Thursday, 22 November 2012

Reading on a step machine

Continuing the zany marrying of two of my favourite pastimes, I decided to again try to read a novel whilst working out. This week I tried the step machine for some endurance and fat-burning.

And for the literature? Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis, a tale of a young billionaire whose night-time limo ride through Manhattan exposes him to a world of terrible dangers. This very short novel contrasts the lives of two men- one ultra-rich, the other ultra-poor, and the disastrous way in which they are connected. The book is a short, sharp shock to the senses, and DeLillo's use of language- as always- is beautiful.

Legendary weirdo director David Cronenberg has recently adapted it for the screen.

Something tells me it's one of those films that just doesn't work, because the content of the book is largely thoughts and opinions, with little action. This works in a novel. It doesn't always on the screen. Cormac McCarthy's The Road, for instance, is an incredible book. But as nothing physically happens throughout most of it, the film edges on tiresome.

I managed nearly two hours of straight stepping. You've got to break eventually, though, and I did for five minutes or so before ploughing on again. After a further 40 minutes I found that my legs were seizing up and I could no longer focus on the meaning of the words. I was about three quarters of the way through the book. As you might expect, I read the rest at home, lying in bed.

If you're going to give this a shot, here's my advice:

Hold the book out in front of you as to not drip sweat on it.
Keep a bottle of water on hand and keep swigging it.
Keep the pace of stepping at a steady level. Don't go all out: This is about endrance. You'll feel the burn eventually.

I performed a total of 160 mins workout time. Fat burning occurs after 90 minutes, on average, meaning the project gave me 70 minutes of fat-burning time. I'll have this six-pack back in no time.


RealChicGeek said...

How can you read and workout at the same time? Every time I try, I get nauseous! Even if its just light reading, like Vogue, it's a no go. Also, at 160 minutes of elliptical use, you're also burning muscle too unfortunately.

CageFightingBlogger said...

It takes a bit of getting used to! When you do it for a few sessions your brain adjusts to the dual task.

Is that true? I'm not a physio but how can you burn muscle if fat is still on the body?

RealChicGeek said...

Yeah, I don't want to get all technical we go! When you do cardio for a long time (say over an hour) you place your body into stress mode. As muscle has more energy expenditure than fat, the body burns muscle to quickly compensate for the stress. There is a baseline amount of fat needed to maintain normal body function (brain health, organ protection, and general cushioning). So no, when there is a compromise, your body will definitely burn muscle over fat.

I heard somewhere that one should only do cardio at around 65% of maximal capacity to prevent this. This doesn't apply when lifting weights though, as fat burn often occurs after one stops.

CageFightingBlogger said...

Thanks for that! I guess I'll go back to the standard routine of smashing the weights, which was when I was most ripped and had the least fat anyway! And I enjoy weights over cardio. Win all round!