Tech Vader at the Gym

Well I just wouldn’t be me if I didn’t take my techie nerdesty into the gym. I find that the more technological equipment I can strap to my person, the better I feel about the whole workout experience.

It started with tunes. I find it nearly impossible to work out without a good mix of sweatastic jams. And the mix has to be perfect. I spend weeks tweaking the mix, adding songs, deleting them, taking them for test runs and then adding and deleting some more from my MP3 player. Just when I think I’ve found the perfect mix, I get bored with it and start the whole process over again.

When I’m in my spinning class, the instructor picks the music and I actually don’t mind it. I think of her songs as stationary biking songs and my music as everything else music. And she does a pretty good job, serving as both freakishly awesome teacherly person and DJ simultaneously. On International Talk Like a Pirate Day, I greeted her in Piratese and asked that she conduct the day’s class in a manner befitting the occasion. Glad that I had reminded her of the holiday, she pulled from her CD wallet a disc entitled “Pirate Mix.” I kid you not. The first song was from the soundtrack of that one Johnny Depp pirate movie. The name escapes me… And we all let loose with a hearty “Arrrr Mateys!” and when the going got rough, we suggested that our instructor walk the plank if she felt so inclined.

Tunes ARRRRRR important. I keep my MP3 player strapped to my arm with a black band. It’s a cheap 1 gigger but I’m dreaming of the new Zune. Am I the only one who loves the Zune in all its hotness? Also, I ask you all why you are not downloading all of your music from the Zune site. It’s cheaper than iTunes and comes in a more versatile format, playable on all kinds of devices. If you have iTunes software, it will convert your Zune files into iPod-accessible format in a jiffy so you can play your songs anywhere.

Next in my oh-so-important Darth Vader-like arsenal of life-sustaining workout devices is my heart monitor. I lerve it so greatly. With that strap around my chest and that watch on my wrist I can always see how fast my heart is going so I know if I’m getting a decent workout or not. There are times when I look around the gym and feel like an over-sized mollusk, schlumping my way along on the treadmill and then I look at my heart rate monitor and see that I’m actually getting quite a nice workout. So I take heart and keep on keepin’ on. When I’m stronger and have shed a few layers of myself, there will be time for running like a gazelle. For now, I’ll settle for mollusk if it’s getting me where I need to be.

Truly I used to get so frustrated with my speed compared to everyone else around me. Now I just compare my speed today with my speed yesterday. It’s been 3 weeks and I already have to work much harder to keep my heart rate where it needs to be for a good cardio workout. It’s encouraging and the monitor helps me notice the teeny little baby steps I’m making.

A word of advice — if you’re going to get a heart rate monitor, spend the extra money and get one with a chest strap that keeps constant track of your heart rate. Attempting to save money, I originally bought one for $40 at Target that required me to stop moving and put my free hand on the watch to make a complete circuit in order for it to read my pulse. It was a big waste of money and really frustrating to use. Strangely enough, I found a decent Reebok chest strap monitor on Woot a few months later for $19.95. It works great and I love it.

The third piece of equipment that really keeps me going is my pedometer. I’d used one in the past and didn’t know what the big deal was with counting steps. Mine wasn’t accurate and I forgot to keep track so I could compare my activity levels from day to day. The one I have now, a $30 model from Omron, rests in my pocket or clips onto my belt and keeps really accurate track of how much I’m moving. It has a digital display that calculates number of steps, number of aerobic steps and distance traveled based on me entering the average length of my stride. It keeps track of 7 days worth of data at any one time, resetting itself automatically at midnight. I wear it to work out and try to beat my step record from the previous day.

Then I continue to wear it throughout the day, trying to log as many steps as possible. I have chosen to walk 2 or more miles to meetings just so I can see a higher number on the pedometer. The moral of the story is, if I make fitness a game, I’m much more likely to get on board and stay there.

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16 Responses to Tech Vader at the Gym

  1. Pingback: The Technology Elf » The Emmys of HumanitarianTech

  2. Rebecca says:

    Hope those companies are paying you to advertise, cuz you have me convinced!

  3. mamadeb says:

    When the Zune came to Canada I think Sean was probably one of the first to buy it. He detests all that is Apple and i-anything on principle. He loves it his Zune!!!
    He’s got it going when he’s out washing windows (we bought a business) and he’s lost 20 lbs. That is weight loss I attribute to that Zune.

  4. jsprik says:

    i just started the push up plan with my husband…it’s a three-day-a-week plan and on the “off” days i plan to “take the walk to no where” on my treadmill. plus we are starting to eat a lot healthier too. i am very excited to get into shape. and FINALLY my husband is gonna play along too. (it’s like pulling teeth, i tell ya!!)

  5. TJ Hirst says:

    All last year I did group cycle (spinning classes) without a heart rate monitor. They kept encouraging us to by one, but I was too cheap. We just bought an elliptical to use at home, wasn’t cheap this time, and it came with a polar chest strap heart rate monitor. What was I waiting for? It made all the difference in getting a real idea if I was working at that 90% goal. It sure helps to get an accurate calorie count, too.

    Congratulations on your early morning workouts. It sounds like they are a great way for you to start your day.

  6. cornnut32 says:

    wow, that’s awesome! good for you in being so healty and so proactive at working out.

  7. grammyelin says:

    You are 100% right. Everything is more enjoyable when you make a game of it….AND you’re much more likely to stick to it. You go girl! I’m really proud of you. Now if I could just get some of that enthusiasm and will power to rub off on me, I’d be that much better off.

  8. cornnut32 says:

    wow, that’s awesome! good job on getting yourself to work out and be healthy.

  9. cornnut32 says:

    haha….my computer crashed but apparently you got both of my comments. 😀

  10. amy says:

    I’m so with you on that… New accessories, and especially tech accessories make working out so much more interesting. I’m absolutely drooling over this pedometer that Nike has that tracks your speed and then has a jump drive that lets you upload your times onto a spreadsheet on your computer. Drool…

  11. KYouell says:

    It clicked when I read Grammy Elin’s comment: Mary Poppins!

    Every job has a little bit of fun. Find the fun and snap! the job’s a game. (No quotation marks as it’s just from memory and probably isn’t accurate.)

    Everyone have fun getting “Spoonful of Sugar” out of your head today. Every time that little ditty worms its way through your mind walk up and down your stairs 3 times (or the equivalent). I will if you will.

    I’ve managed some of my 4-mile round-trip treks by just pretending that we are out for a walk with the stroller, no big deal, forget the number, lalalala. Walking is just one foot in front of the other. Isn’t this new stroller easier to push? It holds both kids but is lighter than the old single stroller. Lalala. And suddenly I’ve arrived at my destination.

    • KYouell says:

      Oops, forgot to add that I have found The Who’s Quadrophenia (which I looooooooved in high school — too old for NKOTB) to work really well for these long walks. Loving the technology!

  12. Oh thank you SO much for the information on the heart monitor. Sorry you had to waste $40.00 to discover that the $19.95 one worked great so that I could get that great info from you and realize I can afford one 🙂 HOORAY!

  13. FarmWife says:

    I’m all about rockin’ the Zune! My folks got me one for my birthday this year because I started walking a mile a day. Since I’d had a bit of a tough year (and they’re pretty good at spoiling us kids…who are all in our late 20’s/early 30’s) I got an 80G complete with custom tatoo on the back & my name lazered into it. SWEET!!

    If I feel like it, I can listen to the Transformers while I walk….it’s AWESOME!

  14. Jaclyn says:

    so what IS the zune website???

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