Monday, March 02, 2009

If I don't show up at work tomorrow, here's why...

OK, time to come clean. I got these cool Lebert Equalizers for bodyweight strength training (because, somehow, I've developed some weird aversion to isolation exercises). I tell people all the time to consider strength training. I got some advice from the John Stone fitness forums on improving my equalizer routine. I was even offended when my doc told me, quite some time ago, that I should lighten up on the strength training and do a ton of cardio.

So, what have I been doing for the past month plus? That's right: zero strength training and a ton of cardio. What a maroon.

Now, let's shift to a few hours ago. There I am, at home, considering my options. Running is out because it's raining nonstop and freezing cold. (I can take one or the other; I can't take both at the same time.) I still haven't figured out how to do my HR running routine on a treadmill while tracking running vs. walking. Clearly, biking is out as well. I could drive over to the gym for a swim, but I'm just not in the mood and I want something tougher. I have a shiny elliptical in the guest room for days like this and it's calling to me. It hits me: Time to use the elliptical for purpose #3.

Sidebar: I had three main purposes in mind when I plunked down the cash for my elliptical. 1) Cardio for mornings. 2) A cardio option for days when I can't/won't pull myself away from the television. 3) A cardio option for strength training days that doesn't make me feel like a complete loon by doing toe-taps and other standard aerobics tripe. (Don't get me wrong; aerobics in a class are great. Aerobics to a tape are ok. Aerobics all alone to your own music? Not my thing.) OK, moving on.

So I firm up my equalizer routines (push/pull), create a heart monitor program for the whole thing, get suited up, and go. First up: the elliptical. First bit of good news: the elliptical is getting easier and easier. I no longer feel like I'm killing myself just on the lowest level. I'm easily able to get and keep myself in the heartrate zone I want. Great. Twenty minutes later and I'm feeling worked out but not overly worn out. Perfect.

Next up: The Equalizer Push routine. The exercises: Assisted Lunges, Modified Push-ups, Assisted Single-leg Squats, and Dips assisted by feet. The plan: Three non(ish)-stop circuits with two minutes rest between each circuit.

More good news: Assisted lunges are waaaaayyy too easy for me now. (Hey, how'd that happen?) I'll have to get something harder. Bad news: I've lost strength in push-ups. Expected. I'll build back up. Oh-my-gawd-what-the-hell-is-this news: Who the hell came up with assisted one-leg squats (much less unassisted one-leg squats)?!? Three. That was all I could do, and that was with a hell of a lot of assistance. Three. Egads. On to dips and a successful set of twelve... until I realize that my feet are way to close in. Ah well, next set was harder.

But still, those single-leg squats?!? Absolute insanity. (And if you think I was able to maintain three per set, you're not paying attention.)

I catch my breath in my two-minute break and reconsider my plan. My primary plan is now to survive. Yes. Merely to live through the insanity I have wrought. Two circuits later and I climb back on to the elliptical. Yes, climb. This is not just a figure of speech. It takes all my strength and will to get on there. Through the whole ten minutes my legs are rubber and I'm having a heck of a time keeping my heartrate low enough for a cool-down.

But I actually met both goals. I did the elliptical-circuit-elliptical routine. And I survived.

But if I'm not at work tomorrow, I've collapsed somewhere between my bed and the front door. No need to knock. Just bring me some fresh fruit and jerky. And water. Maybe a pillow. I'll be fine.

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