I’ve been in a workout rut lately, where I’ve fallen into the habit of just going through the motions with my workouts, especially cardio. I mean, I’ve been working out for 10+ years; it’s become routine to just hop on the elliptical, plug in my weight and read my Time magazine while I stroll along, barely breaking a sweat, for 30 minutes. On other days I jog four miles and can still have a conversation with someone during and immediately afterward. There’s something wrong with this picture that’s probably the reason I’m not losing weight: I’m not actually working out!
So today, to motivate myself to get out of this lazy workout rut, I mixed it up and decided to spend some time with my old friend the stairmaster and my worst enemy, the stationary bike. I HATE the stationary bike. That clanky little piece of equipment practically begs me to have a lazy workout by allowing me to sit, for goodness sake! And usually the sitting is so uncomfortable that I’m in an even bigger hurry to get off.
But today I made a conscious effort to work during my workout, and boy did it make a difference. For starters, I was on the stairmaster next to a bigger guy who was absolutely drenched in sweat; there’s no way I could slack off next to that. I did 20 minutes there, increasing the intensity for the first 15 minutes, then cooling down for 5. Then I hopped on a bike and realized half the problem was that I usually get on the taller bikes, where you’re more upright, and the ones where your legs are more horizontal are actually a lot more comfortable. I set the program option to uphill and sat there for 15 minutes concentrating on pushing myself and my muscles…and what do you know, I burned even more calories than I would have doing 15 minutes on the elliptical. And I was all sweaty to boot!
So the moral of the story is that it’s called a workout for a reason. From now on I will try to make a conscious effort to push myself at the gym, whether that means doing interval training, kicking up the resistance or just closing the magazine and focusing on what I’m really doing.