We are introducing a new concept and new lifestyle:
“No Exercise Approach” to our Medical Weight Loss Program
Exercise Machines That Help Burn Fat and Build Muscle
While exercising on our Medical Weight Loss Program is not needed, exercising along with our weight loss program will result in greater weight loss.
If you’re a fan of the exercise machines at your gym then you might put more thought into how to spend your time when you visit your gym and what exercises benefit your body more. But for those that don’t know, to get the most out of a machine takes strategy and if you’re looking to maximize your time at the gym some machines are better than others.
If a low-resistance stationary bike session or leisurely elliptical hour feels easy it is probably because you’re not expending as much energy as you could be. There are plenty of benefits to going slow and steady — it’s great for cardiovascular health and can help build endurance and speed — but it will not give you a hardcore calorie burn.
Quick note here: If weight loss is your goal then burning calories through cardio work alone isn’t going to do it. If you need to build lean muscle, you will achieve that through strength training, focusing on eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and managing your stress.
With all this in mind here are the ultra-efficient and expert-approved exercise machines you should focus on if you will be using the gym alongside our Medical Weight Loss Program.
Rowing machines have become gym-floor mainstays and are excellent tools for raising your heart rate and strengthening your legs, arms, and core—all while sitting down! It’s not a walk in the park “because the entire body is working at once and energy expenditure is very high while it challenges the user to be powerful and efficient.” The rowing machine works by using wind or water resistance so the more effort you put in the harder it becomes.
The key for cardio and strength benefits though, is making sure you’re using the machine the correct way it’s designed to be used. Yes you can hop on one and use it incorrectly and still get an OK workout, but learning the proper timing and technique will provide an even greater workout.
Here is a walk-through of the correct way to use it.
1. Start seated near the front of the machine with your legs bent and holding the handles in your hands with a slight lean forward.
2. Push back powerfully with your legs then follow with your arms by bringing the bar to your ribs and lean back slightly.
Pause here for a moment.
3. Straighten your arms back out and then bend your knees to bring your body back to the starting position
(Repeat: legs, arms, arms, legs, etc.)
It’s all about control and power — if you’re speeding through you probably aren’t using proper form. A great rower looks like they are going ‘slow.’ Every stroke is powerful so you don’t need to rush, this will help prevent you from getting exhausted too quickly.
Using these machines (often known as StepMills or StairMasters) are like climbing a set of stairs that never ends. It’s not pleasant but it’s effective, a some benefits of using the stair climber are that the user is standing the entire time, its time efficient and it forces the user to keep moving the entire time they are on it, strengthening the entire lower body too.
After a few flights the user is going to feel the burn in their quads, glutes and hamstrings. Climbing stairs puts all of the users body weight on a single leg at a time in a continuous lunge patter with large muscle groups of the legs being worked causing energy expenditure to be very high.
In addition to expending a higher amount of energy while the user is on the machine, they will have stronger leg muscles and increase their basal metabolic rate (BMR) . These lower-body muscles are big and they are some of the most metabolically active muscles in your body, the muscle mass in your legs require more energy to maintain so you burn more calories at rest. When you’re climbing with proper posture your core is working to keep you upright and balanced as well creating less back pain after a workout.
The cardinal rule of stair climbing is there is no holding onto the arm rails for support, you can lightly rest your fingertips for balance but for the maximum benefits don’t put your weight onto them.
To get started: start by stepping for a minute-on and then a minute-off for intervals of 10 to 20 minutes while alternating between a faster and a slower speeds, make sure your entire foot hits the stair with each step.
Like the stair climber, users like the treadmill because it forces them to keep moving throughout the workout in two efficient ways for heart-pumping cardio, high-intensity intervals and walking with the incline set to high.
Treadmills are one of the simplest ways to incorporate High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which is an effective and efficient way to train, because you’re “revving” your heart rate multiple times during a HIIT session and your body uses more energy to return to a resting state after the workout is over. This results in burning more calories in the process and it is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), or the “after-burn effect”. There’s no need to drive your heart rate through the roof during every workout session though, it’s efficient for burning fat but it puts a lot of stress on your body so you don’t want to do it every day.
Treadmills have an answer for that, walking at a significant incline is an excellent way to burn fat without putting as much pressure on your joints, the after-burn effect isn’t as great but because you’re keeping your heart rate in a moderate zone you’ll still burn more calories from fat than from carbohydrates.
How to use the incline:
Walking at a moderate speed start increasing the incline every couple of minutes until you get to an incline of 8 then maintain the incline for 5 to 10 minutes and work yourself back down. Another option includes staying at an incline of 5 to 7 then increasing and decreasing the speed (slow walking to speed walking) every other minute.
One of the most challenging cardio machines out there is the fan bike, also referred to as the Assault Air or Airdyne Bike. It looks similar to a stationary bike but it has a large fan as a front wheel and two handlebars that are higher than the seat. Unlike a stationary bike though, this equipment requires you to move your arms as well as your legs to peddle and since you’re expending more energy to get it done you’re burning more calories. Like rowing machines the bikes use wind resistance to create work, the wind resistance is exponential and the harder you pedal the more challenging the workout.
Because this machine is so intense I recommend starting with 10 seconds of all-out work followed by 50 seconds of rest then repeat for a total of 10 minutes. As you get more advanced you can decrease your ratio of work to rest.
Ultimately the machine you choose is up to personal preference, no matter what your goal is the most effective and efficient machines are the ones you can be consistent with. So if you consider the treadmill the “Dreadmill” a no sweat workout, try the rowing machine, if you enjoy the elliptical, that’s fine too. It’s all about making sure the intensity is there and you are putting in the work.
The Elliptical Trainer is a stationary exercise machine that simulates walking or running but may exert less pressure on the leg joints. It offers a minimal-impact weight-bearing cardiovascular workout that can vary from light to high intensity based on the speed and resistance set by the user. Elliptical trainers use a lot of leg muscles but on some models you can add upper-body motion as well, creating a full-body workout.
Most elliptical machines have an option to use handles that are in a stable position or handles that move in an opposite arm-and-leg pattern like cross-country skiing.
Not holding onto the bars will workout your core muscles: abdominal, hips and back, this allows you to exercise your balance. Benefits of the elliptical machine are its low-impact on the joints, the resistance and speed are adjustable and not many modifications are necessary for people with arthritis.
To use an elliptical:
1. Stand on top of the pedals and grab the handles.
2. Move your legs in a gliding back-and-forth motion while keeping your posture upright.