What’s one of the first things you see when you walk into a busy gym in Sydney CBD at peak time? 

Rows and rows of people on treadmills, bikes, steppers and cross trainers.

Heads bobbing up and down to either the music being played in the gym or to music being blasted at high volume through miniature mp3 players. It’s as if you’re faced with a small treadmill and fitness-bike army, marching towards an unknown destination in the pursuit of better body composition or healthier heart.

The reason many gym members habitually use treadmills or cardio machines as their primary form of workout comes down to these following three reasons:

  • We have been told cardiovascular exercise will help us lose fat and is good for the heart
  • It’s a convenient and low maintenance way to work out
  • A lack of awareness or knowledge of how to take full advantage of the gym facility

One of the reasons you don’t want to fall into the trap of repetitive cardiovascular work (performed at the same intensity each time) is the body will become accustomed to it and your results will plateau. The body is an energy conservation machine - who’d want to spend more energy than necessary to accomplish a task? Very few of us. The body adapts to given demands surprisingly quickly, particularly the demands of standard cardiovascular work like long, slow exercise on a treadmill or bike. 

For most of us, the list of reasons we join a gym include aesthetics, health and enjoyment. To accomplish these goals it is very important to ensure that your gym program utilises all the tools available to you or your program will be lop-sided.

If we split a regular commercial gym in Sydney CBD into three areas we can see how time spent in each area will provide benefits.

Working-out in the cardiovascular area will:

  • Improve heart health
  • Flush the body through improving circulation 
  • Assist greatly in the early stages of fat loss
  • Improve cognitive function
  • Result in a mild meditative effect due to the rhythmic nature of traditional cardiovascular work (swimming, cycling, running, cross trainer). This is one of the reasons people note that activities like these ‘clear their thoughts’.

Working-out in the weights and resistance machine area will:

  • Improve muscle tone
  • Improve body shape
  • Improve strength
  • Improve bone density
  • Improve heart health
  • Improve mobility (if performed correctly)

Working-out in the group fitness or class area will:

  • Provide much needed variety in your exercise routine
  • Eliminate the need for you to plan your training for the day
  • Push you harder than you would on your own
  • Provide a fun and social atmosphere

To find out how you can modify cardiovascular or strength work to accomplish different results click here for “Get off the treadmill - Part II”.


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