Dumbbell Set

Previously I have written about my first obstacle in getting into shape: simply being able to wake up in the morning.  Once I got over that hump the next questions was what was I going to do once I actually made it to the gym.  There were so many exercise choices that it was quite overwhelming at first.  I had heard about the cardio benefits of an elliptical machine and strength benefits of simple dumbbells so I decided to give those a try.  I think I stumbled upon something that works.

Benefits of an Elliptical Machine

I have enjoyed running in the past, but I constantly ran into the same problems.  First, my knees and back would begin to hurt after several runs.  I also had trouble finding shoes that didn't hurt my feet.  In addition, it can be tough to stay motivated when you live in Texas and it's 101 degrees when the sun goes down.  I've also never been a fans of treadmills.  So needless to say, it was always hard for me to stay in a running groove. 

Fortunately, the elliptical helps solve these problems.  The greatest benefit of an elliptical machine is that your body does not take a pounding.  Your legs are in constant motion, which keeps your heart rate up, but by moving your legs in circles you eliminate the joint pounding.  This has been an invaluable benefit for me as I have never had to skip a cardio workout due to an aching knee or back.

The next benefit of an elliptical machine that I enjoy is the fact that I can burn the same amount of calories that I would burn by running, and in some cases even more.  The elliptical machine also has this advantage over a cycling machine.  Maybe others feel a benefit from a stationary bike, but I never have.  I don't feel like I work as hard and the calorie meter on the bike agrees with me. 

Benefits of Rubber Dumbbells

I also wanted to add in strength training into my workout regimen, but with so many options to choose from I wasn't sure where to start.  One I started using dumbbells, I found that I really got more benefit from them that any other strength exercise I tried. 

A big reason that I was able to stick with dumbbells is that my gym has a great layout in the free weight area.  This area is out in the open, so you don't feel like you're walking into a steroid shop just to do a couple of curls.  You can see that everyone from giants to grandmas are working out.  It really helps alleviate the intimidation that you can feel at some gyms.

The great thing about dumbbells is that you can work out every muscle in your body with them.  You can do lunges with them to work your legs.  You can use them to work your back and abs.  And of course you can use them to build your arms.  There is also no need to try to figure out how a machine works.  As long as you use good form you can get great results just from doing a quick Internet search on a few exercises.

I also enjoy using the rubber dumbbells simply because they are quieter.  There is no constant clanging of metal.  And I'm sure it wouldn't hurt as much to have a rubber dumbbell land on your foot than it would with a metal dumbbell.  I hope that never happens to me, but I can see the benefit.


I'm not a professional body builder and I'm not the person to come to if you want to look like Captain America.  But I have seen the results from the consistent workouts mentioned above.  The benefits of an elliptical machine will give you a great workout without damaging your body.  The dumbbells work out every body part with ease.  Good luck!