Friday, April 9, 2010
It is another early early morning. My hubby would actually say it was still night. I am biking hard. I chose a hilly but very scenic route. The sky is blue dotted with white, puffy clouds and the hills are green with patches of colorful flowers. This must be California, I should know, I live there. I pedal fast to keep up with the pacer but annoyingly he stays ahead. There are just a couple of other bikers so I have the entire width of the trail to myself. At times I get dangerously close to the edge and that is a bit scary but I don't want to slow down. It is hot and there is no breeze. 13 minutes into the ride I am done. I mean I have had it! I step off the bike and walk away.
I do not have the time to bike outside today. The errands I skipped to have my ride yesterday did not want to go away so my entire exercise today had to be done very early in the day and indoors. I can run in the dark but for some reason I don't feel comfortable biking before sunrise. The gym I go to has these very sophisticated biking machines, Expresso. One sits down comfortably in front of a large screen, picks one of the routes, some of which are quite scenic, and when the sign on the screen flashes 'go' the fun begins. What shows on the screen is a neat animation of how the imaginary trail is changing scenery and all. One can even race a friend on a machine at the other end of the gym. One can even race oneself from a past workout. Pretty cool, isn't it? The only problem is that it is not real. so soon I get tired and bored. Angie suggested imagining exercising on a space station. I think I will need to work on my imagination a bit more. Or maybe if I moved this machine under the starry sky... But I have to admit that as much as I don't like using them, I am totally impressed with how sophisticated all those machines are becoming. I can see that for many this is something that can motivate them to exercise. As for me, I am thinking that maybe I ought to just stop whining and start biking in the dark.
Then, following my bloggy friend's advice I did the stepper. This one lacked any funky displays and maybe that made it more bearable for me. It is not like going up real steps would be more fun, right? Apparently I climbed 43 stories, which would be half the Empire State Building. I don't think so. If I climbed that high at the speed I was going I would be dead of exhaustion and I can assure you, I am still alive. Maybe running stairs in my house would be more fun and more realistic?
And then the weights. Now these machines I am not complaining about. I know, I know, free weights are better for millions of reasons. Here I have to confess: I like seeing the numbers. Leg press: 22 reps at 290lbs, or chest press: 2 sets of 15 reps at 90lbs, which is 3 reps better than the last time. At the end I get the total of some tens of thousands of pounds and I feel strong. This is instant gratification. For some reason I find it difficult to motivate myself to do free weights at home or at the gym so until I do, I will keep on using machines.
In the end I had a good strength training session but my cardio was lousy. My legs got tired before my heart rate went up; I never got over 70% or max heart rate. So I added some rowing at home. Again following some good advice I watched Doctor Who, old episodes this time. Thankfully YouTube has them all.
For me exercise outdoors beats the gym anytime but sometimes gym and the machines are the only reasonable option. In fitness communities there are endless debates which will deliver better fitness. I think that eventually what really matters is to get our bodies in motion, to challenge them, to keep them from fossilizing. And as much as I am complaining about boredom on the elliptical or phony statistics on the stepper, I am glad I can keep on exercising while my tendon is healing.