Getting Back into Shape

I will remember 2011 as my year of pain. Physical pain that is. Two foot surgeries. One dislocated shoulder. A trip and fall that cause wounds that took 5 months to heal. Overall, a year that I hope to not have to repeat, physically at least. It’s a damn good thing Groundhog Day isn’t a true story. I’d be the Ned Ryerson of 2011. Bing!

One of the impacts of being incapacitated so much is that I’ve gotten way out of shape. I put on a significant amount of weight this year, and have only been heavier once in my life. It’s not a comfortable feeling, and I was not happy when I looked at myself in the mirror. It also affected my energy levels, and that’s not a good thing when you have two little kids that you want to play with. They learn by example, and when they see you sitting around, they tend to sit around too. Running around with my kids outside for 15 minutes put me back on the couch for a half day, unable to do much more than waddle to the kitchen and back for an ice pack.

Back in the late 1990’s, I did a lot of long distance bicycling, but by the end of November of this year, the thought of even walking a mile was exhausting.

So, at Thanksgiving I took advantage of a Black Friday sale and bought a new toy. Well, it’s not a toy exactly. More like a slave-driving-taskmaster that will whip my butt back into shape.

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It’s a LiveStrong 10E Elliptical Machine. I had actually tried out a bunch of Elliptical machines over the last few months, and kept waiting for this one to go on-sale. It seemed to be the best balance between price, size, and features, and fit my stride pretty well. It also has a pretty small footprint compared to other elliptical machines, which is key if you aren’t going to put it in your garage.

It was delivered a week ago, and I’ve done 4 workouts on it since. I love it. At first I couldn’t do 15 minutes on it, but now I’m up to a full 30 minutes, and am starting to increase the workout level. The machine is smooth, quiet, and stable. We’ve got it set up in our bedroom, and I can either turn on the TV or put music or a podcast on my IPhone and dock it to the built in speakers. The 30 minutes fly by.

After just 4 workouts (plus my usual weight lifting on alternate days), I feel so much more energetic. When I know I have an evening workout planned, I’m already looking forward to it when I wake up – much the same way I used to look forward to my long distance rides fourteen years ago. I don’t think it will take long for me to drop the extra weight I put on this year and get back into shape.

The only problem I’ve had with the system is with the “download / upload your workout” capabilities advertised with the system. Supposedly, I should be able to go to LiveStrong.com and upload my workout history via a memory stick and chart my progress over time. I haven’t found the page on the site that allows me to do this yet, and I’ve pretty much given up on that. It’s just not documented very well if the capability is there, and I’m not going to keep hunting for it.

If you’re looking for an elliptical machine, or if you’re out of shape and you’re serious about getting back into shape, I think this is a good place to start, and I’m looking forward to a much better 2012 because of it.

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