Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Joys of Indoor Training
Joys of Indoor Training
Yesterday, it was rainy again, not our usual July weather. I decided to spin on an indoor trainer.
The central building in this apartment plan is called the community center, though there are never more than a couple people there. That’s where the “cardio-fitness center” is. Not having been on an indoor trainer for many years, I merely planned to get a little resistance training. I don’t much care for flashing diodes, beeping tones, and flashing symbols trainers usually have these days.
One indicator I can’t figure out is marked “Distance.” Yesterday, for example, the trainer told me I rode a distance of nearly 50 miles. How this happened I’ll never know, as I’m sure I never left that room. Exercise is enough of a mind job anyway without the machine trying to convince me that I’ve actually gone somewhere when I know I hadn’t.
Anyway, outdoor cycling is far easier than riding a trainer. Cycling outdoors is fun. Indoor trainer workouts, however, are masochism. They create pain from beginning to end, enough to make me see things that aren’t really there (such as a flashing light marked “Distance”). Why? Trainer workouts always have resistance – there’s no escaping it.
Without making it sound too gloomy, please know that trainer workouts can be pleasant, as long as it involves watching someone else on the trainer. Knowing my time will eventually come, I smile in denial, knowing it will be my hell soon enough.
Yesterday morning’s workout was typical. The machine was easily adjustable, and the machine’s heart rate monitor was surprisingly accurate. Over the years since I’ve been on a trainer, it’s evidently become easier to get people started on the path to self-abuse.
Like riding outdoors on a crappy day, I simply couldn’t figure out why I chose to leave a warm, dry house for the sake of this torture. But the real mind challenge of indoor training is overcoming the first few minutes. If you survive that, you’ve got a chance of finishing your workout.
Except for the car I collided with back on June 21st, I am determined to never be outdone by a machine. But I can handle a trainer. One hour is the maximum programmable time limit, presumably because others may be waiting to use it. But after reaching the one hour limit yesterday, there was (still) nobody else in the room.
So, just for fun, I shouted “Anyone waiting for this machine?” as my voice echo in the empty room.
By the second hour, though, one or two other people came in. The first was a group of little kids who were evidently getting a “field trip” style tour of the community center. They stopped by the water cooler and I heard an adult voice say “Okay, who’s ready for something to drink?” I heard a murmur among the kids who, for lack of anything else to do, wanted a drink. Precursors for some of them, I am sure, who will become alcoholics due to drinking out of boredom.
Exercise itself is not so different than a chemical dependency. There are natural painkillers the body only creates after a certain level of exertion, making one oblivious to pain. And, like beer back in college, I’m unable to walk a straight line until I go home and sleep it off. There is a narcotic effect to it as well. After a while I develop disjointed, even insane thoughts that actually make the meaning of life more clear.
One thing I’ve learned from training indoors is that there is much more to life than that. So I went home to a nice, warm shower.