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A New Cardio Challenge

When Brandon and I arrived home on Sunday evening I was itching to move my body after a couple of days of rest and a five hour car ride. Brandon encouraged me not to run even though my back was feeling better because of the pounding. I actually listened (that is rare) and we compromised by going to the Y together to elliptical and foam roll.

The next thing I knew I was being persuaded by a fitness floor staff member to try the new Precor Adaptive Motion Trainer (AMT) that they just got in. I take back all the bad things I’ve ever said about elliptical machines. This thing owned me!


Within the first five minutes on the AMT, my heart was beating hard and I could feel the lactic acid building in my legs. Honestly, I don’t spend a lot of time on other cardio machines at the gym because I usually go straight for the treadmill.  I thought it might be helpful to provide a quick overview of the Precor AMT for those of you who might have access to one in your gym.

The coolest thing about the AMT is the ability to change the length of your stride. You can go from climbing strides (similar to stairs) to short strides to mid-range strides to long strides and you monitor the length of your strides using a visual on the console. This allows you to target and train different muscle groups all on one machine.


You also burn more calories on the AMT compared to a traditional elliptical due to the “dual-plane resistance.” Precor has designed a system that applies resistance on both the horizontal and vertical plane. Brandon said that he burned a about 10-15% more calories on the AMT than he does on the elliptical. I attribute part of my getting my heart rate up so high and burning more calories due to how much I had to use my arms to keep a good pace.

I will definitely be making a beeline to the AMT next time I want to do low-impact cardio!

Has anyone tried the AMT? If so, what did you think?

After the Y we decided to use a Groupon and go out for sushi at Pisces.

I’m not going to go into a full review but we were impressed by the quality for the price. Cyros still holds the place of our favorite sushi in Charlotte but Pisces was a good slightly more affordable option. My favorite thing about Pisces was their serving dishes – I loved the handmade pottery style.

I taught BodyPump this morning and we had a very small crowd due to the President’s Day holiday. My Y is located in a bank building downtown so anytime there is a bank holiday, our numbers are down. I felt really good throughout the workout and didn’t have any back pain. I opted to sit out of the back exercises and let my co-instructor lead.

I had apple cinnamon oatmeal at my desk for breakfast and Brandon and I went out to lunch at Common Market due to a lack of groceries in the house and the beautiful weather outside.

We split a turkey sandwich with sundried tomato spread, goat cheese and spinach on sourdough. I had a kombucha and Terra Chips on the side. The high in Charlotte today was 75 degrees and it was so nice to eat lunch outside.

I had a busy afternoon at work and then came home and immediately changed into my running clothes to take advantage of the beautiful day. Sullie was excited to run with me!

We ran an easy three miles and I felt inspired by Jen’s recent post and didn’t wear my Garmin. It was SO nice. This run just really reminded me how much I love running after the cold, dark winter. The weather was gorgeous and Sullie was on her best behavior and being a perfect running partner.

While discussing our menu plan for the week (yes, I planned this week…such a relief), Brandon and I discovered that we were both craving eggplant parmesan.

I made my favorite Baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe with a side of whole grain spaghetti, mixed greens and French bread. We finished it off with a glass of red wine. Such a delicious dinner!

Bed time. Attempting an ashtanga practice in the morning. My first yoga practice since last week’s disastrous practice. Fingers crossed that my body is ready.

{ 32 comments… add one }
  • S @ extremebalance.net/blog February 21, 2011, 11:15 pm

    My gym has the AMT, and I’m a big fan, too! As a short kid, I really like that the range of motion isn’t pre-conceived for giants (or even average folks!), and I especially like that I can hit stairs to running to stairs, since I have a short attention span. I hadn’t noticed burning more calories, though—win!

    Your eggplant looks fab. I sometimes think everything looks tastier when plated on white…

  • Emily February 21, 2011, 11:21 pm

    That Eggplant Parm looks amazing! I’ll have to try it!

  • Alaina February 21, 2011, 11:28 pm

    I can’t wait to be able to run outside more! Last week was a tease. 😉

    Good luck at your class tomorrow. Hope your back is feeling better!

  • skinnyrunner February 21, 2011, 11:58 pm

    we have those elliptical things at my gym and they are definitely harder than the regular elliptical!

  • Megan February 22, 2011, 7:01 am

    I loooove the AMT! We only have one at the Rec at UW-L so I basically run to it when I see that it’s open. I like it because it’s hard, and interval training is just so much more fun when you can add stairs into the mix. I come off that machine dripping!…I love it!

    • Jen February 23, 2011, 12:19 pm

      I didn’t try the stair-stepping stride when I used it. I will have to next time!

  • Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) February 22, 2011, 7:43 am

    I’ve never even HEARD of an AMT, but it looks amazing!! Just one of those things I guess we don’t get in the UK…sounds hard though!!

    Good luck for the ashtanga tomorrow! You’ll be fine 🙂

  • Kira February 22, 2011, 8:53 am

    I had no idea that it was called an AMT. H and I refer to it as the “yellow pedal machine”. He is a big fan, and I like the difficulty, but something about how it is calibrated bothers my knees, perhaps because I’m short? I think it’s a great idea, but it just doesn’t work that well for me.

    • Jen February 23, 2011, 12:18 pm

      Brandon used it again last night and said that it bothered his knees a bit too. He has bad knees from lots of surgeries. Maybe there is something about it that’s a little harder on them?

      I love that you call it the “yellow pedal machine.”

  • Stephanie B February 22, 2011, 9:10 am

    I was going to make your Eggplant Parmesan last night too (how funny) but our grocery had a pitiful selection of overripe eggplant… Would you believe that John said he wants to try going vegetarian for a month!?

    Back to the point of this though, that elliptical looks amazing!

    • Jen February 23, 2011, 12:17 pm

      Our HT had sad eggplant too. I managed to find one decent one and figured since I was covering it in breadcrumbs and cheese, it would be okay. 😉

      SO ready for summer produce.

      I am so interested to hear that John wants to go veg for a month. Can he please talk to Brandon!?

      • Brandon February 23, 2011, 5:17 pm

        I’m sure I’d like this John guy and that he is very nice and very persuasive but it ain’t gonna happen 🙂

  • Stephanie February 22, 2011, 10:10 am

    You have found my favorite cross training machine! I love the AMT. When my Y got these in about 2 years ago, I fell in love immediately! They give you a much better work out then the regular elliptical. Now, I do not use the AMT all the time since I run a lot, but when I do, I always get a great work out.

    • Jen February 23, 2011, 12:16 pm

      Stephanie – I had no idea these had been out for so long. One of my issues with the regular elliptical is I never felt like I was really working that hard…definitely not the case on the AMT!!!

  • JennyV February 22, 2011, 10:52 am

    I don’t have a garmin but have been wanting one for AGES… you and Jen have this Jenny wondering if it’s something I really NEED?

    • Jen February 23, 2011, 12:15 pm

      Jenny – I still 100% recommend getting a Garmin. It totally changed my running. I credit the Garmin for making me faster! The only thing is that they’re highly addictive and you’ll find yourself not wanting to go without it even on “easy” runs…and then I end up caring about my pace too much and not having as easy of a run as I planned.

      My two cents! I would get one – you’ll love it!

  • natalie (the sweets life) February 22, 2011, 11:32 am

    I’ve never tried one of those machines, but I’m about to switch gyms and am hoping it has one!

  • Whitney February 22, 2011, 1:48 pm

    I will have to try that machine now that you mentioned it. The Y that I go to outside of Charlotte just got it. Another new machine we got was a stair stepper, but with the actual stairs. I consider myself to be an athlete and I could barely last on it and I know my heart rate was through the roof! haha just another thing to conquer I suppose! 🙂

    • Jen February 23, 2011, 12:13 pm

      i haven’t been brave enough to try those new stair steppers. they look so intense!!! isn’t it crazy how much switching up your activity can challenge you? it really goes to show how much we adapt to our normal routines.

  • Becky February 22, 2011, 4:45 pm

    That machine looks fantastic! I am really getting sick of cross training on the elliptical. I have added more spin into my routine, but I wish my gym had the AMT.

    • Jen February 23, 2011, 12:12 pm

      i really need to add spin back into my rotation. it challenges me in such different ways than running and elliptical!

  • Kelly February 22, 2011, 6:44 pm

    Brad and I have never been extremely impressed with the sushi places in Charlotte although we haven’t tried either of the places you mentioned. We need to branch out and see what’s out there!

    • Jen February 23, 2011, 12:11 pm

      kelly – you MUST try cyros. it is our all-time favorite. a little more pricey but sooooo delicious. it’s in southpark near roosters.

  • Krista (kristastes) February 22, 2011, 11:27 pm

    I have an AMT at my gym, but have never tried it! I always make a beeline for the treatmills…I’ll have to test it out after reading your review!

  • lindsay cotter February 24, 2011, 6:51 am

    AMT’s are very cool! A lot more functional than regular ellipticals in my opinion. Great for cross training! No garmin and Sullie equals a very HAPPY run.

  • Em @alifetobraggabout February 26, 2011, 4:04 pm

    We have AMT’s at our gym and I can only use them every now and then when I’m cross training. They’re killer!

  • Megan@eatmybeets February 27, 2011, 11:45 am

    That machine is so tough! I used it at my gym the other day and I’ve been avoiding it ever since haha. I feel that I should probably give it another go, though. It was hard for me to keep going forward with the same stride consistently.
    PS: I love you blog! I just stumbled upon in when I was searching for a mexican quinoa dish with black beans

  • Laura March 22, 2013, 2:37 pm

    I love the AMT! I started out my fitness journey on the Elliptical, which I found super challenging. Once the Elliptical got easy, I tried the AMT machine. I used to do 35 minutes on the elliptical at a pretty good speed and resistance/ incline… On the AMT at resistance ONE I could only do 10 minutes. After a few weeks of forcing myself to work out on it, I can now do an hour with intervals changing between resistance 5 and 10! It’s a great workout! Though when I am done the balls of my feet are on freakin fire! That’s the only thing I hate about it.

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