Friday, September 22, 2006

Gym Stuff

I'm not digging that it's dark at 6 a.m.. Between that and the fact that it's cooler outside, it makes staying all snuggly in my bed seem like a much more favorable option than going to the gym.

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know I get lazy at the gym. A couple of weeks ago, I realized I was at this point. There is no reason why someone at my level of fitness should ride the recumbent bike for 30 minutes, while reading a magazine, and think that counts as a workout. The recumbent bike is great when you're just starting a fitness routine or if you're recovering from injury or if you worked out really hard the day before and need a recovery day. But it's not for everyday once you're pretty fit. I wasn't even breaking a sweat.

Time is my big hangup at the gym, how long I've been on any particular machine. I get bored. So for the last two weeks, I've been focusing on intensity instead of time at the gym. I've been running on the treadmill at the "6.5" speed or higher. Often that means I'm only running for 15- 20 minutes. Sometimes I push as high as "7.5" but only for short intervals. I'm trying to focus on distance and intensity. (Side note: I'd like to run a 5k one of these days.) When on the eliptical machine, I try to choose a higher intensity than I used to and concentrate on pedaling fast. I've been sweating like crazy. My laundry is a little out of control.

So the other day I was reading Fitness magazine, which really, I should never read and this woman was all like "I run 5 miles three days a week and I do 2 hours of weight training every other day and I do 1,200 crunches a day. My abs are firm but under a layer of fat that won't go away. What should I do?"

This has been my exact issue...except I'm definitely not doing 1,200 crunches a day. I do pilates twice a week, I do power yoga once a week and I do a stretching class that may as well be a yoga class. While all have benefits (and I do love them all) they don't really count as aerobic activity. And aerobic activity is what burns fat. I have strong stomach muscles, but there is an annoying layer of pudge over them. I've gained about 8 pounds since the wedding and while I don't care about losing it all, I would love to flatten that bit of pudge.

Anyway, back to the Fitness article. The expert who responded to the woman mentioned above gave an extremely lengthy answer, but what struck me was that she estimated that this woman worked out about 16 hours a week.

16 hours a week.

Where do you get that kind of time? It didn't register how much that was at first until I added up how many hours I spend at the gym each week and came up with somewhere between 5 and 7 hours depending on the week. Which was a disappointingly low number since I feel like I spend a good deal of time at the gym. I am not, however, looking to up it to 16 hours. I am not a total freak, despite what you may think.

What I have decided, though, is that I'm going to do a two week experiment. I'm going to shelf the pilates and yoga for now and just do running, eliptical, stairmaster, etc. All aerobic for 5-6 hours a week and see what happens.

Keeping it new is half the fun.


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