Thursday, July 14, 2011

Calibration

Most of the time I work out in the campus gym as I continue on my mission to get in shape and lose weight. Although it can be awfully muggy in there during the summer, it isn't being used as much, so there's no need to wait for the equipment I need. More importantly, it means I can probably also point the big fan my direction.

This week I discovered all of the stationary bikes, recumbent and otherwise, have been replaced with new ones. I was glad to see this as some of them seemed to struggle to change settings or allow themselves to be used to their full potential.

The biggest question with this new exercise equipment is one of calibration. I had a particular level I was working out at on the old machines that produced a workout that burned x number of calories. On the new machines from the same manufacturer, working out at that level would bring me in well under the previous calorie total. I increased the level to approximate the amount I wanted to be burning, but it leaves the question of if I was actually achieving what I thought I'd been doing.

Today I was on a different one of these new bikes and saw that I was burning a couple hundred more calories at this new level on a new machine than I was on a different new one. I will allow that I may have been working harder today, yet it seems somewhat unlikely that I was giving that much additional effort.

Throw in the recumbent bike at my apartment complex's gym that I used once--and which was as stingy as could be in reflecting burned calories--and I am not certain at all what I might actually be doing.

The numbers aren't exactly the point, but if there's a large variance from one piece of equipment to the next, I have more trouble tracking my own progress. Going by today's workout summary, I really killed it. But did I?

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