250 cals in 20 min

i walked into the gym this morning and there were a cluster of stairmasters both to the left and to the right of me.  i counted 12 people total marching like crazy.  i also noticed that every single one of them were hunched over with either their hands or forearms resting on the rails.  why do we do that?  i think it's a combo of seeing others do it, and because they are just there.  let's be honest..it makes it easier too.

stairmaster tips:

  • rails are there for balance- don't abuse them.
  • watch your posture. no hunched backs or shoulders. stand up straight and tall to elongate that spine. muscle imbalance doesn't look good on anyone.
  • no hands!! the more you involve your upper body and tip forward, the less work your legs do.  that would be cheating. keep the weight in your heels so your quads, hams, and glutes feel the full effect.
  • stay centered-  in the middle of the step, AND in the middle of the stairmaster itself.  if you feel like you're sinking and might fall off, slow down and warm up to high speeds gradually.  in retrospect, if you are at the very top and darn near tipping over waiting for the next step to appear, SPEED UP!
  • either put your hands on your hips or in front of you with your elbows bent and fists up, like a boxer.  you can also swing your arms naturally (while they are still bent @ 90 deg.) with each step. opposite arm with opposite leg, just like walking.

that said, i have a quick, effective interval stairmaster workout i like to use.  i can't stand looking at the time and thinking 'dang, only ___ minutes have passed!?!?' that's another reason i love intervals because they make the time go quicker.  you are constantly switching speeds and movements.  plus, doing the same boring speed the entire time is such a motivation killer. (60 and 90 are speeds, fyi)

0:00 - 2:00 straight step (warmup) 60

2:00-2:30 straight step 90

2:30-3:00 left side step 90

3:00-3:30 right side step 90

3:30-4:00 straight step 90

4:00-5:00 skip a step 90

5:00-6:00 straight step (active recovery...heart rate is coming back down) 60

REPEAT 3x's (sans the warm-up).  when you get to 18:00 min., slow down to 40 and cool down for the last 2 min. with a straight step.

* side note: if you have the interval option on your stairmaster machine, use it! makes it so much easier to push one quick button to toggle speeds instead of having to hold it down each time to go from 60 to 90 and back. 

i start craving my oatmeal smack in the middle of my morning workouts- couldn't get home fast enough this morning!  today i did an egg white/turkey sausage scramble with 1 laughing cow cheese wedge and some salsa for around 275 cals.  staying within the 250-300 calorie range satisfies me until my mid-morning snack.

here's to a productive Thursday!


what's is your go-to elliptical machine?