PUMPING IRONY: Sweat Shop

A gorgeous autumn morning for a bike ride. The trees along the Mississippi are beginning to turn and the squirrels in Minnehaha Park are frantically building their winter food cache. The chill in the air gives me permission to pump a little harder on my way over the bridge and up the big hill to the office, but I… Read more »

A gorgeous autumn morning for a bike ride. The trees along the Mississippi are beginning to turn and the squirrels in Minnehaha Park are frantically building their winter food cache.

The chill in the air gives me permission to pump a little harder on my way over the bridge and up the big hill to the office, but I was still surprised to note that I made the trip this morning in less than 12 minutes. Now that may not seem like much to you guys who tool around the parkway at 20 mph, but I always have to balance the desire for a little cardio before work and my unwillingness to walk into the office drenched in sweat.

Summer is tough in this regard. I tend to downshift into my lowest gear going up the big hill and try to keep my heart rate down as much as possible, while staying in the shade along the sidewalk. Still, I can end up being a bit moist on the muggiest days. So, fall temperatures are great for the morning commute — even though I have to drag out my mittens.

I needed them last night too after my workout, even though I worked up a good lather at the gym. I skipped my normal 45 minutes on the Elliptical Death Machine in favor of 15 minutes on a new version of the EDM — which emphasized the glutes a bit more — followed by 15 excruciating minutes on the stair-climber thingy. There’s something about climbing stairs that just turns on the sweat faucet for me. I mean, it’s OK to sweat in the gym, but the torrent that machine seems to release from my body every time I step on it is a little bit embarrassing. Forget the little paper towel and spritzer thing to clean up; just hand me a mop.

Weird.

I glanced into The Pit once I wrung out my Stewart-Colbert For President T-shirt (“The Smart Choice”), but it was packed with other sweaty guys, so I hit the machines and decided to test one side of the “training to failure debate”: If your muscles aren’t completely worn out by the time your done with your routine, you’re not making progress. So, I pushed and pulled a bunch of tonnage with my shoulders and upper arms until, by the end of the night, I could barely bench press 50 lbs. My heart was racing, the sweat was pouring, and my poor arms and shoulders were screaming for mercy. How great is that, huh?

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