August 27, 2015

Adventures in the cardio room

Yesterday, I wrote my post early in the day, because I wasn't sure if I'd get a chance to write later. I started thinking about how I wrote that I was going to make it a point to do the stair stepper machine at the rec center at least once this week, because my physical therapist recommended it. Rather than put it off all week, I decided to go yesterday and get it done.

I texted Kendall to see if she wanted to meet me at the rec center for a workout, and she did. I had to take the kids to the Metropark at 2:00, because my dad was going to take them fishing in his boat, so I planned to meet Kendall at 2:30 at the rec center. I had a stressful time trying to get the kids ready for fishing, and making sure I had what I needed to workout, and we finally got to the dock at the park to meet my dad. He had forgotten a third fishing pole, so he left the park to borrow one from his friend, while I sat at the dock with the kids.

I didn't want to be late meeting Kendall, so I left as soon as my dad got back to the boat. I was behind a really slow semi truck, and when I started to pass him, he sped up to keep me from passing. I just fell back and went behind him again, and the second I got behind the truck, it flung a rock up at my windshield and chipped it in two spots (one of them is pretty big). It was just one of those days where nothing seemed to be going smoothly.

I finally made it to the rec center, and Kendall and I went inside. I am not a gym person at all, and when I'm at the rec center, it's almost always for the indoor track or the pool. There is a cardio room, but it's really boring--it has two small TV's (without sound) turned to ESPN (I would rather watch the wall, honestly) and one fan to circulate a little air, but it's pretty stuffy. (The room was a racquetball court, and they put a bunch of equipment in there, if you can picture that).

Nobody else was in there, so Kendall and I got on the two stair stepper machines. My goal was to hopefully get my heart rate up as high as it gets when I run, so I wore my heart rate monitor and my Garmin to record it. I turned some music on my phone, since we were the only ones in there, and we started stepping.

Holy cow, is that ever a good workout. Just two minutes in, my heart rate hit 160 (86% of my max), and by 10 minutes, it had reached 170 (91% of my max)! My legs felt like Jello, and I decided to switch to something else for 10 minutes. I couldn't believe how hard the stair stepper was. I got on what I thought was just an ordinary elliptical, but once I started using it, I realized it was moving in a side-to-side motion. It's called the Lateral X elliptical, and I could really feel the motion in my hips, so I figured it would be a great exercise for what my physical therapist is trying to correct (a weak left hip). Here is a picture from the equipment's website (the yellow shows the direction your feet move)...

photo source
This was KILLER on my thighs. I was surprised at how much I could feel the burn, because the motion was actually really gentle (like an elliptical is), and it surprisingly felt very natural; but my thighs were on fire. I could adjust the lateral motion to be wider or narrower, and each time I did that, I could feel the burn in different areas of my legs.

I really liked this machine, and surprisingly, my heart rate was even higher on this than on the stair stepper. I did this machine for just 10 minutes also, and my heart rate was in the high 170's for the last 5 minutes.

First half is the stair stepper; second half is the Lateral X

According to my heart rate monitor, I burned 214 calories in 20 minutes, which was awesome. My legs were so wobbly after that, I decided to call it a day for the cardio equipment. I'm going to try and work my way up to doing more, even if it's just once a week, because it was such a good workout!

Kendall really wanted to beat her last plank time of 1:23, so we stepped outside of the cardio room, and I set up the timer on my phone. We both held plank and counted down the seconds (time goes SO SLOWLY when you're in a plank position, I swear). When I stopped the timer on my phone, I saw that it actually read my birthday: 1:25.82. I couldn't do that again if I tried ;)

I'm really glad that I went, and that I experienced a couple of new pieces of equipment. The cardio room is really boring, but if I downloaded a movie or something on my iPad and brought it with me, I could see myself doing it more often. And the calorie burn is the same as running, which is fantastic!


  1. I've never heard of that type of elliptical, sounds like fun! Downloading a movie sounds like a really good idea, they don't have wifi there do they? Anyway, good for you for stepping outside of your comfort zone :)

  2. My gym has a machine similar to the lateral x. I enjoy it, although my adductors and abductors really feel it the next day. I also use the stair climber (like a giant "down" escalator that you walk up) over there. The steps are huge, so I get a pretty awesome leg workout. I rotate those with the elliptical, bike and dreadmill for cardio before I do my strength training. There's also a really steep hill nearby, so I can get out and do some roadwork too.

    Unfortunately, I've been ill all summer, so I've missed out on my workouts. I'm chomping at the bit to get back to it.

  3. I love this post! A lot of times, I feel like when I'm injured and can't run, I can't get as good a workout with any other cardio. I'll have to keep machines like this in mind.

  4. My Y has that machine you so enjoyed. It is good....I just like how it feels to change things up.

  5. I do that machine once or twice a week and love it too. I usually take my ipad and read or listen to a book.

  6. I became a bit of a cardio junkie when I got Netflix and started watching series only when I'm working out. I've been watching Scandal and a 45 minute show is the perfect length for my workout. Glad you enjoyed the gym!


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