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Getting Used To My New Elliptical

September 30, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, so I thought I would do a quick entry about how I am getting used to my new elliptical machine. I’ve had my Nordictrack elliptical for several weeks now, and I am really enjoying it. My muscles are still getting used to the new stance and motion,, but I am now doing 1/2 mile each time I get on it. I am taking several breaks during my half mile, and I’m focusing on taking less breaks right now.

There are two things I’ve had to adapt for. One of being my right hand on the arm poll, and the other being my left foot on the left foot pedal. The arm polls are at a different angle and are wider apart than my old machine. Because of that, every time I start the pedals and poles moving, my right hand slides awkwardly on the arm poll and it creates a sort of rug burn in between my thumb and forefinger. I have adapted to this by wearing a baseball glove on my right hand. That seems to solve that problem.

The problem with my left foot is that it tends to slide over to the inner side of the pedal and my foot rubs against the side. When I wear my tennis shoes, this isn’t really a problem, but I am wearing my Vibram Five Finger shoes (KSO review). These shoes are made out of a very thin fabric, so my foot doesn’t have much protection and I end up getting a spot on my foot that gets rubbed funny. To deal with this problem, I put down a folded hand towel under my foot. It took a little while to figure out how to fold the towel and place it so it would not slide out from under my foot as I worked out. I think I have it figured out now though.

I have made it to my first goal of doing 1/2 mile, although I’m still taking breaks like I said before. I plan on updating my mileage progress in a different post, because I have several pictures to upload and share from the virtual walk site.

I am very excited to say that I think wearing my Vibram Five Finger shoes will not be a problem on this machine. On my old machine I think my problem was the stance was too wide and it created excess pressure on my ankle. Because the stance on this machine is narrower, I think there will be less pressure and it won’t be a problem. I think I’ve only worn my tennis shoes for the first two or three workouts. I’ve worn my Five Fingers the rest of the time. If at any point I do feel discomfort in my feet, I’ll go back to wearing my tennis shoes. But for now everything seems to be OK.

I don’t want to overload one post with all of my updates. So this post is this going to be about how I’ve been getting used to my new machine. Stay tuned for more updates soon.

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NordicTrack A.C.T. Features

September 16, 2011 2 comments

I am feeling quite sore today after yesterday’s 6:35 minute workout. My legs feel OK, but the muscles in between my shoulder blades are very sore. I haven’t made up my mind as to whether I’ll take today off or not. I might get on and just hold onto the side railings. I think it was the wider arm poles that did my arms in. We’ll see. I’m itching to get back on it though.

As promised, here are a few pictures of some of the features I love about my new elliptical.

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Nice looking machine all set up and ready to go. Note the piece of paper hanging on the wall. It’s got mileage information on it so I know how many revolutions is equal to a certain distance. I wrote it in 1/10 mile increments. Good thing too, as I only did .2 of a mile yesterday.

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Big logo on the side. Not too “in your face”.

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Love the console on the machine. The display color is blue (was very happy about that), and it displays how long you’ve been on (upper left), revolutions (upper right), calories burned (lower left), wattage output (low middle, not sure what it means), and RPMs (revolutions per minute).

On the lower portion of the console is a speaker. You see that black cord hanging down on the left side?

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That’s a power cord you plug into your mp3 player or cd player. Pretty nice! I tried it out with my iPod, and the sound quality is excellent. I’ll be using that for sure whenever I’m on it. No more ear buds falling out midway through my workout.

At the very top of the console is the fan. I totally forgot to turn it on during my workout, but I’ll remember next time. I got so used to getting on the elliptical and not turning on the fan, I just spaced it. The fan has two speeds, high and low. There’s a third fan option called “auto fan”, where the fan increases or decreases depending on how fast you’re pedaling. I don’t think I’ll fool around with that, I plan to have it on high the entire time.

In the middle of the console there’s an ifit thing. I’ve never played around with ifit (it was on my old elliptical also), so I’m not sure how it works. I think you need an ifit card of some sort, and you plug that card into the slot and pick a workout that you can download from their website. Not positive, so I may be completely wrong.

Also in the middle of the console, you’ll see the start button (it turns on the screen if it’s been idle for 5 minutes, or you can move the pedals to turn it on), the display button (you can pick and choose what you want to see. I plan on showing everything all the time. Time, calories, RPMs, etc.), workouts button (the machine comes with some pre-set workouts), and the enter button with arrows (not sure what they do yet, but I think the left and right arrows are for scrolling through the pre-set programs and the enter button selects a workout).

On either side of the console, there are numbers. On the left you’ll see 1-10 and on the right you’ll see 11-20. Those are the resistance levels. Push a numbered button and after a few seconds, it will change the resistance. Twenty levels of resistance! My old machine only had 10 levels, and I only got up to level 4 when I used the resistance.

I didn’t get a good picture of them, but on the very bottom of the console are the hand grips you hold onto to get your heart rate.

Think that pretty much covers the console.

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These are the foot pedals. Nice and narrow stance. No more awkward wide legged stance. I’m hoping that the narrower stance will make it easier to use my Vibram Five Fingers. I think the wide stance of the old machine caused my ankle issue a year ago. We’ll have to see. I might get less blisters too. I need to pay attention when I get on next time to see if I’m pushing with my whole foot now or if I’m still pushing with the insides on my feet.

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This is the water bottle holder. I don’t think I’ll use it, because I need to stop and get off entirely to get a drink. I don’t have the balance to take one hand off the pole and grab a bottle and drink. My husband will probably use it though.

The bottle holder is one thing I was sort of worried about. On my other machine my knees kept hitting the water bottle holder, so we had to take it off. I do not hit this one at all, don’t even come close to it.

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This is the stride adjuster thing-a-ma-bob. You pull out the knob and move it up or down to the stride you want. You can pick 18’’, 20’’ or 22’’. I like the 20’’ the best. I haven’t tried using the knob myself, but my husband says he needs to grease it because it feels “gummy” when he moves it.

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This was a complete surprise to me. What is this you ask? It’s a wall adapter! No more batteries for me! The console runs off of electricity. I was not expecting this at all. I don’t remember the specifications on the Sears site saying anything about this. I am very happy. One of my major complaints with my old machine was the fact that the display screen flickered on and off no matter if it had new batteries or not. The coils in the battery compartment got squished and I basically just gave up on it.

So this was a very unexpected and nice surprise. When it first came, I actually skimmed through the owner’s manual to see what kind of batteries I needed. Didn’t see anything in the book. There was a small box included with all the parts, and it was the wall adapter. Cool beans man (that was for you Monique)!

 

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And finally, this is my mileage chart. I have revolutions from .1 mile all the way to 2 miles (in .1 increments) for all three stride lengths. And the black thing in front of it is one of the arm poles. I couldn’t get a clear shot without getting it in there.

There you have it. The features of my new elliptical. So far, I love it. I can’t think of anything I don’t like about it. I’ve only been on it once, but I am very happy with it.

We’ll see how long it will take me to get up to a mile again. Hopefully it won’t take me too long.

Have a good day and a great weekend!

Feels Like Starting Over

September 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Good news! The new elliptical is here! It’s put together! And I’ve been on it! Bad news. It feels like I’m starting all over again. Let’s start at the beginning.

The new elliptical arrived Wednesday in the early afternoon. It came in a gigantic box. Sears delivered it, and luckily my husband and 20 year old nephew were back from work to bring it into the house. The two of them rolled it in on a dolly and brought it all the way into our bedroom. Not too tough to move when it was on the dolly.

It took a total of four hours for my husband to put it together. I’m not even counting the 20 minutes it too just to unpack all of the parts. It wouldn’t have taken four hours, but the fact that my husband wasn’t able to use the power drill (wrong kind of screws), and the angle of most of the screw holes made it take a long time. If the power drill was used, I think it would have taken an hour and a half, two hours at most. That and the fact my husband is stubborn and won’t ask for help. He did it all on his own.

Once it was put together, he got on it first on the 22-inch stride length setting. He likes it. He thinks he’s going to use it. I got on when it was still set at 22 inches, and immediately said “now way” to that stride length. It felt like I was doing the splits. Went down to the 18-inch stride length which is what I’m used to. I didn’t try out the 20-inch length that night.

A few things are different with this machine. The foot pedals are closer together, which I like. On the Proform I had a much wider stance on the pedals. With the NordicTrack, it feels more normal. The arm poles are wider on the NordicTrack. That will take some getting used to. Having a narrower foot stance and wider arms impacts my balance. That’s a good thing. The more I work my balance, the easier it will be.

Today was the day. I have been off the elliptical for quite a while. I looked, and my last day was August 25. I decided to try out the 20-inch stride length. Yes. That is my new setting. It felt really comfortable, and I was happy with that length. I didn’t have any set distance goal in mind for today’s workout, but in the back of my mind I wanted to go 1/2 mile.

I get on the elliptical and start to go. Well…at the 1/10 mile mark I had to stop. The fronts of my legs were tired and my heart beat was fast. Really fast. I noticed that with the extra two inches on the stride, I was still going the same pace, maybe a little faster. So I took a minute, and got back on. Did another 1/10 mile and called it a day. My legs were shot. I tried to go slower, and that was even more work for my muscles.

The different stance and new stride length is working different parts of my legs and obviously those parts need work. I remember the exact same feeling of tiredness when I first got my Proform, so I know that I have to build up my usage slowly. I’ll get there though. On my Proform, I could only go for about 6 minutes and had to stop. Same thing today. I went a total of 6:35 and was done. I took a break midway through.

I absolutely LOVE the machine though. It’s great! I’ll take some pictures tomorrow and share all of the features I love about it. I am so glad I made the upgrade. I want to get back on it right now, but my legs would hate me.

Yes, I did record my .2 mile on the virtual walk site. Hey, it’s something. Those .2 miles killed me. Here’s the photo from the site. The picture on the site did not change, but it’s good as a refresher picture.

Mile 299 (so close and yet so far)

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(photo credit – Copyright 2006 Lawrence Berkeley Lab)

Pictures and a more detailed description on the NordicTrack A.C.T. coming tomorrow! I’m excited!

The Day Is Set

September 5, 2011 Leave a comment

I mentioned last week that my elliptical blew up, and I had a replacement in mind. Well, it’s been bought and is scheduled to be delivered Wednesday, September 14. Longest two weeks ever (I bought it last Tuesday). The when it gets here, it will need to be set up, but that shouldn’t take my husband too long, he’s pretty adept at putting thing together.

OK, so now that I won’t get jinxed (unless something goes wonky with the delivery deal), I can go into more details. I ended up getting the NordicTrack A.C.T. elliptical machine from Sears.com.

NordicTrack A.C.T.

I had no intention of spending that much in the beginning. I had a set price in mind to spend, and was going to get a similar machine as my old one. But, my husband always had one complaint about the Proform I had. The stride length was too short for him, and he didn’t feel comfortable on it.

So out of curiosity, I checked out one of the more expensive machines to see if the stride length was longer. It made a difference. I can’t remember now how we found the A.C.T. but my husband was looking around at the same time I was, and he said, “hey this one is on sale for over half off”. I checked it out, and was amazed at the sale. Over half off? Are you kidding me?

Even with it being over half off, it was still going to be about $250 over my original price range. I thought long and hard (well not too long as I had no idea how long this “online summer sale” was going to last”) and ultimately justified paying the extra money. Here are my justifications.

1. The machine is going to be used…a lot. It’s not going to just sit in the corner and not be used.

2. It comes with a 10 year warranty on parts. If I have a problem, there’s a Sears not far from the house.

3. It comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame.

4. Longer stride length so my husband can use it. It has at least a 21 inch stride length. It’s adjustable from an 18 inch stride length and up.

5. It’s a compact machine. I bought a “space saver” machine the first time around and had to lower the back end of the machine down to use it, then fold it back up when I was done. This is compact and I don’t have to “set it up” before using it. It’s the same size as my old machine was folded up. The Proform had the gears and drives or whatever in the back end. The NordicTrack has everything up front and on the sides.

Those are my reasons for spending more than I intended. I think I made the right decision. I’ll have this one for at least 10 years with the parts warranty, and that in itself makes it worth it.

So now, I just hope things go smoothly with the delivery. It’s not over yet. Usually I’m a positive person, but when it comes to deliveries and big machines being set up, things tend to always go wrong. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst is what I always keep in mind.

Woohoo! Only one more week (and a few days) to wait.