Feel the Burn… ? Really… ?

recumbant bike and Bowflex

The torture devices - cue evil music

It’s not that I don’t like exercise, or that I can’t.

I’m lucky, I have a spouse who not only love me, but actually likes me, and she prefers to express her affection by buying me things. I’m also lucky she has much better taste than me (she did pick me for a husband, but I chalk that up to temporary insanity) so she generally purchases mega-cool stuff – every so often, she actually asks me if I want something, which is how I ended up with the humiliation machines I currently possess.

Proform 955R Recumbent Exercise Bike sits in the office I share with the Lady Fair. It ain’t fancy, though it does have a digital readout for distance, pulse, calories burned, laps around the track, and three – count ’em – three preprogrammed exercise routines designed to strengthen the heart while burning off the fat. While not uncomfortable, using the machine for more than half an hour does tend to result in a case of swamp ass. It does facilitate book reading, though, and even a slow pace will result in a sweaty mess by the fort-five minute mark.

The Bowflex sits outside in my storage shed. My high school football-playing friends swear by free weights (and with good reason), but I’m not the strongest guy in the world and I don’t usually have a buddy around to spot me – if I’m going to lift heavy things, I prefer a machine just for the safety aspect. And as machines go, the Bowflex rocks: lots of different exercise combinations; you can work legs, chest, arms, lats, and back; it isn’t difficult to use; and because the rods and lines are on pullies and not a fulcrum, all the little stabilizer muscles are activated just like the free weights. The downside is the power rods: first off, the further you push, the more tension is created, so there isn’t a consistent amount of weight your muscles are dealing with. The other problem is temperature: the warmer the room, the easier the rods bend; the colder the room, the harder the rods bend – what’s one-hundred and fifty pounds in July is two-hundred pounds in January unless your machine is in a climate controlled room, which mine is not. It’s hard to gauge how much stronger you’re getting if you can’t trust the poundage due to climate.

The two machines are cheaper and easier to access than a gym, but you do lose the camaraderie and sense of purpose a fitness center provides. It’s also harder to motivate yourself to spend three-quarters of an hour on a stationary bike when inappropriate content is easily found on the internet a mere six feet away.

That’s turning out to be my biggest challenge: ignoring the siren call of my Facebook and Twitter accounts to break a much needed sweat. Because given my druthers, sitting at my desk drinking coffee and reading about Asberger’s is much more fun than swamp ass and shaky legs.

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