Personal Stories – my big fat body

Apparently, a lack of physical activity over a lengthy period has deleterious effects on the body. My once fit 155lb half-marathon running body has morphed into an out-of-shape big bellied shape you might have seen in my photos. At least I have a built in baby seat. Tired of panting after walking up a flight of stairs, I have begun the journey of a thousand miles . . . on a recumbent exercise bike.

Always frugal, I dropped my gym membership last year and bought an exercise bike. We have reaped the savings in terms of money, but not cardiovascular fitness. Somehow the bike was covered in clutter and I was busy with other things, some important and others not so much. Well, the bike will languish no more.

I set it up again last week. The inherent flaw of this bike (a NordicTrack EasyRider 400) is its ginormous TV blocking display. Although a Consumer Reports best buy, this one flaw nearly ruins the entire purpose of the bike: combining excerise with TV. Who can stand sitting in their basement looking at a cheap blue LCD display for 45 minutes? A TV needs to be about 5 feet off the ground to clear the top of the display, but then neck straining comes into play.

Even if I were able to suitably mount my TV over the bike's display, what would I watch? Our main TV has a DVR attached, but the basement just has dumb old cable. I'm definitely not going to tailor my work-out schedule around TV showings. Plus, who get's excited about working out to commercials? Never one to put finesse over need, I strapped a laptop to my recumbant bike and started watching TV on the internet.

Success. In one week I have worked out every day for 30-45 minutes and managed to watch all of the new episodes of "The Office" and the outstanding "Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog". In the future I hope to reduce my resting hear rate, increase my endurance, and watch all of season 1 and 2 of "Lost". Sure, checking my heart rate is a pain, but no pain no gain, right?

Huzaa to strapping notebook computers to exercise bikes!

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4 thoughts on “Personal Stories – my big fat body

  1. bookishbiker October 27, 2008 at 4:40 pm Reply

    Nice hack! How's the volume situation? I just bought a used trainer for my bike (like this http://www.kurtkinetic.com/ ) but it's NOISY. I used it last night and watched with subtitles but that's not so good. So did you work out some sort of wireless headphone thingy? Or maybe the recumbent is more quiet.

  2. bioadam October 27, 2008 at 9:55 pm Reply

    The recumbent is much quieter. I had a roommate with a trainer and it sounded like a jet airplane. The solution was the same: subtitles. The really expensive stationary bikes, like the ones at the gym, are even quieter, much more stable, and probably give the body a better workout.

  3. artdavis October 28, 2008 at 8:52 am Reply

    Excellent. If you overclock the laptop (and possibly the bike) this will be the perfect exercise machine.

  4. bioadam October 28, 2008 at 2:02 pm Reply

    If I hacked the bike to power the laptop and make frames per second dependent on pedaling, I could become the next Lance Armstrong. Alas, it is my work laptop and I am 100% sure my employer doesn't want me to do any of that.

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