Project HUGE: My Recent Experience With Light Cardio Fitness
Posted December 26, 2008 at 11:16 PM by Ben Nadel
I am not one who enjoys cardio. In my many years of gym experience, I have done very little cardio. And when I say "very little," it's only cause I am too timid to say, "none." However, about two months ago, my right-wrist pain came back a bit. I was so nervous about aggravating it that I stopped going to the gym. During this three week period of wrist-wrest, I decided to battle my mild sloth-depression with some light cardio work. I started using my $79 GNC stairmaster 3-4 times a week for no more than 22 minutes at a time. And, I know it's only 22 minutes because that's how long a 30-minute show is when you record it on DVR and then fast-forward over the commercials.
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22 minutes is about all I can stand emotionally... and about all I can manage cardiovascularlly. But, I have to say it seems to be working. In the last few weeks, I've had a few people mention that I'm definitely looking healthier that I have in a long time. OK, so granted one of them was my mom, but I do feel like it is actually making a difference.
Now that I'm feeling good about it, I want to keep this cardio fitness thing going - January 2009 is gonna be the month where I prepare to completely get back into a healthy lifestyle. As such, I looked at upgrading my stairmaster to something a bit more comfortable (a little Christmas present to myself). Unfortunately, it looks like once you upgrade from the $79 GNC stairmaster, the next step up is over $1,000. And then, the next upgrade after that is over $2,000!
Looks like I'll be sticking with my little, fold-up stairmaster for the time being. It's not the most comfortable (the feet don't stay level as you step), but it's the perfect size for a New York City apartment.
Here's to getting healthy in the new year!
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Umm, as I read all the way through your post, I can't help but think that your wrist pain isn't a terribly vexing mystery. Sometimes it's good to take a problem into your own hands; sometimes it's better to get the help of others. (mind you, not knocking your blog adornments, but they might be leading you to an early disabling by carpal tunnel)
Jason makes a good point.
Also, unless you actually took those photographs yourself, you really shouldn't go putting your logo on them. As a (non professional but semi-serious amateur) photographer, if I saw photos I'd taken on someone elses site with their logo on them and no credit to me, I'd be writing you a polite email asking you to remove either your logo, or the photos altogether.
I've no idea what licence the photos are under (if any) but you really can't effectively claim credit for them if you didn't take them. You wouldn't go taking GPL'd code, remove the licence and claim credit for it yourself, would you?
You are absolutely correct. Sorry about that. I was doing this late last night while simultaneously having an argument with someone; I was distracted. Logos have been removed. As far as giving credit or permission, sometimes it's just not possible - I found the above photo on a fitness forum site... I am sure the photo was taken from a site that took it from a site that took it from a site. I don't know what the rules are in that case?? If you have any insight, I would love to hear it in such matters.
That is actually one of the things that I want to get better about - seeking help. In fact, that is one of my big resolutions for 2009: not letting any of my health issues become a second-rate matter. I need glasses, I am gonna go out and get them; I have knee pain, I am gonna seek the help of an ART (active release technique) professional. No longer will I just ignore pain hoping it goes away. As for the wrist, I have been to a sports medicine doctor and an eastern doctor. I am working on it :)
ben, i know we briefly talked about this on the twitters, but i'll give some more detail about my experiences with cardio. back when i was a gym rat, i used to do about 45 minutes on the elliptical. i liked it, but it's sooooo boring. after my firstborn came along and there was zero time to go to a gym, I started exercising at home. First, with the billy blanks bootcamp series, which wasn't bad, but which after a few months was no longer a challenge.
i said to my wife, "wife, i want a workout that makes me feel like puking". i saw the infomercial for p90x and bought it the next day.
it kicks ass! even after a year with it, when I do p90x workouts, they still rock me. it simply works you too hard to get bored.
now, in terms of cardio, the series comes with 4 different cardio videos. one of them, "Cardio X", is pretty light. I wake up around 4:30 AM on weekdays, and if I feel like getting the blood moving, I'll do this one. Another, "Kenpo", is basically a tae bo ripoff. I quit doing it b/c it wasn't gittinerdone. But the other two freakin' rock. There's "Plyometrics" and "Core". Both are about an hour. Both make me wobbly. p90x is not some girly cardio program though. it's all about the muscle. So even these 2 cardio-heavy programs are muscle intensive.
I know I sound like a fanboy... that's OK. if it weren't for p90x, i'm pretty sure i'd be 30 pounds overweight.
good luck man!
Go to the park for cardio. You will feel much better for it. Nice women there as well. I am sure the sight of you struggling up hills will bring out their maternal instincts.
I've talked to a number of people about p90x and no one has anything but great things to say about it. I have no doubt that it is good. I can't believe you wake up at 4:30 AM and have the energy to move :)
It looks like I can check some it out on YouTube just to get a taste of what it's like:
Maybe in the spring time. Right now, its waaaaay too cold. It would be fine during, but I sweat so much exercising that the second I stop, I'd freeze!
Lately, running has been my favourite form of cardio (although I haven't done much since my son was born!). I've never liked doing hour+ cardio sessions, I get bored with it. Running, whether outdoors or on a treadmill, lets you vary the intensity, so you can get an extremely effective workout in 30-45 minutes. I've also always found sports can be a way to get cardio in without the boredom. I started getting into ultimate frisbee about a year ago, and for big guys, trying to chase those little frisbee people around will really kick your butt.
Running is good, but kills my knees (I am flat footed and extremely heavy on my feet with hard landings). I have heard that interval training in running is one of the best conditioning activities that you can do.
why don't you do cardio at the gym?
Lately, I have been trying to alternate cardio and weight training. Once you get in the habbit, it's not that hard. And, it works.
Plus, at the gym they have a couple of things that make the treadmill a lot less boring. You know, like TVs, pretty women, etc. ;-)
I'm not sure; something about being home, watching my TV shows just feels comfortable. I have tried to do some cardio in the gym in the past and it was never fun. Maybe I'll give it another go.
Plus you don't necessarily have to use a treadmill ... I can't get a good workout walking on one, and my knees prefer that I don't run, so I typically do elliptical machines or stairclimbers instead.
And yes, the scenery is (occasionally) much better in the gym. :)
I remember a year ago when I switched to my current gym; there was so much good.... scenery... that I found it hard to concentrate on my workout. The newness of that wore off thankfully, but it was really funny at first.
Sorry to hear about the pain, BUT...it seems to me that no one really got the undertone of what Jason's first comment was...
This seems to not be a cardio equipment problem...
@Ben, switch hands?
Ha ha, strategy in effect.
You say about your hard landings and footfalls... Look at some parkour on the internet. Try Parkour Generations. The sport develops incredible stamina, agility, core and polymetric strength, not to mention fluidity, and would encourage you to get rid of those hard footfalls. Look for some traceurs (practitioners of the sport) in your local area, and consult them on trying to resolve your hard footfalls, these guys are some of the most informed people you will ever meet when it comes to landing effectively in order to dissipate energy. Practicing the sport isn't necessary, just talk to these guys, they may have some excellent coaching techniques for you on perfecting that footfall, a big park of parkour is stealth, and silence. Landing without making a noise.
Another conversation I am incredibly late to, but I wanted to comment. I know what is said about weight-lifting type of exercises build muscle and therefore increase your resting metabolism, resulting in weight loss, and believe me, I LOVE weight-lifting types of exercises. At the same time, admittedly, I am a runner; it is something I enjoy doing. And I have noticed, for whatever reason, that when I am actively running, I lose weight VERY effectively. I wouldn't say it falls off per se, but more like, I maintain like crazy, effortlessly, when I am running actively over a period of time, and I just simply don't put weight on during that time. Like, to gain weight during a period of time when I am actively running, I would have to try really, really REALLY hard, and I don't even know if I could do it then! On the other hand, if I am not running during a period of time, it is fairly easy for me to put it on, even if I am doing weight-lifting type of activities. And if I am not running and have put on weight, and start, I really am able to lose back down to where I previously was.
I know you said you couldn't do the running thing...can you jump? Or is that too painful for you or bothersome? I was thinking plyometrics...could you do those, you think? I absolutely love plyometrics, but I know there are some people who hate them. It's insane how fun I think they are, I think.
Another set of things that I like are things that kind of have a cardio "aspect" to it, but also have a strength training aspect as well (and combine some flexibility also). An example of this is martial arts...I absolutely love martial arts, and depending on which discipline you are practicing, it could be very cardio in nature, but it would also have a strength training aspect as well, but there are other disciplines that may have "more" of a stregth training aspect, and a little less of the cardio. I am guessing the grappling (wrestling) would fall into this category. I haven't known too many things that were a greater rush than being on top of someone and making them submit to you. :-) See, I told you I was weird. :-)
Anyway, about that last pic...I have some MAJOR ab envy going on here. I think there has been a shift in my thinking as to what I actually personally want for myself. I used to want the six-pack, eight-pack whatever-pack abs like that...I thought that would be the best thing ever and so cool! But then, when I was doing my running steadily and everything else in the world physically, I had myself a very nice flat stomach. It wasn't fat, and it wasn't muscular, it was just flat. And I got to where I liked it that way a whole lot on me. Now, don't get me wrong...I would still love to get those rock hard abs...the six- or eight- or whatever-pack for a season...just as a goal-oriented thing to make me feel successful and accomplished. But even if I was able to achieve that, I would want to go back to the flat abs for me, personally, not long after that...I wouldn't necessarily want to keep them. But they look GREAT on her!!! I still have ab envy, because I still think they look great on her. :-) I just think for me, personally, the flat stomach goes better with everything else. I don't think the abs would as much.