Iron Maidens: A Spring guide to cardio machines

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March is upon us, and the weather is getting slightly more pleasant. Soon, it will be so warm that it will be difficult to justify eating macaroni and cheese three meals a day (difficult, but not impossible). As you emerge from the dead of winter, idle thoughts of going to the gym may float across your mind. Supposing you decide to get the blood pumping in service of your vanity health, you will be faced with a wide variety of cardio machines in the campus gyms. If your diet is 120% protein and and you can discuss the finer points of squatting form, perhaps these machines are of little consequence to you, but for the rest of us who answer “Do you even lift?” with, “Well, no, now that you mention it,” cardio is our bread and butter. Or method of burning the bread and butter. Clichéd metaphors aside, there are a variety of options for your distance workouts. Like other areas of life, most of these choices are wrong.

Treadmill

Old reliable. The treadmill is the bane of excuses everywhere. “It’s rainy.” “It’s -2 degrees Fahrenheit out.” “I went to Kabob and Curry last night.” Whatever reason you can come up with to dodge running outside, the treadmill is always there to remind you that you’re a lazy bum. The only excuse left is that the weather is too poor to even get to the gym, which is unlikely in the event that the gym is actually open. The treadmill offers the wonderful experience of turning oneself into a hamster, running forever while gazing at the same stretch of wall (though many models come equipped with TV screens). On occasion, you meet the person, clearly the scourge of public restrooms everywhere, who elects to use the treadmill right next to yours, despite the fact that there are a dozen others available. Miscreant.

In spite of its monotony, the treadmill does have several key upsides. The first, which it shares with running in general, is that your treadmill music can never be too ridiculous. Running is a stressful enough activity that no one can ever give you shit for your tune choice. If “Call Me Maybe” dubstep remixes are all you want to listen to, the treadmill is your machine.

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Another advantage of the treadmill is that it puts less strain on your joints than running outdoors, which is great if you, like me, are secretly a geezer in a 22 year-old, hip injury prone body. Also, the machine takes care of your pacing for you, so you can run more or less without thinking.

Bear’s Lair Treadmill

These deserve their own section, nestled as they are in the carpeted-gym madness of the Graduate Center. Firstly, only 2 of the 4 will be functional on any given day, so either run in the wee hours of the morning or perfect your cage fighting skills to capture one by force. If you live near or in Grad Center, there’s probably  part of you urging you to put in some extra effort and go to Nelson Center for your workout. Pay heed to that voice; it is your friend. Continue Reading