this. I am pretty skinny, burn lots of calories on the machine and get a little upper body tone also. I like this because I do not need to work out on weights for hours and hours to get nice defined tone, etc. since I already removed the excess weight via the elliptical. You need both strength training and cardio for a healthy body and a healthy heart. And jogging, climbing or the elliptical speeds your metabolism. I don't care what anyone says about weights. The proof I see is that the three people I know with amazingly fast metabolisms - who are all petite women who seem to inhale food but have no fat on their bodies - all do intense cardio-based sports like marathon running on a regular basis. Adding to my hypothesis, I know very strong people who train exclusively on weights, who have big muscles but also a big roll of fat on their core that never quite goes away. Just my two cents. I am going to keep doing what works for me. Unlike the author of this article, I enjoy the elliptical once I get up to speed!