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Maybe a home gym?

NordicTrack or Kettler?

Go green, minimalist and walk, use the community center or the local health walk way? Join a gym?

It's been 6 1/2 weeks since I decided to change my exercise and eating habits and I'm still on the wagon. I started this odyssey because I wanted to improve my mobility and reduce health risk factors.

Oh, that is so much BS. In a word, I'm doing this for credibility. We live in a superficial world and the world judges overweight people as less capable than thin people. It's not fair. It's not accurate, but it is what it is. Luckily what I'm doing is working, but I'd like to head off hitting a plateau and so, I'm looking at ramping up my exercise plans.  


I mentioned I am overweight, right? So, I have to be realistic. I started off with walking and I do 3 miles in 45 minutes 3-6 times a week. It's the rainy season in South Florida. I'm getting rained out regularly. Walking in the rain in 84 degrees wearing my House of Mouse poncho is too sticky. Walking up to 2 hours after a rain storm in steam heat (92 degrees with 97% humidity), however great for my skin, is stickier. Generally speaking, exercise is a sticky proposition, so I need an exercise solution that keeps the stickiness to a minimum.

Florida is unique. We have over 50 ways to describe rain. I'll walk when it's merely  trying to rain, misting or drizzling and I'll squeeze a walk in before a rain shower if there's no thunder and lightening, but not in a thunderstorm with lightening. I'll walk through a morning sun sprinkle or sun shower, but not in the afternoon - too much steam heat. (Sun showers are a weird combination of whatever level of rain in full, hot sun. Some people call this a hot rain, which can be as uncomfortable as a Florida winter's cold rain.)

No matter how you describe it, walking in a hard rain is a sucky choice. I don't walk in soaking showers, deluges, when it's pouring, coming down in buckets or coming down in pooties and woozles because 20 minutes into my walk, half of my route is under 3 to 8 inches of water. Wet sneakers suck. Wet feet in soaking wet socks in soaked through sneakers suck can hear them suck every step once you get onto drier land. Suck, suck, suck, well it just sucks, so I don't walk through puddles which tend to be 1/2 mile long in my neighborhood during flash flooding rain or a downpour.

Despite the rain, I've logged at least 75 miles of walking since July 27th, but little did I know, I was going to run into runner's problems. I blew out my Nikes. I didn't know to buy a new pair of walking shoes before the old ones wore out. I swear the new shoes felt fine in the store, I even hopped around in the store to make sure they were a good fit. Even so, about 40 minutes and 2 1/2 miles into my third day with them and I had a blister on my pinky toe and the start of something on my heel. Bandaids  slid off on my next walk and made the blisters worse. Shoe gooing the old Nikes lasted for a couple walks. My feet hurt when I wore my Keds - not enough support and I couldn't walk as fast in them. Finally, a sporty ballerina friend showed me how to tape up my feet with moleskin pads (3m makes the coolest stuff) for the new shoes and glue my old Nike's together. I'm slowly breaking in the new shoes without torturing my feet. (I declined to take her advice of getting the new shoes soaking wet and wearing them until they dried as that would suck.)

Not Walking

Well, if I can't walk, what can I do? Lawn work is out when it's raining, but it is a way to break in the new shoes once the rain stops. Mowing the lawn has it's attractions - 548 of them in fact, but that's only every 10 days or so. I decided to wait out the rain and try hacking at the jungle in the yard for exercise variety.

I live in the tropics, it is a jungle out there. Trimming the hedges no problem. Clipping the thorny bougainvillea has to be done with hand clippers, no problem. The banyan tree had the audacity to squirt out a limb about 4 1/2 feet above the sidewalk. I traced it back and saw where I'd have to saw through a 1 1/2" limb. It was too small to get out the chain saw and too small to support a ladder. Too big to use the hedge clippers. It was hand saw time. I was going to have to pull down the limb with one hand and saw it off with the other. Now, if I was 6 inches taller, had more testosterone and better upper arm strength, that limb would've been history in about 30 seconds. About 5 minutes into the mission Sweetie came over to offer assistance, but he thought better of it after one look at my grimly determined face. He wisely went back to hacking at the Arecas. Well, a few minutes later I had all twelve feet of that limb and as I was drug it to the driveway to chop it up I wondered about the wisdom and effectiveness of the household chore exercise program. 449 burned calories later, I decided there had to be a better way. Hacking at the jungle was at best a once a week, one or two hour deal that wouldn't really offer a good cardio work out. There's no guarantee that there would be another strength and balance workout like that limb. ...and it would be idiotic problematic to jog in place while using sharp tools.

Not Walking Part II

Housework isn't that bad anymore. I look at laundry, dishes, cooking and cleaning in a new light. I still don't go out of my way to scrub toilets or chase down woozles for their bath - there are limits; however, grocery shopping isn't the chore it once was. These aren't cardio work outs and I wouldn't call them strength training either, but it burns calories and I'll take it; but housework doesn't replace a regular exercise workout.

Still Not Walking

The last time I played volleyball reminded me why I wrote an essay about my gym teacher being a sadist some years ago. I don't like tennis either. Softball is ok, but getting a game going is not so easy. My town has a exercise gym on the opposite end of town and it would take about 45 minutes to get there. My local health walkway has rats on the grounds - a lot of rats, ughh...and there's that rain thing again. That leaves work outs in front of the teevee with a DVD which reminded me of the real reason I thought my gym teacher was a sadist. That said, I can crunch 150 reps any day thanks to an old back injury and a very patient physical therapist. I still do my back exercises regularly. Again, these things burn fuel, but I'm not getting a good cardio workout like I'm getting by walking fast.

The Broken Down Skier

My weight started spiraling up when the skier broke. It was a higher end machine when we bought it more than 10 years ago and we all really liked using it, but the spring had to be replaced and now the belt slips when you use it. I banished it to the closet when I slipped while using it and my face came within 6 inches of about $8,000 in dental work. It's still in the closet because sweetie is convinced he can fix it one day. My point that that machine was a menace was lost on Sweetie. New exercisers are smoother and quieter wasn't anymore convincing. That skier made quite a racket, no matter how good the work out was. This is now, and we need to find a new machine; a machine we would actually use. Raising his eyes to the ceiling, I presume to find guidance (although what guidance a popcorn ceiling can offer must be of limited profoundness - I would think).... anyhoo, the ceiling must have told him to go along with this plan; because we moved onto the next step and he even participated in the


So, I got some new vocabulary words, Concept 2, Precor, Life....something or other, Bremshey, Tinturi and Kettler are now along side NordicTrack, Bowflex, BodySolid and Weider. Then the next question, what kind of machine do we want? An elliptical? or what?

Well, the best exercise program is one you will do. I'm done with cheap machines. After the skier broke beyond repairing a couple people got me what they were sure would be terrific replacement machines, but they suck (more than walking in the rain). I won't go into name brands and I'm not pimping this site (I'm not buying a treadmill when I can walk around the neighborhood in dry weather) but I found the advice here to be the most realistic. Due to weight and usage projections, I realized why I hated the well intentioned, but flawed replacement machines. They weren't made for someone my size who was going to use them an hour at a time, 3-5 times a week by 3 people (one of them who is bigger than I am and Chibi is tiny compared to me).

The family protested, but they went with me check out a couple area stores and to try out the equipment. Chibi wants and elliptical, Sweetie wants a strength training home gym and I was thinking elliptical all the way until I got on one. Then, I tried about 10 more ellipticals and figured it would be come a very expensive clothes rack. Plus the only one I could tolerate was HUGE and cost over $5,000. At that price it would need to stay working until I croak. The elliptical is touted as the best, low impact exercise that burns lots of calories while being kind to your knees. Today, I find that assertion to be preposterous. Sweetie hated the elliptical too and pointed out a home gym with a rower attachment (that he ultimately rejected because it was made in China). Chibi said she could use an green elliptical at FIU between classes or run between buildings with her 40 pound back pack on her back. (She agreed the campus fitness center was the better option after I. stared. her. down.) I found a rower that does strength training exercises and a place where we could try one out. Woo hoo! Sweetie and Chibi both liked it.

More Research

Finding equipment we could agree on is one thing, committing to use it is another. We looked into gyms that had ellipticals and rowers - none of us like stationary bikes. Joining a gym in our area isn't working out. Either we don't like the gym or we don't like the equipment. We know we'll talk ourselves out of driving 45 minutes to the affordable gym. We know we won't go to the gym that doubles as a dating site, but the eye candy was great...but we wouldn't want to be seen there in our exercise togs. One good thing happened out this research. Gym shopping did give us an idea of the type of exercise we will commit to doing from the free passes.

We made our decision and....well, I'm not going to pimp a name brand, but we went for the rower with the extra strength training capabilities.

All this for an occasional piece of pie.

Originally posted to JDWolverton on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 05:54 PM PDT.


What do you do to work off a piece of pie?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar for the Weight Loss Journey (20+ / 0-)

    I'm not sure how much weight I've lost, but I know it's got to be near 20 pounds as I've gone down a dress size. All in all, things are progressing nicely.

    If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

    by JDWolverton on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 04:02:55 PM PDT

    •  I dance. Alot. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I think that's the trick. You've got to enjoy the exercise. It can't be an eye-rolling heavy sigh kind of "I've got to get up and do this thing".

      I've really gone over the deep end for Zumba class. It gives me everything I need in terms of exercise: fun, music I can really groove to, and a serotonin blast that makes me hunger for more! After a month, my jeans and tops are looser!

      Don't let yourself be limited by your prior concept of what is possible.

      by Fe Bongolan on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 08:03:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ellipticals (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, askew, jessical, JDWolverton, commonmass

    are where I ended up at. Low impact on the spinal cord because your feet never leave the floor. Row machines require your hands full time, ellipticals don't, which frees up time for IPOD tweeking and doing my nails.

  •  Since I broke up with my ex (7+ / 0-)

    boyfriend, I have lost nearly 70 pounds. (I'm a gay guy, so that really means somethinhg....). I went back to eating the way I used to, which is sensibly, got off beer and stuck to red wine at dinner, and work outside (I live in a rural area) every day. I feel better.

    Good luck on your journey.

    The US has pulled out of Iraq. Now, can you get out of my bedroom? EQUALITY NOW.

    by commonmass on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 05:58:54 PM PDT

  •  Good luck on the weight loss. I've been walking (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmb, BachFan, drmah, JDWolverton, commonmass

    to lose weight. I am in Minnesota, so the weather should be fine for outdoor walking until mid-Novemberish.

    As for the elliptical, it's really hard on my knees. My knees are really double-jointed, so everytime I went forward on the elliptical my knee cap would pop out.

    Have you looked at those upward slanted treadmills or a stationary bike?

    •  The walking is working for me too, but I'm (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      askew, gmb, BachFan

      finding it's only exercising one muscle group. I need an alternate. The walking for me will be getting better in the winter - less rain.

      My mom used to go to the malls during the week to walk when she lived in Pittsburg. Can you do something like that?

      Good luck to you.

      If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

      by JDWolverton on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 06:13:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Have you ever heard of rebounding?? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, askew, JDWolverton

    I've been doing it for 6 months now and it's the first exercise I have actually loved.
    85% less stress on the joints, due to the bounce effect. check this out..

    World peace through inner peace.

    by steelman on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 06:13:28 PM PDT

  •  I am on a similar program..... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, askew, gmb, jessical, JDWolverton

    ....I'm pretty lucky weather-wise because I live in Southern California and it's dry as a proverbial bone. Speaking of bones, I have two dalmatians (one of which is Ben) and they love to go for walks. Ben is getting very old now and can't go too far, but his sister can go along ways. My new program is get up at 5:00 a.m., slog down very very high quality caffeine (Kona, Indian peaberry.....I treat myself). Once I'm awake I walk her two miles. At lunch I go to the gym and use the major calorie burner: The good old fashioned stair-stepper. Then I hop on the treadmill. And I eat less. I'll let you know how it goes........

    British Petroleum: I think that means it's foreign oil.

    by Bensdad on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 06:14:35 PM PDT

  •  for what it's worth (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, JillR, askew, gmb, BachFan, JDWolverton

    I use the adaptive motion machine (a hella fancy elliptical) at the health club, and a water rower at home for when I can't get off my butt to the club.  

    My legs are in great shape, my back not so much, so I tend to favor the elliptical.  I can also go longer on the adaptive motion machine (65 vs 50 minutes).  

    The water rower (unlike the precor adaptive motion and elliptical machines at the gym) is quiet. It makes lovely whoosing noises, not the chew and hum of a (very nice) concept 2.  Living in a 3rd floor apt, this is a big deal.  It's also pretty, and folds up nicely with no fuss to break it out or put it away.  When I sat down to pick something to buy, a good rower -- at 800 to 1200 -- was affordable.  A used precor elliptical (not a cheapie which will break, wobble, and generally be unpleasant) was 1500-2000.  An adaptive motion machine was 10K.  So, eh...I like rowing anyway :}

    I tend to think that ellipticals (or adaptive motion machines if you can afford one -- I can't, but my club can) get more calories for less strain on the bod, and if you don't do warmup or stretching religiously, there's less potential downside to just hopping on.  But I do love my water rower, and chose that for a "home" device.

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 06:34:04 PM PDT

  •  Jazzercise! I'm one of three in my class over 70 (5+ / 0-)

    years old,, and we keep up, thank you very much.

    •  I'm not coordinated for that. I have to be in the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      back and then I'm always going in the wrong direction.

      But, I'm convinced the best way is to do it your way.

      If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

      by JDWolverton on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 06:44:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thankfully, you work at your own capacity and are (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        not judged if you make a mistake.  The best thing for me is being around young people and dancing to relatively new music.  The class that fits my schedule has mostly kindergarten parents in it because they can work it in between drop-off and pick-up.

  •  Hope you got the Concept 2. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BachFan, JDWolverton

    Let's just say this: Local thrift shops have ALL my old clothes.

    ALL of 'em.

    Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

    by earicicle on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 06:46:27 PM PDT

    •  Kettler. The Concept 2 was good. We liked the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      water rowers, but the Kettler was the best deal.

      If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

      by JDWolverton on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 06:51:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not familiar with the Kettler. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Hope you have great success with it!

        The Concept 2 is made less than an hour and a half from where I live. I was able to get a very special deal a few years ago by getting an "open box" model that I picked up at the factory myself. They don't  make a different version for home use--that's why it's so expensive. It's made to withstand professional and gym use as well. Invented by a couple of Olympic rowers!

        Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

        by earicicle on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 07:27:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Good luck with rowing (0+ / 0-)

        Kettler's a decent German company. Hopefully, the piece will serve you well.

        Personally, I love rowing. I think one of the keys is to be comfortable starting slow. With a rower, you can engage all of the major muscle groups of your body in your cardio exercise, which means you can fatigue yourself pretty quickly. When I started rowing at around age 32 (and fairly physically fit), it was work to get 5-10 minutes on a Concept 2. Within a few weeks, I was able to regularly do around 25 minutes. The big thing - it's fairly easy to overdue it and lose motivation as a result.

        If you're interested in group motivation, there are a number of social tools for fitness, including communities on Twitter and Facebook. Concept 2 has an Online Logbook as well as other tools which are free to use, and you should be able to join even though you use a Kettler rather than Concept 2. I post my rowing workouts to my Twitter profile @shh71 as well as using the Concept 2 Logbook. I've made a few connections using these tools, especially Twitter, but the simple record helps motivate consistency for me and set goals.

        Good luck in meeting your goals on your health & fitness journey.

        To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men. Abraham Lincoln

        by forbodyandmind on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 11:16:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I used to like the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, JDWolverton

    infomercials for some eliptical machine. That crazy guy with the ponytail, joyously striding though air on his magic machine. Not sure whether they work or not, though.

    In addition to cutting out things like booze and sweets, try cutting back on wheat and corn, because they are for many people inflammatory. And thus puffy-making. Talk to a nutritionist, or see what's in your library, and eat a balanced diet of carbs, protein, veggies and so on. If you give your system adequate and balanced nutrition, it will burn up the extra by itself.

    And don't use artificial sweeteners in lieu of sugar. They are made of nasty chemicals that you probably don't want to ingest.

    Good luck, and kudos for making the effort.

    Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?--Mary Oliver, "Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches?"

    by Mnemosyne on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 06:47:39 PM PDT

    •  I've decided that I'm not going with any (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmo, Mnemosyne, BachFan

      "forbidden" foods. I eat what I want and log it. I'm finding that I'm gravitating toward more natural foods and good choices anyway, including real sugar instead of the fake stuff. I also don't like foods or juices with high fructose corn syrup in it. I always have eaten a balanced diet, since high school, but I was eating too much. I am simply cutting the portions of what I was eating and limiting my wine to a couple glasses per week. It's working because I'm losing about 1 1/2-2 pounds per week.

      Imagine my surprise when I found out my fat intake was right on. (No wonder my doctor gets disappointed when my lipid levels come in low despite my size.) I was a little surprised to find my potassium intake is really, way too low and had to make some adjustments. 1/4 cantaloupe for breakfast or a couple Tbsps of pinto beans on my salads does the trick. Plus, potatoes and sweet potatoes aren't bad after all - even pan fried in olive oil. Increasing potassium has led to me feeling more energetic.

      I have over 50 pounds to lose before I hit my goal and that can lead to loose skin if I do it too fast. My doctor advised me to try increase my muscle mass (especially in my upper arms), which is another reason why I'm going for the exercise with the rower. I've been using 2 pound weights and increased to 5 pounds in anticipation of moving onto the rower.

      If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

      by JDWolverton on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 07:23:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Make it doubly nice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, JDWolverton

    I set up my elliptical facing our TV and DVD player, so I can watch movies while I exercise -- or, to say it differently, so I can exercise while I watch movies.  I've seen more movies on that elliptical than I've seen in my entire preceding life (which may or may not say something about me).

    I bought the elliptical used, and as it turns out, I like the feel of it a lot.  The others that I've tried, even very nice ones in gyms, don't feel as comfortable for me.

    A few weeks ago I bought a treadmill for $10 at a garage sale, and now I'm in the process of setting it up so that I can use my computer while walking at a slow pace.  It already works reasonably well with my improvised setup -- the other day I spent 2 1/2 hours doing real work, and also raising my metabolism just enough for a few endorphins to kick in.

    "If they give you lined paper, write the other way." (Juan Ramon Jimenez)

    by bread on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 07:13:47 PM PDT

  •  They all work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BachFan, JDWolverton

    if you use them.  None of them work if . . .

    There are probably more (un)used exercise machines sitting in garages and basements than any other single class of "appliance" . . . don't even think about wasting money on a new one.  And once people find out how much used ones actually sell for (almost nothing) they often give them away just to get rid of them.

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 07:27:36 PM PDT

  •  Pilates (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BachFan, JDWolverton

    Wrong place to go to burn calories.  It's not about cardio at all.  

    I go to the YMCA.  And I recently got converted from treadmill to strider - which might be the same thing as elliptical.  In the long term, lifting weights helps, too.  Building muscle mass increases at rest calorie burning - even while you sleep!  And sometimes I go swimming, too.  I've always found swimming laps to be very meditative.  Generally, I go for an hour.

    Plus, I'm told that exercise typically only contributes about 1/3 to weight loss.  Diet being the other 2/3.  So, better develop a celery habit!

    exmearden: Grab every minute of joy you can. 8/30/09

    by Land of Enchantment on Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 07:44:06 PM PDT

  •  I am not focused on calorie burning. (0+ / 0-)

    I have this luxury because I am on a medication that has the side effect of appetite suppression. I also have to deal with several food intolerances. (They are not allergies; I don't die, but my body throws a tantrum and it's very unpleasant.)

    So I eat real food, not what makes my body unhappy. As one of the things that makes me unhappy is fructose, I don't get that many sweet things.

    I do yoga, am adding some Pilates moves for core focus, and do some weightwork on my arms, as my chosen hobby is very demanding in that regard. And I walk the dog, when my foot isn't too bitchy.

    I try to move when I can, and be efficient with my time when I have to sit, and keep myself loose and toned. That's about as good as it gets from here. Plus, I have good Polish and Irish genes for broad shoulders, full bust, and heavy hips; I'll read as fat no matter what, so whatever.

    But I have dropped from a 28 to a 20, and the 20's are starting to get loose. I suspect I'll be in an 18 by Christmas. (The last time I wore an 18, I WAS eighteen. 20 years ago. Um.)

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