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Aerobics for Regular Guys

By David Mazzotta in Culture
Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 06:23:45 PM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)

If you are just a regular guy and you belong to a gym or a health club, chances are you have had occasion to look into a room wherein a large group of people, almost exclusively women, were leaping and twirling about in time to some hyper-manic electronica remixes. You may have been checking out the women (you're such a guy), thinking it to be some sort of smorgasbord of potential. Or it could have been the infectious beat and the synchronized movements drawing you into the primal funkiness like a packed dance club in Ibiza. Or maybe you were just bored to tears with that monotonous treadmill.

Whatever the case, after the initial appeal, you shied away. You told yourself you weren't coordinated enough. You noticed that there were no other guys (or almost none). Everyone would be looking at you. You would be so embarrassed if you messed up. You didn't think your beer-buddies would understand.

You turned around and went to work on your pecs.

If you can set your personal issues aside for a moment, I can give you some guidelines that will help you join those bouncy girls twirling around in time to the beat. What makes me think you could possibly do that? Because I did it myself. And I lived through it and I'm a better, or at least fitter, man for it. So pay attention.

First, the Why: Let's say you're a runner. You run outside in nice weather, on the treadmill in winter. You started in earnest a few months ago and now you're up to about 15 miles a week. You've probably noticed a slight drop in your resting heart rate, you don't get tired as easily as you used to, and maybe you've even shed a few pounds. That's great, but now what?

Your body has become a nice and efficient running machine and that means further gains are going to harder to come by. The advantage you see from upping your mileage another 5-10 miles a week will only be a fraction of what you got from the first fifteen. You need to do something besides running. Something where you can start over almost from the beginning so the big gains continue.

Oh sure, you could bike or hit the Stairmaster for a bit of a change. But I'm pretty sure that after a few sessions you would start to bore. You will find a nice comfortable level of resistance and go on cruise control. You know you will. Kiss the benefits good-bye. Eventually, the tedium will drive you back to Couch Potato City.

Aerobics classes provide you with a much more varied workout. Muscles are engaged and moved in a more complex and challenging fashion. In many ways, it's more similar to competitive sports (basketball, tennis) than a typical workout in that it goes beyond a single simple motion repeated endlessly. It turns out the thing that is so scary about it - the more complicated movements - is also what makes it more beneficial.

Additionally, for most people, just the class format serves as added motivation. Even if you are not the competitive type, you still can't just slack your way through it. You are compelled to at least keep up, if nothing else, for your own sense of dignity.

So let me break down the different types of classes, starting with the simple ones, tell you what you expect from them, and put your mind at ease.

Yoga/Power Yoga/Pilates
These sorts of classes are usually a good place to start. The movements are deliberate and obvious, and you will often find a higher percentage of men in attendance, which can provide a certain level of comfort.

When many people think of Yoga they think of a class full of new-age, alfalfa-eating, ex-hippies following a short, hirsute Himalayan man in a diaper through a series of awkward poses, after which they declare their souls to be cleansed, their life-forces energized and their spirits balanced. If the class you attend turns out like that, you have my permission to wait for an opportune moment of silence and proclaim "I could sure use a cheeseburger."

Don't fret, most of the yoga taught at gyms and health clubs falls in the realm of something called Power Yoga (occasionally, and perhaps erroneously, called Ashtanga). In fact it's become so prevalent in many places that Power Yoga is called Yoga and the more spiritual versions are called Traditional Yoga.

Power Yoga uses a subset of traditional Yoga poses, but they are performed at a somewhat faster pace and with little proselytizing about the effect they have on your aura. What you end up with is an extended series of drills that focus on flexibility, muscle endurance, and balance.

Think about those three:

  • Flexibility - if I was a gambling man, which I am in the existential sense, I would bet your current routine allows for about three minutes of simple stretches at the beginning or end of your workout. And then only if you don't have to rush home to see Malcolm in the Middle.
  • Muscle Endurance - this is not doing twelve reps instead of your usual ten. Think of getting ready to do a push-up, then stopping half way down and just holding yourself still for, say, a minute or so. You may be able to bench press a small car but your arms will quiver when you first attempt at this. It requires a fundamentally different sort of strength than free weights or the various machines. It's also the type of muscle activity that you do every day, like carrying bags of groceries up three flights of stairs, where you need to keep your muscles engaged for a longer period of time rather than move a very heavy object a few inches in one short push.
  • Balance - don't even pretend you've done any balance training since you walked the curb on your toes when you were nine.

You can see how much a Yoga class or two per week will benefit you and broaden your fitness horizons. (Did I really write that? I must be taking too much yoga or something.)

I have lumped Pilates (pronounced Puh-lah-tees) in with yoga because the movements are slowly paced, but Pilates is more focused on something called "core strength" which effectively means muscle development in your abdominals and lower back - the regions that are key to just about every physical activity you can imagine. Full body movements that require any sort of power invariably originate from your torso, including swinging a golf club, throwing out a runner at home plate, or just standing up straight.

Pilates can be done on a mat or pad on the floor, but there is also a specially designed piece of equipment that looks a bit like a medieval torturer's rack, which is designed to offer resistance and improve your form. Often classes taught on this equipment are costly because of the expense of the equipment.

A Pilates class will make those three sets of crunches you do seem pointless.

Body Sculpting
As you can guess, these are group weightlifting classes. They can vary widely in practice from stationary dumbbell lifting, to circuit training with weights positioned at different stations around the room, to targeted body parts - invariably butt and abs. Also, expect to do push-ups.

The problem with all these classes is the notion of using lighter weights and endless repetitions to produce "toning"; greater muscle definition without muscle bulk. I'm very skeptical of that. Muscle definition of that sort comes from loss of fat and that suggests that diet would be much more important. Worse, targeted toning has been virtually proven NOT to work. Except in very special circumstances, the first place you will lose weight and gain tone is the last place you gained weight - this is genetically pre-determined and it's pretty much the opposite of what you'd like to happen.

That said, weight training classes like this will probably do no harm, and if you're comfortable working out in this manner: you go.

If you are very lucky, you may run across one of these classes that is dedicated to strength training rather than toning. In that case, what you can expect is a typical weight-training regime of three sets of 12 repetitions working all the major muscle groups over the course of the class. The idea is to work until your muscles reach "failure". If you make it through all three sets of twelve with relative ease, you need to increase the weight so that your muscles give out towards the end. The work is done at a steady pace with only about twenty or thirty seconds in between sets - much less time than you would give yourself during a typical weight room workout. The result is that even though you may be a veritable Schwarzenegger, an hour-long workout with 12-15 lb. weights completely fatigues your muscles. If you find one of these classes, stick with it, it will pay off.

Boot Camp
These classes are generally free form, using callisthenic and plyometric drills, various props such as jump ropes, medicine balls and weights, and old-fashioned running around in circles to create a potentially very intense workout. The intent here is to enhance the raw physical capacities you need for other sports or activities.

The best of these classes will get two things you don't get in a typical workout.

  • Plyometrics - think of this as building explosive power. A push-up builds upper body strength. A push-up with a clap adds in explosive power. Leaping drills such as jump squats are typical lower body plyometric exercises. The intent of plyometrics is to provide you with better acceleration and jumping ability. Strength * Speed = Power.
  • Anaerobics - think of this as pushing yourself to the point where you cannot suck air fast enough to get the oxygen you need to keep going. That's what gives you that nauseous feeling. (Note: In most health clubs, it's considered bad form to push yourself until you throw up in the water fountain. Trust me on this.) An anaerobic state is typically achieved by doing wind sprints - repetitively sprinting for a short duration with a brief rest in between. The goal is to increase your ability to 'turn it on' for brief burst when needed in other activities, like chasing down your opponent on a fast break or making a mad dash to reach a cross-court volley.

Like the rest, these classes vary from place to place and instructor to instructor. I participate in one of these every week in which the instructor's goal is, quite clearly and unselfconsciously, to make me keep pushing until I throw up. I'll leave it to you to speculate on the reason I keep going back. On the other hand, I have attended a Boot Camp class where I barely broke a sweat.

One thing to watch out for in these classes is an instructor who takes the military metaphor a little too seriously. You can generally spot these types because they tend to wear camouflage pants and heavy black boots and they appear to harbor the belief that most of their students are partially deaf, which turns out to be bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy when you consider all the yelling.

Boot Camp can be a good intro to aerobics classes for guys because of the near complete lack of choreography. This is almost like gym class from junior high, but with more intensity, and less dodge ball.

Cardio-Kickboxing/Tae BoTM
This is where things start to get really scary for the regular guy. Things seem to be moving awfully fast and everybody is synchronized and serious looking.

Bah! Here's a closely guarded secret about this stuff: It's just punching and kicking. I don't know about you, but I've been punching and kicking since I was a little kid, usually against larger boys who failed to appreciate my insouciant sense of humor.

Cardio-Kickboxing classes have been going on in excess of fifteen years, mostly in California for the first ten or so. Then, a few years ago, a guy named Billy Blanks trademarked the name Tae BoTM and plastered himself all over every media outlet he could find and suddenly cardio-kickboxing became hot. Classes sprang up at gyms and health clubs and spas. Even traditional martial arts dojos started offering these classes. Variations such as cardio-boxing (for those who don't like to kick) and Tae Funk (kickboxing combined with hip-hop dance moves) appeared. But here's the thing: it's still just punching and kicking.

There are four basic punches (jab, cross, hook, uppercut), and three basic kicks (front, side, roundhouse). Occasionally more exotic stuff such as hitch-kicks (hop up on one leg, kick with the other) are mixed in; often knee thrusts are used in combination with the kicks, but it's pretty standard stuff.

That's not to say you can walk in and master everything within the first five minutes, but you will pick this up quickly. In your first couple of classes you'll hang toward the back and not try to kick way up over your head and hit every transition perfectly. You'll move tentatively, trying to catch the rhythm and get a feel for the sequencing of the movements. By your third or fourth class, you'll start noticing that you're moving in sync with everyone else and you'll get disappointed with yourself when you make a misstep.

Cardio-kickboxing provides the standard cardio-vascular benefits of any aerobic activity, but there are aspects of the workout that you don't find much of elsewhere.

First, there are distinctive components of flexibility, balance and strength to the kicking. Kick height comes from flexibility, obviously. Equally obvious is that balance is required for kicking since, ipso facto, you will be on one leg for a time. What isn't so obvious is that there is a good deal of leg and hip strength required to perform these kicks with good form. While it may seem like a kick is just throwing your leg in the air, a well-formed kick is actually a series of specific motions - raise your leg, push out against your target, pull back, lower your leg - done in a rapid sequence. This requires an element of control at speed and that takes leg and hip strength.

Second, punching and kicking in this manner make use of what are known as fast-twitch muscle fibers. There are two types muscle fibers, fast-twitch and (yeah, you guessed it) slow-twitch. Slow-twitch muscle fibers are the ones that keep you going through that marathon you ran last week and take Lance Armstrong around the French countryside. Fast-twitch muscle fibers are used for explosive actions, such as blasting through the offensive line and leaving the quarterback with a concussion. Punching is all about fast-twitch. The faster your punch travels, while maintaining good form, the harder it will land. The faster you pull your hand back in to protect your face, the safer you are from your opponent's fast-twitch muscle fibers.

Ironically, it is these unique attributes of cardio-kickboxing that lead to its greatest problem: There are not many good cardio-kickboxing instructors. I have taken aerobic kickboxing classes from dozens of instructors and I bet I could count the really good ones on one hand. Most cardio-kickboxing instructors come from other forms of aerobics and harbor the mistaken idea that the key to a good cardio-kickboxing workout is to keep punching and kicking faster so that your heart rate increases. That is not only wrong, it is dangerous. If not done carefully and with good form, the complex kicking movements can cause injury, especially to the knees. To make a kickboxing workout more challenging requires an increase in intensity while maintaining good form. Be wary of bad instructors, but if you find a good one, stick with it.

You are about to enter an alien world. A world where people communicate through a strange combination of telepathy and random vocabulary. A world of near-constant angular motion within a three-square foot environment. A world where your survival is dependent on traversing a shallow obstacle in as many different ways as possible. A world where time exists only as an electronic backbeat. A world that is under the complete control of sweaty, but cheerful, women in spandex. You are about to enter the world of Step aerobics.

Guys, you might as well be on Mars.

Step Aerobics is all about coordination. Can you imagine being the only guy in a room full of super-fit, super-coordinated girls and trying to keep in step with them? You know that dream you have about giving a speech and suddenly realizing you're naked? That's about what it's like. Why would you ever want to do that?

Because coordination, like any other capacity, is only acquired through doing. (I know, I sound like your high school counselor.) I don't want to sugar coat anything. Unlike all the other classes I've described so far, this one is going to take effort just to be passable.

There is not a non-trivial movement in Step class, despite the fact that broken down to the basics, the actual steps in Step aerobics are almost like baby steps; step up - step down - turn this way - turn that way - hop - knee. Except these things are strung together in rhythmic and syncopated sequences that are performed so fast that you can't think your way through them, you have to "feel" the sequence. That is almost the definition of coordination.

Now that I've sympathized with your anxiety, let me say that you can survive it and conquer it, and when you do you may find you like it a lot more than you thought you would. In fact, I bet you'll be craving more.

I can't give you any tricks that will make you good at Step. It took me about 7 or 8 classes of staggering about like I had head injury before I could make it through without being a total embarrassment to myself. In that process I found out a couple of interesting things.

First, even though it may seem like all eyes are on you, nobody is paying you more than a passing glance. I know this because now that I'm competent enough to not be the sore thumb, I don't look around at those worse than me. I do look at those who are better than me and try to emulate them, so it's the skilled folks are getting looked at.

Second, if anyone is looking, as a guy, you are being graded on a curve. I once asked one of those sweaty, but cheerful, spandex girls if she thought guys looked silly trying to do this. She said she thought it was impressive that a guy would even try it and that, and I quote, "It's OK to be good at it. But not better than me." So you see, in Step Aerobics, as in life, showing up is half the battle.

Here is an accumulation of the Step Aerobics wisdom I have gained, so you don't have to relearn it:

  • If at all possible, start in a beginner's class. There are some very basic steps you should know and that instructors will generally assume you know. If you have to learn the basics along with the choreography, it'll be that much harder.
  • All instructors are different. They have different vocabularies and different routines. Stick with one until you get it down before moving on. When you move on it'll be easier, but you'll still need a class or two to get in the groove.
  • Leave the arms out. One thing you'll notice is that the experienced steppers not only have the steps down right, but the arm movements too. Get the feet right first. When you get the feet down well enough then work on the arms.
  • Start low. The things you put under the step to make it higher are called risers. One on each side will do. More risers will make things a lot harder, more so than you realize. Don't be a hard guy.
  • Watch and think, then don't. As you are trying to learn a combination of moves think of each successive move relative to the previous or possibly the room itself. For example, if a combination involves step - turn - knee, is the step right or left? does the turn go in the direction of the stepping foot or the opposite? is the knee towards the front of the room or the back? When it comes time to actually do it, you'll need to not think about it and let your body do it from memory. I know that sounds awfully trite and new age, but it's what happens and it's not that hard to do. Think of it this way: you don't have to stop to consider what side you lean towards to get your bike around a corner. You did once.
  • Don't worry about being graceful. There is a difference between coordination and grace. Coordination is all you need and it can be learned. If there is a way to learn to be graceful, I haven't found it.

Seriously, suppress your fears and give this a shot. Conquering an alien world is not something you get to do every day.

Floor/Hi-Low/Dance Variations
Floor aerobics are where aerobics started many, many years ago. It's fairly easy to see that they evolved from callisthenic routines, when somebody turned on some funky background music and kept the routine moving to the beat. Like Step, these classes are coordination centered - only more so. There is a fine line between the movements you will encounter in these sorts of classes and what you might encounter in an actual dance class. One could argue that this is where grown women go when they get jealous of watching their daughters in dance class.

Of course, the natural progression for floor aerobics is to integrate more and more dance into the routine. This has lead to Jazzercise, Dancercise, Urban Funk aerobics, Salsaerobics, and dozens of other variations.

Most of the guidelines I discussed for Step apply here too. That is to say, it will take time. I have taken a couple of these sorts of classes and failed as miserably at them as I did in my early Step classes. But I have seen enough to know that if I worked at it I could get it down. Someday I may.

Master these classes and you'll never have to be self-conscious out on the dance floor of your favorite nightclub ever again.

Watch or Act?
So where does that leave us? I hope I have been able to dispel any mystery around this topic. I also hope that the knowledge that a 40-something geek such as myself can handle this means it's not as hard as it looks.

But there is still the lingering question of what your friends will think. That probably explains why virtually all the men I have run across in aerobics classes are well into their thirties or older. We're old enough not to give a rodent's posterior what other people think. Look, if you're concerned your friends will think you're a sissy, just talk a lot of hockey and be more open about the audible aspects of your digestive process.

And remember what you were thinking when you were on the outside looking in. They're just as scared as you were.


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Display: Sort:
Aerobics for Regular Guys | 141 comments (132 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
All of these still require one thing... (5.00 / 5) (#3)
by sophacles on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 01:00:52 PM EST

and that thing is commitment.  If you don't stick with it, you won't see any results.  As far as the effectiveness of these things: I'm sure anything that will leave you gasping on the ground like a fish, and too sore to walk the next day has to have some sort of benefit.

I've seen the boot camp style classes work really well.  Last time I went to visit my parents, my mother had dropped a lot of weight, and so had the neighbor lady.  They have been doing those for about a year now.  My mom kept bragging to me (and a few of my friends) that she had to go out to buy a whole new wardrobe.   I assume the results would be similar for males doing those classes.

best thing I've seen on K5 all month long (3.75 / 4) (#4)
by asad on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 01:03:46 PM EST

and yes the step classes do look alien to me, and I still don't think I'll try them. Maybe the yoga stuff though ;)

My ideal cardio/aerobic workout: (3.57 / 7) (#7)
by zephc on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 01:27:08 PM EST

On a holodeck, fighting a bunch of weird beasties with a batleth or ninja swords or something.

Regular guys don't do aerobics. (4.50 / 8) (#9)
by Mr Hogan on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 01:44:36 PM EST

I think the problem here is that your article is some kind of crypto-liberal code for gender-fickle prancing feckless webmasters trying to find a husband not get in shape. What I say is if a sham marriage for appearances sake is good enough for Rusty then it's good enough for you.

Life is food and rape, then tilt.

Oh yes they do (5.00 / 5) (#10)
by anonimouse on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 01:50:45 PM EST

In the university group I joined: 100 women, 10 guys , group leader had a pair of leggings with a hole in the crotch area.....

What better reason to do aerobics? :-)
Relationships and friendships are complex beasts. There's nothing wrong with doing things a little differently.
[ Parent ]

So what you're saying is. (5.00 / 6) (#14)
by Mr Hogan on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 04:36:59 PM EST

90 women in your group think regular guys are cute. 9 guys in your group think you're cute. OK so good luck with that my british friend.

Life is food and rape, then tilt.
[ Parent ]

this sounds interesting and all (4.20 / 5) (#13)
by Delirium on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 04:31:57 PM EST

Unfortunately it also sounds incredibly tedious, and I'm far too lazy to put up with that sort of thing.

FAT! (none / 0) (#65)
by Subtillus on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 12:01:49 PM EST

[ Parent ]
actually not (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by Delirium on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 05:44:45 PM EST

I just don't eat that much. And I prefer to walk places rather than drive (if the distances are reasonable), and enjoy hiking in the mountains. But aerobics? That sounds tedious. :P

[ Parent ]
FAT! (none / 0) (#86)
by Subtillus on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 06:41:06 PM EST

Just kidding...

Sounds fun, which mountains do you live near?

[ Parent ]

San Gabriel mountains (none / 0) (#89)
by Delirium on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 09:19:48 PM EST

East of Los Angeles, in the Angeles National Forest.

[ Parent ]
-1, Fails to discuss legwarmers (4.25 / 12) (#15)
by egg troll on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 05:42:39 PM EST

He's a bondage fan, a gastronome, a sensualist
Unparalleled for sinister lasciviousness.

As an alternative form of exercise (4.80 / 15) (#16)
by omghax on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 07:29:22 PM EST

I would suggest becoming a pirate. You get a cool eye patch too.

yar. (5.00 / 1) (#20)
by danni on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 07:49:43 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Dear lord... (none / 0) (#125)
by McMasters on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 04:56:04 PM EST

..this is the funniest comment ever posted. You are a genius. (funny name, too)

+50. salute

[ Parent ]

Yes, please train properly (2.87 / 8) (#17)
by aldjiblah on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 08:09:17 PM EST

Body building and other anaerob workouts makes your body big very quickly. But the muscles you build are not good for anything. I beat up big guys regularly (they come by at our MMA club to try their luck) and every big, body-builder type I've went up against has dropped like a stone the minute I get to work on his leg muscles - they're like balloons and just pop and stop working at the least amount of punishment.

You're likely to be much more of an all-round tough guy by training aerobics than by lifting any amount of spare metal. Don't be fooled by size.

Um (3.33 / 3) (#55)
by starsky on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 04:12:19 AM EST

I don't know about you, but I work out to look good, not so I can beat up other guys.

[ Parent ]
Hate to tell you this (5.00 / 4) (#56)
by PrinceSausage on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 05:02:33 AM EST

But useless muscle are, at the end of the day, just useless muscle. Get a real hobby. Start rock climbing.

[ Parent ]
Rock climbing is just as useless. (4.00 / 3) (#67)
by hovil on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 12:14:24 PM EST

Throughout my entire life, I've never ever had to climb a rock.

I've never been surrounded by sheer cliff face on 4 sides and thought. "golly gosh, if only I was an experienced rock climber, I could get out of here."

[ Parent ]

Yes (none / 0) (#105)
by starsky on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 04:31:28 AM EST

you are definately correct. Being physically attractive is of absolutely no worth in society.

[ Parent ]
Weights (5.00 / 1) (#106)
by kraant on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 05:04:10 AM EST

What they do do is get you in good enough shape that doing other things like rock climbing or martial arts doesn't feel like torture.
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]
Then just stand by and cheer (1.33 / 6) (#58)
by aldjiblah on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 07:20:37 AM EST

... while someone rapes your girlfriend. At least you'll look good.

[ Parent ]
How many times someone raped your girlfriend (4.83 / 6) (#59)
by slon! on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 08:21:36 AM EST

in your victinity? If someone has balls to do something like that, he almost certainly has balls to make nice 0.44 hole in your head. It's great to be able to defend yourself by bare hands but real-world street-fight is nothing like that. There're no rules. Everything from big rocks to big guns has it's use. If I'm forced into such situation I always grab some log, bar, rod, anything and put it in good use. I've prevailed almost everytime (and fled in remaining cases :-) ). I can defend myself bare-handed since I was doing judo for almost 10 years but seldom do. Fighting in dojo doesn't prepare you for real life fights - it's just good testesterone and adrenaline level rising exercise. And don't tell me you've trained such situation many times because you didn't. If you find yourself on the wrong side of 9mm gun all the training is pretty much useles unless you're trained professional killer. I know it because I've been in such situations.

It is right to believe in the need to be free.
[ Parent ]
Ju-jitsu (5.00 / 1) (#90)
by Repton on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 10:07:33 PM EST

I once took a couple of lessons of Ju-jitsu. I didn't stick with it, though, because I was more interested in a martial art that would focus on balance and coordination, whereas jitsu (at least, the instructor I saw) focussed on practical self-defence — how to control someone using wrist locks and arm locks, how to block or dodge punches, that sort of thing.

One of the lessons we learnt was: What do you do if you're unarmed and someone confronts you with a knife and demands your wallet?

And the answer is...

...you take out your wallet and give it to them, while being as non-threatening as possible. :-/

They say that only an experienced wizard can do the tengu shuffle..
[ Parent ]

No problem (5.00 / 3) (#60)
by starsky on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 08:24:38 AM EST

I will follow your example and easily destroy the straw man.

[ Parent ]
Why would they rape his girlfriend? (4.50 / 4) (#66)
by Mr Hogan on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 12:05:50 PM EST

He's the one with the hot body.

Life is food and rape, then tilt.
[ Parent ]

Don't forget capoeira (4.50 / 2) (#18)
by scheme on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 12:21:26 AM EST

Although capoeira isn't really aerobics per se, there is a lot of music and rhythm involved and it overlaps with maculele and samba da roda a bit.

Capoeira involves a lot of acrobatics and upper body strength. It involves both static strength (e.g. holding a handstand for a while, holding yourself up sideways on your hands) and explosive movements (e.g. flips, jumps, hops while doing a handstand, etc). It's a great way to increase your strength and flexibility while learning about a part of brazilian culture.

"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity." --Albert Einstein

eww (none / 0) (#19)
by DominantParadigm on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 04:06:47 AM EST

I read a book ("Tom Clancy's Net Farce") and now whenever I hear that word I think of what the lamest martial arts in the world would be

Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!

[ Parent ]
That's because we know fiction is always right (none / 0) (#79)
by scheme on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 03:50:57 PM EST

I read a book ("Tom Clancy's Net Farce") and now whenever I hear that word I think of what the lamest martial arts in the world would be

You know, I was reading this novel the other day, and now when I hear philosophy I can't help but think of what a bunch of self important wankers would do all day.

Isn't it great how fiction always give an accurate depiction of the real world?

"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity." --Albert Einstein

[ Parent ]
Sorry, it really was a bad novel (none / 0) (#87)
by DominantParadigm on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 07:42:21 PM EST

Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!

[ Parent ]
fun fun fun (none / 0) (#115)
by robot138 on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 01:09:03 PM EST

Having started (then abandoned for lack of funds) capoeira classes last year, its fun. Mercifully the intro classes didn't get too much into Brazillian culture, but focused more on giving me huge blisters on my toes.

[ Parent ]
Uh... (4.90 / 11) (#21)
by debacle on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 08:11:41 AM EST

You don't have to do your aerobics on solid ground, you know.

Swimming 2 miles a day melts the fat off like throwing a stick of butter into a supernova.

Not only does your metabolism kick into super-gear, but the exercise increases your lung capacity by about a gallon, your resting heart rate will fall to somewhere around 50, and you'll be able to sleep like a rock whenever you need rest. You can swim 2 miles a day four times a week, eat four or five large meals a day, and the best thing is you will never, ever lose weight. Every ounce of the weight you take off your stomach, thighs, and primarily your back and ass will move to your shoulders, chest, and back muscles.

And swimmers have granite asses, too.

I don't know how it is in other places in the world, but here in Buffalo, NY (I can't say much, because this area has the highest concentration of swimming pools per-square mile than anywhere else in the world) you can get a resident swimming pass for the whole summer in public outdoor pools for about $30, or a year-round pass, which includes the indoor facilities and weightrooms for about $200, not a bad deal considering at a private facility you might be paying $200 or more every three months.

If you can handle the ragged hair (Get some of the blue Prell and you'll be all set) and sore chest (Your sternum will have to adjust to all the breathing, which usually stretches you out a little bit) it's probably the best thing you can do for your body. If you swim, you will never have back problems, hip problems, neck problems, or heart problems.

Further proof that we evolved from seamonkeys.

It tastes sweet.

Hey! (none / 0) (#25)
by dn on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 12:43:39 PM EST

I evolved from an ant farm.

    I ♥

[ Parent ]

or, more obviously, (none / 0) (#27)
by pb on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 02:56:29 PM EST

there is Water Aerobics. I took a class in it; it was quite enjoyable, and I was more fit afterwards. I wouldn't mind doing it again sometime.
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Jiminy Christmas, dood (4.00 / 2) (#43)
by semaphore3 on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 11:52:43 PM EST

That's 140 laps (really, 141) on a 25-yard pool.

You gotta be kidding me.

Even in my best shape (running 8 miles at 6000+ elevation [7 1/2 to 8 minute miles]), swimming a mile was a workout. Two??

Swimming 2 miles a day melts the fat off like throwing a stick of butter into a supernova.

You say this like it's a revelation... Of course it does! If you swim 40 yards a minute, you'll burn about 15 calories a minute, so in forty-five minutes, you burn 660 calories--No other workout that I'm aware of (not running, not stairmaster, nothing) has a calorie burn rate quite like that.

The best is swimming in the ocean - - lap after lap after lap [parallel to the beach] and you don't even notice cause it's so cool - - if only (a) I weren't so Goddamned afraid of sharks and (b) I lived in SoCal.

[ Parent ]
not that bad actually (none / 0) (#50)
by metalgeek on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 02:13:41 AM EST

If you swim alot it's not that bad of a distance, when I was 12 and in a swim club, I did 200 laps (5km) in under 2 hours.
repeat I was twelve, and only an adequate swimmer (competed, but never made it to provinchal's).

"K5 is a site where users have the motto 'Anyone Who Isn't Me Is An Idiot, And Anyone Who Disagrees With Me Is Gay'." skyknight
[ Parent ]
Well. (none / 0) (#69)
by debacle on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 01:13:44 PM EST

I've been swimming competitively for about 7 years, all through middle school and high school, so I'm pretty used to swimming 20 lengths in under ten minutes for three hours straight. That's about 120 laps, and considering we do conditioning sprints about half the time, I'm sure the number is more like 150 laps.

Nothing really hard about it, though. If you try a mile in two hours for about two weeks, by the end you'll be able to swim about 2 miles in 2 and a half hours. You'd be surprised how fast your body can adapt to swimming.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

Your body adapts back to swimming really quickly. (5.00 / 3) (#71)
by gte910h on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 02:29:00 PM EST

If you can find an accessable place to swim all the time, you can get up to a good number of laps rather quickly. It is cool to be able to do two miles, but you're burning craploads more calories swimming that half mile that you've worked up to over the last month then than running it, even at a good clip. And you're not wearing out your joints doing it.

And worst pains you get when swimming properly is the occasional hurt hand/foot from an incorrect turn, and once you buy goggles and a swimmer's cap, there is little you have to buy, while running you go through shoes faster than a teenager goes through tires.

And the hair isn't that big of a problem if you go into the shower before you swim and put your swimcap on there and don't take it off.


[ Parent ]

Indoor Rowing (4.00 / 1) (#70)
by pmc on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 02:02:34 PM EST

My usual daily row is 15km on the rowing machine, which at the pace I do it at is about 1000 calories per hour. I can get to about 1150 calories for an hour's workout but that is very hard going (HR > 160 for 40 minutes). Fitter people can get much higher rates - up to about 1400 calories per hour. I believe cross country skiing beats that (although that's not really a workout).

[ Parent ]
2 miles isn't as bad as you think (5.00 / 2) (#94)
by ES on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 10:48:20 PM EST

When I was swimming regularly on a team our typical 1.5-2 hour workout would be in the 5000-6500 yard range, depending on what mix of sprints/distance/strokes we were doing. That's 2.8-3.7 miles. Of course we were generally going a bit faster than 40 yards/minute, but once you get the techniques down it's pretty easy to bring up your sustainable speed.

Then there were the really heavy days, when we'd have two 2-2.5 hour swim workouts and a 30-60 minute weightlifting working. A day like that would see 7-10 miles of swimming.

Feel like eating an entire extra-large pizza? No problem, you won't gain an ounce. All-you-can-eat buffet twice in one day? Also not a problem. ;>

Alas, I don't have the time to swim quite as much anymore, but I still try to get in 3 one hour workouts a week, with each being around 2 miles.

[ Parent ]

Swimming Technique (4.00 / 1) (#118)
by endeavor on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:03:15 PM EST

I grew up around water. I lived near the beach and I had a pool in my back yard so I'm very comfortable in the water. However, I never swam as a spoort or took advanced swimming lessons so I have poor technique.

It's always been irritating to know that if I'm swimming laps with someone, who is not in nearly as good of shape as I am but did competative swimming in high school, that I'm likely to lose. What's the technique/trick to a fast freestyle? Or is there really no way to learn besides getting lessons from someone who really knows how to swim?

[ Parent ]

Swimming a mile is nothing, really (none / 0) (#95)
by debacle on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 10:51:07 PM EST

I mean, to me, but the thing is that running and swimming are two completely different things. A lot of people think you need to have strong legs to be a swimmer, but most swimmers are shit-dinkly small in the legs (because of soccer and rugby, I've got tree-trunk legs, something that slows me down a lot in the pool).

The main muscle groups you work are your lower and mid abs, your upper back and shoulders, not to mention your triceps (Which hurt like a bitch after every swim). A lot of control muscles in your chest and arms get a workout too, and of course your heart.

I think you may be wrong on the 660 thing, because I've read that "moderate" swimming is somewhere around 740 or so. Who knows though, it's all about the fun of it really.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

Well, anyway... (none / 0) (#102)
by semaphore3 on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:17:21 AM EST

First of all, I remembered that I was swimming that mile also at 6000+ feet elevation; that might have made it even a bit harder.

In any event, I was already -- before I read your original post -- going to try to get back in the game, swimming-wise, and so'll be starting tomorrow. I think 1 mile is a more realistic goal for me, though.

[ Parent ]
2 miles a day == 1 hour? (none / 0) (#80)
by ooglek on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 04:06:28 PM EST

According to this site: http://www.pacifictigers.com/MensSports/Swimming/Statistics.htm The personal best in the 1650 Freestyle was around 16-17 minutes. 2.1333 times that is about 37 minutes. Figure you are half as fast as these small college folk and you've got yourself about an hour and fifteen minute workout for 2 miles a day. If you are a swimmer, please verify that I'm doing the math right. Too bad you can't listen to your mp3 player under water.
Internet License Plate DB - Give that jerk a piece of your mind.
[ Parent ]
I couldn't tell you. (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by debacle on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 10:44:02 PM EST

I've been swimming in one of those new-fangled "metric" pools for the last four or five years.

But, that sounds about reasonable I think. The thing is, it takes many many years of training to be able to sprint(Yeah, that's pretty much what you'd be doing in a 16 minute mile) for an entire mile, let alone two. If you want to be realistic, figure yourself to about an average of anywhere from 30 to 45 seconds a lap. I don't feel like doing the math right now, but I'm sure it averages out somehow. Although I may be wrong: Later in the season it's not uncommon to do 6k yards in three hours.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

Very possible (none / 0) (#110)
by miker2 on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 09:04:41 AM EST

Pro ironman and even a bunch of the amatuers do the 2.4 mile swim in under an hour, with the majority of the field done in under 2. In fact, at iron-length events, the swim course closes after 2 and a half hours.

[ Parent ]
'bout right (none / 0) (#135)
by redgren on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 01:32:10 PM EST

I just swam a mile last night, and I am a relatively average-slow swimmer. Took me about 33 minutes, and that was with stopping every lap for 4 or 5 seconds (take a breather, adjust my googles, etc). I have only been swimming (regularly) for a few months, so it doesn't take that long to get to that speed. The only way I will ever exercise for a long time is if I have an end goal. At first, it was running and finishing a marathon.. Did that, then got kind of burnt out on running 5 times a week, so I have started triathlons, much more interesting with 4 things to do (run,bike,swim,weights) during the week.

[ Parent ]
"And swimmers have granite asses, too." (5.00 / 1) (#82)
by Freaky on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 05:54:39 PM EST

Why, is is bad to have one that feels like a sponge?

And 4-5 large meals/day!?  Depending on how you define large, I probably get through that many proper meals in an entire week.

I guess this means I need to get more exercise.  Maybe if I just get a keyboard with firmer keys...

[ Parent ]

hmmmm.... (none / 0) (#84)
by zarqman on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 06:13:45 PM EST

hrmm.. i had sorta written off swimming, but your post is making me think about it again. a couple years back i tried a little of that, but honestly, i failed miserably. i just can't ever seem to get in a rhythm such that i'm not gasping for air at about half a lap. i guess i'm just a sorry swimmer. but that makes me ask you and any other competent swimmers out there: is that something that's likely to get better by just toughing it out? or do you have some suggestions on how i can get to the point where swimming is actually a viable form of exercise for me?

# cat .sig
cat: .sig: No such file or directory

[ Parent ]

Do it in pieces. (5.00 / 2) (#92)
by debacle on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 10:39:12 PM EST

It's sort of like any other "training" you do, you have to drill. I remember freshman year in HS we had to pull (Put a floater between your legs, and just use your arms) for 500 yards, and then kick for 250.

You may not want to start out with pulling for 500 yards, as if your shoulder muscles aren't developed enough, you could harm yourself.

If you do this for about a week, you'll see that your body will naturally want to pull when you're kicking, and kick when you're pulling, and then you'll be able to develop a breathing rhythm. If you have trouble with breathing, practice standing in the shallow end of a pool just moving your arms and turning your head. A good habit to get into is to breath-stroke-stroke, but if you're just starting out, you might want to breathe every other stroke. Once in a while you'll want to stroke as much as you can before you breathe to increase the capacity of those lungs.

Good luck.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

Try a Snorkel (none / 0) (#139)
by retostamm on Tue Jul 15, 2003 at 04:54:19 PM EST

If you use a snorkel you can breath more, hold your head under water and should be able to get started.

You'll have to breath deep though because there's some dead space in the snorkel. But you should be able to swimm slowly, and breath enough.

If you don't float enough, get one of those styrofoam floats, and swim on top of it. After a week or two you'll can drop that, and a few weeks after that, you can swim without snorkel, too.

Good luck!!!!

[ Parent ]

Amen (none / 0) (#88)
by MicroBerto on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 07:47:44 PM EST

I swam in high school, and now that I'm in college, I joined the water polo team.

Right now I am combining the size-gaining hypertrophy-specific training workout with swimming every other day. I've just begun, and the results are phenomenal!

I love swimming. When doing these workouts, I can eat more calories than ever, and am getting much stronger and bigger. Rock on!

I've always wanted to do a write-up for the HST weightlifting workout linked above. It's really awesome.. a bit confusing, but works like no other. Lots of science behind it too, which is why it'd be great on k5.

- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]

safety (5.00 / 1) (#100)
by jms on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:09:11 AM EST

Not only that, but it's practically impossible to injure yourself while swimming.  You'll never twist a knee or pull a muscle.

[ Parent ]
Are you serious? (5.00 / 1) (#137)
by Alex Buchanan on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 05:33:38 PM EST

If you don't warm up sensibly it is quite possible you may pull a muscle or something. But this goes for all strenuous activity.

Now, as for swimming itself, I have it on good authority from my osteopath that lots of breast stroke can be bad for your neck and lower back. This is assuming that you keep your head out of the water as a lot of fitness swimmers do.

[ Parent ]

If I were to dance. . . (4.60 / 5) (#23)
by IHCOYC on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 12:30:12 PM EST

. . . I would then be obliged to commit seppuku, as the only way of salvaging some remnant of my damaged dignity.
Quod sequitur, sicut serica lucis albissima tingere rogant;
Quod sequitur, totum devorabit.

Concerning Yoga (2.50 / 8) (#26)
by bankind on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 01:00:39 PM EST

You forgot to mention that in Yoga the places generally smell like rotten ass (from all the relaxing induced flatulence) and that there is always some gay dude in the middle of the room practicing his mantra, sporting a boner.

I'll stick to free weights, running, and swimming.

But best is laying my sweet woman down for some good loving. Mmmmmm... My hands just can't keep still.


"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman

Bleh. Don't really care. (4.40 / 5) (#28)
by Kasreyn on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 03:08:22 PM EST

I mean, I have a decent sized frame, I'm sure I could pack muscle onto it and be quite fit, if I cared. Rather than looking like a walking anatomy lesson, as I do.

But there's just so much reading to get done! I'm already over 1/4 of the way to the grave, by my estimate, and I've probably not even read 1% of what I need to read before I die. ^_^ (Current reading project: Huston Smith, The Religions of Man, Harper&Row, NY, 1958). Since my goal is to learn everything, I have to get cracking. ^_^

And it's kind of hard to read while doing pushups...

Frankly, it's a matter of prioritizing. Getting in shape takes so much time that it would detract from my other pursuits too much. Besides, I find it kind of silly to spend money to join a gym and do things you can do for free anyway, like walking or swimming. My grandmother almost lived to 100, and was able to walk again after having a broken hip. Why? Because she walked 2 miles a day well into her 80's. That's all.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Hmmmm (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by starsky on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 04:10:26 AM EST

I have come to a solution. Get MP3 player, and load it with stuff you wanna listen to, such as radio shows you can't catch, or talking books or whatever. That's my plan anyway....

[ Parent ]
Aerobics (2.60 / 5) (#29)
by the77x42 on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 03:13:31 PM EST

Are meant for women and were invented so guys could get a rager while working on their pecs.

"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

Here's my experience (5.00 / 5) (#30)
by a boy and his bike on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 06:47:52 PM EST

Due to the rotten job market in Montreal for electronics, I had to start moving stuff. That's right, moving boxes and furniture. Trust me, after two weeks of this s**t, you lose weight, sleep like a rock, get stronger and get some nice bruises to get some pity... :)

tuckpointing (none / 0) (#99)
by jms on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:05:24 AM EST

heh ... try tuckpointing for a workout.

--  Former Chicago systems programmer

[ Parent ]

wow (1.85 / 20) (#31)
by TRASG0 on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 07:25:43 PM EST

an entire front page article about how to work out like a pussy.  get a barbell and a punching bag and quit acting like a ninny.  If you want to look like a girl go ahead and work out like one.  if you want to look like a guy, do some fucking deadlifts.
sorry no sig now
I'm so sorry (5.00 / 3) (#40)
by Matt Oneiros on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 09:52:55 PM EST

but it does not compute that your sig says "Dorm Wars: a tale of college life equal to ten parts drug addled idolatry and five parts sadism minus class attendance." Wouldn't it be better if it were "Dorm Wars: a tale of college life equal to two parts drug addled idolatry and one part sadism minus class attendance."

Lobstery is not real
signed the cow
when stating that life is merely an illusion
and that what you love is all that's real
[ Parent ]
Better how? (none / 0) (#46)
by TRASG0 on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 12:22:36 AM EST

ten and five are better numbers than one and two.  Primarily because one is not a number.  And two is too much like a vagina.
sorry no sig now
[ Parent ]
because... (5.00 / 3) (#51)
by Matt Oneiros on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 02:24:45 AM EST

  1. /2 and 5/10ths are equivelant, yet 1/2 is the simpler version of 5/10ths.
  2. parts X and 10 parts Y is only technically approriate if the measures of X and Y can not be metered up to a measure that supports the simplified fraction.
As for 2 being the most vaginal of 2 and 5, I'd have to say 5 is because it's roman numeral is V.

Lobstery is not real
signed the cow
when stating that life is merely an illusion
and that what you love is all that's real
[ Parent ]
Hmmm (1.00 / 1) (#76)
by TRASG0 on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 03:35:22 PM EST

you have a point about the roman numeral V.  But even numbers have vaginas and odd numbers have penises.  Since two is the most even of the even numbers, is the first number, and in its purest essense an even number unlike the other even numbers which have other things going for them, two is like a number that *is* a vagina as opposed to a number that *has* a vagina.
sorry no sig now
[ Parent ]
and (none / 0) (#78)
by Matt Oneiros on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 03:47:27 PM EST

in retrospect the roman numeral for two is II which is representational of the appearance of a vagina.

I take it back, you're right, two is the most vaginal number.

Lobstery is not real
signed the cow
when stating that life is merely an illusion
and that what you love is all that's real
[ Parent ]

... but Dhalsim was a Wuss (3.62 / 8) (#32)
by dead pixel on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 08:27:44 PM EST

Dhalsim was always the wimpiest character from SFII.  From that simple fact I am able to extrapolate that Yoga is a girly man's workout.  If you want to be big and strong you must drink fine Russian vodka like Zangief.

take a fucking bike ride (3.00 / 5) (#33)
by tofubar on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 08:49:37 PM EST

you also get to see the outside world (usually a good thing, unless your some stupid slashdot geek that as some geek pride thing going on where they are proud to be unhealthy). ride the bikes at the gym too. its the best.

damn right (3.66 / 3) (#34)
by blisspix on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 08:59:27 PM EST

I just got a new bike and hubby and I have discovered a whole new outdoor world. We cycle along a specially designated cycleway along a river, around the airport, across cabbage fields, and out to the beach. About a 3 hour ride one way, and then we catch the train home. Fantastic. And low-impact too, which is great.

I was a former figure skater and my God, did I get bored staring at those four walls and the same people all the time. On my bike it's different every time, plus we reward ourselves with a picnic at the end.

[ Parent ]

i'd give you a 6 (none / 0) (#35)
by tofubar on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 09:11:49 PM EST

just because picnics are great. but scoop has anti picnic bias and thus i can't give you a 6.

[ Parent ]
Bike rides are nice, but... (none / 0) (#37)
by skim123 on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 09:41:54 PM EST

...my butt always gets sore after too long on the seat. I need one of those big basket seats that you see on hot-wheels, perhaps.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

[ Parent ]
well (none / 0) (#38)
by tofubar on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 09:42:58 PM EST

as far as i know, most people stand up a lot on their bikes, at least when going uphill. unless your talking about a gym.

[ Parent ]
They shouldn't do...? (none / 0) (#45)
by Goggs on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 12:01:05 AM EST

Those professional bikers out there might be able to correct or confirm this, but one should only 'stand up' when going up a steep hill or starting off. When you stand up, you're basically using your weight, and not your legs to move.

-----== This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
[ Parent ]

Absolutely correct (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by frozencrow on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 09:21:36 AM EST

Standing up enables you to put more power into pedalling, but at the cost of far greater energy expenditure.  Standing up is a big waste of energy, and you don't want to do it unless you really need the power.  You usually don't even want to stand up when you're starting from a dead stop.  Having to stand up a lot usually means that you're not using a low enough gear.

[ Parent ]
Standing up [increasingly OT] (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by Repton on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 10:34:32 PM EST

Am I doing something wrong, then? If I'm doing any sort of uphill, I generally find it easier to stand rather than sit, unless I'm happy going a lot slower. If there's resistance (because of a hill or wind), sitting down seems to require more physical effort (in my knees), and consequently more mental effort to keep it up. Whereas if I stand, I can get into a rhythm and just sustain. I don't have to force myself to put in more than the minimum necessary effort, because the minimum necessary effort is enough to keep me moving along pretty well. Should I try and change my riding style?


A couple of other things that occur to me (although please answer the above if you can):

- A cyclist on a bike is a more or less self-contained system. Things which would affect your speed: Total weight of the system, slope of the road, air resistance / wind, and friction. I can't really think of any others. Of these, obviously weight and incline aren't going to be affected by your riding style. Air resistance might increase if you go to standing, although I don't think by very much. Friction I'm not sure about.

But either way, it doesn't seem like there would be a huge change in the total energy required to move the bike, if the speed is fixed. So is that a correct interpretation --- standing up will consume more energy, but make you go faster?

- The other thing is: Greater energy expenditure isn't always a bad thing.. I'm often in a situation where I'm biking home after a mostly sedentary day at uni.. It's only 6km (although half of it is uphill), so I'm generally keen to go hard and expend as much energy as possible :-)

They say that only an experienced wizard can do the tengu shuffle..
[ Parent ]

energy ependiture (none / 0) (#98)
by metalgeek on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 01:18:59 AM EST

when your standing, your lifting the whole mass of your body (as well as pushing it forwards), where as when your sitting, your just lifting the mass on your leg.

"K5 is a site where users have the motto 'Anyone Who Isn't Me Is An Idiot, And Anyone Who Disagrees With Me Is Gay'." skyknight
[ Parent ]
And ...? (none / 0) (#101)
by Repton on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:13:49 AM EST

And then the whole weight of your body (or almost) goes onto the pedal, pushing the bike forwards. That's the whole point, isn't it?

In fact, in my experience, I don't actually lift my body very far. Mostly, the pedal goes down instead...

They say that only an experienced wizard can do the tengu shuffle..
[ Parent ]

Do what works (none / 0) (#113)
by Matthew Guenther on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:03:29 PM EST

Regardless of whether it's the most efficient, do whatever feels comfortable.  Everyone I ride with has differences in cycling, be it in cadence, leg strength or posture.  Some of my friends get out of the saddle on most inclines, while others prefer to spin and only stand when absolutely necessary.  As long as you're fast, (and not causing an injury), who cares if your technique isn't "perfect"?  

That being said I would try to practice spinning and get it to work for you.  I find that unless it's a very short and steep hill I can usually pass standing cyclists while remaining in my seat.  Being able to make use of the full pedal cycle can net you a lot of extra power that you don't see when standing up.  Also, clipless pedals help an unbelievable amount with getting power while spinning, it's nearly a different sport.  If you're going to be doing a lot of cycling do yourself a massive favour and get some.

[ Parent ]

Some advice (none / 0) (#114)
by lb008d on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:55:42 PM EST

I bike about 100km a week.

Standing vs. sitting - I would recommend that you try to get used to sitting as much as possible, and using lower gears when you are going uphill. Try to keep your cadence (spinning) at 90rpm.

If you feel the extra exertion coming from your knees, you probably don't have your seat high enough. 90% of the people I see on a bike have their seats too low. You should just have the slightest bend in your knee when your foot is flat at the bottom of the pedal stroke and your hips are parallel to the ground (don't lean one way or another over your seat).

Have fun!

[ Parent ]

Never stand up. Sit and Spin (5.00 / 1) (#104)
by Lin Dze on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 04:19:24 AM EST

As stated before when you stand you use way too much energy comapred to just pedaling. Basiclly you should just find a good cadence (rythem), hit 80% of your max heart rate and stay there as long as possible. Shift up and down depending on terrain to keep the same work rate.

The only real reason to stand is when you absolutely must reposition your weight farther forward so you dont fall backwards down the hill. If you feel stress in your knees while youre pedaling it probably means youre in the wrong gear. Hard and Slow pedaling puts too much stress on your entire leg assembly and will cause you knee/tendon/ligament problems.

This is especially compounded if you have any sort of active suspension on your bike. Roaddies can get away with stnading to sprint up a hill because there isnt an extreme energy difference due to the super rigid frames. When you stand up on a suspended bike a lot of your pedaling energy will be transferred to the suspension and absorbed. If youre really bad youll also get that shitty jostling from pedal feedback.

Lastly, if you are going to Stand And Hammer then you should use the proper form. On a road bike you are positioned just above the bottom bracket and maybe a bit forward. With a mtb, especially a full suspension, you should try to focus your mass a little bit farther back behind the bottom bracket. This will help keep your weight on the rear wheel and avoid spinning out.

-Lin Dze
"Facts don't cease to exist because they are ignored." Aldous Huxley
[ Parent ]

Your seat is too big (4.50 / 2) (#41)
by Vader82 on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 10:41:52 PM EST

Unless you've already got a rather skinny racing seat, its more likely that your seat is too wide, or too thick. I know it sounds crazy, but if your seat is too large, then you're sitting on your muscles and that SERIOUSLY reduces blood flow. You should be sitting on a couple of bony lumps that are just inside your glutes. Funny feeling at first, and somewhat sore, yes. But after a week or two of regular riding, the soreness will go away and you'll be able to bike for 3-4hrs at a time without any problems at all.
Need food? Like sharing? http://reciphp.vader82.net/
[ Parent ]
bike shorts and posture (4.00 / 1) (#62)
by frozencrow on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 09:43:02 AM EST

Are you wearing bike shorts?  Comments from friends and family about "faggoty-looking spandex" aside, they're very comfortable, having been designed with the comfort of your-butt-on-a-bike in mind.  Sensible shorts will have padding in the crotch, preferably something that will wick away sweat so you don't chafe and so the sweat can evaporate and cool you off.

You should also pay attention to your posture.  On a bicycle, your weight is supported by your hands/arms, your feet/legs, and your butt.  Only about half your weight should be on your butt.  More than that, and you're going to get sore quickly.  Less than that, and you're going to get tired quickly.

It is a good idea to pay attention to the road you're riding on and shift your weight to your legs and arms if you see bumps in the road.  Your legs and arms are far better shock absorbers than your butt.

[ Parent ]

yeah (4.00 / 3) (#36)
by tofubar on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 09:15:51 PM EST

or you could take muay thai kickboxing, very intense and it teaches you good ass kicking skills.

hah! (4.16 / 6) (#39)
by chimera on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 09:50:57 PM EST

aerobics is only a form of social terrorism. very much not for antisocial types.

there is a reason girls do develop anorexia/bulimia and that weird thoughts about there asses. its from consistently being fed all the other asses in aerobics class that crushes their self-worth.

what's wrong with dying at 35? I'd rather be smart and die young than being bulimic and half-Botox.

The Problem with Pilates (3.00 / 2) (#42)
by bafungu on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 11:12:53 PM EST

The problem with Pilates is how to pronounce it. Is it "pie laytes", like a tasty pie past its time, or is it "Pilots" like airmen?

Or is it "pee-lattes", like people pissing in coffee heavily laced with milk, or "pie-lattes" of milky coffee dunked with pies?

Is is "Pill a tease", whatever that means?

Is it supposed to remind you of "Pontius Pilates" or is it just a coincidence?

No, fair kuro5hin readers, shun this "pilates" monstrosity until its origins are revealed!

heh (none / 0) (#44)
by Goggs on Sat Jul 05, 2003 at 11:57:47 PM EST

You must be the only person who /hasn't/ seen the damn telemarketing ads :) I think it goes like 'pie' 'larties', with a small emphasis on the 'r'.

-----== This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
[ Parent ]

Walk. (4.75 / 8) (#47)
by Tezcatlipoca on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 12:45:48 AM EST

Walk, walk, walk.

Most trips by car anywhere are short trips. Leave the stupid car and walk (or do as me and never own a car).

Or bike,

Or skate.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?

Straight! (none / 0) (#68)
by Subtillus on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 12:19:44 PM EST

I still don't own a car.

Instead I just moved downtown and bike or walk everywhere.

It's nice to laugh at traffic and gridlock while thinking that this didn't cost you thousands of dollars and you don't need to drink gasoline!

[ Parent ]

Dance and Exercise (4.50 / 2) (#48)
by mberteig on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 12:55:57 AM EST

If you want to get good vigorous exercise from dance, but don't want to embarrass yourself, there is a solution: the open-source version of Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), StepMania. A windows computer, and an inexpensive (but sometimes hard to find) dance pad are all you need.

I've had this setup for a while now, and I can tell you that it is great! It took about two hours worth of practice to get to a point where I wasn't feeling like a clumsy oaf. Now, I can do some pretty funky stuff. I'm still the shy type so I've never gone out and done it at an arcade...

Oh, and if you don't like the Dance/Rave/HipHop music that you can download for it, you can easily create your own choreography for your own mp3s. I've done that with two of my songs. It takes a little getting used to the interface, and sometimes it takes some serious work getting the song and the steps properly synchronized, but it is totally cool to dance to your own steps for a favorite tune.

Agile Advice - How and Why to Work Agile
open source, bah (2.00 / 1) (#72)
by bolthole on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 02:43:38 PM EST

just get the real DDR. doesnt everyone have a playstation these days? :-)

I havented played step-mania, so cant compare directly, but here's some points about the real DDR:

Different levels of difficulty
Some variety of music, once you "unlock" more songs
distracting backgrounds :-)
Plus, it can train you for showing off with some of the same songs in the arcade, depending on what version of DDR is in an arcade near you.

[ Parent ]

Pump it Up pads > D.D.R. pads (5.00 / 2) (#75)
by Mizuno Ami on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 03:34:18 PM EST

I would actually reccomend against buying D.D.R. pads. They're paper-thin and often can't withstand an extended beating, like at an anime convention. I've never failed to hear of how people often have to buy four or five pads for a two day dance game booth or room. They're also smaller than the arcade hard pads, so it makes even someone small for a North American like me have difficulties hitting the buttons and moving well.

Instead, I'd reccomend buying two Pump it Up pads. In addition to actuallying being full size and sensitive, they last forever. Whereas attempting something like Max 300 on D.D.R. pads will usually have them scooting all over the floor unless you use excessive amounts of duct tape, Winter, Mr. Larpus, or even doing coversion steps to Max 300, will still leave the Pump pads in relatively the same place on the floor without duct tape.

Friends of mine who own D.D.R. pads often have to buy new ones every few months. I've got another friend who's owned the same Pump it Up pads for over a year and a half, and I've owned the same Pump it Up pads for over a year now. They're still working as well as the day I pulled them out of the boxes they came in. That's even after stomping the shit out of them for two hours every day last August after I had to go live with a very boring friend when my parents kicked me out of home because my dad didn't think I was trying hard enough at my job.

In addition, Pump it Up pads are a USB/PS2 device, whereas D.D.R. pads are a Playstation joypad. If you get D.D.R. pads, you'll need to do research to get the right kind of converter. If you buy the wrong converter, your D.D.R. pads will be worthless unless you own a Playstation and a D.D.R. game. If you really want a four-way arrow configuration, turn the Pump pads about 40 degrees. It works very nicely, even though the result isn't a square and is a little larger than acrade D.D.R. pads -- something that a 6'7" friend who gets frustrated at the smallishness of D.D.R. home pads doesn't mind at all.

Stepmania is much better than any of the games that come with D.D.R. or Pump it Up pads anyway. You can download most of the music and steps from those games for either pad, and as the parent author mentioned, you can write your own.

I suppose it's probably useless to get someone to buy an obviously superior product because of all the false rumors running around that Andamiro stole Pump it Up from Konami's D.D.R. project. The only base those rumors have is that Andamiro did lose a lawsuit over freeze arrows. From my sources, Andamiro actually began work on Pump before Konami did D.D.R.; it's just that Konami finished their product about a month before Andamiro did theirs. At any rate, pressing four buttons gets boring a lot quicker than five buttons. (Besides, who's heard of *ick* Pump it Up? Everyone knows it's all about D.D.R.)

I just don't want anyone ruining an expensive pad in under a month and concluding that dance gaming sucks.

[ Parent ]
Many other alternatives (4.00 / 2) (#49)
by Stickerboy on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 01:20:21 AM EST

I'm a graduate student, and instead of joining those repetitive dance aerobic classes offered at the gym, I get together a bunch of friends on a regular basis to play some full-court basketball, or I could just join in a pickup game or two with strangers.  After three to four games (which would take about 2 hours), I've gotten a great cardio workout, and had a lot of fun, too.

I also run 2-3 miles 3 times a week and occasionally swim, and I lift weights about an hour a day.  Aerobics is best mixed with strength training of some sort; not only does it prevent muscle loss in aerobics, but building muscle boosts your metabolism as well.

Other "manly" aerobics you can participate in is boxing training (which by all accounts will get you in the best shape of your life), tennis, a flag football league or two-below, international football (I presume finding a soccer game to join is much easier outside of the US), or rock climbing.

There is only one reason for aerobics: (2.33 / 3) (#52)
by Pig Hogger on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 02:53:20 AM EST


Somewhere in Texas, a village is missing it's idiot

Aerobics girls aren't as hot (3.80 / 5) (#53)
by Silent Chris on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 02:56:54 AM EST

There's a reason I don't give up my local "sweat and thrust" hardcore gym for a Bally's: I'm not into the aerobics look for girls (or myself, for that matter).  To me, girls who lift weights (not hardcore bodybuilders, but fitnessy) are much more attractive.  

And I think this is beginning to become more common.  As more and more people realize you can't get superbuff without illicit drug use, but can still get a stunning healthy and thin form, they've turned to weight training.  

I mean, let's be honest: every girl and their mother is doing the "Britney Spears middriff" thing now.  Most of them have tummies ranging from kind of thin to a little flabby.  If I see a girl with a 4-pack (or even a 6-pack) of abs -- or better yet, a completely hot hardbody -- I sit up at my weight bench and take notice.  I imagine most guys do, too.

You're probably a repressed bisexual (2.57 / 7) (#74)
by Kax on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 03:32:03 PM EST


[ Parent ]
Uh, ok... (5.00 / 1) (#97)
by Silent Chris on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 12:23:54 AM EST


[ Parent ]
I think he's suggesting that (5.00 / 1) (#109)
by IEFBR14 on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 08:58:49 AM EST

that defined, muscular abdomen thing is a bit, uh, masculine.

[ Parent ]
What's wrong about muscles? (none / 0) (#111)
by Viliam Bur on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 11:23:45 AM EST

If you do not like girls with muscles, it means that you are probably subconsciously afraid of women, and therefore a repressed homosexual.

It's so easy to make a psycho-argument! All you need is a good creativity. And you know, people who lack creativity are repressed... whatever. ;-) Repressed amateur psychologists, maybe.

[ Parent ]

Not really (none / 0) (#112)
by Silent Chris on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 11:24:07 AM EST

Despite the fact that I absolutely abhor the chick and everything she stands for, Britney Spears has made defined abdomens almost a necessity for gals wearing middriffs.  I'm not talking washboard abs; just firm and a little defined.  Nothing wrong with being healthy.

[ Parent ]
Aerobics (4.50 / 4) (#57)
by boxed on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 05:27:13 AM EST

One should also remember that aerobics was invented by the US Air Force to train the most elite fighter pilots so they could withstand the stress of shit like starting from a hangar ship and doing nasty negative loops.

Ballroom dancing (3.00 / 1) (#63)
by burbilog on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 11:39:22 AM EST

Ballroom dancing is best solution (funny, not mentioned in the article).

The main problem of any workout is simple lack of motivation. Boredom. Running the same routine every day eventually will bore you UNLESS you have reachabel goals. Participating in ballroom competition gives you such goals.

When you participate in competitions you start learning new things, spend endless hours on dancefloor and suddenly you'll realise that you've lost lots of weight. I went down from 87 kg to 75 from november 2001 to may 2002, my partner lost more than me. Once she tried to wear the gown she wore on the our first competition, it was tight in november, but was looking like it's hanging from the hanger. I had to buy new pants twice, every time smaller size.

The downside: your private life will go to hell and you will spend lots of money on private lessons and ballroom dresses (and men's dress
could be very expensive at some point).

And don't try to go into ballroom dancing with significant other (and don't try to find one in the dancefloor). You need a co-worker, ballroom couple is about hard work.

-- If the life is just a game of D&D then the DM really sucks.

Tae Bo? (2.00 / 2) (#64)
by xutopia on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 11:44:53 AM EST

Why not do Tae Bo? Plenty of nice chicks doing that!

Great! (none / 0) (#73)
by Vesperto on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 03:02:02 PM EST

I really liked your article, i've been alzying around since i dropped the gym (and won't come back due to financial-issues) but i've been wanting to do some home exercizing in the morning. Of course before coffee i remember nothing. Good article.

La blua plago!
If I were you, (2.16 / 6) (#77)
by Kax on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 03:36:53 PM EST

or anyone reading this article (or website), I'd be more concerned that your friends think you're a dork and a loser, since going to the gym or the pool isn't going to make you any less of either.

hear hear (1.00 / 1) (#83)
by ootuyelu on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 05:57:31 PM EST

I have been forced to agree with your summary conclusion

aerobics is fun (4.33 / 3) (#85)
by Bryan Larsen on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 06:14:31 PM EST

What's with all this negativism?

Aerobics is good exercise, and it's fun.  

The advantages:

1) regular schedule.  You can't say "I'll do it tomorrow", because it's not scheduled tomorrow
2) the music.  I find it so much easier to exercise with music pumping me up and setting a cadence.  
3) spandex scenery.  You're supposed to be staring at the instructor.

I've since dropped aerobics and switched to social dancing (Latin, Swing & Western), but I'd highly recommend aerobics to anybody.

Some comments I have:

it's more fun/exercise when you don't know what you're doing.  

When you don't know what you're doing, there's an intense mental exercise involved, just trying to figure out what the heck's going on.  Even better,  try doing it in a foreign language.

And it's great exercise when you realize you're moving in the wrong direction and have to reverse your momentum instantly.

After you get to know the routine and the instructor's you work on form and stuff.  Me, I always switched classes at this point because the music would start to drive me crazy.  It's great for the first few weeks, but the same music (or basically the same stuff) week after week drove me crazy.


Great piece! (1.00 / 2) (#96)
by ProudestMonkey on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 11:19:20 PM EST

Well written, well researched, and very thorough. Excellent piece of work. Thanks for sharing it!

Yoga (4.00 / 2) (#103)
by Sciamachy on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:28:47 AM EST

About a year ago, I got Sky digital installed, and came across a channel called simpley "Channel Health", which aired 3 Yogazone workouts daily. Having watched one mainly for the "Phwoar!" value of its spandex-clad and extremely bendy female instructors, I had a go, and found it rather challenging but very relaxing, and not un-doable. I decided to take it up seriously, and for a few months during the summer, my regime consisted of doing a morning Yoga session, having a protein-rich, carbs & fat-free breakfast (Tuna and egg-white ommelette, for example), cycling the 3 miles into work along the canal towpath, working at my office desk for 7.5 hours before cycling back and having another Yoga session. This was great! I was getting fit; I lost about a stone and a half in 4 weeks, and my asthma pretty much disappeared.

Then mysteriously, Channel Health disappeared - ceased transmission. I made some enquiries and it seems Yogazone still exists, but it's not transmitting on UK TV any more, and the only way I could get hold of the workouts is if I bought the DVDs. But wait - there's a catch. Yogazone won't handle international orders of less than $250, and then they put 40% on for shipping! So although the series only now costs $39, I'd have to buy a bunch of them to sell on to my friends or something just to get hold of one set! Jesus, how crazy is that?

Anyway, so I had a look at some of the Yoga DVD offerings that are available in the UK. Most of them are middle-aged female celebrities whose careers are on the wane, trying to drum up a bit of extra cash. Bleh. I settled on the MTV Yoga workout.

Oh dear... Although the Yogazone workouts were fairly flowing, with repeated sets of poses, this was much more a Power Yoga workout. After 6 months away from Yoga, cycling and so on, I was well out of condition. This had me in buckets of sweat, and I gave up about 75% of the way through. Hmm... Doubt if I'll be doing that one again.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a YZ style Yoga workout that doesn't involve some huge financial investment to do business with them, that doesn't have little old ladies in spandex, but that won't give you a cardiac arrest on the first workout?
Fides Non Timet

YogaZone (none / 0) (#119)
by gt3 on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 03:13:32 PM EST

The YogaZone series is defintely great for beginners, and the female instructors are beautiful, but you should use it more as a tool for learning some poses and then make your own Vinyasas (Flowing poses) to get a cardio workout. To do this correctly mix forward with backward poses, upright with inverted, etc. Be creative. If you want more poses to add in, then just look around on the Web. The only money I recommend you spending is on a Yoga Mat, sure you could do Yoga on the carpet, but you don't want your room smelling like a gym!

[ Parent ]
YogaZone in UK (none / 0) (#121)
by Err on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 04:03:51 AM EST

It looks like you can buy the YogaZone DVDs in the UK from Amazon in less than a week. July 14th, to be exact. http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000094P2O/qid=1057737514/sr=1-29/ref=s r_1_2_29/026-8417941-1110826

[ Parent ]
Don't know YogaZone (none / 0) (#140)
by zettabyte on Wed Jul 16, 2003 at 02:26:05 PM EST

But www.johnscottashtanga.co.uk offers a good video that I use. The full primary series is 90 minutes (mostly of things I can't do). The DVD lets you break that down to much smaller, completable sections. FWIW.

[ Parent ]
There already is an aerobics for guys... (5.00 / 2) (#107)
by wrinkledshirt on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 07:20:36 AM EST

It's called martial arts.

Of course, girls can do martial arts too, but that's sort of beside the point, because it's really difficult to get involved in a class when you're on the outside of the communal appeal (unless you like being surrounded by members of the opposite sex who treat you somewhere between a novelty and an oddity... different strokes...).

Learning interesting stuff that's related to violence, besides being very interesting to guys, also has this really neat effect of making you forget that you're exercising. Throw in the usual system to reward effort and commitment (the various coloured belts in the Asian martial arts) and you've got something that a guy can't get enough of.

The tricky part is frequency. In Asia, martial arts are a way of life and something that you do every day. In the West it's a little bit trickier to get that sort of regularity.

Good points (5.00 / 1) (#116)
by gt3 on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 01:45:51 PM EST

Martial Arts is defintely a complete package where you'll get the aerobics of cardio-kickboxing (While actually learning to defend yourself. Billy Blank's Tae-Bo truly is just cardio-kickboxing, and he makes claims that it is also self-defense, but he came from Tae Kwon Do, which we all know is just a sport of punching and kicking, and not a very well rounded self-defense system.), and the flexibility training of Yoga (Since almost every stretch you'll learn in any Martial Art is actually a Yoga Asana, or pose.) You'll also train a lot of other attributes like Focus, Balance, Coordination, Self-Confidence, etc. And they'll even throw in an "ethical code" to help you be more positive and make better choices in life! What more could you ask for?

In Asia, martial arts are a way of life and something that you do every day. In the West it's a little bit trickier to get that sort of regularity.

From what I've read that is more true of China than other Asian countries, and they do make things a part of life, but it is mostly Tai Chi, but believe it or not the millions of people rising at dawn to practice Tai Chi in parks these days don't focus on the Martial Art/Self Defense side of it, just the health benefits.

[ Parent ]
A couple of nits to pick (none / 0) (#123)
by wrinkledshirt on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 07:15:37 AM EST

...but he came from Tae Kwon Do, which we all know is just a sport of punching and kicking, and not a very well rounded self-defense system...

Actually, Taekwondo is a full-fledged martial art. It's more offensive than other martial arts, but it's a little dismissive to say it's not a well-rounded self-defense system. I know a city-wide fighting champion who could prove that theory wrong.

and the flexibility training of Yoga (Since almost every stretch you'll learn in any Martial Art is actually a Yoga Asana, or pose.)

I'm a little confused with the way this is phrased. Are you saying that all poses and stretches in any Asian martial art descend from yoga?

You'll also train a lot of other attributes like Focus, Balance, Coordination, Self-Confidence, etc. And they'll even throw in an "ethical code" to help you be more positive and make better choices in life! What more could you ask for?

Well, they'll get on your case about not abusing the martial art in Asia, but it's less about teaching the kids to make choices and more about letting them know that the master would likely kick the student's butt if they found out they were being reckless with their training.

From what I've read that is more true of China than other Asian countries

Actually living in Korea right now I can tell you it's pretty regular in at least one major Asian country outside of China, although Korea does have a strong influence historically from China.

and they do make things a part of life, but it is mostly Tai Chi...

While I'm sure Tai Chi fits more into the general aerobic lifestyle, what you'll see in much of Asia is that learning any number of disciplines is a part of the lifestyle (especially before adulthood), and one of the disciplines usually taken up is a martial art of some kind.

[ Parent ]

unpick them (none / 0) (#128)
by gt3 on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 08:57:18 PM EST

I knew someone would try to defend Tae Kwon Do, but it is a Sport (though there are some tkd instructors who know karate, kungfu etc.. and mix that into their teaching), it's in the Olympics for Christ's sake, its comprised of 60-75% kicking, 40-25% punching. I know this because I've studied it as well as other korean arts such as Tang So Do and Hapkido). You say martial arts are a way of life in Korea, but they're TKD enthusiasts. I've also studied martial arts from other countries, including Tai Chi, which is the mainly what people practice as a way of life in china. Sure they do other wushu arts like Ba Gua Zhang and Shing Yi Chuan, and external kungfu styles, but tai chi is the main thing. The more serious student would study Tai Chi as a martial art and refer to it as Tai Chi Chuan and practice "sticking hands".

I meant just what I said about the Yoga thing. Almost every stretch you'll encounter in Martial Arts is also a Yoga pose, there are thousands and thousands of yoga poses, not just the 5 or 10 you hear about all the time. I don't mean it descended from yoga.

[ Parent ]

[nt] (none / 0) (#129)
by wrinkledshirt on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 01:49:20 AM EST

I knew someone would try to defend Tae Kwon Do...

It's not so much a defense of Tae Kwon Do as it is a correction of your mistaken belief that it's not a martial art. Regardless of whatever form it takes in the Olympics, the way it is taught and studied here is consistent with most of the other martial arts, with examinations based upon the poomsae and kicking form, and sparring only for the various dan tests, and even then only as an add-on and not the primary focus of the exam. Even the breaking of boards has its match in other martial arts (eg: in Haedong Gomdo you have to put out candles or slice bamboo shafts). Except for its use of sparring it isn't much different in terms of teaching philosophy than Gomdo or Hapkido, with the major focus of each class being on the poomsae (or the gombop or what-have-you) and technique. In addition, the fact that Tae Kwon Do is more offensive doesn't make it any less a martial art. You might or might not be aware that there are several strains of Tae Kwon Do, some of which are more sport-oriented than others.

Martial Arts in general are a way of life in Korea, and it's not so much a question of the students being Tae Kwon Do enthusiasts because there are kids branching out all over into Hapkido and the various Gomdo. When the boys hit a certain age they have to go to the army, and there they're pretty much forced to get their first dan in Tae Kwon Do, but that doesn't take away the fact that most of the kids around are studying some form of martial art anyway before they reach that point.

I've also studied martial arts from other countries, including Tai Chi, which is the mainly what people practice as a way of life in china. Sure they do other wushu arts like Ba Gua Zhang and Shing Yi Chuan, and external kungfu styles, but tai chi is the main thing. The more serious student would study Tai Chi as a martial art and refer to it as Tai Chi Chuan and practice "sticking hands".

I've been hearing differently from people who've been in China, but since I've never been there personally I'll forgo rebuttal on that point.

I meant just what I said about the Yoga thing. Almost every stretch you'll encounter in Martial Arts is also a Yoga pose, there are thousands and thousands of yoga poses, not just the 5 or 10 you hear about all the time. I don't mean it descended from yoga.

I must have misread the intent. Your use of the word "actually" made it seem like you were saying yoga is the derivative of the poses you learn in a given martial art. "(Since almost every stretch you'll learn in any Martial Art is actually a Yoga Asana, or pose.)"

[ Parent ]

I never said (none / 0) (#130)
by gt3 on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 03:13:07 AM EST

..that something being "offensive oriented" makes it less of a martial art. Perhaps I'm mostly bitter about TKD because every instructor I've seen wants to be referred to as "Master", will give out blackbelts as long as you stick to the contract and make yer payments, and they pretty much only give special attention to their korean students whom want to compete in tournaments, as a sport. Meanwhile the non-korean students get basically a tae-bo workout and a big ego because they can kick high after doing some very unsafe stretches a few hours a day. (In the U.S. anyway)

[ Parent ]
"which we all know..." (none / 0) (#132)
by wrinkledshirt on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 08:58:44 PM EST

I never said that something being "offensive oriented" makes it less of a martial art.

Sorry again. These words...

...Tae Kwon Do, which we all know is just a sport of punching and kicking, and not a very well rounded self-defense system...

...made it seem like you were criticizing Tae Kwon Do for its offensive nature, and this seemed to be a major part of your argument that Tae Kwon Do wasn't a martial art.

Perhaps I'm mostly bitter about TKD because every instructor I've seen wants to be referred to as "Master"

If they are Korean instructors, it's probably because that's how all Korean instructors are referred to in their home country, either as Kwang Jan Nim (master) or Sam Bon Nim (teacher), regardless of the martial art in question. It's disrespectful to call them by their names once inside the school.

...and they pretty much only give special attention to their korean students whom want to compete in tournaments, as a sport.

I can't rebut against your personal experience, but I can say that I've found that, over here in Korea, Westerners get treated very well and are given plenty of personal attention even if they're not going to move on and compete in sparring tournaments.

Meanwhile the non-korean students get basically a tae-bo workout and a big ego because they can kick high after doing some very unsafe stretches a few hours a day. (In the U.S. anyway)

Can't rebut that personal experience either. It would be a shame if someone entered a martial art for the sake of puffing up their ego.

[ Parent ]

If punching and kicking were enough (none / 0) (#133)
by gt3 on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 10:56:15 PM EST

..for something to be considered a martial art, then are you saying tae-bo is a martial art?

[ Parent ]
I never said punching and kicking were enough (none / 0) (#134)
by wrinkledshirt on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 07:03:26 AM EST

I said that an emphasis on punching and kicking doesn't disqualify Tae Kwon Do as a martial art, because of all the other aspects related to it. I don't know enough about Tae Bo to say anything on it, but if it's just a calisthenics routine lacking the philosophical, competitive and artistic aspects usually found in martial arts, then I'd have to say it's my opinion that it's not a martial art.

[ Parent ]
WTF? (3.00 / 3) (#136)
by Chasuk on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 05:33:33 PM EST

Learning interesting stuff that's related to violence, besides being very interesting to guys, also has this really neat effect of making you forget that you're exercising. Throw in the usual system to reward effort and commitment (the various coloured belts in the Asian martial arts) and you've got something that a guy can't get enough of.

I can't begin to describe how offensive I find the above paragraph (but I'll try).

First, you make the blanket statement that "stuff ... related to violence... [is] interesting to guys," and I want to puke. Stuff related to violence might be interesting to huge swatches of the male population, but it is certainly a brush I don't want to be painted with, thank you very much. Please keep your generalizations to yourself, especially when they are so unattractive.

Then you mention that getting rewarded by "various coloured belts... [is] something that a guy can't get enough of," and I want to vomit again. Not all of us are of the Boy Scout mentality, requiring merit badges before we feel good about ourselves.

If this attitude is typical of the type of male who finds martial arts appealing, then you have just scared me off of martial arts for life.

Neopets - the best free game on the Internet.
[ Parent ]

laxatives are in order, I wager (4.00 / 1) (#138)
by wrinkledshirt on Sun Jul 13, 2003 at 03:37:11 AM EST

Take it easy.

All I'm saying is that learning how to handle yourself in physical conflict is something that appeals to guys en masse. If that doesn't describe you as a guy, congratulations, but I don't think in this particular world you can deny that it's something that does describe a disproportionate amount of guys, especially with regards to the number of women who don't get off on that sort of thing. This means it's going to attract a lot of guys, and that makes it more likely for guys to enjoy the comraderie aspect of martial arts as well. It doesn't have to be as crass as you think I'm saying it is when referring to the violence, in much the same way that The Art of War isn't the same thing as your typical Jerry Bruckheimer bullet-fest.

Also, it's not a question of needing belts to feel good about yourself, but most guys (maybe most women, too, I don't know) like the idea of their effort being rewarded in tangible ways, as well as knowing how far along they've gotten towards their goals. There's even a little one-upmanship involved that, in this form, is going to appeal to guys more than girls, in my opinion. If you want to liken it to Boy Scout mentality, that's your prerogative, but I think you're being a little needlessly closed-minded about it.

Now please chill out, check your rage in with a psychiatrist, and go play with your neopets or something.

[ Parent ]

Or instead, (none / 0) (#108)
by AtADeadRun on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 07:36:06 AM EST

you could crank your mileage up more than five or ten miles a week and do some cross-training. Works well for me, 'bout sixty a week running, plus some swimming and biking (although I've yet to do a tri, it's on my list). And I don't have to justify that to my beer buddies.

Pain heals. Glory is forever. Keep running.

We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
No, (none / 0) (#117)
by ChuckVA on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 02:01:01 PM EST

we just assume he's crazy and drive his skinny ass home after the occasional marathon. :)

[ Parent ]
For clarification's sake (none / 0) (#120)
by AtADeadRun on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 04:04:18 PM EST

Chuck and I happen to be roommates. And beer buddies.

Pain heals. Glory is forever. Keep running.

We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
[ Parent ]
Yupp (none / 0) (#124)
by MKalus on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 07:41:14 AM EST

Do a tri... Though 60 miles sounds a bit far, I reach at my peak IM training roughly 60 - 80km a week for the run, 400K for the bike and around 15K for the swim (plus an hour of weights).

-- Michael
[ Parent ]

Unfortunately, (none / 0) (#126)
by AtADeadRun on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 04:57:56 PM EST

given my work schedule and my daily commute, I just don't have time to train three sports properly right now, especially given that I'm trying to come back from an injury to a late-summer fifteen-mile race. A hilly race.

Pain heals. Glory is forever. Keep running.

We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
[ Parent ]
Tell me about pain... (none / 0) (#127)
by MKalus on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 07:19:08 PM EST

... had a bad Half-Ironman last Sunday:


In case you're interrested.
-- Michael
[ Parent ]

This article is not (3.00 / 1) (#122)
by Alexey on Wed Jul 09, 2003 at 04:38:12 AM EST

...about health or something.

Let me cite:

"I can give you some guidelines that will help you join those bouncy girls twirling around in time to the beat."

After this sentence long justification follows :-)

Bah... (1.00 / 2) (#131)
by Wulfius on Thu Jul 10, 2003 at 10:52:26 AM EST

Punching bag and a quarterstaff is all you need.

Youre a gay tard if you do antyhing as prissy as aerobics :D

"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!

Step Aerobics (none / 0) (#141)
by ericgu on Mon Jul 21, 2003 at 12:07:25 AM EST

I've been doing aerobics for about 15 years, and step for about 10 years. The biggest issue with starting step is the vocabulary. The people who go all the time have an automatic connection between what the instructor says and what move they do. If they're good, they know what the move is before the instructor says it. So don't worry about being out of sync, or not knowing what's going on. Your task for the first 4 or 5 workouts is just to keep moving. My best advice is to show up early, and ask the instructor to show you some moves. My instructor does that with all new students, and it helps a lot. Also, don't be afraid of changing instructors. Some will do routines that are very dance inspired, and if you're rhythmically impaired (and this is not strictly a male affliction), you may not do well. Others instructors will do more power moves, or at least moves where you can wor on your power. The obvious benefit of being a guy in a step workout? Well, not only do you get the workout, but many of those sweaty, spandex-clad women tend to be on the attractive side.

Aerobics for Regular Guys | 141 comments (132 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
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