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Swooshing My Way to a New (Personal) World Record

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Brag blog. If you do not like brag blogs as being blatantly self-serving, move on. Ignore.


As I continue to grow progressively more accustomed to my new (for me) gym and the gym-going experience in general, I have refined my process and both short- and long-term goals. Many of you helped with gym goal-setting, by opining whether I should do cardio first, weights first, weights every day or not, etc. I have read and applied much of this advice and I thank you.

As many of you also know because by this time you “know” me so-to-speak, music is my workout buddy. Always has win and always will be. I love my Sony lightweight, noise-cancelling headphones. They stay put on my head and do not weigh me down, no matter what I do. The mp3 player stays strapped onto my upper arm, randomly choosing from my personal playlist of about 5,000 tunes. If you’ve read my blogs, you know my diverse musical taste (squarely in the suburbs of the Atlantic Seaboard, circa 1979).

My mathematical mind plays gets me playing games with myself, and challenging myself. For example, if I am on a given piece of cardio equipment, I endeavor to beat my previous best for total calories, speed, level of resistance, how quick by heart rate returns to normal thereafter, or those four in some combination. I cannot just daydream and stare at the TV or at the people in front of me I the next row. Those digital readouts are like candy to this scientist, so…

Most days at the gym I start with 45 minutes of progressive cardio. At my petite gym, there are three elliptical machines, and only the one on the far right has a quasi-reliable heart-rate monitor. Spinning up music that bops along at about 140-160 beats per minute (good example was my leadoff song this AM: Looking out My Back Door by Credence Clearwater Revival), I set the resistance on 50% and away I went at about 55 to 60 rpm.

When each song ends with me not in my target HR zone of 135 to 140 bpm, I nudge up the speed, resistance, incline or all three. I do have a controlled system to this, too complex for the English language to do it justice. Trust me; it exists. I’ve been progressively increasing my “distance” swooshed (that’s what it is on an elliptical machine?), the resistance setting, the instantaneous RPMs, while all the while, keeping a watchful eye on heart rate and its post-workout recovery trend. I could write a book on this, but settled instead for this blog.

So on Tuesday and again today (I missed Wednesday), I hit 4.5 miles for my 45 minute swooshing circuit. Translation: 4.5 miles divided by 45 minutes is a 10 minute mile. One mile every six minutes, or roughly twice as fast as I walk. Perspiring profusely, the numbers do not lie despite the sweat drops pouring down by face. And always, when I’m done, it’s 15-20 minutes with the weights. Machines on Mon-Wed-Fri and free weights on Tues-Thurs. Weekends are family time; no gym per my present regimen (too crowded).

Next target: 5 miles in 45 minutes… Sparky pounds are pouring off too, which of course is the point. It’s a new personal best and if I can do it, doubtlessly anyone can. Yes, this means you, fellow reformed couch potato!

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