Elliptical HIIT Workout and Workout Weirdos

by Her Happy Balance on April 4, 2013

UPDATE! Due to this post’s popularity on Pinterest, it has recently been updated with a more user-friendly workout graphic below! I am leaving the original graphic in the post for now, but will eventually remove it and replace it with the new graphic. Thank you for reading my blog! I hope this workout gets you sweating!


Honestly, I do not like the elliptical. I think that I don’t really get a very good workout from it and I get bored. I feel like you hop on the elliptical when you want to put minimal effort in and still say you did cardio. I hadn’t touched the elliptical in months…until Tuesday night. I ran Monday (I usually run every other day) so the treadmill wasn’t an option for me. That left the arc trainer, which I love but was just not feeling, and the dreaded lame sauce elliptical. Whelp, I decided I was going to make the elliptical more exciting and came up with this HIIT workout on the fly.


Elliptical HIIT Workout

(NEW Graphic!)

The two keys to this being a difficult workout are setting your elliptical on a hills program and always keeping your speed at 5.5mph and above. The ellipticals at my gym are not fancy enough to allow you to change the incline you work at, so that is why I chose a hills program. If you have fancy ellipticals, A- I am jealous and B- you could totally have some fun messing around with the inclines instead of using a hills program.

SIDENOTE: When I was doing this workout, the girl on the elliptical next to me decided she was going to race me. I was like, is this real life?! She kept looking over at my machine stats and then pedaling furiously faster whenever I changed my settings. You, lady, are a wackadoodle. We were clearly doing two very different workouts, using very different elliptical programs…why are you trying to race me? Just watch Jeopardy and the news like the rest of us, please and thank you. End rant.

What are your thoughts on the elliptical?
Have you ever encountered a crazy next to you at the gym who has tried to race you?
What’s your gym pet peeve?

Comments on this entry are closed.

Molly April 4, 2013 at 8:45 am

Bahahaha so many people at the gym do that!! One time, I was running on the treadmill next to this chick and she kept giving me the side-eye – so the answer to her question was “yes, we are racing.” She just annoyed me that much so I kept running faster to egg her on haha

It’s funny how people feel so differently about cardio equipment. I hate the arc trainer but I LOVE the elliptical. Mine are fancy enough where you can set the incline, so I push mine up to the highest it goes and just make sure my pedal speed stays above a certain point. I’m a sweaty mess by the end!

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:41 am

I totally understand! Usually this would ignite my competitive spirit, but she had zero incline and zero resistance and was just pedaling like a mad woman. I was just like this is not worth my time! I’m working out you’re just going bonkers over there! haha.

pickyrunner April 4, 2013 at 8:05 am

I HATE PEOPLE WHO TRY TO RACE ON A MACHINE! Why can’t people just workout for themselves? Ugh there’s nothing that makes me madder. It’s like the first time this freshman on the team came in last year and decided to race me. During WARMUP. I hated her from that moment on and am so happy I quit swimming because I couldn’t handle that sort of competition anymore. Just no.

megbek April 4, 2013 at 8:13 am

people are crazy. jeeeeez.

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:38 am

Agreed! It’s totally unnecessary and comes off kind of rude (in my opinion).

megbek April 4, 2013 at 8:13 am

LOL Wackadoodle! girl! that is hilarious!!!!!! Haha people never cease to amaze me. My pet peeve at the gym is when people (I’ll be sexist here and say MEN) stomp around as if they are the sh*t and drop their big weights as if it’s the best thing they’ve ever done in the entire world. Yuck. Take your over muscly self home, thank you.

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:39 am

Hahaha I know exactly the type you’re talking about! The guys that wear the weight belts and walk around with puffy chests. Puhlease, unimpressed.

Kayla Hoffman April 4, 2013 at 9:41 am

I just posted this on my coaching page since I always have people who go to the gym and need help to burn more! I always suggest intervals so I thought this would be another good addition for them πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:45 am

Thanks for the repost, Kayla! πŸ™‚ Always happy to share my gym adventures!

Flake And Cake April 4, 2013 at 9:00 am

I get so frsutrated with people who check out/comment on my stats on a machine! Really not cool!

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:41 am

Exactly! Please mind your own beeswax fellow gym-goer!

chasingchels April 4, 2013 at 9:01 am

Hahahaha omg that’s hilarious! I don’t belong to a gym anymore, but people who raced me or others drove me nuts! Seriously, if that makes you feel better about yourself by “beating” me on a machine, i feel sorry that your life isn’t more interesting haha

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:42 am

I couldn’t have said it better. Is this where you get satisfaction in your life? Racing me at the gym? Not worth my time!

Alex @ Cookie Dough Katzen April 4, 2013 at 9:11 am

Whaat that girl sounds crazy for sure. I don’t understand why people would want to race someone like that. Sounds uncomfortable and awkward! Anyways, I’m a big fan of the elliptical actually. It’s easy to slack off though, but I want to try your hill workout to make me workout harder!

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:42 am

I think that’s my issue with the elliptical, that it’s easy to slack off on. I just need to make it more challenging whenever I use it I guess.

cookingfortheotherhalf April 4, 2013 at 9:34 am

The elliptical is actually my favorite but I can understand why some don’t like it.

My boyfriend and I live in an apartment complex with a gym, and our previous apartment was set up the same way. At our previous place, there was a particular resident who would always clomp on the treadmill (seriously, she was like an awkward raptor) and sing so loudly off-key to her iPod. There was also a man who would eat Lindt truffles whilst on the treadmill. I kid you not.

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:44 am

Wow, just wow. I mean whats the point of the gym if you’re going to negate all of your workout by eating chocolates? I probably would be both annoyed and entertained by the singing girl. It’s inconsiderate to sing out loud though. Love your comparison to an awkward raptor πŸ˜‰

Cindy April 4, 2013 at 10:18 am

Lol, too funny…people can be very strange but that is almost creepy.

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:45 am

It was just totally unnecessary!

The Cookie ChRUNicles April 4, 2013 at 10:35 am

I either hate or like the elliptical depending upon the day lol. When I am in the mood, I “enjoy” (whatever enjoy means when on the machine) a random hills setting where I vary the resistance between 10-15…I love that she was racing you. lol makes me laugh. just another reason why I prefer to run outside alone versus the gym experience.

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:46 am

It was so hard to ignore this girl, I was happy when she finally got off her machine!

maureenbreakingfree April 4, 2013 at 10:41 am

I need to try this! I used to love the elliptical but got super tired of it. It may be time to try again πŸ˜‰ AND I HATE RACERS! bitch, please, back off!

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:46 am

You said it, sister! Back off crazy lady! haha

Courtney April 4, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Haha, wackadoodle – I’ve never heard that expression, but I like it. I don’t really do the elliptical at all, but when I run on the treadmill or lift, I’ll notice people trying to “compete” sometimes. Sillies.

By the way, I popped over to your blog from Chelsea’s – hello and nice to “meet” you!

Stephanie@nowiun.com April 4, 2013 at 11:29 pm

I thought “wackadoodle” was awesome, too!! πŸ™‚

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:49 am

Thank you so much for stopping by! It is lovely to “meet” you too! πŸ˜‰

Put people in a box with athletic equipment and some mirrors and they get a little loopy and competitive haha

Courtney April 5, 2013 at 9:26 am

Haha, agreed!

jessiebearwhat April 4, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Omg that lady next to you sounds like such a creep! But I totally love the elliptical, you just have to do hills or a high resistance setting to get a good workout. I just try to do the highest I can possibly do each time.

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:47 am

Yeah I think that may be the key, making it difficult to pedal through.

Brittany April 4, 2013 at 12:39 pm

HAHA gym people annoy me to no end!! This is exactly why I DO NOT use the machines. I go to classes, and will RARELY get on the stair climber or elliptical.

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:50 am

Seriously! I just can’t handle some people’s antics at the gym. Makes me bonkerssss! Taking classes and running is a great way to avoid it.

Maureen April 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I can’t stand it when someone is constantly checking my workout stats and trying to race me. Seriously, focus on your own workout please.

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:51 am

Legit! I just wonder, did they go to the gym with a serious workout in mind? Or is the gym just a distraction for them? Annoying!

Running In Heels April 4, 2013 at 2:23 pm

I hate when people race me on the treadmill!! It’s so awkward and unnecessary haha

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:53 am

It is awkward! I hate getting the side eye from people..focus on your own workout please!

RachLapchak April 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm

This is a great post and awesome questions! I love the elliptical. I feel like I get such a great workout. I usually do about 30-45 minutes. But I end up falling in to my own interval routine, and it keeps my heart rate fluctuating.
I have had my fair share of people who seem to constantly look at my pace, incline, resistance, and so on. I zone out and ignore them.
Pet peeve? THE MIRROR CHECKERS. Every single day at my gym there is a young woman in front of me who uses the same elliptical and goes the same times I do, who checks herself probably 35 times in the mirror. Just stop. I can’t

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:52 am

hahahaha oh my lord. That is the worst. I mean, if you’re going to check yourself out that many times, try not to be THAT obvious about it. And whats there to look at when you’re on the elliptical? It’s pretty hard to have bad form on that!

Lish April 4, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I hate when people get competitive or try to race in the gym- it just frustrates me and throws me off! However, I do sometimes speed up to pass people when I run outside πŸ™‚

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:54 am

LOL! It’s totally okay to pass people outside. youu pass them, and then you’re done and you don’t see them again. If I’m stuck side-by-side with a crazy lady for the duration of my workout I am going to be annoyed/distracted.

Danielle @ Truffles n' Treadmills April 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm

That is definitely one of my biggest pet peeves too! I hate when people look at my machine!

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:55 am

Sometimes people are so obvious about it too! I would just prefer every one keeps to their own workout and leaves mine alone please!

mirandabutts April 4, 2013 at 3:57 pm

I love your elyptical work out!
It definitely seems to be a good one.
Pet Peeve at the Gym: When you catch people staring at you in the mirrors. Kind of creepy!
Pet Peeve at the Gym #2: When you catch guys trying to be all muscled up lifting way more that they can handle. MMHMMM macho man. right. All I can think is, “you dummy, im not here for you. Im here to get my work out on. Im married with three kids and what you are doing is not attractive!”

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:57 am

Thank you πŸ™‚
I don’t know what happens to men when there are heavy things around them. The testosterone just goes straight to their heads I guess.
One time a man looked at me and licked his lips at the gym. I think I threw up in my mouth. It was just not a good experience. I felt so creeped out I ended my workout early and left. Not acceptable!

Sweets & Confessions April 4, 2013 at 10:18 pm

hahaha! I like to race people… but in my own head, it gives me motivation but I don’t flat out stare them down. People… >.<

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 7:58 am

There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition as long as it doesn’t become a noticeable distraction. Racing in your head seems like a good alternative haha

Sweets & Confessions April 5, 2013 at 8:11 am


Kristina at damntenpounds April 4, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Oh gosh, the elliptical is SO boring to me! Maybe that’s because I hop on, set the resistance and then constantly check the time. I can’t zone out like I do when I’m running.
My biggest gym pet peeve is the girls that wear the skimpiest outfits and then get all ticked off when the boneheads in the weight room holler at them. You are dangling a carrot in front of bunnies, you morons!!!

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 8:00 am

Amen! I also hate when girls come in full make-up, with their hair down and perfectly straightened wearing the tiniest VS Pink clothing. You know that they went to the gym to get hit on. They end up sitting on the machines I need to use! Not working out, just hanging out on a piece of equipment. Oh lord this could turn into a whole other rant for me hahaha.

Stephanie@nowiun.com April 4, 2013 at 11:28 pm

HAHAHAHAHAHA! You said, “wackadoodle!”
I don’t use the elliptical, but I would be open to giving it a try. πŸ™‚
When I’m at the gym I can’t stand it when people use machines at their slowest possible settings so they can text and go on FB on their phones.

Her Happy Balance April 5, 2013 at 8:01 am

haha Stephanie there are entirely too many times where I feel the need to say the word wackadoodle. People are crazy!
And that’s a very legitimate pet peeve! If you’re not really going to work out, could you get off the machine so someone else who is could use it??

Brittany April 5, 2013 at 2:31 pm

I love the elliptical! I have a blown disc in my back and have to keep running to a minimum. But I turn tge resistance up and the incline, do all different programs, pedal backwards, it keeps it interesting and I feel like I get a pretty good cardio workout in. The thing I hate? The stair climber. Ugh.

Jayme April 27, 2016 at 9:15 am

19-21 are missing. What’s the resistance foe this time frame?

Her Happy Balance May 18, 2016 at 10:36 am

Hey, Jayme! Thanks for bringing this to my attention! I actually created this workout a couple years ago when I was new to blogging. I’ve recently updated this post with a more user-friendly graphic which includes all the resistances. Thank you for reading – hope this helps!!

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