One of my weight club friends was training one day and got some unsolicited advice from one of our older members. Something about doing more “aerobics”. My friend told me he was thinking “Why don’t you fucking die.” Sounds about right to me.
On a side note, I like using terms like “aerobics”, “conditioning” and “speed work” rather than more avant garde terms like “energy systems work”, “GPP” and “dynamic effort method”, respectively. It’s not that I have a problem with using specific terminology, or even with progress in general, it’s just that I don’t think these terms give anything more to the average listener. Further, once these terms leave their original circle, they’re often just used to make yourself sound smarter. I’ve grown up enough that I don’t have much interest in that. If I’m talking to someone who writes programs for a living or is serious about training science, I’ll consider using more precise terminology.
I used the campus rec center rather than my normal gym for this, for precisely the reasons that I think the rec is a chump factory in the first place. The atmosphere is entirely non-aggressive, the people there are largely uninterested, and there are TV’s on the wall. Oh, and there are Hotties everywhere. I swear, when I walked in there was a girl doing the butterfly stretch on the floor with here knees touching the deck and her chest about two hands from it.
I used a stair stepped for about three minutes. Maybe it’s because I haven’t used a stair stepper since 2001, almost 80 pounds ago, or maybe it’s because I’m overestimating my conditioning, but it killed me. I hobbled off it, looked to see if there was any other interesting equipment. I’ve never bothered to actually look closely at the long line of cardio equipment, so I expected there to be a myriad of different kinds, but all I saw were two different kinds of stair steppers, a ton of ellipticals, a treadmill or something and a bike.
Regarding the elliptical, I honestly can’t believe any man would use one. Just watching the path of the akimbo limbs of users of this machine makes my knees, hips and back hurt. If I have my way I’ll never touch one.
I settled on the bike and I wound up using a pathetic work rate (about 100 watts) for 20 minutes and kept the heart rate around 160, which felt like nothing. In fact, I don’t really feel like I did anything. Then I stretched and went home.
I also did my fair share of non-lecherous people-watching. It’s the people really that make the rec, and other commercial facilities, what I call “Chump Factories”. I didn’t think I even saw a 225 bench or a single squatter. I saw more Under Armor and sleeveless t-shirts than I knew existed. I saw a guy with big, soft arms and a mp3 player or heart monitor thingy on his arm that was so tight his subcutaneous arm fat overlapped the band a full quarter inch. I saw a guy on some kind of oblique machine that made my spine hurt watching him. Of course, I only actually saw him do one set and the rest of the time he was just sitting there.
Next time I’m going to man up and try the stair stepper, I just have to realize that I’m doing 2o minutes of continuous work and try not to kill myself right away. That’s a product of my training, I give it all up front and then I’m out of juice.