Ask the readers: Does home exercise equipment make it easier to work out?
Posted Aug 27 2008 8:04am
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I’m about to break a deal. And I hate breaking deals.
In preparation for the coming months of gloom in the Pacific Northwest, I have been seriously considering whether or not to start looking for some kind of home exercise equipment. My problem is I have made a deal with myself that basically goes like this:
I won’t buy exercise equipment until I can demonstrate that I can exercise regularly without it. If I can’t get myself to work out without equipment, buying equipment is just throwing money at a problem.
But, I’ve recently considered this deal from another angle: What if it is easier to exercise because the equipment makes it more enjoyable? I think it is a valid possibility, particularly in a place like the Pacific Northwest, where inclement weather can be a convenient excuse to skip a workout.
Believe me, it is convenient. Easy, even.
I read on some of my favorite blogs, like Andrew is Getting Fit, and John Is Fit, that a lot of folks are able to beat the weather on a treadmill. I also had a friend in High School who successfully lost weight (and kept it off) using a home treadmill and meal replacement shakes. While I’m definitely avoiding the shakes myself, I will say that the idea of a treadmill or similar cardio device is enticing. But is it just the multi-million dollar marketing campaigns making inroads into my mental inner sanctum? Has the Olympics spun my brain? Am I now simply revolving in a Phelpsian inspirational dreamland (thanks Chris for pointing me to my word of the day)?
Or really, am I just trying to justify buying a Nintendo Wii???
Time to make the donuts
I’ve been in a bit of a funk for much of August, which has meant that exercise over the last few weeks has been sporadic at best. With several road trips and the rigors of stepping out into the world of business on my own, I’ve found that it is all too easy to find excuses for not going out for a run. What’s worse is I’ve also lost focus on the importance of exercise as part of my daily routine from a work perspective. I need to get the focus back.
On a functional level, I think that this month the biggest challenges for me have been lack of sleep and a loose daily schedule. If I can get my sleep habits under control, and tighten down the bolts on how I’m spending my time throughout the week, I think I can get the ship sailing again.
I was doing pretty well on the 100 pushup challenge, but with all of the summer activities, trips, and so forth, I let it slip. In fact, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve started and stopped the challenge; I’m still going to restart from where I left off, yet again, this week.
I’ve also discovered that having two children out of school has really made the prospect of regular exercise tricky. In the past, when we only had one child, it was much easier to find a way to get out for a run. For example, when our oldest was only a year old, we could escape for an hour or two and get in some exercise by leaving him with his grandparents. We ran 6 miles around Greenlake in Seattle (twice around the lake), for example, and loved it. But with two, it’s much more of a challenge. We are hopeful that once preschool resumes next week that we’ll be able to start running together again (one child is much easier to manage on a run than two), but with the impending fall and winter weather of Portland, I am trying to look ahead with a little wisdom on how I seem to operate.
I am also considering checking out local gyms, but as I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m not really into the whole “gym social” thing. I don’t want to meet people during and between exercise; I really just want to get fit, and doing so at home seems more my speed. But I could be wrong about that too.
Is that a Bowflex in your closet?
In the past, I’ve owned equipment that got used for a month or two, only to be relegated to the pile-o-thrown away money after I got bored with it. Here is a short list of equipment that I’ve owned:
Stationary bicycle (the old kind, with the moving handle bars) (sucked, but worked)
Weight benches (several over the years) (gave me a false sense of progress…”you gotta eat if you want bulk!” — bad move for me)
Rowing machine (sucked big time)
Stair stepper (cheaper one, blew chunks)
Treadmill (Actually my parents owned this - I used it when I lived at home - this one I liked)
Exercise videos (I list this since it actually worked for a while in a home setting. What made me move on? Sad to say, the follow-up edition of this particular exercise series involved the instructor letting down his ponytail and doing the routines with BIG hair. That, for some reason, made the video unwatchable.)
These days, I’m much more reluctant to throw money at the exercise question.
So what is your opinion? Does home exercise equipment make it easier to stick to an exercise routine? And if so, what equipment is your favorite?