I have performed many gym consultations in my time as a Personal Trainer and I always like to ask new clients what they are currently doing during their sessions. The answer I very commonly get is ' I do 20mins on Cross trainer, 20 on bike and 20 on treadmill (sometimes rower!), I follow this by asking if they do any resistance work, usually getting either ' I do a couple of the machines', or 'I'm not looking to get bulky'.
20 Minutes sitting reading a book on bike.
All this explains to me is why so many people give up using the gym after the first four weeks. Firstly this is such a boring workout and secondly it will bring you the minimum results in the maximum amount of time.
With most people looking to lose weight, tone up and be generally healthier then some kind of functional resistance training is essential. You cannot tone up without resistance work and you won't burn many calories working in the 'Fat burning zone' or as I like to call it the 'doing nothing at all for you zone'. If you want to be in the fat burning zone, walk slowly to the shops or hoover the house at low intensity, that's how effective it is. The other way of knowing if you are in the 'waste of time zone' is if you can read a book or watch the tv. Whenever I see someone doing this I just want to scream 'put the magazine down!!!'
How about a magazine?
If you want to use these machines then do some HIIT training, that High Intensity Intervals. But I do have problems with doing this also. How functional is it being fixed in one position for a period of time? What are you really doing to improve posture, balance, flexibility, core stability, mobility, power, strength. The answer is very little. The same goes for any machine that you sit on. If you have a sedentary job you spend the whole day sitting at your desk and in your car/on the train, then you sleep in a seated position whilst lying down. So basically a good 20 hrs crunched up, why use the gym to sit down also?
Wonder what's on tv?
If you don't know what to do then ask a Personal trainer. A good trainer will be able to screen you and sort out your goals to plan a programme that is designed specifically to meet your needs. It seems that people would rather wander around the gym wasting their time than ask a professional to give them guidance. People are willing to pay to fix their TV, car, phone etc. But when it comes to their health they would rather not bother. I don't know whether they've just worked with poor trainers (of which there are a few) or just think they know best. Most trainers are very dedicated professionals who have a real desire to get their clients to achieve their goals. Put your trust in one and see the results.