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I need a cross-trainer / elliptical machine Professional!!!!

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Hey are you a cross-trainer or elliptical machine expert?

Then, help me would you?

I have some questions:

1.  What is the difference between a cross trainer and an elliptical machine?

2.  What should the RPM's be per hour?

3.  What distance should you go?

4.  Is it better to do manual, or one of the programmed exercises?

5.  What should my heart rate be?  age 37 almost 38 (on 2-24-69) 5'6" female (who weighs too much 252).

6.  Should you keep your feet flat on this machine or go up on your tippy toes?

7.  Why do some machines at the YMCA (Precor) hurt my knees, while the lifetime machines do not?

I need an elliptical expert!  :)

6 Replies (last)
First I am no expert - far from it just a user of an elliptical for last 18 months ok!!!

I think a xtrainer and elliptical are the same but not sure

RPM?  I don't know mine doesn't do RPM's it does Miles per hour i guess do what ever is comfortable for you.

Distance - again its what you can do.  Some of my days I'll do 8 miles some 12 some less

Which program - again its personal preference and what you want to accomplish  Cardio fat burn mixture etc....

Heart rate - depends again on personal preference - see above answer -- also do a search on these forums for "heart rates" cardio vs fat burn etc  as there are some different formulas to use to find your heart rate to shoot for for whether you want fat burn, cardio, aerobic anorobic HIIT so on and so forth

I keep feet flat - use the heel of foot to push because I have shin splints and plantar fascitis so this causes me least pain.  I don't know what tip toes will do or why to do tip toes

can't answer #7  except maybe the precor has a wider "gait" I know some machines are adjustable in the elliptical "gait" and maybe its too wide for your stance?

Hope this helps you a bit but just remember I am NOT AN EXPERT
I belevie dbackerfan is correct. To the best of my knowledge they are the same. Some come with movable handles or arms and others are stationary. Cheers
I find the Elliptical best for me.   As far as intensity, this depends on your health and you should be advised by doc.  As far as burning fat vs. buring muscle.  (areobic vs anerobic)  Most machines are geared towards keeping you in a "fat burning range".  The heartrate formula for this is (220 - your age) = MAX heart expenditure.  Take this HRmax and multiply by  X 70%.  I am age 44, so mine is (220-44) = 176 max rate, then 176 X 70% =  123/beats per minute is my "fat loss" low intensity burn rate.   Therefore, to stay in a fat burning range and in order to not burn valuable muscle, my heart range would need to stay close to 122 beats per min during areobic training.  However, I have learned from a great deal of medical research that, staying in this low heart range of calorie burning takes me forever to amount to much benefit.  For example: Say you burn 200 calories doing low intensity cardio and 90% of those calories came from fat. That means you burned 180 calories from fat and 20 from other sources. If you would have done high intensity cardio during that period, you might have burned 300 calories and 75% of those calories were burned from fat. That means you burned 225 calories from fat and 75 calories from other sources. Therefore the total calorie burn is much higher in the high intesity range.  So unless you have several hours a day to work out at 122 (low intensity range) your time spent is more productive working as hard as you can in the high range.  (Provided you are healthy and your doc approves) The summary of this is that there isn't a right answer as to whether low intensity is better than high intensity or that high intensity is better than low intensity. Both have their advantages.   For me personally, the advantage of doing high intensity cardio is that you burn much more calories than low intensity cardio and you burn more fat in the same period of time. The advantage of low intensity cardio is that more of the calories that you burn are coming from fat and not other sources.  However, if you can lift some weights to offset any muscle depletion from high intensity cardio, you will acheive much quicker result with your heart rate at  150 to 170 beats/ min.  (Or whatever your max rate calulation is. "A review by Hultman (1995) found that during a diet where carbs are restricted and a lot of fat is consumed, up to 70% of the energy requirement (even during high intensity activities) comes from the oxidation of fat (where during a high carbs diet, such activities would derive 80-90% of the energy from glycogen)." (Thibaudeau)    I hope this helps.  Also, I like the Elliptical much better tahn the cross trainer.  Just a personal preference.    Best of luck and burn!
WOW, does that ever answer some questions of mine!!  My sister and I have started working out since 12/20/06.  And, we are trying to understand all of this fat buring versus cardio, etc.  We are lifting weights Mon Wed Fri and Doing cardio at least 6 days per week.  I couldn't figure out this "fat burning" concept. ??  But your explanation helps.  I DO NOT have more than 30 minutes total on the cross trainer (per YMCA guidelines for usage).  So, I want to work as hard as I can for those 30 minutes.  I am only a level 2, so I am working up to 30 minutes, and then I will increase my levels.  Does this sound right?

When I first started, I could do the Lifetime Cross trainer for about 5 minutes and that was it.  Now, today for instance, I did 25 minutes with a 5 minute cool down.  It took me 7 minutes before I could get my heart rate up to the 150's 161 beats per minute.  My heart is becoming a more efficient machine!  It is adapting to my work out!  :) 

I am trying to eat between 1500 and 1800 not to exceed 2000 calories per day!  I lost 5.5 the first week, and 4.4 the next week.  tomorrow AM is weigh in Monday for my sister and I. 

I am going to be 38 in February.  So, 220-38=182   65 % of 182 = 118.3 beats per minute (too slow) and 85% of 182 =  154.7 beats per minute (just about where I am trying to be, although I do hit 160 161 (and then I try to pull back a bit).  Will my heart explode if I go 160's?  :)

Thanks for the good info.  :)
 "A review by Hultman (1995) found that during a diet where carbs are restricted and a lot of fat is consumed, up to 70% of the energy requirement (even during high intensity activities) comes from the oxidation of fat (where during a high carbs diet, such activities would derive 80-90% of the energy from glycogen)." (Thibaudeau)  

So, what does this mean exactly for me, in terms of % of calories from fat/carbohydrates/protein?

Kathy  :)
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As far as the precor vs. lifefitness question, I have found that the different brands of machines "fit" people differently. Precors are great for me, but the lifefitness machines hurt my knees. For my partner, it's just the opposite. To me it seems that the motion is slightly different between the two, and the position of your body. Just use whichever one feels the best to you!
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