Monday, April 19, 2010

PT, good for you, good for me

PT can have a couple meanings. To anyone who served in the military of course, it means (officially) "Physical Training" (unofficially, there are a number of other, and more creative, names for it), and has a certain association with pain... And for anyone who's had serious orthopedic injuries it means "Physical Therapy"... and has certain associations with pain...

The constant there seems to be joint and muscle pain.

Now, for my money, the best relief for joint and muscle pain is the hot, wet, pounding (dirty bastards... besides, that causes MORE joint and muscle pain... even if it is worth it) of a nice hot tub/spa.

As it happens, I've been doing a bunch of yard work recently (fence mending, constructing yard shelter, felling and splitting wood etc...); and my new house has four different sets of stairs for me to deal with (two bad knees, overweight, and stairs... joy).

Thankfully, our new house ALSO has one of THESE:

Actually, particularly, a Dolphin Spas Luxor:

Oh lord, how I love hot tubs. I can't even tell you. If you happen to have a bad back, or bad knees, you almost certainly know what I'm talking about.

We filled the hot tub yesterday around noon, and I expected to have to wait 24 hours (as I had in all my previous hot tub experiences); but the thing had hit 104 (from 48 degrees to start) by 7pm.

By 9pm, we were relaxing in the tub, and stayed in there 'til almost 11.

Late night, cold (about 45) clear, with a new moon and bright stars reflecting off the lake, geese honking every once in a while; in a hot tub with my wife.


Now, there's the physical therapy, where the physical torture... uhhh I mean training?

Well, in other good news, I've lost 40lbs in the last six weeks. Yay me...

Of course a non trivial portion of that is from the pneumonia; but hey, 40lbs is 40lbs.

Just PART of that loss is from the illness though; the other part is that I'm being much more active, and eating somewhat less than I was in AZ.

In general, the atmoshphere here is just better for me. I like it more, I have more fun, I can spend a lot more time outside (even in the cold. I just prefer the "feel" here).

What I can't do right now, is work out. When we moved, we gave away our home gym, and our excercise bike.

I really liked our smith machine, but it was always a bit limiting for me anyway; and we really didn't want to (or for that matter, really couldn't) carry that extra thousand+ pounds of weight with us.

I've noted before my feelings on gym memberships vs. home gyms; and moving to the middle of frikken nowhere has only strengthened that opinion. For me, where I live, it's a home gym or nothing.

So, more PT... and in my case, it's really both, since the more I exercise for fitness, the more I reinforce my joints with good muscle tone etc... (presuming I don't overdo it).

So, I figure, this time I'm going to get what I wanted when I was buying last time. Again, I liked my smith machine, but it wasn't exactly what I wanted... it was just such a great deal (massive clearance) that I couldn't say no.

And I do LIKE smith machines; but they have disadvantages. For one thing, you can only have one station active at a time. For another, although the motion is generally good, it's not good for squats (it causes hip issues), or leg presses; and it requires a lot of reconfiguration while you're working out.

What I really want, is a powertec leverage machine; and they cost less than half as much as they used to (they were well over $2k when I was looking last time) so I'm going for one:

That is the Powertec WB-MS10 leverage gym; and with a couple add on accessories (leg press, leg lift, pec fly, all $130 each) it does everything I want.

Check out the video, and you'll see how versatile these machines are.

Add an accessory bench ($250), and you can actually set one of the other accessories (the leg press, pec fly etc... above) on it, and have four stations ging at once if you like; or have a dedicated station, or use it as a crunch bench or a dumb bell bench (which is what we'll do).

The only thing I'm trying to decide, is whether I also want to grab their power rack, since I'm already getting the accessory bench and accessories (that's the accessory bench in the picture with it):

There are a few exercises that the power rack is better for (like squats, and bench pressing), but the only thing set of excercises I can do with a power rack that I can't do with the leverage machine; are safety dead lifts, cleans, and clean and jerks (doing lifts inside the rack). Also if you get the lat tower, it gives you a few more options for pulling exercises (rows, lat pulldowns etc...)

Watch the video, you'll see what I mean.

I've got the floor space for it, and it's not much extra money for one, but I'm not sure if it's worth it.

If I get the power rack, I'm going to want two 700lb plate sets anyway; just so I don't have to move plates around all the time. If I don't get the rack I can probably get away with a 700, and a 300 or 500.

Oh and of course we'll need a dumb bell set. Not sure if I'm just going to grab the cast iron bells, or a couple sets of olympic bars and a small plate set. I don't much feel like dropping $500 on a decent set of bells, and if I'm getting two 700lb plate sets, I've got to do SOMETHING with all those 2.5 and 5lb plates they stick in the things.

Of course we also need cardio; and I need a 0 impact solution, that can work with my bac back, ankles, and knees. For me that leaves pretty much just recumbent bikes.

I'm thinking about this one, a Diamondback 500sr:

It looks good, I like the features, it gets great reviews, and a decent price. The only problem being the "user weight limit", but there isn't a single consumer grade bike that doesn't set their limit that low.

Now, all of these aint cheap... Probably around $3k or a bit more total (and thus aren't in the budget yet. Debt service and a new transmission come first); but neither is a good local gym (and near as I can tell, there ISN'T a good local gym. There are four gyms in the area, but they're all of the "Curves" variety. The nearest gym with adequate facilities for me is 35 miles away).

This is a full gym setup for me, and my wife (and eventually, the kids), and if we can find some friends to work out with, for the next ten years...

... and we'll actually use it, unlike our gym memberships. Worth every damn penny.