Springtime has a way of focusing the mind on the summer holidays. It is this time of year that many of us realise that the sedentary winter has taken its toll. With only a couple of months to go before a trip to the sun, now is the time to think about toning up and losing those excess pounds.
The question is, what is the quickest (and least painful!) way to get the job done?
This post looks at 3 different pieces of home fitness equipment which will help you get trim in time for the beach. All 3 can be effective, your personal preferences are the most important factor in choosing one. A super-effective fat burner that you use only twice will never be as effective as a slower and steady routine that you can keep up week after week.
Tone Up for the Summer Holidays with These 3 Pieces of Fitness Equipment
#1 – Steppers
There are several benefits to buying a stepper, besides the fact that these machines burn calories very fast. For many people, the size is key. Basic stepper units are only 40cms tall, effectively just paddles on a frame. This means that you do not need a spare room to set them up. They can be used and then quickly stored away.
There are some variations on the basic models to be aware of. Many models have elasticated ropes with hand grips. These allow you to work your arms at the same time as your legs and buttocks. Other models have a twisting motion to go with the up-down. This can make an already tough workout even more intense, as you use your muscles as a balance to the twisting motion.
As you go up the scale, steppers with hand rails and then ‘stairmills’ (essentially mini escalators which go down as you step up) come into the picture.
Pros: Small, quick calorie burn and great for toning the thighs and buttocks!
Cons: Hard to sustain your session for too long
#2 – Elliptical Trainers
Many pieces of fitness equipment focus on one part of the body. Popular machines like treadmills and bikes will leave you with toned legs – though the arms and upper body are not used. Elliptical trainers have the benefit of working both your legs and arms. The motion for your legs is in a semi-circle, which is low-impact yet very effective. With your arms this is forward and back, in time with the leg motions.
Add the calorie burn from these two actions, and you’ll see you get a lot of benefit for your time spent working out. Ellipticals (also known as Cross Trainers) are larger machines, and most of them do not fold away. Fortunately, they are quiet. Some elliptical trainers double up as exercise bikes. More advanced models include pulse rate, speakers (including smartphone connectivity) and plenty of programs via their console.
Pros: Tones upper and lower body at the same time, good calorie burn rate.
Cons: Larger items, you’ll need a spare room.
#3 – Vibration Plate Trainers
A more recent fitness trend has seen vibration plates move from commercial gyms into the home. The makers of these say that 10 minutes on one is equal to 1 hour in the gym. Of course, this will depend on how you use it, and at what intensity level.
Feedback from owners, even sceptical ones, is excellent – these have a very fast effect. They work by using your body’s natural resistance again the shakes, and can tone you up fast. Some exercises involve standing on your plate. Others are floor based, for example with your feet on the plate. Calorie burn is lower than the ‘cardio’ machines above, the rapid muscle tone makes up for this.
Vibration plate trainers are heavy, so you need a place to keep them where they will not have to be moved. Basic models are small floor standing units, more advanced ones have hand bars and a raised console.
Pros: Tones up your muscles fast!
Cons: Heavy units, lower calorie burn.