Today I would like to give my respects to the amazing yet sorely neglected cardio machine called the Stepmill, or otherwise known as the Stairmaster.
Have you ever seen these ‘intimidating’ and ‘clumsy’ looking machines at the very back of the gym, where no man dares to go because everyone is so busy running on the treadmill or ellipticizing away? Don’t worry, it’s totally okay...You’re not alone in this one!
Ever since I joined the gym in 2011 and finally took my workouts outside of the comfort of my own home, I noticed that the lonely Stepmill was the most neglected machine at the gym. I mean, every now and then I witnessed the same people getting their cardio on the Stepmill and I took notice of one particular thing...These people were endurance beasts! I’m not sure if I would go as far as to say that they had more cardiovascular strength than a long distance runner, but they definitely broke into buckets of sweat in a much much shorter length of time.
For example: 10 minutes on the Stepmill=20 minutes on the treadmill.
So why am I being an advocate for this poor, neglected piece of equipment?
Well first of all, I am in love with it because I find it to be really fun and challenging all at the same time. And you know me! I always like to be challenged when it comes to fitness. Second, after 2 short years of using this machine I have come to my own conclusion of why it is so beneficial for our bodies--whether our goal is to lose weight, sculpt the leg muscles, or to simply build stamina.
Benefits of the Stepmill or Stairmaster
- Provides great cardiovascular health without putting stress on the joints. I recall my first few times of using it, and it was when I started having Plantar Fasciitis pain due to over running on my extremely flat feet. Using the right shoes, rolling on the foam, and using the steps more than the treadmill allowed me to heal successfully after a short period of time.
- It rarely requires any bouncing motion which is great if you haven’t digested your food completely, as opposed to jumping and running. It is also rather safe for [most] pregnant women due to minimal jumping motions. My OBGYN is extremely happy about the fact that I use Stepmill.
- It helps to target the muscles on the lower body. It is easy to target every side of the lower body by turning sideways, then backwards, then sideways again...and that’s not easy to do on other cardio machines unless you are Rocky Balboa. Because Rocky can do anything! I love Rocky by the way.
- The settings can be easily customized for all levels of fitness; in my opinion, intervals are the best way to go when I want to finish up in 30 minutes or less.
- One may hold onto the bars for support and extra reassurance for safety if a major face plant is his or her fear.
- Most people break a good sweat shortly into their workout especially when performing intervals, whereas running forces our muscles to adapt pretty quickly.
- For those of you who are runners, using the Stepmill from time to time will vastly improve your performance on the pavement due to stronger muscles.
- The number of calories burned on the steps tends to be at least 1/4-1/3 times higher than when using other machines within the same amount of time. For example, 30 minutes running= approximately 245 calories. 30 minutes stepping= approximately 310 calories.
- Lastly, you are more likely to get a spot on the Stepmill since it’s not very popular…Yet.
Potential Cons of the Stepmill
- I believe it shouldn’t be used more than 2 times a week or it may build the quadriceps more than [most] females would like. However, if used 1-2 times a week it will firm the lower body without adding muscle volume, just density.
- Just like any other routine, it could become boring if it is done too often because you are not walking anywhere.
- Unless you have a staircase available near you, you can’t easily simulate the motions outdoors, whereas running can be done any time, anywhere.
Tips for Best Results on the Stepmill
- Whether your goal is to slim down or build your heart health, try to not lean on the bars. Holding the bars is good, but leaning against the bars defeats the whole purpose.
- Start off at a low level like 6 or 7 and slowly move up. Then throw in a 1 minute sprint at level 18 or something that challenges you, and then go back down the scale.
- It is good to turn all 360 degrees instead of just stepping up forward.
- As your muscles begin to adapt, change the style of intervals by tweaking the duration of walking or "sprinting".
*Here is a sample of some of my favorite routines. I have many more that are challenging and would be happy to assist you should you have any questions!
I figured that I should share the little bit of knowledge I’ve gathered over the past 2 years using the Stepmill, and I think it’s finally time to bring the truth out in the open!
My Meals Today and a Time for WIAW!
I made a super easy and quick meal to start off my day! It was basically a La Tortilla Factory’s tortilla filled with a Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese wedge, peanut butter, canned pumpkin, cinnamon, and banana slices. I cooked it on a skillet and then drizzled a little bit of maple syrup on top. I bet it would taste extra heavenly if I had a panini grill, hehe.
For lunch I threw together a bunch of random things. I roasted brussell sprouts with coconut oil and garlic herb seasoning, pan fried an egg, and had some of this delicious Mac ‘N Cheese that I made the other day. It is really delicious and I’m looking forward to sharing the recipe with you soon.
I spent most of my day in front of the computer trying to figure out some details for a young adult leaders retreat that is coming up this weekend. It will only be for one night but organizing anything can be rather daunting for me! So all in all, I think I’ve been successful thanks to God’s wisdom and provision like the cabin that we will be staying at. But I still have some more things to pray about and prepare. Fortunately the more I prepare for it the more exciting it gets!
And after taking care of ministry stuff I completed my Lower Body DVD from Ballet Body, and for some reason it was extra hard today! I think it was the extra constipation I’ve been experiencing that’s been weighing me down….Haha, not to mention that pregnancy blood and amniotic fluid has added at least 12 pounds to my body. It feels like I’m literally doing everything with dumbbells on my shoulders!
So in order to replenish my body I made a really refreshing smoothie with frozen banana, milk, water, and a green brown rice powder supplement that my mom put in a little tub for me to try out.
I hope you have a great day and God bless you in all your endeavors!
Have you ever organized something ‘big’?
-My own wedding, volunteering outings, and a few church events. But organization is something I definitely need to work on—not my gift.
Ever tried the Stepmill? What are your thoughts or even fears about this machine?
What’s your cardio of choice?