Even though you won't catch her Instagramming her workouts, it's a known fact that Jennifer Aniston pretty much embodies wellness—and she's open about the hard work she puts into her fitness routine to stay strong and fit. That doesn't mean all of her workouts are private sessions with celebrity trainers or exclusive classes, though. In a recent interview with Vogue, Aniston shared one of her go-to cardio workouts, and it's actually doable for anyone who has access to an elliptical machine.
"I do 45 minutes of intervals on my elliptical. I raise the incline, run for two minutes, walk for one, run for two...and I do it for 20 minutes straight until I’m just drenched," she told Vogue.
Whether it's 20 minutes or 45 (which isn't quite clear from Aniston's answer—she might be including a warm-up and cool down?), interval training is an excellent way to challenge and improve your body's cardio capabilities while burning major calories, says L.A.-based trainer Amelia DiDomenico. By alternating between hard work and recovery, "you're pushing your metabolic limits, and this increases your body's calorie burn during the intervals as well as after," DiDomenico tells SELF, referring to the "afterburn" that happens as you breathe heavily and recover from your workout session.
This makes it more effective than just hopping on the elliptical for a mindless steady-state cardio routine (which doesn't have much "afterburn"), says DiDomenico. And this goes for any cardio machine—Aniston is a noted fan of VersaClimbers, and a treadmill or a stationary bike would work, too.
Ellipticals in particular are great if you want to avoid high-impact activities like running. "They are low impact on the joints, so you can still get a good cardio session in while giving the body a break," says DiDomenico.
By cranking up the incline on the elliptical machine, the glutes and hamstrings have to engage to get you through the motion, DiDomenico explains (at a lower incline, your quads do more work). Going hard at a high incline also increases the core component of the exercise, and if you're using a machine with handles, you can also work your arms, she adds.
The key is to make sure your head isn't bobbing up and down while you're on the elliptical machine. "When performed correctly, your core should remain relatively still while your arms and legs move. Imagine there is a glass ceiling above your head—as soon as you do that you will feel your stomach, back, and glutes engage in a totally different way," says DiDomenico.
To keep yourself challenged, make sure you're increasing your speed and the machine's height and resistance as your body adapts, she says. And, while she recommends making your work period twice as long as your rest period if you can, as Aniston does, you can mix up your routine with other elliptical interval workouts (like these eight).
When you're pushing yourself to the max during the work periods and using proper form, Aniston's workout is killer, yes, but effective. "Interval training is a perfect way to challenge all of your systems for a short and controlled time," says DiDomenico. "Your mind can relax because you know you are only going to be there for a specific time period."
This story originally appeared on Self.
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