Exercise! - Ease up or push through?

View Full Version : Ease up or push through?

01-27-2007, 10:08 PM
Ok, all you exercise Guru's..I have a question.

I do water aerobics twice a week, but have recently started hitting the elliptical and treadmill.

Thursday was 15 min elliptical (1 incline, 1 resttance), 10 treadmill (2.5). I was fine.

Friday I did 20 min elliptical (same) and 15 min treadmill. I had really bad calf cramps after working out, so I took a muscle relaxer and it helped. But I woke up with a cramps in my hamstrings.

Today I did 15 min elliptical (1 incline, 2 resistance) 20 min treadmill. Felt fine when I was done, but started having hamstring crampiness when I got home. Took Muscle relaxer.

I stretch my calf between the elliptical and the treadmill and again after the treadmill.

I weigh 328 lbs. I imagine this is very hard on my body. That's why I need the extra cardio. Do I push through and keep it up and just take the muscle relaxers or do I back off? Maybe do it less time or try just the treadmill?

I really hate to back off, but I have no idea here.

The bike is not really an option for me due to my large stomach.

Thanks!! :)

01-27-2007, 10:52 PM
Well, you're 328 pounds. Definately not someone who's exercised daily, right? And all you've been doing is water aerobics twice a week. Now suddenly you've added in 25 minutes of intense cardio on two new machines. Even more suddenly, after just ONE day, you upped that by 10 more minutes, and you've done this for THREE DAYS STRAIGHT. Not just the twice a week routine, now you're exercising daily, and increasing after just one day of it. Should you cut back? My vote is for most definately. Take a day rest then go back to the 25 minutes that didn't bother you. If it bothers you, take another day rest. You can't go from couch potato to fitness guru overnight. You'll only hurt yourself trying.

01-27-2007, 11:26 PM
Hello Sandi,

I would definitely take some time for rest!

Just recently I strained my thigh muscles from doing step aerobics too often over a short period of time. I was so sore that I had trouble walking for a couple of days. I had never had this happen to me before, and it was a lesson well learned! I took a break for about 3 days, and I felt much better. :carrot:

I have noticed that I have to rotate my activities from day to day in order to avoid muscle cramps. I also know that it helps to take a break once and awhile all together. For some activities, sometimes every other day is more than enough for me in order to avoid any type of cramping.

Good luck! :D

01-27-2007, 11:40 PM
Ok, I missed some history.

October, November & December I did a startfit program and hit those 2 machines 3 x a week. I missed some day & some weeks in there. So I am not really new to the machines, but I never hit it this hard.

Hmmm, I wonder if I should alternate the elliptical and treadmill. Interesting thought.

01-28-2007, 12:04 AM
I would ease up a bit and make a plan to progress more slowly. At my highest weight, 275, I had some trouble with the elliptical. I started with walking for about 20 minutes, then 25, then 30....but I raised the time after a week or two of staying at one level. It took me months to work up to the cardio I'm doing now, and in the meantime I was losing lots of weight so that it's easier for my body to do these activities anyway. I had the same problem with the bike in the beginning, because of my stomach being too large for it to be comfortable. And it's funny, people ALWAYS recommend that beginners start on the recumbent bike. If they'd ever had a large stomach, they'd know better, I guess.

Anyway, I like your idea about alternating the treadmill and the elliptical, but don't be in a hurry to increase your time on either machine. You'll work up to it, and you won't burn out or injure yourself if you give yourself time.

01-28-2007, 12:07 AM
Search for hamstring stretches. See if they help.

01-28-2007, 12:55 AM
Hi Sandi!

I agree with the crew. Ease up on all the extra stuff and pay attention to what your body is telling you.

Also, my dad used to get leg cramps all the time. He found that when he took vitamins WITH MINERALS and when he increased the calcium that he was drinking/eating his cramps went away. Also make sure that you are drinking enough water and stretching before any exercise.


01-28-2007, 06:18 AM
Sandi, is the elliptical you're using is a Precor? If it is, an incline of 1 (really a decline) is very extreme and will put too much stress on your calves and lower legs. On a Precor, incline settings go from 1 - 20, with 10 being level. When you're working between 1 and 9, you're on a decline (the lower the number, the greater the decline). When you're working between 11 and 20, you're on an incline (the higher the number, the greater the incline). The lower you go from 10, the more stress is on your lower leg muscles. From 11 - 20, more stress is on your butt and upper thighs as you go higher. Changing the incline settings doesn't make it harder or easier in the sense that you're working more or less - it simply changes which muscles you're using. You won't burn more calories at a '20' setting than a '1'.

'10' is the level, basic incline setting and where you should be. On the Precors at my gym, '10' is the default setting. :)

A lot of people get confused because the resistance levels are just what you'd expect: 1 is the easiest and 20 is impossible. So they expect the inclines to work the the same way, but nope, 10 is level and the easiest to start with. I had a client who thought she'd start off easy, with a resistance of 1 (good) and an incline of 1 (bad). (this was before she started working with me ;) ) Even though it caused her pain, she was bound and determined to push through and ended up almost wrecking her poor knees. Fortunately, everything settled down once we got the settings right. :)

If you were in my gym, using a Precor, I'd tell you to start with a crossramp (incline) of 10 and resistance of 1. No need for a higher resistance yet - for now, just get your muscles used to the movement.

I'm not familiar with other brands so don't know if they work the same way, so if it's not a Precor and the inclines are set up differently, please disregard!! :lol:

01-28-2007, 10:04 AM
Hey Sandi!! You know, the ellip still gives me a really hard workout - too hard for me right now. I think you would be fine to stay on the treadmill walking at 2.5, and maybe add 10 minutes every week, not every day, or at the point that when your normal workout is done, that you say to yourself, hey - I want to do more!!

And, I would stay away from the muscle relaxers, they scare me. Take something otc like motrin or advil. They will knock out the cramps just as easily, but I like otc meds better - if you can tolerate them.

01-28-2007, 10:49 AM
Hey Sandi :wave: welcome to our neck of the woods so nice to see you here !!

I agree with the rest that you should cut back a little bit and increase s l o w l y every week or two instead of every day, to give your body a chance to adjust...

01-28-2007, 12:05 PM
I would ease up a bit and make a plan to progress more slowly. At my highest weight, 275, I had some trouble with the elliptical. I started with walking for about 20 minutes, then 25, then 30....but I raised the time after a week or two of staying at one level. It took me months to work up to the cardio I'm doing now
That's how I had to handle it. I thought I'd go out and start jogging when I'd gotten to about 210 pounds. I went about 15 feet. :D So I ended up walking. I kept trying to jog and it would wind me so bad and had my heart feeling like it would jump outta my chest. So I waited and just walked a mile every day for a couple of weeks THEN added in short sprints. The sprints got longer and more frequent as I went, but I would stick with one increase for a week or so before adding more. It took MONTHS before I could run that full mile and not be totally winded.