New Toys for the Dojo

If you know anything about me, you know that I’m an online shopping-aholic. Every third day I’m clogging up your Twitter or Instagram feed with the new clothes, shoes, or other random accessories I’ve bought. I hear Mod Cloth, Zappos, and ASOS have had stellar first and second quarters thanks to me.¬†Before my obsession with fashionable finds grew to its current level, I was an Amazon Prime-aholic. There was nothing I needed that I didn’t look on Amazon for first. Everything from cooking utensils to band-aids. I’m an instant gratification type of girl, so the free 2-day shipping or $4 overnight shipping was the best thing ever.

Since beginning Insanity back in… I don’t know, whatever month that was. April? I haven’t needed to use any actual dojo equipment, so all my sweet gear had been neglected. And now that I’ve put Insanity (and PUMP) on hold indefinitely (more on that later…) I literally dusted off my equipment, weight lifting books, and began creating my own workouts again. Just like old times. I missed it!

First new toy I bought? I needed something easy on my knees, and I have a longstanding cold war against elliptical trainers. I already have a treadmill, and I’ve heard that another great cardio and full body workout machine is a rower. Amazon told me that the Kettler Favorit rower was the best bang for my buck. With free, fast shipping, it was at my doorstep, unpacked, and assembled within a couple days.

After googling videos on proper form, and figuring out how to adjust the resistance to the lowest level, I was on my stationary boat row, row, rowing gently down the stream. It was awkward, really difficult, and sort of painful. When shopping for a rower, I didn’t take into account the height of the oars. On the ¬†“drive,” your hands should be at breast level. With these oars, my hands were at ear level. And the resistance even at the lowest level was way too stiff; I found myself using all my upper body strength just to pull, leaving barely any resistance on my lower body.

Man, that was a weird workout, I thought to myself. Then I remembered that there are two different kinds of rowers. That dud, and the cable type. Went back on Amazon and nearly bought this LifeSpan Fitness RW1000 for $499 (after returning the other one, of course). For some reason, I thought to check craigslist first, and I’m so glad I did. The second search result on the page, posted that same day, was a “lightly used” RW1000 for, wait for it, $150!!! Was it too good to be true?! I emailed the seller and got a response immediately. Unfortunately, after some measuring, I found that even if folded up, it wouldn’t fit in the back of my little wagon. The ad said “delivery negotiable,” so I asked him if he would possibly deliver to me even though I lived a good 25 miles away. I sweetened the deal a bit by offering him $200. Still way cheaper than what I would have paid on Amazon, AND it’s already assembled. He agreed! And two hours later it was in the dojo and I was happily rowing properly and comfortably.

But that’s not all we got! When I was building my new weight training routine, one of the moves was either a pull-up or assisted pull-up with resistance band. I have one of those doorway pull-up bars but no doorway to hook it on, so I invested in a standalone pull-up station. It also has a dip, abs, and push-up station.

Going into it I knew I wouldn’t be able to do a pull-up, but maybe I could at least do an assisted one with a giant resistance band. Yeah…nope. I couldn’t hang on the bar and get the band around both my knees at the same time, so if I ever let another soul into the dojo while I’m working out, I’ll need to have them wrap the band around my knees for me. Bowie doesn’t seem interested in helping me.

So far the only station that’s of any use to me right now are the push-up handles (those curled up ends on the bottom). A pull-up seems impossible to me right now, but you know what? A year ago, a push-up seemed impossible too. And I just did 20 of them, not on my knees, like a mothafuggin’ champ!