Some people seem to think the moment they have bought an exercise bike that they’ve done the hard work when it comes to getting fit. They carry it from the car to the back room, wipe their brows and pat themselves on the back. It looks great just there. I might have a go on it tomorrow, I’ve already had enough exercise for one day. Time for a beer and a burrito while I watch Everybody Loves Raymond repeats.
And the exercise bike stays there, pretty much unused, and you continue to get bigger and bigger and struggle with everyday life. “Why don’t you do some exercise?” ask those around you. You seem surprised. “I got the exercise bike at home, don’t I? What more do you want me to do? Carry it on my back as I run up Mount Tammany? Give me a break. Pass me another donut already.”
Then there are the guys who don’t leave their exercise bikes alone. They do a couple of miles before breakfast, another one before work. They come back and hop on it again before they eat dinner. Then they plonk it in front of the TV and ride all through their favorite TV show, with the phone in one hand as they call their friends at the same time. “I don’t know how I’m not getting smaller. I’m on this thing the whole time!”, they say. Unfortunately, the truth is that sticking to one type of exercise means that you are going to hit a wall pretty quickly. Your body finds it easier every time and therefore doesn’t need to improve its performance.
So you go online and go to Indoor Ellipticals or somewhere to get another piece of home gym equipment. Now you’ve got two machines to work out on. Things are getting better. You learn to mix up the intensity of your workout, using the machines with higher resistance settings, switching them down to lower ones for a breather and then ramping it up again. By this point you are starting to get fit. You’ve got your first step on the ladder.
To pull yourself up the ladder you’re going to need some upper body strength. It’s time you fitted a pull-up bar and added pull-ups to your routine. Get some dumbbells and try to incorporate them into your workout. Do some bicep curls on the exercise bike. Even better, do them on the elliptical trainer. This will do wonders for your balance and coordination.
Now, something I should have mentioned – doing all this exercise, working on your cardio and building strength is great, but it comes with risks of minor exercise injuries which can set you back. In order to prevent such injuries, you need to work on your suppleness. How do you do that? Most people do it by stretching. See if you can find some videos on YouTube to help you learn to stretch properly. Pay attention to your breathing. You need to make sure you stretch your hamstrings, quads, calves, piriformis, lower back, abs and shoulders. Make this a fixed part of your workout to stave off injuries.
Now that you’ve got your home workout down, it’s probably starting to get easier. That’s not an entirely good thing, though. As soon as an exercise routine starts to feel easy, it means it’s no longer challenging for your body, so it gives you fewer benefits. You may need some outside motivation to help you push on.
At this point you could consider doing some sports for your cardio and joining a weights gym. A few games of squash on an evening really get your heart pumping and the sweat dripping. You should never try to lift heavy weights without warming up your body first. A for the weights gym, you’ll need someone to spot you. Plenty of deadlifters have ended up dead by being unable to stop the weight bar from falling on their neck and suffocating them, as there was nobody there to help. Plus, a lifting partner can motivate you. You might want to get involved in competitions which can also serve as an inspiration to stay strong and healthy.