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STARSHINEFL SparkPoints: (1,072)
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Posts: 158
2/8/14 2:58 P

Just one thing that occurred to me... you don't take a beta-blocker or any other type of medication that can affect heart rate, do you?

(From your page, it looks like you are a vet, so that is probably a stupid question... in which case I apologize emoticon )

What about some burpees before getting on the elliptical? Those always get my heart rate way up... ugh.

Edit - read through your posts again and those might be hard with joint pain. But if there are any plyometric/power-type moves you can comfortably do, they might be a good kick start

Edited by: STARSHINEFL at: 2/8/2014 (15:03)
MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,100)
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Posts: 3,750
2/8/14 2:53 A

Are you taking a fish oil supplement?

RHOLICKY SparkPoints: (23,606)
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2/7/14 10:05 P

Some day I will have my own place and a budget for an exercise machine....but while I am doing my residency (2.5 years left) I have neither the money or the room (tiny 500 square foot apartment) for that. I would really want a quality I would make the investment.

Hopefully my residency will go well and I will make a decent salary, but I have hit enough roadblocks not to count my chickens!

And while it isn't fun to get up at pre dawn in the cold, dark tundra and go to the gym, that is not the part that bothers me. Its getting my body moving that is hard. I can get up early and sit and study, have coffee, play on the internet etc, no problem. The drive to the gym...not to bad. Getting on any equipment with my sluggish body that refuses to wake up....uck!

I think part of the problem in the past has been not sleeping enough. This is a challenge, because I hate going to be dearly. But if I adjust my entire schedule...just by an hour..and get enough rest, this might be doable. Its a little easier now that I am alone here in Kansas, working all the time with no social life at all (no, I am not bitter. Ok, I am a bit!).

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (244,265)
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2/7/14 9:59 P

Something that has crossed my mind ..... Do you have room in your house for your favourite work-out machine(s)? Then you don't have to struggle to get to the gym - you have it already. I have my treadmill which I bought at nearly 1/2 price as an intro offer. i don't walk outside, so the treadmill was to help me when I don't have enough laundry/groceries to give me a decent (for me) walk. I have it in my lounge so I can watch TV when I use it.


RHOLICKY SparkPoints: (23,606)
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2/7/14 9:31 P

I am very surprised you have heard people say that they don't get a good workout from elliptical! I really like it, and generally feel I get a very good workout from it with minimal stress on my joints. I have the additional benefit of a workout for my arms because I am not one of those people that grabs onto the stationary handles with a death grip, I move my whole body. Arms swinging, and I set the resistance higher for variability and a little toning.

I think that the elliptical is generally considered by most fitness experts and doctors to be one of the best pieces of cardio equipment that you can use. Unlike the bike it does engage your upper and lower body, and to some extent your core, rather than just your legs. Actually bikes only engage your quadriceps and hamstrings, not even your whole leg. It offers intensity without all the jarring that running does. Most of the time I can get a great workout, elevated heart rate, feel the "burn" in my muscles, get that nice endorphine rush (if I am luck...doesn't ALWAYS happen) and really sweat, a lot, on the elliptical. I always start there because it does warm up my entire body. then I will do circuit free weights or go to the recumbent bike, giving my body a nice workout and a break from the stress of walking.

Yesterday I did the elliptical for 20 minutes, then the recumbent bike for 10. Most of the time, whenever possible, I also walk my dogs, often on hilly ground, for 20-60 minutes. That is where I start hurting...both my knees and plantar fasciitis unfortunately. When its below zero with several feet of snow on the ground and ice I don't like to walk for a number of reasons, so the alternative cardio machines allow me to keep going.

Once again, its not the workout itself I want to change. I am struggling to fit in my routine again. I was so good for 3 years, then 2 years ago I changed jobs, entered a pretty miserable stage of my life where I dreaded waking up and going to work each day and even coming home was awful because I just knew I would be back there the next day. The workouts stopped. I did keep walking, but can only get so far.

I am going to try the morning workouts. If I can make it work it would be so lovely. I am going to start with 20 minutes every other day, ease into it, and then continue my afternoon walks with the dogs. That way I will get some exercise in the morning...that is just my time...and then later with my dogs. Starting the day with a motivator and stress reliever, and then getting another one at the end of the day. That way I cannot be interrupted during my workout, I can shower and be ready for my day and not worry about getting to leave on time to go workout. So its the best scenario.

If, however, it was like the last time I tried this...where I felt as lively as a sack of spuds and I was lucky to work up any sort of sweat at all, then I will have to find a plan B. Intensity, at least some intensity, is important to me. I am not going to get up at the butt crack of dawn...who are we kidding...its way before dawn, just to gimp along on the elliptical at a snails pace.

Ideally this will work...and exercising will help me stay in the mind frame to conduct the rest of my day in a healthy manner. I always think "this doughnut will undo the entire workout I just did". That's the goal anyway, because diet is probably even more important then exercise, but in my case I really need both. If we ever end up starving as a planet, I will end up being one of the last ones to go since I get fat off of air....that combined with horrible emotional eating and just overall love of food...well, its not a good combination!

Thanks for your input! Wish me luck. The experiment begins sunday night with a good nights sleep, then Monday we shall see how we go!

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,100)
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2/7/14 8:42 P

I applaud you for working out through your leg pain. I sincerely believe walking to be best for weight loss in most cases but if you are in pain I would definitely look into alternatives. I don't do elliptical personally but have had people tell me they don't feel they get a good workout from it. Do you have access to any other cardio equipment?

RHOLICKY SparkPoints: (23,606)
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2/7/14 6:46 P

No, I am NOT aiming for a higher heart rate only because of weight loss. It does indeed burn more calories, but I am also concerned about increasing cardiovascular fitness to be more healthy and athletic overall, and for that you do have to elevate the heart rate/increase intensity. And as I said the mindframe this puts me in is much more conducive to eating properly, which I have already agreed is key to weight loss.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
2/7/14 2:13 A

I walk 45-60 minutes every day, and my heart rate never gets over 100, and I have lost 170 lbs. You are aiming for a higher heart rate in the belief that this will drop off the weight. Most people that work out harder to burn extra calories, tend to just eat more. If your goal is to feel good from a tough workout, then that is fine, but if your diet isn't good, no amount of exercise will result in significant weight loss. Plus, as you get healthier, it will get harder to increase your heart rate.

That being said, I will address your question about morning workouts. If you feel better at 4 p.m., and horrible in the morning, have you tried late night? I used to work at a pizzeria, and get off at 1 a.m., and had incredible workouts that ended at 3 a.m. There are 24 hour gyms, and late at night, there are less people. Your schedule is changing, but the inability to work out in the afternoon, doesn't mean the only other option is the morning. Why not after work, or after dinner, instead of watching T.V? There are 24 hours in a day, and if mornings don't work, and afternoons are not possible, try later. The day doesn't end at 6 p.m.

I think people are either morning people or not. People don't change much. If you are sluggish in the morning today, you most likely will be sluggish in the morning 2 years from now. You may force your workouts, and be slightly better at them in 2 years, due to improved health, but it isn't like 2 years from now, you will wake set the alarm for 6 a.m., and wake up early, at 5:15, unable to sleep because you are so excited to get to the gym, and exclaim " I just LOVE morning workouts!! ". So do morning workouts if you have to, but try to find a solution, even if it means working out after your family goes to bed at a 24 hour gym.

RHOLICKY SparkPoints: (23,606)
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2/6/14 6:05 P

Thanks for all of your replies! I appreciate your time.

I do feel people might be missing the point of my question a little bit. The heart rate monitor is just a tool to gauge how hard you are working. It IS actually directly related to intensity. If you work harder, your heart rate goes up....probably in a pretty proportional way. A spark trainer can correct me if I am wrong here.

So, what I am saying is that it is hard to reach a decent INTENSITY when I workout in the mornings compared to when I work out in the afternoon. Maybe that word will help people from getting hung up on the heart rate thing.

Basically I feel sluggish, lazy, like I want to lay down on the floor (or back in my bed) and curl up into a ball. I just came back from the gym at 4pm and I feel great, I worked during my workout (about 135-140 bpm, 20 min on elliptical and 10 on recumbent bike)...but I won't be able to do the early afternoon workouts much longer because of changes in my work schedule.

So my question was really regarding if other people had gotten over that hump, i.e Initially struggling through morning workouts but eventually learning to love them and having their body respond to them. In a more positive way.

And there is no way I am giving up my heart rate monitor. I really do not work hard enough and have a tendency to be very lazy without it. I am aiming for 65%-85% of my maximum heart rate, usually working more in the 75% zone. I am not a good judge of intensity otherwise. When I first got a monitor and I walked at my "normal" speed I was unpleasantly surprised to find I was at around 100-110 bpm. With the monitor I knew I should be working harder, and found I was able to. It is a great motivator and helps me track calories burned and time spent exercising.

Spark people recommends using one as a gauge of intensity. It comforts me to know how hard I am working, it helps me figure out when I am just having an "off" day and just to take it easy, it helps me know that I should work a little harder. It also shows me improvement..i.e. that I have to increase my speed and/or resistance to achieve the same heart rate.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,283)
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2/6/14 5:04 P

I'm curious about something.. what's the point of your heart rate targets? Are you aiming for a specific "zone"? If you are, don't worry about it. That's mostly a myth, and you should simply be aiming for a challenging workout, regardless of your heart rate. Obviously, if you aren't getting it up at all, then you're probably not doing a challenging workout, but your heartrate only tells you part of the story, and is more helpful for tracking purposes than goalsetting.

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (244,265)
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2/6/14 3:14 P

Do you watch TV in the afternoon or evening? If so, why not sit on a chair and do some good work-outs on there while watching. You can get some really heart-pumping exercises going . It will take care of the foot/leg pain, too. If you want to add weights, try an exercise band with it. Wrap it around your feet and work your arms.


RHOLICKY SparkPoints: (23,606)
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2/6/14 1:18 P

I should explain I am already walking quite a bit now usually at least 45-60 minutes per day, thanks to my dogs. I want to change up the exercise because while trying to increase my walking I find my feet and knees hurt (I also broke my leg when I was younger and have some pain there).

Also right now walking outside presents a lot of problems with snow, ice, footing problems, and subzero temperatures. So, while walking is my favorite just hurts to much right now.

So I need to add different exercises. I actually like the elliptical and its easy on my joints and want to try the rowing machine. Those are the joint friendly options I need right now. I also need to add back in strength training, which I have a love/hate relationship with.

I like the point you are all making that some workout is better than nothing. And I am not a person that hates working out. I hate working out IN THE MORNING. That is what I am struggling with, because doing it anytime the rest of the day is not as feasable. So basically I need to try it and see if it works for me...if not, I have to fit it in elsewhere.

I also realize that diet is a major part of this, but exercise is important for its own reasons. I think it helps increase health regardless of weight loss etc. But, perhaps more importantly, it helps my frame of mind. If I have had my daily workout it greatly increases my desire to stick to my eating plan.

Of course, at this point I have not succeeded in my goals and am supremely frustrated and discouraged but this all. I am starting to wonder if I an muster up and actual confidence or enthusiasim, I feel I am deluding myself given that all the evidence points to past failures.

But I at least want to get to the point where I was 2 years ago, which was 40-50 minutes of moderate-high intensity cardio 5 days a week and 2 days of strength training per week. Right now its just the walking, which is better than nothing, but I want to ramp it up a bit. Do the exercise, and the better eating will follow (hopefully).

Thanks all!

Thanks for all the tips and advice!

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
2/6/14 10:48 A

I tried morning workouts cuz others told me it woke you up, as well as you burn more fat working out before you eat. The only workout that I would find satisfying before breakfast, is hurting the people who told me to do j/k.

Work out whenever you feel the most comfortable, and feel that you will have time, and ebnergy to do so. In time, you will want to do workouts, and instead of having to have a special time, and bullying yourself into getting the minimum in, you will have to caution yourself to not overdo it. Also, it is okay to break it up. I already did my " weight training " today, which was some dumbell exercises ( light ), and resistance band exercise, and will do a 45 minute walk later in the day, probably after lunch. I'm waiting for it to warm up some, but also find i feel like working out most often after a meal, both because I have more energy, so I feel I can push myself more, and to settle my meal.

Start with just finding an exercise you like, not one that seems right to do. I like walking, riding a bike ( leisurely ), swimming laps ( or wading/ waving arms ), and basketball. I hear you on the aching joints, which is why basketball is rare, but I really love it, so I do it whenever I am feeling frisky. I hate gyms/cardio machines. I did that for years, and it was a chore. Make exercise fun, and you will continue to do it.

If you do everything " right ", and quit exercising in 3 weeks, what good will it do you? I find the idea of training your body to have a higher heart rate to be the opposite of what I am aiming for. My goal is 60 minutes of activity every day, and because i am doing things I love to do, I look forward to it. As a previous poster said, most of your weight loss will come from diet, not exercise. Just focus on moving around, which if you aren't working out now, will be an improvement, which will have results.

Better to walk daily for an entire year, than to spend 3 weeks sweating on an elliptical, then 49 weeks avoiding ellipticals, till next New Years. As you lose weight, and get fitter, the intensity of the workouts will grow naturally. Don't force it.

MISSRUTH Posts: 4,232
2/6/14 9:53 A

idk.... imo it's better to get in a workout that isn't *maybe* as intense as you'd like, than no workout at all. Like Coach suggested.... try different foods, different amounts.... see if that helps. Maybe get up a tiny bit earlier, and give yourself more time to "wake up". I'd also say that if you're going to work out in the morning, a good night's sleep the night before is really helpful. Quit looking at the HRM for a while and just focus on giving it your all, whatever "all" may be on any particular morning. Maybe throw in something different.... a bike or rowing machine instead of the eliptical or treadmill.

I exercise in the morning, or it just isn't likely to happen. Sometimes it's not as intense as I'd prefer.... but it always beats no exercise at all. I don't have a HRM. I just always do the best I can. God only knows what my heart rate's been over the past couple years.... but I lost the weight and am keeping it off.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,100)
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2/5/14 10:17 P

I encourage everyone to keep it simple. My body is best when I move as much as possible, sleep 8 hours/night, drink plenty of water, and be mindful about what is real fuel vs what is synthetic.

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (244,265)
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2/5/14 5:14 P

IF one of your concerns is re weight-loss, most of weight-loss comes down to nutrition.

Most of my exercise has only resulted in minor elevated heart rate, but I still got fitter, and my muscles definitely got stronger.

Even if you aren't able to elevate your heart-rate further, it isn't a waste of time and doesn't mean that your exercise is a failure. Giving up won't improve your muscles or stamina. Continuing WILL help you with the reap the benefits, and even if you can't see them, they will be there.

Remember, too, that you can get 'snatches' of exercise throughout the day. 5 minutes here, and 10 minutes there all add up and count.

Good luck,

RHOLICKY SparkPoints: (23,606)
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2/5/14 4:31 P

I definitely felt like I was not working as hard either, I felt sluggish and did not get the nice "burn" in my muscles, or get my breathing up either. Its just super hard to "get going".

I think when I tried to switch to mornings last time I was doing 45-60 minutes of high intensity cardio, and I just could not make it happen in the morning. Maybe if I start in the morning with the lighter 20 minute sessions I am doing now to ease back into things I can adjust easier to the morning.

I do worry though, like you might just not be for me. Its hard for me to go to bed early enough to get enough sleep to wake up at 5am as well. When I am done with this residency I will hopefully have a flexible schedule where I work at 10am, then it will be easier to get the exercise done in the morning.

Thanks for your help!


SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,451
2/5/14 3:52 P

Heart rate is just one way to measure the intensity of your workout. Does it still feel challenging? That's really what is most important, so I wouldn't focus too much on the specific numbers, and would focus more on how you're feeling.

Experiment with eating and drinking various things to see what works best for you. Personally, I have to eat something small before I exercise, but it took some trial-and-error to figure out what worked best.

I think that as you get into a regular routine, you might find that morning workouts get easier. Or you might find that no matter what you try, morning workouts just aren't your thing. Either way, I would give it some time before deciding.

Hope that helps,

Coach Jen

RHOLICKY SparkPoints: (23,606)
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2/5/14 10:27 A

After a year long absence I am getting back to the gym. The Kansas winter with ice and snow has finally got to me and my walks have been interrupted to often. Also I can't get the intensity I need by walking without hurting my feet and joints and back. I need the elliptical.

Scheduling is an issue. For many reasons morning workouts make the most sense, by far, for scheduling reasons. It is impossible to have a schedule conflict, they help start the day and wake you up, there is little excuse to miss them other than just not getting up.

In the past I have tried this. I can get up and get myself to the gym, no problem. But once on the machine, either elliptical or treadmill, I can NOT get my heart rate up. I wear a Polar Heart Rate Monitor to motivate me and keep me working at the right intensity. I shoot for an average heart rate of 144-154, with 140 being a bare minimum. In morning workouts I was barely able to reach 130.

For daytime workouts I eat a healthy snack with some complex carbs and protein, like milk and peanut butter toast. Or fruit and lowfat cheese. Or yogurt. I also hydrate really body is very unforgiving of dehydration during a workout.

These things may contribute to the morning exercise problem. I am unable to eat and drink well before my workout.

My questions is this: Has any one else experienced this? So far I have only worked out in the morning a few times and then I gave up and went back to lunch or after work workouts. But fatigue and scheduling often means I miss the workout entirely.

Here is my question :If I keep at it will it get better? Should I give it a few weeks before I call it a failure? I do not want to waste my time on mediocre workouts where I burn hardly any calories. Maybe my body is just not capable of that heart rate that early in the morning? Or can I train it??

My thought is to wake up, drink some milk and water, try a short walk with the dogs first and drive to the gym with a prepared yogurt fruit smoothie. Its a super short drive the to the gym, but maybe I can sip enough smoothie to get me through. My body is also unforgiving of working out on a completely empty stomach. I run out of gas half way isn't pretty.

Any thoughts/tips/suggestions are appreciated! Thanks!

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