View Full Version : Sustainable Cardio

September 5th, 2007, 02:15 AM
Exercise, without a doubt, has been the most valuable piece of my sobriety toolkit. It makes me feel great and helps me blow off steam. Working out with a hangover or nicotine-choked lungs feels awful, and that's a powerful incentive to keep my body clean.

It frustrates me when I see new faces at my gym struggle for hours at a time on the elliptical machines or exercise bikes. The "cardio room" people show up for a month or two, work their hearts out, and then quit. I suspect that 99% of them quit exercising regularly altogether. And no wonder! Cardio machines teach people terrible lessons: exercise hurts. It's boring. It doesn't show results. It takes too much time.

I see the same thing on the running trail. I'm a slow, happy runner, and I get passed by two types of people: chatty running groups composed of stringy, lifelong runners who breeze by me, and newbie runners who are running way too fast. Again: those stringy runners yell, "Hi, Bassgirl!" and slow down for a bit to gossip. The breathless newbies plod on, and I almost never see them twice.

Of course, cardio is only one part of a balanced fitness program, but it's the first thing most people try. People who have a bad experience with cardio just give up. People who fall in love with cardiovascular exercise tend to seek out strength and flexibility training that falls in line with their chosen exercise.

So tell me, folks who do cardiovascular exercise on a regular basis: what do you do? What keeps you going? How does it make you feel?

September 5th, 2007, 02:34 AM
And I'll be the first to answer my own question. I don't think that anyone, ever, has to go to the gym to do their cardio. I don't think that anyone ever needs to get out of breath. And I don't think that anyone ever needs to be bored.

I walk. Walking is underrated. Go on, and get a pedometer. Walk 10,000 steps a day. If you play your cards right, you can burn as many calories per day by walking as you would by getting up at 5 in the morning, dressing in a ridiculous outfit and jogging for 20 minutes.

Walk and enjoy every step. Fitness isn't a project - it's a new, better way of life.

September 5th, 2007, 08:11 AM
Hi BG:

I've been doing cross-training since January 2006 on a regular basis.

Cardio has been indoor bike, outdoor bikes, outdoor running, and walking. Lately I've been looking at throwing a rowing machine in the mix. Even got a punching bag here lately for even more fun. I have my own room in the house, devoted to nothing but fitness now.

I do upper body weight lifting, and lower body weights on alternate days between my cardio. It's sort of the Body for Life schedule, with more days off for resting at times when I push it a little too hard.

Stretching, Pilates, and Yoga are all part of the equation as well. I have to keep things varied and mixed up to keep the motivation going.

Burn out is all too common. I was victim to it many times in the past, and now realize that I need to maintain my own level of exercise fitness. They are a zillion books with somebody else telling us what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. That's fine, but I am not them. Neil is Neil, and when I realized that I was an individual, with individual needs, then I tailored my own system. Being an technician, engineer, and manager I am prone to devising my own best way anyway.

I can stick with this for the long haul, but it must be on my terms. As long as I have that freedom, I will be successful at achieving my own goals.


September 5th, 2007, 09:25 AM
Hello there Bassgirl and Neil,
I've always been very active all my life. I love your thoughts about cardio-burnout... soo very true.
For myself, I do 30 minutes on my stationary bike/eliptical-combined time... I spend approx, 7 minutes and then switch machines back and forth until my timer goes off. I then do abdominals on the floor. Approx, 4 times a week I use my bowflex machine for my legs and arms. Last week I had increased my cardio to 45 minutes, but almost dreaded heading to my excercise room the next day knowing that 45 minutes would be on the clock.. So, 30 are now on the clock and I sweat !!! like crazy for 30 minutes and that is perfect,,,,, for me.. I feel now that I'm 43 I have to work harder to maintain my body the way I want it to be but I just love my "special" time...
For me, I don't get bored with this routine, it suits me perfectly... I have satelite TV for entertainment while excercising.. I just love it...
My part time job is very active and then I do have 2 horses and 2 miniature goats to care for... Lots of upper body workouts with scouping poop !! ha !! haaa !!
Bassgirl, do you fish? At our camp we have smallmouth bass we catch and your name caught my eye. Happy excercising !!! :) :)

September 8th, 2007, 10:00 PM
Hi people
I'm with you on the walking bassgirl. I try to do racewalk technique regularly which is really comfortable when you add a little speed. I've only been in 2 road races but I really enjoy the challenge. I've set myself a challenge for a year away to take part in a walking marathon. At present my fastest average walking speed is 7 kilometres per hour sustained over 22 kilometres. I need to lose weight to up my speed. Was thinking of doing atkins again for a little while to get myself going. Anyone have advice on atkins and exercise? Thanks Sim

September 9th, 2007, 03:16 AM
I did atkins and exercise several times and felt truly awful, weak muscles and no stamina.
there's a forum called active low carber which has advice on a forum about it - good luck

September 9th, 2007, 07:13 PM
Hello Sim, I'm sorry, but I don't agree with Atkins diet... being that you are fuelling your body with something that isn't redially available you are weakening your muscles.. You are having and "unclean" burn of your energy... Ketosis is something you might like to google if you are unfamiliar with this term... I truely feel that carbs in their truest form are the fuel of choice along with your lean meats, fruits and vegs... By those carbs I'm referring to brown rice rather than white for eg, whole wheat bread instead of white, oatmeal instead of a bowl of sugar crisp ... I wish you healthy nutrition to fuel your healthy body so that it can perform well for you... All the very best :)

September 11th, 2007, 08:20 PM
Niblet, I fish sometimes, but I've never caught a bass! I play bass guitar.

Panadol, I'm another anti-Atkins person. I think that sort of diet can be a good short-term thing for someone who craves carbs or has wacky blood sugar. It would probably be a good way for someone who is too heavy to exercise comfortably to slim down until they can walk or bicycle.

But for real, sustained weight loss and fitness, your body needs carbohydrates for fuel! I'm a Texan, so of course I indulge in a big ol' plate of barbecued meats every once in a while. The day after an Atkins-friendly meal like that, I don't exercise - I feel weak and draggy.

It's so important to find a fun cardio activity. You stop dieting (cutting out all of your favorite foods) and start eating strategically: choosing foods you know will make you feel great on your next run. And once you find the exercise that you love, you'll gravitate toward new friends who share your passion and burn way more calories.