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Finding Buddha at the Gym

BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
edited June 2005 in Buddhism Today
I started working out about a month ago. I go to the gym regularly enough to be proud of myself, but not often enough to be impressed with myself. :p

Anyways, it is a (i guess) a typical gym. There are TVs in front of the rows of elliptical machines and the treadmills.

I find them to be pretty distracting, but I guess that's sort of the point. As long as you're moving it's okay, right?

Anyways, one of my goals is to try to keep my heart rate down while doing certain "courses" on the elliptical machine. I'm trying to keep my heart rate in the "weight loss zone" instead of the cardio zone. Because of my size and general out-of-shapeness, I find it very hard to keep my heart rate down to the level I need it to be at. So I tried meditation while exercising tonight.

That.... is NOT ... easy.

Distracted by the TV

Distracted by fatigue

Distracted by the blinking lights on the machine

Distracted by the heart rate meter

Distracted by sweat

Distracted by the little kids banging on the outside window

Distracted by people coming and going.

It's tough. But I did manage to keep to my target heart rate 75% of the time (the machine provides workout summaries at the end of your course). My goal is 90%. We'll see.

Comments

  • edited March 2005
    You'll have to explain to me why you're trying to keep your heart rate down, I don't get it? I was under the impression that higher heart rate = more work = better work out. I mean, obviously if you're out of shape and stuff your heart rate is going to be higher to do the same amount of work that later on won't get your heart rate quite as high, but, when I work out I generally like to see a higher heart rate because I burn more calories that way.
  • BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
    edited March 2005
    Cam, your comments led me to a long search on this stuff. I was told by my trainer and by the guidebook for the elliptical machine I use to keep my target heart rate at 65-80% of my maximum heart rate. The machine I use allows me to enter my weight and age and then calculates the proper "zone" for my heart rate. The weight loss zone is much lower than the cardio zone.

    I never really thought to ask "why" :-/

    So I found this which sort of explains it, I guess.

    The short answer is, I don't know. I am just doing what I've been told :D
  • edited March 2005
    Firstly, kudos on going to the gym.. always a good habit to pick up.

    However, I personally find working out to be the perfect opportunity to meditate, although in a slightly different fashion than normal. While I agree that there are a large number of possible distractions, I think they help force me to focus harder on what I am doing at the moment. This is especially helpful when lifting weights (as opposed to biking or running, which I'll get to) as concentrating can help maximize your benefit from the lifting (proper form, breathing, etc).
    Additionally, when I bike or run, I find that focusing on what I am doing helps keep my pace up (always beneficial). While it can make you more aware of the pain I am feeling, I do find that meditating on it can help to aleviate it and help push myself even harder.

    Man, now I wish I went to the gym more often... stupid grad school. :p
  • BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
    edited March 2005
    It's been a tough road. I've put on 50 pounds in the last ten years. I've never considered myself a "fat guy" but the truth is, that's exactly what I've been for the last decade. I am too young to be this out of shape, so I just have to do it.

    It was very, very hard starting out. I was extremely discouraged and in pain and I wanted to just quit. What I did was to sign up at the gym for a one year membership where they automatically deduct my membership fee from my checking account, so I just plain have no choice. Money is very tight around here so this is something I HAVE to do because I cannot justify that expense other than to save my life. I come from a highly diabetes-prone family and if I don't start taking care of myself now (while I'm still under 30), I am definitely going to end up with this horrible disease.
  • edited March 2005
    I started running because the hot chicks don't (normally) go for fat guys.

    But then I met Brian's wife, and that sorta flipped that whole rule upside-down in my mind... :hiding: ;D

    Nevertheless, I run on a treadmill for 40 minutes 2 to 3 times a week. I never worry about heart rate though, for me it's all about pushing myself farther every month or two. As soon as I start to feel "ok" after my running, I add an extra 5 minutes to the workout from that point on.

    I start by going 3.5 MPH for 5 minutes, then increase that to 5.5 for another 5 minutes, then bring it back to 3.5 again for 5 more minutes, then back to 5.5 again, and I continue that for 35 minutes, then I end with a 1.5 MPH "cooldown". Every time I want to add another 5 minutes to the routine, I'll add a set of 3.5 MPH if I left off with 5.5, or vice-versa if I ended it with 3.5.

    Anyways, the point is the running routine always alternates between 3.5 and 5.5 MPH, and always ends with the 1.5 MPH cooldown.


    I also watch TV during a workout, because it distracts me from the fact that I am willingly beating the shit out of myself for the better part of an hour. It REALLY helps if I'm watching something sexy (seriously) like Desperate Housewives, or VH1's Top 100 Hottest Bodies of 2005... the sexier, the better.

    The sexiness really "lights the fire" in terms of giving you a good boost of energy. Seriously.
  • BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
    edited March 2005
    Maybe it's a motivational thing - "Hey, if they can look that good, so can I"

    Or, knowing you, it's probably "I want a chick like that, so I must get NOT FAT" :lol:
  • edited March 2005
    Brian wrote:
    Or, knowing you, it's probably "I want a chick like that, so I must get NOT FAT" :lol:

    Yeah, that pretty much sums it up...
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited March 2005
    Don't worship the Fat guy, you said.....I see your point now!! :lol:

    I teach Qi Gong, which for those not in the know, is a passive martial art....
    you tone the muscles, increase the blood flow and render joints more supple and less prone to rheumatoid conditions later on. Furthermore, because the breathing is deeper & more controlled, distribution of oxygen is more effective because a) breathing is not forced, so vital oxygen is not lost, and b) there is no excessive pressure or strain on joints OR muscle groups. Qi Gong has been medically proven to improve and even CURE some major ailments, it is extremely effective as a cure for stress, anxiety and depression, and works on three levels (according to the person's desire on how far to go....) the body, the mind and the Soul. As they say in oriental medicine...the body can last for three weeks without food, for five days with no water, for four minutes without air - but it cannot survive for a second with no Chi". Try it - it works! And what a conversation starter with the dames.....! :lol: (we do like a good giggle, don't we....?)
  • edited March 2005
    Qi Gong sounds interesting. This is the first time I have heard of it, but it has peaked my interest now. Makes sense to take care of the "total package", body, mind and Soul.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited March 2005
    dexterl wrote:
    Qi Gong sounds interesting. This is the first time I have heard of it, but it has peaked my interest now. Makes sense to take care of the "total package", body, mind and Soul.

    Qi Gong litterally means 'Energy' (Qi, or Chi) and 'Practise/Motivating/Mastering/Putting to work' (Gong). Any martial art - or indeed, physical practise - could be labelled as Qi Gong, but it is specifically an ancient oriental practise originally brought into being by those who thought Mother Nature had a point. The majority of the moves are based on animal or natural movement - some of the names are very 'poetic' like "Cow gazing at the Moon", "Monkey dropping the fruit", or the Dragon of the floods plunges through the waves(!)". Qi Gong is the 'Mother' of Tai Chi...... It's bloody great - !! Changed my life.....! ;)
  • edited March 2005
    TheSmJ wrote:
    It REALLY helps if I'm watching something sexy (seriously) like Desperate Housewives, or VH1's Top 100 Hottest Bodies of 2005... the sexier, the better.

    The sexiness really "lights the fire" in terms of giving you a good boost of energy. Seriously.

    Sounds kinda funny but I know exactly what you mean and yeah stuff like that is a definite motivator to keep me going when I want to stop working out too.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited March 2005
    You guyz are weird....! :lol:
    I never heard of a woman saying "Gimme vids of Arnie or Jean Claude to keep me goin' an' make me stunning!" Surely the motivation should be 'mens sana corpore sano' or am I being very naive here.....?? :p :D
  • edited June 2005
    I think that's an interesting point you brought up Federica. Truth is we can watch sexy women while working out, and have it work just as well. obviously we're not wathcing it for the same reason entirely. But it does serve as motivation because women think to themselves " I'd like my body like that". That's the mentality of most American women anyhow. I'm not sure if there's the same amount of cultural pressure for women to be thin in France, but I'd imagine so.

    Anyway, I work out on a regular basis and the one thing I've found to be extremely helpful is "Good" music. I can't work out without it (period). In some cases even great lyrics can even spark some motivation. Just put on your headphones, tune the rest of the world (gym), out and focus 100% on what your doing. It also helps the music is uptempo, I've found that you really get a better workout.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited June 2005
    No, women are less body conscious here than elsewhere, I find, but that doesn't stop supermarkets cramming full of dietary products, slimming pills, beauty magazines.... you name it, women are bombarded by the "body beautiful" industry... the compulsion to conform is truly tragic.... :wtf:
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