I used to be an avid gym go-er, back when I had the funds. Now that life is turning around a bit, I'm thinking about going back. However, I still find myself wondering if I'll get enough out of the gym to make it worth while.
While I loved the perceived efficiency of using an elliptical, I know that so many people - myself included - don't use it correctly, and get minimal benefit from its use. Even when you're "running" like a bat out of hell on it, without the appropriate amount of resistance, you're just letting momentum to a lot of the work. Sure, it may get your heart racing a bit more, but unless you're fighting against the resistance of the machine, few other muscles are really getting worked. As adding resistance to my elliptical work out made me despise it just as much as the stair climber or the treadmill, I only really used it for warm ups and cool downs.
On my cardio days, I would hit the treadmill. I would always hit the maximum time (30 minutes), and feel like I had an excellent work out. But throw me onto an asphalt track, and I could barely make it 10 minutes without gasping for air. With the potential to be returning to the gym life soon, I started wondering if it was worth it.
I searched online to find the reasons, and they are all logical
- Treadmills help pull the legs along, rather than having us have to propel ourselves forward.
- They provide cushioning not available when running outdoors
- The gym has a structured environment - the treadmill is level, there is no wind, and the temperature is usually ideal for working out.
But the most important reason I think I found for why I do so much better on a treadmill - it sets a continuous pace, so you don't burn yourself out by going too fast too early.
I think I'll hold off on the gym for another month or two and see how I am doing on my own outside, but I certainly will be looking forward to my return to the treadmill in a number of months once the snow flies again.
Do you like to run outside or on a treadmill?