Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Tricky exercise equipment

I have been aware of this problem since I started weightlifting. The numbers or masses on nautilus or other lever operated weight machines, as opposed to free weights, might only be estimates. I found today that the numbers given on other exercise equipment might also be questionable. Hell, are just plain wrong.

When I was serious about fitness and weight lifting I managed to benchpress 175 pounds, about 80 kg. In early February, I started going to a health club for the first time in many years. Imagine my surprise when I quickly got to the point of benching 80kgs. Indeed, just recently I started doing two sets of 8 X 90kg - pretty much my own mass. I just rationalized it as "I've reached my mature strength", whatever that is; I'm sure I've heard people say that before.

Late last week though, I had a real breakthrough in my running but it ended up smashing my self-delusions. Last week, I started running 40 minutes on the running machine. I maintained a moderate pace through a long warmup because I had previously over exerted in the first ten minutes and had to stop. Anyway, after 15 minutes, I started increasing my pace. Because I had a long warmup and was ready to race, 16km/hr felt as easy as 10km/hr, even over several minutes. WRONG!

On today's run, I noticed that my feet seemed to stick a little when they first impacted the treadmill belt. Maybe because I weigh almost twice what most Korean users weigh, I was bottoming out on the track and slowing the belt down. 16km/hr felt like 10km/hr because it was the same.

When I ran on the edge of the belt, it quickly reached full speed and I found that 16km/hr is pretty darn fast- for me, anyway.

I've never had good balance. I could run on the edge of the track but it wasn't easy and twice I stepped on the running board and only luckily managed to avoid some wild pratfall. I will try a different machine next time and maybe work on my balance.

So now, I don't know how much I'm lifting, nor how fast I'm going, but I can say that I am improving, just how much exactly is the mystery.

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