Unlike ordinary steppers, lateral stepper gives you the advantage of working out different muscles.
As you move vertically you tone your glutes, as your legs move in and out you firm your inner and outer thighs, abs and obliques at the same time.
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To my opinion a lateral stepper is a good option but it definitely needs to be combined with other types of exercise. The stepper's cardio is necessary to increase your heart beats and start aerobic burning. To my opinion its even more important to include some strength work outs like weight lifting, because the cardio can burn calories while working out, but the developement of muscles due to weight lifting can bring about permanent calories burning!
When it comes to metabolic fat burning I include some cardio machines, the stepper being one of them. Follow the link for a blog I did comparing results on the X-Trainer 'v' the Stepper. I have to agree with some of the others that nutrition is key and also resistance training.
Exercise is exercise at the end of the day. If you enjoy using it then nothing wrong with it. However as a personal trainer I obviously would recommend sorting out your daily food intake and vary the exercise you do mixing cardio and weight training to get the full benefits of weight loss.
Every single time you exercise, you burn calories and fat but there are other factors also to be taken into consideration diet, lifestyle and managing stress level. Small changes will help you lose weight forever.
Lateral stepper can be a good tool for weight loss if used accordingly and part of a routine.
You can for example do 10 repetition of 30 seconds of intensive stepper followed by 15 seconds rest. And repeat 3 times with 2 minutes rest between sets. This interval cardio workout of short high intensity burst followed by a short rest will speed up your metabolism.
I would also advise you to combine this workout with some functional weight exercises beforehand for better result. If you follow this simple steps you should get some good result quickly, however do not forget that 70-80% of weight lost is happening in your Kitchen!
Nutrition is key to your success.
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