Exercise Tubes – Pros and Cons

exercise-tubingAs planned, I added exercise tubes/bands to my fitness regimen, in late January. I’d never used a tube before, only the flat bands. I know that the tubes (picture left) are also called bands, which is why I wrote “tubes/bands” above, but from this point on I will only refer to them as tubes. The ones I purchases were 20lb., which was a mistake; I should have bought the 15lb. tube. I can’t do the harder tube exercises, because I don’t have the strength to pull the tube above my head, if I’m standing in the center, but what I can do (and will discuss in a different post at a later time) has been quite effective for overall strengthening and toning. I like the tube far better than the bands I have used in the past, but I have had an unpleasant (to say the least) experience with the tube that I don’t think would have been possible with a band, which is why I want to warn others. To keep things in perspective, I want to share both the good and bad things I have learned about exercise tubes. Following are my Pros and Cons for this exercise equipment.

First,

The Pros:

  • Exercise tubes are very effective at toning muscle groups and building strength
  • They take up very little space
  • Light-weight and easy to transport, if need be

The Cons:

  • If you lose focus while the tube is held taught you could hurt yourself … badly
  • Should not be used in a space where you are in close proximity to others, because you could hurt them badly, and probably get sued for medical expenses, pain & suffering, etcetera

The pros are what make the tubes worth using despite the cons. I learned the hard and painful way why one should maintain focus while using an exercise tube. I was in the midst of doing lunges when I slid my foot back a couple of inches, without lowering my arms enough to make the tube slack first, and the tube swiftly rolled from under my foot and smacked me in the face. Thank God, I closed my eye in time, but it still hurt like hell. And even though it didn’t hurt much that first day, it was a little swollen and very achy the next day, and continued to be achy with no swelling for four more days.

I now take using the tube very seriously, and make certain to minimize any distractions. This means placing my cell phone on “flight mode” and turning the ringer off on my land-line (that’s what voice mail is for), and telling anyone who happens to be at home with me at that time not to bother me while I workout. So far, this has worked for me. I still worry about being blinded by the tube. I can still remember the pain and my eye has had some vision issues off and on since, but I’m mindful and pray that I will not make the same mistake twice.  Fingers crossed. :)

New Goal for 2015

keep-calm-and-set-new-goals-257x300I’ve decided to challenge myself with a bigger goal: 14,500 minutes. Nearly 3,000 minutes more than my narrowly missed goal for 2014. This will encourage me to make more time to workout all through the year, because I will have a bigger number to hit.

I also plan to switch from resistance bands to tubes; I just have to decide which weight I need to advance to the next level. I’ve also been considering returning to my calisthenics routine, with some tweaks. Perhaps, only the standing exercises, to start.

I will post again after I’ve decided on my new schedule.

Failed to Reach December and Year Goal

failure-successDue to the flu, which is still dragging me a bit, I failed to meet my December and end-of-year goal. It was disheartening, but I’m optimistic about 2015.

My goal for the whole of 2014 was 11,509 minutes, but thanks to my success in October and November (1800+ minutes) I’m quite certain that I can do even better in 2015 – provided illness does not, once again, intervene. I haven’t decided on a 2015 year-end goal, but I think 12,000+ is more than doable, as long as I stay on task throughout the year. When I decide on the exact number I’ll post again.

For the month of December I exercised 1024 minutes, even though I spent more than half the month very ill and unable to workout. My total for the year is 10,983, so, I missed my goal by only 526 minutes, which means that had I not fell ill, I would have not only reached my goal but exceeded it.

I am back to working out regularly, despite the lingering sickness, that is still affecting my ability to take deep breathes. I am not doing as much as before, but I hope to be back up to speed soon. :)

November Goal Reached and Exceeded!

goalAs of today, I have reached an exercise total of 1938 minutes, which is 33 minutes better than October and 138 minutes more than I needed to reach my goal for the month. So, YAY! :)

Also, last week I added 5 reps to my weights routine. Some movements are easier than others, so I will wait till the end of the week before increasing reps to 20. Side arm raises are definitely my Achilles heel. If I’ve decided that when I can make it to 50 reps, I will get 8 pound weights. I tried out heavier weighs at a store recently and anything over 5 pounds was a bit much for me, even the 10 pounders. Wimpy! I know, but there’s no point in lying about it. I’ll get there someday, I’m sure.

My resistance routine has become somewhat less exhausting over the past few days. I am definitely getting stronger, and my family and friends have noticed that my arms look a LOT more toned since I switched to the red band. I’m very satisfied with the results that I’m getting, and I believe that I will definitely switch to a resistance tube next year. I just have to figure out how much resistance I can handle.

I am also contemplating an addition to my broomstick workout, in the form of an extra set of 100 reps of both movements. I am still challenged by the 3 sets, but I think I want to challenge myself in the new year. Especially since I won’t be exercising as much in January onward as I have done these last two months. However, I am considering a more challenging goal for 2015. Maybe 15,000 minutes for the year. After all, if I can hit 1900+ these last two months I can certainly hit 1250 every month for one year. I certainly hope so. I tend to lose focus when the weather is warm and regain it when it is cold.

Crossing my fingers that December is as successful as October and November. If so, I will have reached and exceeded my goal, despite the massive slack off during the warm months. Also, by Tuesday, I will have reached 10,000 minutes for the year, so only 1,509 minutes left before I reach my end of year goal of 11,509 minutes. Very excited to reach this year’s fitness goal and set yet another for 2015.

Stay tuned! :D

My Dumbell Workout

2kg-dumbbellI FINALLY created a dumbbell workout and performed it for the first time on Saturday, and I have already determined a schedule for this workout: Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.

These are the moves:

10 Dead lifts (to standing position)

10 Dead lifts to sky (hold above head 2 counts)

10 Bicep curls

10 Tricep kickbacks (bent knee, leaning forward)

10 Overhead presses

10 Curl punches (one arm at a time)

10 Side lifts (straight arms, straight legs)

10 Cross body curl (one arm at a time)

It’s a short workout, only takes about 6.5 minutes to complete, but it isn’t as easy as it may seem. I’m using a 5lb weight (wimpy, I know), which is what I was using when I stopped doing dumbbell workouts after moving to my current home, but I have arthritis and I’m weak as tea from not using free weights for so long.  I was really sore after the first time, but it didn’t last long. I hope to increase reps to 20 by the end of the month, but a problem with my medium tension resistance band may make that harder … or easier. Who knows?

Two days ago, my medium resistance band broke, as a result of a mysterious 1/2-inch cut whose origins I still haven’t determined. I saw the cut before beginning my workout but did it anyway; less than half way through my workout it broke. I immediately switched to the red band – a heavy resistance band, and it has been HARD. Moving that band through 3 sets of each move is so much harder than I ever imagined it would be, but today was slightly easier than Tuesday, which is encouraging.

While shopping, yesterday, I considered purchasing 20-lb tubing. I decided to think about it before making the purchase. I have always been leery of tubing, because of the things I’d heard about them breaking free and hitting the user in the eye, blinding them. I chose bands way back when because I thought they would be safer and I would not have the breaking problem (which happened anyway), but since that was no guarantee, though I was not harmed in any way when it broke, I still think I should give tubes a try. Maybe, next year. I think it’s a little late in the year to change my equipment now. Maybe, I’ll move on to tubes when the red band become easy.

In the meantime, I will continue getting my resistance workout done with the red band and consider adding dumbbell reps at the end of next week, if I don’t believe I will be too sore as a result. I’ll post again when something changes. :)

October Goal Achieved and Exceeded!

kept-calm-and-reached-100-goalIf you read my last post, you know that my goal was 1800 minutes of exercises by October 31st. Well, I have reached 1905 as of this morning. Yay! :D

I am so proud of myself, because I wasn’t sure if I’d make it. I had to skip a few days this month, due to last minute plans/emergency, sickness and Murphy’s Law, even this morning I had to cut my workout short, but I still managed to surpass my intended goal.  I can only hope that I have the stamina and will to reach another 1800 minutes or greater by the end of November.

Tomorrow, I start from scratch. I plan to do what I did this month and stay on schedule as much as possible. No one can control every thing in life, but I will concentrate on controlling what I can. Continue exercising earlier, to help avoid interruptions. Interruptions are what interfered the most with my Summer workouts. Going to bed earlier and getting up at the same time every morning has also helped. I feel less lethargic in the mornings. Also, still drinking green tea. It is a great energy booster, especially when I walk for long periods.

I should mention that, in addition to exceeding my goal, I also switched to the blue resistance band two weeks ago, then I got cocky and upped my sets to 3 sets of 30 reps this week. Now, my resistance routine is kicking my butt! I am so tired afterwards I can hardly believe it. I never would have thought that one extra set of the same moves could make such a huge difference. That is why I decided to wait on the dumbbell routine and also adding a 4th set to my Broomstick workout. I need to get used to the blue band and extra set first. Maybe in a couple of weeks.

My November goal is, of course, 1800 minutes, but I’m hoping to exceed my goal once again.  I also hope to introduce dumbbells back into the mix. If I can do both of those things I will be very happy. :)

Will post again when I have made any significant changes.

Definitely Making Progress

Progress01As I mentioned in my last post, in order to hit my end of year goal, I must exercise for 60 minutes per day, for 90 days  in October, November and December. Luckily, two of these months have 31 days, which gives me extra time to make up for any missed exercise sessions between now and December 31st.

Well, October hasn’t even reached its midpoint and I am already ahead. As of today, I am more than 1 hour ahead. I’m basing this on 60 minutes per day every day. As of today, I have exercise 904 minutes. To remain on track, I only needed 840 minutes of exercise. I plan to remain ahead by abstaining from any unnecessary “exercise vacations”. Every day will be an exercise day, even if I cannot get everything I want to do that day done. Of course, no one can plan for every event, and there’s always Murphy’s Law, but, if I remain focused on my end goal and plan carefully, I feel confident that I can hit 1800 minutes and beyond this month and every month till the new year.

I have yet to create a dumbbell workout routine (yeah, I know, what is my problem?), BUT I rebooted my resistance band routine last week. I am doing the same number of sets and reps and moves, but with the magenta band (the easiest one) . I plan to move on to the blue band I was using earlier this year in a few weeks, maybe sooner. It depends on whether or not I introduce dumbbells into the mix this month.

At this point I walk pretty much every day, do broomstick workout at least 5 days a week, and I’ve done resistance almost every day but Sunday since starting again. I think that I should change things, so that I am only doing two exercises per day. Maybe, walking and resistance one day, Broomstick and walking the next, and dumbbells and walking the day after. I haven’t decided. I don’t mind doing three different exercises per day, so far. Broomstick and resistance don’t take long. They’re both under 20 minutes. But if I add reps or sets it would be a different story, I’m sure. I’m actually thinking of increasing the reps of the resistance routine before switching to harder bands and adding a 4th set of reps to the Broomstick workout as well. If that happens, I may switch my workout days around as I described or something similar.

I’ll write again at the end of this month or beginning of the next. Hopefully, I will have exceeded my 1800 minute October goal by a wide margin. :)