Beware: It May Look Like an Elliptical Machine, But…

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I am such a gym loser novice that I can’t even tell the difference between the machines.

I like the elliptical machine. But apparently, I don’t like all machines that LOOK like elliptical machines, nor do they like me.

When I first started, I had a preferred elliptical machine. Back corner, farthest from the door. No one behind me. This was important to my psyche during my first couple trips. I needed to have full sight to the entire gym floor. Not sure why. In case the cool kids showed up and I needed to bail? In case my husband walked in and I could pretend we didn’t know each other so as not to embarrass him at work with my purple gym face? So I could mop off / catch my breath if any of the parents from Grace’s class saw me and came over to chat? (Luckily, I don’t wear my glasses to the gym, so most people don’t recognize me – lol!) … Who knows. I just know the back was for me.

Kenny dubbed my preferred machine ‘the first elliptical machine ever made’. He was right. It was kind of manual and kind of oldish. (I don’t know how I knew this because I am in no way an elliptical machine connoisseur. I think the fact that it was in the back corner and it looked dramatically different from all the other elliptical machines was the tip off.) However, his verbalization of the machine’s age put a curse on it. The very next time I went to use it, it made a loud metal-y cranking sound with every cycle of my legs. Grrrrreat. Of course, this drew looks from other gym goers. Which in turn, caused me to panic and frantically scream “abort! abort! abort mission!” to myself in my head. So I quickly formulated my exit strategy and executed.

I casually cranked out a few more cycles, hopped off the creaky loud machine and did some light leg stretches. I then walked down the row and casually hopped on the next “elliptical machine”.  This was my very lame attempt to make it seem like this was my plan. Like I was the workout gal who used a few different machines during her gym visits. Listen, I am trying to fit into this scene which is about as foreign to me as visiting Europe!  I know – I am weird. I can’t explain why my brain thinks like this – it just does. Hahaha.

Here’s the rub. The second machine I hopped on was NOT an elliptical machine. It was an AMT machine. Big difference.

I didn’t realize it wasn’t an elliptical machine until I started trying to elliptical on it. I could do it – but it was sort of like an elliptical machine + stair climber in one. And it was insanely hard. And hurt my knees. (I know. Whiner. Pass the tissues.)

Ten cycles in and I was slowly realizing that I signed myself up for some ridiculous, never-before-done workout.  A quick look around the machine confirmed it. I was on an AMT machine. Not an elliptical machine. Ugh. Because I literally just switched machines, I didn’t want to change AGAIN. That would be way too embarrassing. So, I stuck with it, and, for a while, I kind of elliptical-ed. Except it felt more like trying to push a boulder up a hill (arms) and thrust one down a hill (legs). Then, due my sheer clumsiness and nothing more, I ended up doing this gazelle-like move. Hmmm. That felt much easier than what I was doing for the last five minutes. So I kept going this way. Gazelle leap, gazelle leap, gazelle leap. Except I am not petite or graceful like a gazelle. The visual probably equated more to an elephant or gorilla farcing a gazelle.  This machine literally extended me into a near split and stretched my arms out as far as they’d reach. (Ok, maybe it’s not a near-split. But for my 37-year-old, workout-hater-until-six-weeks-or-so-ago self, it was an actual split. In fact, it was so much like a split, I am trying out for the local gymnastics team next week.) I survived. But my knees were killing me the next day. Hahaha. Don’t worry. I recovered injury-free!

When I got home, I googled AMT. Turns out it is an Adaptive Motion Trainer and you can customize all these settings to personalize your workout experience. The marketing material boasts its Open Stride technology. (That must be the splits part – haha). Great – I had no idea any of the moves I was doing could be customized for me / my height, etc. This is why that matters: I was working out on the campus of a very large sporting goods company. So, you can be quite sure that the machine was set for some sort of super athlete. Who has a stride that is 10x mine, hence the splits. Hahahaha!

I have yet to try that machine again, but now that I know more about it, it might be a good option when I am more in shape.  🙂

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