Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Flipping a Coin

I'm fairly limited in terms of the exercises I can do for cardio when I go to the gym, so in an effort to keep my workouts "fresh," I do a sequence of coin-flips:
1) Workout, yes (heads) or no (tails)? This only really is in question if I'm hurting (ankle or otherwise) or I've done a hard workout the day before
2) Hard (heads) or easy (tails)? If I've done a hard workout the day before AND I flip heads for #1, then it's guaranteed to be an easy day, no coin flip really needed
3) If "hard" in #2, heads is for speed intervals, tails is for hill intervals (done on a Cybex Eagle elliptical trainer)
4) If "easy" in #2, heads is for elliptical, tails is for the exercise bicycle (which may be combined with arm bike and/or rowing machine)
By flipping a coin, I can take out my personal biases, which would always be to do some form of elliptical, since I used to love running so much.

Sometimes, the coin-flip technique doesn't work. Today was one of those days. I got to the gym and though the coin-flips had come out for "easy" and "exercise bike," there were no bikes free when I got there. Plus, I was running late. In the spirit of just getting moving, I hopped onto one of the free elliptical trainers and just did a flat course, trying to keep HR low. I did better with that today than I did yesterday:
duration: 15 minutes (cardio, I lifted for an hour afterwards)
average HR: 150
max HR: 156

I'm glad I went to the gym, though right now I feel like my body is getting mad at me. My ankle has started twinging more often (which it had pretty much stopped doing as of the middle of last week), and, in addition to being in a cast for my thumb, I'm also dealing with a flare-up of labyrinthitis. Since my workout tomorrow will be in the morning, I've already flipped the coin...it came out "easy bike." But, if I wake up and my ankle is flaring, I'm going to skip. A day off probably wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, anyway.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sweating in a Cast

I sprained my thumb (again) about a week ago, slipping down my stairs and bending my thumb backwards as I tried to catch myself. I went to the doc because my thumb would wake me up, rolling on it or something in my sleep, and he put me into a cast for 4 weeks. I still can't decide if he put me in plaster because he doesn't trust me with something removable, or because of the added protection it gives, owing to my Ehlers-Danlos, or for some other reason. Given how many times I've been in a cast, I thought it was funny he still had to give me the "lecture" on keeping it clean and dry. I wonder if "keeping it dry" precludes me from exercising (and thus sweating) in it. For the moment, I'm assuming it doesn't, as I've been way off the consistent workout wagon for awhile and have been trying to get back on...

...which is what leads me to this post today. Given that I'm not really training for anything (let's be honest, what could I actually compete in?), and don't really have a "goal" in mind (though I'd like to drop a few pounds that crept up on me...good timing, with the holidays right around the corner, eh?), I figure the best way to keep me honest about the workouts and such is to record them here, for everybody who reads this blog to see.

So, without further ado, today's workout was an "easy" cardio day (trying to keep heart rate below 152). I did an hour (plus a 4 minute cooldown) on the Octane Fitness elliptical at my gym. I've found that it mimics the running motion I miss so much these days, better than most. I also love how at the end of your workout, it says "You have been fueled by Octane." I didn't go quite as easy as I'd hoped, here were the stats:
duration: 1 hour
average HR: 153
max HR: 160

I'm a bit concerned that my ankle is disliking my workouts, as it felt fine during the workout but was sore when I got home. I'm going to have to keep an eye on things and continue icing and elevating as I can, if I want to keep up with the workouts. It probably goes without saying, but until the cast comes off, I can't do the rowing machine or anything. Tomorrow is a "workout with Brian" day, hopefully work won't get in my way there (as it has so often lately, as has my ankle). I'll flip a coin tomorrow to figure out my workout, and post it up.