PUMPING IRONY: The Shock of the New

I awoke to a gorgeous Minnesota winter morning — snow blowing sideways from the northwestand 4 inches of the white stuff underfoot as I trekked to the office.

The combination of craggy ice and crunchy snow makes for a pretty good lower body workout; I can already feel it in my hammies and glutes as I write this.

Of course, it could be that the soreness in my rear extremities has more to do with my workout last night at the gym. Recently, for reasons I can’t adequately explain, I’ve been doing different stuff. Rather than climbing onto the Elliptical Death Machine for 45 minutes of cross-country air-walking and then grunting through a half hour of lifting on the resistance machinery, on Friday I inexplicably jogged a mile on the dreadmill. Then, last night, I did 20 minutes of anaerobic intervals on the stationary bike (six one-minute sprints interspersed with one-minute recovery pedaling). I even kept track of my heart rate: 116 for the sprints; 102 during recovery.

After some stretching (!!!), I did a round of kettlebell swings (which I was surprised to note pushed my heart rate up into the 140s) as well as some dumbbell lunges and overhead presses. Then a half-hour of push-pull lifting (various presses and compound rows) before heading home. I’m not sure what this means, frankly. It’s not that I was bored with my previous routine. Or that I’m concerned that I’m not progressing toward my fitness goals (I feel pretty good for an old guy). I was curious how my tweaky left knee would handle some running and delighted that it seemed to hold up just fine. And interval training of any sort is a great way to squeeze in a little more intensity into a shorter space of time (though I didn’t work up much of a lather on the bike). Plus, it was about time I got serious about stretching, right? It actually seemed to do some good.

I’m sure I’ll get back on the EDM soon enough. Meanwhile, today is a non-gym day, so I’ll
take the same route home after work tonight and thus chalk up a total of 80 minutes of moderate cardio and lower-body exercise. Not bad for an off-day, I guess. Plus, it keeps things interesting. There’s nothing like the threat of sliding off a sidewalk into the path of an oncoming car to keep you focused.

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