Friday, February 6, 2009

How I Sweat

I don't go to the gym for a number of reasons. For one thing, if you read the Craigslist "Missed Connections" section like I do (ok, maybe you don't), then you would know that any given gym is a playground for emotionally-underdeveloped skeezy stalkers. Also, sweating and body odor are very personal. To have other people close enough to sniff my glistening mass is as unsettling as opening up for my gyno. No thanks.

So, I do my workouts at home. And it's worked out (get it?) quite nicely. Here's my set up:

My bike. It's a Schwinn recumbent bike that can give you an intense cardio while still being easy on the knees. It's also worked my inner thighs and hips, unlike the upright I had before. I'll admit it was a bit pricey (about $400), but it has been worth every penny.

Here is the program I use each morning. It goes through mild to intense resistance levels every 9 minutes or so. After the first 45 minutes are up, I start it again for one more cycle, for a total of about 55 minutes. In total, I burn 510-525 calories, or so the fancy monitor says. In any event, my heart rate usually stays at between 128 to 155, so I'm definitely burning some calories. I feel so good after each session. I *heart* this bike.

While I'm on the bike 55 minutes, my actual cardio workout time is much longer thanks to this thing. Meet Hobbes, the other Great Underminer in the household. He is endlessly fascinated with my exercise activities, coming up with new ways to get all up in my business.

And here is the second greatest piece of exercise equipment: The Playstation 3. No, seriously, this thing is like a mini-computer. When networked with your computer/internet, you can access all on-line fitness websites and watch their videos right on your regular TV. I like to workout to the Sparkpeople videos--especially Coach Nicole's butt-blasting and core regimens. The PS3 is also a great blu-ray and video game player. I can watch movies and (more typically) play mindless action games while pedaling furiously away on the bike. I highly recommend playing any of the Ratchet and Clank video games while biking. Good times, and the hour passes in an instant.

Here are my weights. Nothing fancy. The one thing that does bug me about them is that I have to spend a lot of time switching out the weights depending on what muscles I'm working on. Unfortunately, I just don't have the room to store multiple dumbbells in this space. The weights you see are the ones I have been using for my tricep exercises. The dumbbell on the left is for my overhead extensions (10 lbs + whatever the bar weighs); the one on the right is for my tricep kickbacks (5 lbs + whatever...). And thanks to Kristi's tricep scuplting blog, my triceps are fantastically tore up, in a good way. For biceps, I have been using 12.5 lbs dumbbells. But after trying some new bicep curls, I've cut back to 10 lbs. again.

Of course, I use a stability ball now. I wasn't initially a convert, but after a friend let me borrow hers, I've found that it really is an excellent way to work the core without putting a hurting on my back. Plus, I gotta say it's just plain fun sitting and bouncing and rolling on the ball. I feel like I'm in Romper Room. Surprisingly, Hobbes hasn't taken an interest in it. Yet.

And finally, my chair. I just started using it for one of Coach Nicole's lower body/thigh/glute exercises. You can check it out by clicking here.

You don't even need much of the equipment I have to get a decent workout. In fact, Kristi just posted an excellent article discussing how you can get your fitness on in the comfort of your own home using just what you have. Wish I had seen that sooner!

So, here's a breakdown of how I get busy with my own home gym, Monday through Saturday morning.

55 Minutes Cardio
30 Minutes Weight Lifting (triceps and chest every other day, biceps on alternating days)
30 Minutes Core or 30 Minutes Lower Body (alternating days)
15 Minutes to chase Hobbes out of the room or unhook his claws from my clothing

I don't plan on working out 2 hours a day/6 days a week forever. I'm still in weight loss mode. Once I get to the weight I need to be, I plan on cutting back my workouts to about an hour, 5 days a week and see how well I maintain with new calorie intakes. I really don't want to cut it back much further than that. I actually enjoy being active and it sets the whole rest of my day in motion. A few years ago, the old me would have snickered sarcastically at such a statement. Funny that.


Some of you may have noticed a large, tacky stuffed lion in the background of some of these pictures and wondered why it's there, as I don't have kids. No, I am not a fur-vert or have some other fetish. There's a cute, albeit bizarre, story behind that lion and our other cat, Sebastian, which you can watch below. Let's just say we stand by their relationship.:


  1. Wow you have some really nice equipment. Love the bike - and your idea for using the PS3 is brilliant. I certainly would have never thought of it.

    And I think it's wonderful that you have been so open minded about Sebastian's relationship with the lion. :)

  2. You are an excellent writer, and I always enjoy your posts. Having a piece of quality equipment is great! We have an eliptical and I love it. When the weather is bad, you don't have to leave the house. Sounds like you are doing pretty well on your own. Love your cat too!

  3. I am really impressed with your at-home workout regimen!!! You have my utmost admiration. I have no willpower when I'm all alone in my house, I always end up plopped down on the couch watching the happy instructors on the DVD sweat all by themselves.

    The only thing that keeps me on the machines at the gym is my competitive streak..."Well that lady got on after me, I can't get off before she does! Keep...on...moving!" And then I also worry that people will think, "Didn't she just get on that elliptical? She's leaving already?" Pathetic, I know, but it's my technique and it works. :)

    (Oh and the pictures of your workout-buddy kitty are so funny. That's another reason I don't work out at home...three doggies giving me kisses with every crunch. Even when I use my Wii Fit, Cubby loves the yoga poses because I bend over and he tries to kiss me.)

  4. Oooh, you ARE evil, aren't you? I'm trying to be all frugal, and you have me out pricing recumbents and playstations and new weights...and I *have* a gym membership! (my gym has boring jocks who oddly enough seem interesting only in each other)

    Do you think Kristi is out to get us? :)

  5. I love to see that other people work out at home and have such positive results. I'm with you with the sweat thing, but more that I don't want to touch stuff that other people have been sweating on. That, and I turn a very unnatural shade of red when I exercise and I hate the stares of people wondering if I'm about to have a heart attack.

  6. I love the fact that you are a walking blog ad for the PS3 - I will admit, they are quite amazing. Have you played LittleBigPlanet? It is very effective at making you forget the fact that time exists.
    Your workouts rock, and you have come so far in your weight loss. Very impressive. I've heard great things about Schwinn bikes.. maybe one day I'll invest. They are supposed to last for freaking ever.
    Grats to you for liking video games and for being awesome.

  7. LBP? OMG!! I was living that game for 3 months. It was responsible for at least 10 lbs of weight loss. I'm not a platformer, but LBP game had me hooked, especially the bunker at the end--that was HARD. And I have every song on the soundtrack memorized.

    Yeah, definitely get a bike and play PS3 (or XBox 360). It is so cool coming out of the end of a session in a pool of sweat wondering how you got there.

  8. I saw your comment on Lyn's blog and stopped by to tell you that I thought it was very good.

  9. What a great set up!

    Now i want a Ps3 and a giant cat too!

    I'm hoping some day they can totally integrate exercise and home entertainment, so that one can enter an alternative world and run around in it and be part of the plot while burning off calories.