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Member Comments for the Article:

Busting the Top 4 Cardio Machine Myths

Don't Let These Myths Get in the Way of Your Success



4/19/2012 5:15:31 AM

I can walk for an hour outside...but on the treadmill I'm doing my best to get 30 to 40 minutes in! I now only use the treadmill when I cannot get outside (due to weather...or whatever). If I can't get outside....then something is better than nothing.


12/13/2011 8:18:58 PM

TTLEELEE's SparkPage
Great reminder about the intervals. My hrm always says I burn more than the machine says... could my hrm be wrong?!


12/13/2011 8:03:17 PM

CYCLEZEN's SparkPage
Gripping something can also affect your heart rate--another reason to beware the heart rate monitors on cardio equipment.


12/13/2011 4:28:29 PM

Regarding running outside versus running on a treadmill: When I first started running, I used the treadmill and went at a fairly slow pace, about a 10 or 11 minute mile. When I went outside, the change from treadmill to ground was awful! I could hardly run at all!

Then, before I went to boot camp, I decided that my goal was to run my incoming assessment in 12 minutes, or an 8-minute mile pace. It killed me on the treadmill, but when I took it to boot camp, I easily ran my first 1.5 mile assessment in 11:57, my second in 11:07, and my third in 11:00. My husband and I started running outside together because I was much quicker, and I got my time down to about 10:30.

Then it came time for my assessment in late October in Newport, RI. I kept trying to run it on the treadmill, but a 7-minute mile pace was completely unsustainable. I couldn't do it! So I ran my assessment outside and though it was 42 degrees outside and windy, I still managed to finish in 10:42.

I don't want wind to be a factor in my next assessment, so I'm slowly working on running on the treadmill as fast as I can run outside. The key difference is that my pace must stay the same on the treadmill; outside, I can slow down a little bit if I need to or speed up a little bit as my body desires, averaging out to a 7:00 pace.

In regards to the calorie count, I just ignore it. I'm not even sure I trust the SP numbers, but they're the best estimate I have. If I need to drop some weight, I just watch my portions and toss in some more cardio.

As long as I'm running, my weight is manageable. It's not my favorite form of cardio, but I get the best results, and I'm kinda good at it.


2/8/2011 11:47:35 PM

PATRICIAFL73's SparkPage
The artical said:

Treadmills allow you to run at a variety of paces and inclines while avoiding any nasty weather. However, if you're preparing for a running race or walking event, you need to know that the treadmill does not challenge you as much as doing the same activity outside. In fact, the motion of the treadmill belt actually slightly helps pull your feet back, thereby allowing you to shorten your running and walking stride and put forth less energy. Less energy means fewer calories burned. In addition, the treadmill is set at a totally flat or slight decline, which also makes your run or walk easier than it is in the great outdoors. Therefore, if you're used to running or walking on the treadmill, you'll be in for a big wake-up call when you head outside and find that you can't run as fast or as long without becoming winded.

Does this mean I invested in a treadmill for nothing....I don't know about what the article said but walking outdoors even on hills and rough terrain does not make me sweat like the treadmill does....but would like some fresh air once in a while.

Good Advice


9/11/2010 11:08:35 AM

One other vital thing that the treadmill cannot simulate is changes in direction. When out running, it's good to choose a route with lots of changes in direction rather than just running in straight line.

Even running in weaving manner as if following a big squiggly line does much more for all your muscles and core than just straight line running. Also weaving between a line of bollards.

And for yet more variety, the occasional leap across a ditch or patch of long grass is very liberating. You feel like a wild animal rather than a gym clone!

Having said all that, cardio machines have a valuable role if you use them imaginatively, example: vary the incline/speed on the treadmill every 2 minutes, or do fast/slow intervals.

And on the elliptical, do 5 mins forwards, then 5 mins backwards, and so on.


9/11/2010 8:37:25 AM

KARATE_KID's SparkPage
You had me until almost the very end when you said to trust the SP numbers. When I compare the calories burned from the cardio machines at my gym with the SP values, the SP values are always higher, sometimes A LOT higher. When I started on the elliptical the difference was huge. Only now, after doing it for 8 months, are the numbers on the machine even close to the SP values. I am going to a women's gym and I know some of the machines are specifically for women, maybe that's the difference.


8/21/2010 1:18:28 AM

DRB13_1's SparkPage
EXCELLENT! Thanks for putting this together. Great points & advice.


7/9/2010 3:41:33 PM

You make a lot of good points. However the article says it is about cardio machines, while all you talk about is the treadmill. Wouldn't be more truthful to say this is about treadmills. I really hate the treadmill, I do not enjoy it and will only do 10-15 mins max and only if I have to. While I love the elliptical and bike, and would talk the stair machine over the treadmill any day despite how are they are. Again much of what you point out about calorie counters etc applies to all. I look forward to you writing on more than just the treadmill.


7/9/2010 8:26:26 AM

THEBIG_TRG's SparkPage
Thanks for the info. The Arc Trainer at my YMCA is notorious for giving you a calories burned total that is insanely high - I'm talking 800 cals burned in just 1 hour at a mediocre pace. I always try to go by the amount of miles traveled instead. Also, I use the Run Keeper App, and it is slightly more accurate than the equipment.


4/29/2010 2:28:02 PM

This answered my question from last night, guess I have to get ahrm some day.


4/29/2010 12:40:12 PM

PROPHOTO's SparkPage
@JCARYS; I for one most definately judge my eating by my workouts. I workout so I can eat. Its that simple for me. If I don't workout, I can't eat that piece of birthday cake or that pizza or that pasta or whatever. With out the gym, I would be a fruit and veggie girl all the way. People ask me how I stay motivated day to day, I must really love the gym they say. I say, Nah, I really love to EAT.

For the rest of it. Well, I am so glad I read this article. I was stuck on a treadmill so to speak going nowhere until I finally did get on the treadmill... I was using the fat burn cycle on the cross trainer every day and each day it told me I was burning more that 500 cal! I was like Whaaaaat???? I'm not even breaking a sweat... sweet... but then, I wasn't losing any weight either... how was this possible. Time to switch up the workouts. I now run on the treadmill for 20 mins twice a day, I thought jeepers, I'm working harder here and only burning 200 - 300 cal, almost half what I was doing on the crosstrainer whats the deal, well the deal is I'm finally losing again. So the proof is definately in the pudding (the shrinking mound of pudding flesh around the middle).... ;) Run on my friends~


11/2/2009 3:37:29 PM

PENELOPE0831's SparkPage
I feel like I got some very good information from this article, especially since I am VERY new to the gym scene. I will certainly change up my cardio machine routine, and go for a higher resistance, interval program today. Its time for a change anyway!


9/25/2009 6:01:08 PM

I find this article to be very true for me. On our elliptical it says I burn over 500 calories in 30 min. I was like wow this is great!!! But I didn't trust it so I got a Polar HRM with chest strap.... it says I only burned 300. So there ya go


8/16/2009 1:08:43 PM

JCARYS's SparkPage
Overall, the information in this article is correct, but I do find the tone of the piece a bit strange. I have to declare that I almost always use a HRM when doing cardio, so perhaps that small change has kept me away from the most blatant errors from machines.

That said, I think everyone understands that those calorie numbers are estimates. Personally, I've found machines to usually be within 10%, and that's good enough for someone who's not a competitive athlete. (Maybe I'm just one of those large muscular men that they are calibrated for, but I've never thought of myself as that.)

I am a bit concerned with the concept that someone would be using a cardio machine as a crutch to balance out daily calories and allow someone to eat garbage. The two food items mentioned in the article are dessert and a cheeseburger. Hopefully, everyone here is not going to the gym so they can come home and eat food that doesn't help their weight loss plan. Even worse, I hope no one is so compulsive as to actually decide what or how much they can eat based on how many calories burned at the gym that day. Weight loss and healthy living are long term goals - obsessing about a single day and a single calorie number is the wrong way to make a change.

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