THIS is the KEY to an Effective 30-Minute Workout on the Elliptical

Cats and Kids, Kids and Cats,

Who of you hop on the elliptical, press quick start, and let your legs spin sans resistance as you bounce around and watch the tv monitor?

All of you who answered “Guilty” probably wonder why 30 minutes later you have only burned 200 calories and aren’t even sweating…

Here’s the deal, to get an EFFECTIVE cardio workout on the elliptical machine you MUST INCREASE YOUR INTENSITY!

Let’s go through the steps to achieve an ideal 30–minute elliptical workout:

Step 1:

Drop the distractions. Don’t read or watch tv during your 30 minute workout. Music is acceptable as it can help motivate your intensity level.

I also challenge you to try using your thoughts as motivation to push yourself. Maybe you are venting frustration, or trying to reach a higher heart rate or resistance level than your last workout.

Talk to yourself. Let your thoughts encourage and drive your workout in a positive, “I can do this!” way.

Step 2: Have a plan.

So what do these high intensity 30 minutes consist of? The simple answer? Intervals…

Interval training burns the highest amount of calories from fat. It consists of a high intensity bout, followed by a recovery phase.

You can base these levels off your Maximum Heart Rate, or MHR. Once you find your MHR, you will have a Target Heart Rate (THR) for the high intensity interval  (70-85% of your MHR) and a THR for the recovery phase (60-65% of MHR).

To figure out your MHR and THRs, go HERE.

These numbers are great to know so you can keep track on any elliptical machine with heart rate monitors on the handles, or you might want to invest in a heart rate monitor you wear.


Step 3:  Do It Up! Try these 2 Elliptical workouts to get you started : )

Interval Workout Example 1: Based on MHR

1. Warm up the first 3 minutes, bringing HR close to 65%MHR number

2. 2 minute High Intensity Interval= 75-85%MHR (achieved by increasing  pace and/or resistance level)

3. 3 minute Recovery Interval= 65%MHR

4. Repeat this 2 minute on, 3 minute off cycle until you reach 28 minutes

5. Cool down at 28 minutes and try to bring HR below 65% by 30 minutes.

Interval Workout Example 2: Based on Resistance Level and Pace

1. Warm-up 2 min at resistance level of 7

2. From here, it goes into interval cycles of 4 minutes:

  • 2 minutes at level 10 resistance
  • 1 minute at level 14 and sprinting
  • 1 minute recovery

3. Repeat all the way to 30 minutes!



These workouts guarantee better results than that monotonous 30 minutes of zoning out, and the time goes by fast because you are changing it up.

By working out at a high intensity, your body produces a lot of a chemical called catecholamine. This triggers fat burning processes in your body. This causes a heightened metabolic rate (your body is burning Calories at a higher rate) up to 48 hours after the actual workout.

Happy Interval-ing! If you have any favorite high intensity interval workouts, do share!!! Questions welcome,


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