March 19, 2011


Quite a few people commented on my post the other day asking about my workout - I had mentioned burning 1050 calories on the elliptical. So for today, I'm going to talk a little about my usual workout routines.

As I've mentioned several times before, I generally lead a solitary life. I am single, I live alone, and my friends and family are all either hundreds of miles away or full-time students. I work full-time also but there's still a lot of free time every day to fill. In the past, this meant cooking and eating big, rich meals and snacks and then watching movies or playing "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" until callouses formed on my thumbs and my stomach ached from fullness. But now, I usually spend my weeknight evenings at the gym. I'm usually there for about two hours, which includes time in the locker room and my warm up and cool down walks on the track above the basketball courts. sweaty and feeling fabulousIf I run, that usually takes 30-40 minutes, then I will bike for 30-40 minutes, then I just leisurely stroll around the track until I feel like leaving (usually when my water bottle is empty).

On the days when I don't run, I do my track walking but I also do a few turns on the elliptical trainer. I don't always do the full 1000 - sometimes I stop at 750 or 800, whatever I feel like doing for the day. If I don't feel like going all out, I don't - I don't want exercise to feel like a chore. If I am doing 1000: the first time, I alternate between a resistance level of 12 (with no incline) and 14 (with a medium incline). I stop at 450 calories - about 30 minutes - and drink some water. Then I start back up and alternate between 10 and 12 with the same pattern of inclines - about another half an hour. I stop at 350 or 400 calories and drink some more. Finally, I alternate between 8 and 10 for the last 150 to 200 calories to make for an even 1000 burned. The whole thing takes about 75 minutes but I don't get bored - I load up my iPod with great playlists and I zone out a little. Sometimes I wish I could bring a book to read but I don't wear my glasses when I work out, so that wouldn't work. Nevertheless, it's a nice little reprieve from the demands of my day.

Sometimes I mix it up and add a few minutes of weight training - or I ditch the gym altogether and play Wii Fit. My parents got me a Wii and the Fit Plus package for Christmas 2009 man i miss thisand I was so horribly depressed that I weighed too much to use it, so finally being able to play it was one of my first weight loss goals. I really love it because it helped me to understand exercise better - and it made me more aware of my posture and center of balance. The only thing I don't like about the Wii is something that I suppose is a backwards thing to be frustrated by, but because I've lost so much weight, it's not a really intense workout anymore. I used to burn about 600 calories an hour on it (I would do about 90 minutes a day) - now it's 300 at best. I guess it also depends on what activities you do, and since I forgot my nunchuck at my parents' house in Connecticut and they keep forgetting to send it to me, I can't do a lot of my favorite "calorie roaster" activities like Kung Fu, Rhythm Boxing, or the Rhythm Parade. I totally love skateboarding, so that's what I tend to do the most of these days.

On the weekends, my routine varies a lot. Sundays are my long runs, and while I used to follow them up with a few miles on bike, since my runs have gotten longer, I don't want to overdo it, so I just walk around the track afterwards. I do the elliptical on Saturdays but I don't always do a full 1000 because I spend most of the day running around Chicago, either on errands or just exploring. Something I love about Saturdays is that even my chores are a workout: it's a little under a mile each way to walk to the grocery store, and whatever I buy I have to carry home with me. So, cardio *and* weights! I don't usually do a big shop (about once a month I stock up on staples and "big" stuff) so it's not terribly heavy, just fresh fruits and veggies and any incidentals I might need.


Amy said...

The Wii is great for when you want to stay in for sure - that sucks about the nunchuck because Boxing and Kung Fu are my favourite too. My least favourite (but probably best burner for me) is the obstacle course. I always fall off which is so annoying! Or it thinks I've jumped and makes me start over.

I also really like hula hooping for burning calories.

Whenever you get your nunchuck back I would consider buying EA Active... it's an amazing workout and it uses resistance bands so you get weight training too. I hear EA Active 2 is absolutely amazing because it uses a heart rate monitor so it's super accurate. You could probably find EA Active on craigslist or something for fairly cheap!

Anonymous said...

Cute Wii Avatar :)

Christie Farrar said...

Way to go Mary

No wonder you have lost so much weight, burning 1000 calories at the gym hehe :) Keep it up!

Pretty Pauline said...

KUDOS on using your time so wisely!!! The one thing The Hubs and I regret in life is that we didn't seize the time we had to develop ourselves before marriage and kids, be it the gym, or a violin lesson, or learning to sew, or Tae Kwon do, or a language class, you get my drift. There really does come a time where you can't fit the learning curve of those things in, but if you enter into your family with such skills already under your belt, it's a PLUS!!!!

Tim said...

It's really impressive how many calories you burn on the elliptical but what impresses me more is that you don't get bored of going on there for so long.

I usually burn 450-500 calories in 30 minutes but I find it tough to continue because I get bored of music/tv/radio. I also find my feet start to go numb/pins and needles around the 25-30min mark. I'm not sure if I am doing anything wrong or whether it's just a case of going through that feeling until you forget about it. Hmmm!

Anonymous said...

Great Job Mary!!!