Stair Stepper and Magazines

Until about 6 months ago, I had never stepped foot on one of these guys:

stair stepper[source]

I tried one for the first time last spring since I was taking some time off of running due to injury, and I read in a magazine that stair steppers were the best gym machine – after the treadmill – to get you working really hard. The first time I tried it, I was struggling just to get to 10 minutes. Isn’t it crazy how different types of exercise work your body in such different ways? I could run a marathon but was dying after 10 minutes on a stair stepper – why is that?!

Given my competitive personality, a new challenge was born! The stair stepper has now become one of my favorite gym machines. We are definitely in <3. How do I love thee, stair stepper? Let me count the ways:

1. You make me super sweaty.
2. You make my heart race.
3. You make my legs feel strong.
4. You let me read when we’re together.

This is what I read on the stair stepper today:

photo(172)

Yes, I am reading intellectual magazines at the gym. #NerdyGirlOnStairStepper

Actually, there’s something of more substance to this…I used to always read magazines in the vein of Fitness, Shape, and Women’s Health while crosstraining. As I came towards the end of my eating disorder recovery, I began to notice some disturbing attributes about these types of magazines. Examples of said disturbing attributes: focus on weight loss, idealizing of ‘thin’ rather than healthy, constant talk about counting calories, implying that women who are thinner are automatically happier, more desirable, and better. I decided that reading these magazines was only encouraging the pattern of restrictive eating and heavy exercising that I was trying to overcome. Although I will still read these types of publications once in a while (let’s face it, shallow literature is fun every once in a while), I intentionally don’t subscribe or buy them myself.

For anyone struggling with body image, dieting, or over-exercising issues, I would recommend stepping back from the weight loss magazines. They are not doing you any favors, trust me. Plus, you don’t have to give up fun monthly reading! Here are the magazines I am currently subscribed to:

  • Runner’s World: This magazine is full of great running and fitness tips – without the focus on weight loss. The articles are well written and, often, inspiring. I’ve also learned lots of useful injury-prevention exercises.
  • Women’s Day: This magazine allows me to continue reading about women’s issues, beauty products, cooking, and exercise, but without an obsessive focus on weight and appearance. I think this is an extremely empowering and healthy magazine for women to read. Bonus: there’s always an article about some awesome pet saving their owner. I find these stories simultaneously hilarious and incredible.
  • Time: I’ve got to get my news somehow! Since I don’t listen to the radio much and only download my news podcasts sporadically (at best), Time tells me most of what I know about the world. Don’t judge me. I like the variety of substance and the fact that most articles are short enough to read fairly quickly. Joel Stein‘s comedic column at the end of each issue is always a highlight.

Anyway…back to the stair stepper from my magazine tangent! I’ve improved to the point where I can do 25 minutes and still feel really good. I suspect I could increase my time, but more than 25 mins seems a bit long to be on the machine – I would rather switch to something else for variety. Tonight I was short on time, so I could only squeeze in 20 minutes before heading to basketball.

Before all this exercise, I had some dinner:

photo(173)

That’s a kidney bean patty on an english muffin with dijon mustard and spinach – veggies on the side. This was YUMMY! After I got back from basketball, I had some homemade hot-cocoa-for-one, cinnamon style.

photo(175)

In other news, my roommate is currently in the monster pit at the Lady Gaga concert. Just wanted to throw that out there. 🙂

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