I did not blog about it at the time, but a month or two back, I decided to see if riding an exercise bike 4-5 times a week had gotten me in adequate shape to ride a real bike. </p>
My routine on my exercise bike is to warm up for a minute or two, and then spend the remainder of the period biking at the maximum resistance. Usually biking very slowly, 9 mph or so.
Using an actual bike alternated between 'Wow this is ridiculously easy' and 'this isn't even exercise' and 'OMG I'm gonna die.' The first two are on level ground and downhill slopes. The last one is on uphill slopes. I still cannot bike all the way up the horrible hill of doom north of my house. Maybe two-thirds of the way up, I am forced to dismount and walk my bike the rest of the way to the top.
I am not entirely sure what the difference is. One possibility is that 'highest possible resistance' on my exercise bike is still not as hard as any reasonable grade on a hill. Another is that I can't keep up enough momentum to stay balanced on an uphill slope: a reclining exercise bike does nothing whatsoever for one's sense of balance, after all, and the 8-9 mph I can sustain uphill may simply not be fast enough for my meager sense of balance. A third is impatience: I exhaust myself on real hills in an effort to get up them faster, and ultimately can't sustain even the slow-but-steady pace of the exercise bike.
On the theory that it's the second, I am attempting to sustain a faster pace at maximum resistance in my basement. So far, this is indifferently successful. I think I'm keeping at about 10 mph, average.
Honestly, I bought myself a programmable bike five years ago, and could never be arsed to program a routine in it. If I had any sense at vall, I'd look up the directions and figure out how to get it to change the resistance for me, and to sound an alarm if I dropped below the target mph.
Incidentally, keeping to 10-11 mph at max resistance is MUCH HARDER than keeping to 8-9. Ow ow ow ow tired.
Must keep journaling or will stop biking.
The other new idea I have for exercise is to try to get back to the one-hour workouts I was doing back in 2006-2007. Because 4-5 times a week of 30 min on exercise bike + walking 1.5 miles per day to work is not enough to maintain my weight. 9.9 So it's change my diet again, or exercise more. I am currently attempting both. I'm going to eliminate the (tasty, tasty) sausage from my spaghetti sauce (a major staple) and I am changing my snack-at-work from cookies to granola and yogurt.
Bringing the bag of granola to work was probably a mistake. Granola is not low in calories, and I've been nibbling at it by itself as well as mixing it with low-calorie flavored yogurt. Still, I'll give it a week and see what my 'natural' consumption rate works out to be, in calories.
I think my first half hour at 'trying to up the pace' works out to a little under 10 mph. If I can get another half mile in the next three minutes, though, I'll give myself credit for the full 10 mph. (The problem is that my warm-up is faster than the full-resistance slog.)
The other thing that the real-world bikeride reminded me of is a study that said that alternating a minute or two of intense exercise with a minute or two of easy exercise (eg, raising and lowering the resistance on an exercise bike) burned dramatically more calories than simply maintaining a steady pace that should have (algorithmically) burned the same number. Actually, I don't remember if they were measuring actual calories or if they had some other measure they were using. The point was that variable intensity appeared to be better than consistent intensity. That would certainly match my impression that, while at least 3/4ths of my outdoor ride was much easier than my typical exercise bike ride, the ride as whole left me feeling much more exhausted. Maybe even more exhausted than I am now, after peddling about 5.5 miles at 10 mph at maximum resistance.
*kicks resistance down from 16 to a nice leisurely 13*
Okay, another 23 minutes to go, at easy pace. Let's see if I can bring myself to write about something less banal than exercise for the rest of this.