The elliptical machine is my favorite piece of equipment at the gym. Actually, it is probably my favorite form of exercise because I find it challenging, it burns a lot of calories, and when I am done I just feel like I have the best workout. I have been using the elliptical regularly for about 8 years now. Initially, it really kicked my butt. I could barely do 5 minutes. I slowly worked my way up, adding more and more time over the first couple of months. I was able to quickly move up to 30 minutes. For awhile I thought that was my plateau and for years, this was my standard. About two years ago, I decided to step it up and take on 45 minutes. This amount of time has been working really well for me. I use the elliptical once a week.
The hardest part about using the elliptical is not getting bored. In addition to my essentials, I have a system for staying motivated on the elliptical: I change a setting every 5 minutes. For every 5 minutes that pass, I change the resistance, incline or direction. This way, I am not thinking about how much time I still have left to complete the exercise, but I focus on how much longer until I change a setting. Staying focused on five minute intervals is much easier on the mind than the total time remaining. This has really helped keep me on the elliptical for the full 45 minutes.