Why “elliptical bunnies” never reach their goals

The elliptical bunny, defined:

You know who I’m talking about: the people, primarily women, who go to the gym religiously and dedicate hours on end to their beloved elliptical trainers. You’ve probably notice that their bodies really don’t change much. Sure, they might shed a little weight initially, but that’s about it. Despite the time elliptical bunnies spend on these machines and the 8 billion calories the computer tells them they’re burning each workout, they aren’t getting results.

This is why I hate elliptical trainers. In my opinion, they’re useless pieces of equipment. No other cardio machine allows people to fake workouts and lies about how hard they’re working like ellipticals (and before you start whining about how bad your knees are and that the elliptical is your only option, allow me to introduce you to swimming and biking).

So if they are such shit, why are they so popular? Because they’re easy! Set 10 average people free in a room full of cardio equipment and at least 8 of them will head to the ellipticals. It’s human nature to do what’s easiest and the elliptical fits the bill. That’s great if you just go to the gym for the hell of it, but if you’re looking to change your body, the elliptical is going to disappoint.

In an effort to convince you to ditch these awful machines, I have created the following:

Why Ellipticals Suck

  1. They lie. A recent study in Men’s Health found that ellipticals overestimated caloric expenditure by about 30%. That means your 400 calorie workout is actually about 280 calories. The elliptical will let you think you’ve earned your martinis for the weekend when you haven’t.
  2. They are a lame workout. Unlike the treadmill or stepmill, which will fling you off mercilessly if you slow down, the elliptical will coddle you and tell you you’re doing great anyways. The elliptical’s mellow, “go with the flow” attitude makes it the stoner of the cardio room. And stoners are usually fat.
  3. People can watch TV and read on them. Good lord, if you are able to read the latest Cosmo and tune into Grey’s Anatomy while you’re training, you’re not working hard enough. Sure, it’s better than slouching on the couch, but how much benefit is your body really getting? How high can you possibly be pushing your heart rate?
  4. They are not ergonomically correct for anyone under 5’6”: Seriously, the path and length of the stride coupled with the reach of the arm handles (on machines that have them) are not made for petite people. Ellipticals force users into a position that may not fit their bodies correctly, and there is no way to adjust these machines to correct that.
  5. They only offer steady-state workouts: Ever tried doing high intensity intervals on the elliptical? The big, lunky machines just aren’t conducive to fast increases and decreases in intensity. People usually climb on them and work at the same level and cadence for the duration of their workout because, frankly, that’s what the elliptical is designed for.
  6. They are mindnumbingly boring. This is why people watch tv and read on them – without these distractions, the elliptical will make you want to cut your workout short to go jump out into traffic.

If you’re an elliptical bunny, do yourself a favor -  next time you’re at the gym, switch up your cardio. Give another piece of equipment a whirl and if you’re feeling sassy, do some intervals.