Elliptical Machine: Tips Plus Workout Roundup!


I had big plans to take a Pure Barre Platform class yesterday. Big plans I tell you!

But, as I mentioned in Thursday’s post, the Pure Barre Platform class for yesterday was sold out. The wait list was full and even though I checked for a spot through Saturday afternoon, one never popped up open for me.

I was beyond bummed. Really!

Not only did I want to take this class as part of my What’s Next Plan for after half marathon training, I wanted to review it for you today < – perfect example as to why setting an editorial calendar may not always work for you.

Anyway. Moving on and getting over my Pure Barre sadness, I do have another cross-training post for us today!

Laura actually sparked this post idea last week when she needed to do some extra cross-training on the elliptical machine. She actually asked ME how I make the elliptical work so well for me and how do I keep from getting bored while getting a great cross-training workout in? This is why I love her – she knows so so much about running and fitness yet isn’t afraid to ask others for guidance!

Some people hate the elliptical machine. Some people claim that the elliptical cannot give you a good, quality cardio workout.

I beg to differ. When used correctly and with purpose, you can absolutely achieve a sweaty workout on the elliptical!

elliptical workout roundup

3 Quick Elliptical Machine Tips:

1. Do not hold on!

Holding on to any cardio machine alleviates the impact of your workout by relying on the machine as support and assistance.

One trick I learned a while back is if you feel the need to hold onto something, grasp the bottom of your shirt with both hands.

Try it, it works!

2. Constantly check in with yourself and RE-ENGAGE!

I can still hear Ernie, my favorite spin instructor shouting during spin class back in the day, RE-ENGAGE!. He screamed this term constantly throughout the class to keep our minds focused on what we were doing so that we don’t let ourselves wander off.

When your mind wanders, you tend to relax a bit during your workout thereby not consistently pushing and working up to your ability or even past your ability.

It is very easy to get by on the elliptical without even working up a sweat.

You can coast yourself along to get in you 30 minutes a day BUT if you remain focused, constantly RE-ENGAGE, speed up your feet, increase your intensity and do the work, you absolutely can achieve an amazing sweat and cardio session without the impact on your joints.

3. Mix It Up!

Every elliptical machine is different but among all of those techy buttons resides the options for changing interval levels and resistance.

I always set the elliptical machine to the random setting which plays around with the interval levels for me. As the levels change from uphill, to downhill back to uphill,  I change pedaling direction as well as increase/decrease resistance levels throughout the workout.

Fun Elliptical Workouts:

Over the years, I came up with these engaging and fun elliptical workouts.

Feel free to pin these workouts directly from this post OR click on the links to learn more about each elliptical workout and then pin from there. Please let me know if you try one of these workouts!

40- Minute Elliptical Workout (with hills & speed)

elliptical workout

Elliptical Workout with Strength Segment – I cannot find my post for this workout but the infographic below definitely explains what you need to do to get a great mix of both cardio and strength all in one!

elliptical workout

30 Minute Cardio Burning Elliptical Workout

30 Minute Cardio Burning Workout

Mix It Up in the gym by warming up on the elliptical and then moving on to alternating a mile on the treadmill with strength segments in between.

progression interval workout

[bctt tweet=”You can get a great workout accomplished on the elliptical machine! #elliptical #crosstrain #workouts #unner #fitlfuential” username=”cookiechrunicle”]

Are you a fan of the elliptical machine?

Do you hop from machine to machine in the gym to keep from getting bored?

How was your weekend?! Anything exciting go on?


Cardio Burn Elliptical Workout



The highlight of my weekend literally involved highlights…And a three-inch haircut too!


I always check out my hair in the salon restroom before paying. I like to shake it out, readjust the pieces and make sure the length, cut and color is correct before I leave.

The only thing that could have been better than a great hair day would have been if we scored a Hershey’s Take 5 bar in all of our Halloween candy.

Not even one!

Do you know the Take 5 bar? It’s a mix of pretzels, caramel, peanut butter and peanuts covered in chocolate.

Hallowen candy

I did have some Dots though. Rarely do I choose the chewy stuff over the chocolate stuff but for some reason that’s what was calling my name from the candy pile this year. And the Milk Duds.

We didn’t get any pennies this time but we did receive free passes to a local Yoga studio.

yoga pass

I am ready to move on from Halloween but it looks like the amount of candy my son brought home will be with us for a while.

candy land

So now that it’s November and the weather is taking a turn for the colder (and wetter and windier as per this past weekend), I’m slowly digesting the possibility of another miserably freezing snow-covered winter.

While I ran a whole bunch outdoors through ice and snow and frigid temperatures last year, there were plenty of days where I was cooped up inside the gym due to mounds of snow covering my path.

I am totally grateful to have a gym within a few steps from my front door but geez, a girl can get bored with the same old cardio machines day after cold day.

So as I write this I wonder how it is I get bored inside a gym which offers many more options than simply running outside. But running outside isn’t just running outside if you know what I mean and I think you do know what I mean and this tangent I am on really deserves a post of its own some other day.  

Last week I completed a terrific made-by-me elliptical workout that was anything but boring. I was engaged, focused and sweating without impacting my joints and the time flew by in a flash.

I liked the routine so much that I decided to make you a pinnable image of the workout so you can follow along with the burning elliptical routine too.

I am sure that we all have different elliptical machines but I do believe they all have a random setting which will put you on a course of varying inclines.

That’s what those orange dot patterns mean below.


Select that random course or something hilly just so you won’t be on a flat course and won’t have to deal with changing your incline on your own because you will be too busy changing the resistance level instead.

I like the high resistance levels. They take time to get good at but I really feel that working out on the high resistance levels when combined with the higher inclines on the elliptical has helped me to build up my endurance for hill running even though I don’t run hills often.

Obviously adjust my suggestions below accordingly to your abilities. Use this as a guide to motivate yourself but not to push yourself so beyond what you are used to that you risk injury or falling off of the machine.

30 Minute Cardio Burning Workout

Two minutes at a high level of resistance (think hills!) followed by the next minute at a lowered level of resistance where you can pick up the speed (think downhills!)

Feel free to switch pedaling directions as you wish. I usually alternate between forward and backward every few minutes but I don’t hold myself to a strict routine on that part.

I do not pay attention to miles. You are cross training today so your miles don’t matter. You are pedaling on some machine and your focus is to handle the steep climbs and not lose your balance when you pedal backwards.

Let me know if you try it out or if you have any questions!

If you are interested in more workouts, check out my Running section at the top of this page.


If you had Halloween candy over the weekend, which was your favorite?

Do you like the elliptical? How often do you use it?

What’s your workout plan for today?


Workout Recap 9/15/14-9/21/14

So the Runner’s World Half & Festival is fast approaching. The hat trick is creeping up on me.

I contemplated an ignorance is bliss approach to the race courses yet couldn’t help myself the other day and decided to check them out.

Uh huh. Just as I thought. Hills. A bunch of hills.

I haven’t been doing much at all on hills unless we want to count the one I walked up at the Americana yesterday.

americana manhasset

Some may refer to the Americana as the Miracle Mile but I swear it is much more than a mile these days and no one ever talks about the hill down by Crate & Barrel which leads you up to Lulu Lemon. I think they purposely put Lulu and Athleta up the hill just to make you crave workout apparel.

Instead of being lazy and just running my usual out-the-front-door neighborhood loop this week, I am going to take one of my runs to a hilly section of town just to get reacquainted with the hill situation.

Until then, here is a look at my workouts from the last week…

weekly workout recap


8.15 miles

I knew it was going to be a great run when my warm up mile came in under 9:00 min/mile.

I held an average pace of 8:15 for a group of miles which felt nice with a cool down mile at the end.

Outdoor running really is harder for me than treadmill running. On the treadmill I can fly in the 7 min/miles but outside my mind wanders off so often which slows my pace. It’s always good when I can dial into my speed and focus on moving rather than on my thoughts.


6 easy miles plus Pure Barre DVD

I call them easy miles although I don’t think any mile is actually easy.


I never thought I would like doing a workout from home but I am loving the Pure Barre routine I have going and promise to get the full review up this week.


In The Gym Crosstrain Day

I didn’t really know what I felt like doing but I kinda knew when I woke up that I just didn’t feel like running.

Instead, I went to the gym and mixed things up:

  • 20 minutes elliptical
  • The Pure Barre arm circuit which I memorized from the class plus a few bicep and tricep sets using the ten pound free weights
  • 20 minutes elliptical
  • Home for the core-work/stretching section of a Pure Barre DVD

This mish mosh of a workout reminded me of the routines I normally do to beat boredom during the winter months.

You can check some of those routines in my Running section at the top of the page.


8.30 miles

My intentions were to focus on speed for part of this run but then my friend Danielle called. Since it was our only opportunity to talk, friendship was more important to me than my pace.


6 miles plus a Pure Barre DVD

I wore my Brooks Glycerin 10’s for this run. Don’t ask me why, my feet are insane and let’s just leave it at that.


14.15 miles

If my feet had a mind, we could say that they are officially losing it.

running shoes

Part of me wanted to wear the Brooks again but couldn’t decide and no, trying on one of each really didn’t help me.

I don’t like to rotate shoes although I know there are benefits to it but most of the time I really prefer to stick with one main pair.

Right now though, my feet sometimes feel like they need a change of scenery or maybe some more cushioning, support or just more shoe.

I don’t know, please don’t ask me to explain because I can’t.

I went with the Brooks and then changed my mind after two miles.

Good thing my usual loop is close to my home.


My son and I will be supporting one of my childhood friends, Kelly, along with her family, at the American Heart Association Walk this morning in memory of her brother, Adam.


I basically grew up in Kelly’s house and Adam was only a year younger than us so he was like a brother to me as well.


Have you participated in a Heart Walk near you?

How often do you rotate running shoes?

Favorite run from the week?

Who else is going to the Runner’s World Half & Festival?




Three Tip Tuesday – Elliptical Machine

Some people consider writer’s block the inability to come up with ideas. I consider my writer’s block to be more like I have so many things to say that I don’t know what to write about first, or, I have so many things to say on so many different topics that I stare at the screen unable to write because I don’t know which topic to pick.

I really wanted to tell you all about the school lunch cafeteria tour I attended last week, I also wanted to fill you in on the benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar.


Instead, I have now decided that it is more important to stick with what has been going on with me in terms of my stubborn feet.

I think it is more natural and honest to write about something of importance that is currently going on with me and by doing so, I also think it keeps the blog that much more personal which is something I really strive to accomplish with my posts everyday.

So. Let’s back up to yesterday morning.

I got all dolled up to run a few easy miles. I say easy because I wasn’t quite sure what type of mood my feet would be in. The rest of me was certainly ready for a fun run and I was hoping my feet were game.


Is it me or do I resemble a Japanese Sweet Potato?

About a quarter-mile in I felt that shin splint type feeling in both feet, this time more the left than the right.

So frustrating, yes?

As I have said before, there are plenty of times where you should push yourself to get out of your comfort zone but there are also those times where you just know you need to stop and not push yourself to run when you maybe shouldn’t be running.

Click here for a great link on deciding what types of aches/pains you should/shouldn’t run through.

I made it almost a mile when I decided to cut off my usual path and head straight for the gym inside my community.

IMG_0678 (2)

As soon as I stopped running, that uncomfortable feeing went away.

Although heading inside to the gym when you are dressed for the outdoor elements is not exactly comfortable.

My plan once inside the gym was to cross-train on the elliptical machine.

Recently, Amanda over at Running With Spoons posted a link to an article in her weekly Link Love post that discussed workout habits you should drop now. Click here for the article.

When you click on the link and read the article, the first workout listed that you should avoid is the elliptical machine.

While I do agree with some of what the author said, I actually think if you use the machine correctly and stay focused, you can indeed receive a quality cross-training, nonimpact workout.

3 Tips For Making The Elliptical Work For You:


Holding on to any cardio machine alleviates the impact of your workout by relying on the machine as support and assistance.

One trick I learned a while back is if you feel the need to hold onto something, grasp the bottom of your shirt with both hands.

Try it, it works!


I can still hear Ernie, my favorite spin instructor shouting at me, RE-ENGAGE!. He screamed this term constantly throughout  class to keep our minds focused on what we were doing so that we don’t let ourselves wander off.

When your mind wanders, you tend to relax a bit during your workout thereby not consistently pushing and working up to your ability or even past your ability.

It is very easy to get by on the elliptical without even working up a sweat. You can coast yourself along to get in you 30 minutes a day but if you stay focused, constantly RE-ENGAGE, speed up your feet, increase your intensity and do the work, you can achieve a decent sweat and workout session.


Every elliptical machine is different but among all of those techy buttons resides the options for changing interval levels and resistance.

IMG_0703 (2)

I always set the elliptical machine to the random setting which plays around with the interval levels for me. As the levels change from uphill, to downhill back to uphill,  I change pedaling direction as well as increase/decrease resistance levels throughout the workout.

I realize that many bloggers post awesome looking charts that offer you specific elliptical workout plans to follow while you pedal away.

I am not one of those bloggers. As pretty and informative as some of those charts look, I have never been one to follow a plan and tend to make up my own elliptical “beat-the-boredom” interval routines as I go along.

I can refer you though to some great elliptical workout routines. Click here for the links to Julie’s workout page. She offers several different options.

So how are my feet feeling today? Totally fine. And that’s the problem. I feel nothing unless I am running.

So don’t run, right? Ha.

It is very hard to not step outside and run, especially when the weather is decent, it isn’t raining and isn’t too cold.

Telling me not to run in these conditions is like putting me inside of a bakery and telling me I can’t pick out a cookie.



Do you like the elliptical machine? Do you feel that you get a decent workout when you use it?

What are your favorite cross-training workouts?

Are you guilty of holding on to the machines while exercising?

Favorite cookie from a bakery? Tough one for me. I love a giant chocolate chip, black and white or rainbow cookies!






Bust Cubby Giveaway!

You know it is fall when you have a hard time peeling yourself out of your comfy bed and pajamas in fear of the cold air and chill that occurs when getting dressed.

Yesterday morning I quickly contemplated the unplanned rest day idea. I was cold, I was tired and I might have even been a bit cranky.

But, I decided that since I was already up, I might as well push myself to get dressed and tackle just 30 minutes on the elliptical, knowing that I would feel much better afterwards.

I really struggled to get dressed but I am telling you, once I put my favorite Lulu top on, I instantly felt a bit better.

IMG_5315 (2)

I realize my face is cut off but the point of the above photo is not only to look at my pretty purple top but to check out my Bust Cubby that is peeking out from my tank.

I mentioned last week that I was introduced to the Bust Cubby at the Healthy Brand Showcase.

IMG_5309 (2)

A little bit of info from the Bust Cubby website:

If you are looking for a unique, water-resistant case that will fit your cell phone, credit cards, Mp3 player, passport, insulin pump, pepper spray, epi-pen, keys, makeup/compact or any of your other essentials, you have come to the right place! The Bust Cubby was originally designed to strap to your bra or tank top, but you can also attach your Bust Cubby to the inside of your boot strap, purse strap, belt loop or lanyard! 

IMG_5285 (2)

It is true. Your Bust Cubby can hold your phone and/or other essentials attached to places other than a tank strap or bra . I can totally see myself or my friends attaching it to diaper bags, gym bags or any bag that tends to be a bottomless pit which keeps us from locating our phones and essentials quickly.

IMG_5284 (2)

While I don’t wear cowboy boots (although I used to love my Justin boots back in the day) the girls had them on display at the showcase so you can see that yes, the Bust Cubby certainly attaches and tucks away nicely.

I couldn’t wait to test out wearing my leopard printed Bust Cubby attached to my tank top during my runs. While my pants/shorts/skirts always have a place for my key, I was excited to have a secure place to put my phone that would still allow me access and most importantly, allow me to listen to music.

I ran 10 miles with the Bust Cubby securely in place. I didn’t even notice it was there. It was so freeing to run without holding my phone and the wire to my earbuds did not tangle up once.

It is very easy to access your phone from the Bust Cubby too. I tried my best not to, I even controlled myself when a song came on my playlist that I didn’t like but if I needed to use my phone, I had no issue taking it out of the case and putting back, all while still running at a pretty quick pace.

I know, I am so multi-talented.

IMG_5283 (2)

Bust Cubbys are totally machine washable (just don’t put them in the dryer) and come in a variety of patterns as well as different sizes depending upon the make of your phone.

Concerned about Radio Frequency and your phone being so close to your body?

From their website: We take this subject seriously.  Our President questioned two separate Oncologists (one was an actual Breast Specialist) who discredited the validity of a link between the two.   The 100%Copper Radio frequency shield will not keep you from absorbing all radio frequency waves coming to your phone, however, according to the manufacturer, the Copper fabric used in this shield can block 99.9% of RF signals.   It is intended as a shield only to lessen the absorption rate into the body when wearing your cell phone inside the Bust Cubby as well as providing a RF Identity shield for your credit cards. 

Just make sure to remove the RF shield prior to washing.

Ok friends, GIVEAWAY TIME!

Do you want your very own Bust Cubby plus Radio Frequency Shield? Of course you do.

Between now and October 1, 2013, leave a comment on this post explaining why you want a Bust Cubby and/or where you would attach it.

One winner will be randomly selected from among all eligible comments received.

Simple enough, yes?



Where would you attach your Bust Cubby?

Do you have trouble getting out of bed as it gets colder?


*I received a Bust Cubby free of charge; no further compensation was given for this post. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.


Latest Trends…

Hi friends! It is already Wednesday, can you believe it? The week is moving along nicely.

The wind is a whipping here and blowing the rain all around so I gather I will not be running outside…which is just fine.

After an intense spin class yesterday with Ernie and the fabulous 6 mile run on Monday, I could use an easy day inside on the elliptical machine.


Have you all heard this quote before? I find a lot of the instructors use it as motivation to get you to work harder.

Sure, you can do anything for one minute but as those minutes add up to 60 minutes (the length of my spin class), I have come to realize that quote being thrown at me is rather misleading.

Speaking of classes, have you heard about the latest trend in group fitness?


Ahhhh the Hula Hoop. I always enjoyed a good hula with the hoop. Hula Hoop group fitness classes are being offered around Manhattan and now out here on the Island. I am reading all about it in today’s paper. Click here for the article.

How fun to take a class devoted to the hoop. If you recall from your hooping days, it isn’t all that easy to keep that hoop up and moving. A full 45-60 minute class trying to maintain the hoop in different ways can certainly provide a full body workout. I can see how it would certainly help to strengthen those core muscles. 

I think it is great that classes are getting more creative. I think the creativity helps to attract people that may not be interested or motivated to get off the couch and work out. Signing up and taking fun classes gets you moving and sweating without really realizing it is exercise!


Now how fun would a glow in the dark Hula Hoop class be? LIfetime Fitness has yet to add a Hoop class but when they do, I may need to suggest disco style.

I think I will buy one. Or two. My son would probably enjoy it and would give him a workout too (and perhaps tire him out? Boys have incredible everlasting energy).

In other news, have you heard about the latest trend in cereal?

It seems Kellogg’s and General Mills will be coming out with a new way to have your morning bowl of cereal. You can read the full article here.

In an effort to combat declining cereal sales. these brands will be producing cereal breakfast shakes. They feel a shake version of cereal is an easy, on the go meal that may attract people back to their brands, may interest those that normally skip breakfast or who don’t have time to sit down for the traditional cereal and milk meal.

My thoughts:

  • I can’t remember the last time I ate a traditional bowl of cereal. As much as I loved my Cocoa Pebbles, Life or even bowl of vitamin and mineral fortified cereal back in the day, none of them were all that filling.


  • If I buy cereals now, they are on hand in our pantry to be eaten as a snack, not a meal.
  • I can only imagine the ingredient list for the breakfast shakes. Should be quite an interesting (and lengthy) read.
  • I also think that the rise in popularity of protein shakes, smoothies and more filling breakfast options have taken sales away from traditional breakfast cereal.


I am not a big fan of shakes. I know so many people that love to make them, experiment with them and/or buy them, but I really prefer to chew my food. 

For a long time (ok, for several years, as in every single morning without fail) I ate a whole grain english muffin with peanut butter.

For the last few years though, like many other runners and habitual breakfast eaters, breakfast has become all about the oats for me. Steel cut oatmeal, old fashioned oatmeal, hot, cold, mixed with greek yogurt, a stir of peanut butter, fluffed with egg white, mixed with pumpkin, a handful of blueberries, strawberries, peaches, banana, apples,,,,I could go on and on regarding my variety.

Possibilities are endless people. And most importantly in my book – filling as well as perfect for me as a pre-run and/or post-run meal.

Oatmeal can be made in advance or chosen as a last minute decision. And if you are looking for portable capabilities, this meal has that too:


I need to know:

Are you a breakfast eater? What do you eat?

Have you heard of Hula Hoop fitness classes? Are there any offered in your area?

The Surprise Appeal of Cross Training

Happy Friday! This week flew by and all of the days seem to have blended together. Mostly because the little boy was home sick for the first part of the week. Having him home sick kept me from my new usual routine of hitting up the fancy schmancy Lifetime Fitness gym that I have grown to love. While nothing beats a good run outside, the frigid weather and winter has allowed me to succumb to the cost and be a permanent fixture at Lifetime. I missed my favorite spin class on Tuesday and I am already looking forward to it for next week.

Is this me really talking? Is it possible that this runner girl misses a spin class which involves sitting on a bicycle? It sure does.

Rumor has had it that crosstraining is super beneficial to increasing your strength, stamina and ability for running. It also allows you to work different muscles and give others a rest and some time to recover. Yes, I knew this. But I still favored running over anything else.

It has become clear to me that crosstraining with a spin class or the wide variety of elliptical type machines I have tried at Lifetime have absolutely had a positive effect on my running speed and stamina. I am running faster and easier than before I joined and I can only attribute my new found speed to crosstraining.

There is nothing like stepping outside your front door for a good run. I have wonderful access to a running path in my community. I also have a lovely little gym tucked inside my neighborhood as well. I often use the elliptical machine there when it is raining and need a quick workout. I stumbled into my community gym this week and hopped on the elliptical machine. I had not been on this machine in a while and I was amazed to see that I was working at a higher level here as well. I attribute this as well to crosstraining.

It is clearly so important to challenge ourselves and shake up our usual routines. Being a creature of habit as well as stubborn, I do realize this is not easy to do. If you love to run like I do, it is very hard to give up the in-your-head scheduled 5 miler for a spin class. Or to plan on working hard on the dreaded elliptical machine instead. But trust me, simply adding these workouts into your weekly regimen will make your next run that much more fabulous and satisfying. Not to mention your speed in your next race.

Lifetime offers a trial pass to experience all of the wonders of their facility. As most other gyms I am sure do. I absolutely recommend that you look into trying a new place out and see how it works for you.

Stepping out of my exercise comfort zone has give me a positive change in my life. I am wondering what other area of my daily life I can attempt a positive change as well by trying something new.

Are you a creature of habit?

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