Crazy Idea to End All Crazy Ideas

There are people in this world who adore working out. They’re the kind of people that can do a grueling workout or run and feel more energized afterwards than when they started. They’re full of energy and joy and happiness and do everything in their power to convert you to the Church of Workouts Are AWESOME.

I am not one of those people.

But I have been walking daily since the weather got warmer, and I’ve made a specific point to do so when my employer announced a fitness initiative that encouraged staffers to walk 10,000 steps a day. Pedometer provided, incentives every week, and I signed up, because it was just the thing I needed to make sure I didn’t put off the daily walk.

Well, now I’ve gotten a crazy idea: starting today, I want to get up at 6:00 (which is forty-five minutes earlier than my usual weekday alarm) and put in time on the elliptical. Back in the day, when I was hitting the elliptical three times a week, I’d go for 30 minute rounds. That’s the goal here, too, but I’m clearly going to have to work up to it: before, I was working out after work or after dinner, both which had me awake for a good portion of the day and burning off calories.

Now, if I keep it up, I’ll be burning off calories from the night before on an empty stomach and I’ll be waking up at the same time. So yeah, it’s gonna take me a while to work up to 30 minutes.

But here’s my question to any and all of you: any tips? This morning, I realized I probably need to go ahead and gulp something down (water, Gatorade, etc) before starting my workout, but beyond that, I’m not sure if there’s a good way to go about this crazy plan. After the workout, I’m hitting the showers and getting ready for my day, which includes eating breakfast. No biggie there.

No, what I need to know is what to do to ensure that I can get my ass out of bed and eventually work on the elliptical for about 30 minutes before work without wanting to die.

Because this morning, after about 20 minutes? I definitely wanted to die. Kind of wanted to throw up a bit, actually (hence why I need to work up to my goal), but definitely wanted to die.

But I feel fine now.


17 thoughts on “Crazy Idea to End All Crazy Ideas

  1. I fairly often work out on an empty stomach (because I have to take my thyroid pill on an empty stomach–well, I take it with coffee, which some docs would say NO NO NO NO NO and mine goes “as long as you ALWAYS take it with coffee, it’s fine” and I often work out while I wait until I can have breakfast). I think it works fine as long as you do it pretty much right away and then eat something soon after. I personally find it better than the other way round–eating something and then working out. For me, that’s a recipe for stomach cramps, if I eat anything more substantial than a smoothie prior to working out, I can’t get through. I either have to eat and then wait a good hour (or more, depends on what I ate), or I have to work out and then eat.

    There’s a lot of good research, actually, on working out while fasted (usually before breakfast, as you’re doing.) Body builders do it to to help shove their body fat percentage down and studies have found it is basically safe for most people and might have some benefits beyond the general ‘benefits of doing aerobic exercise.’

    Working out fasted obviously isn’t the same as working out dehydrated. If you think “I need a big glass of water before I do this” then you probably do (I’d skip the gatorade if I were you–it’s awfully sugary and you could very easily drink more calories than you’re burning). I need a cup of coffee and a glass of water, myself–then again, you don’t get much out of me except “ugh. coffee. Where is coffee?” until I have had coffee.

    I’m also one of those lunatics who runs around after a workout yelling “I FEEL GREAT I FEEL GREAT IFEELGREATIFEELGREATIFEELGREAT!!!” and have to drag myself off machines and make myself take rest days so I don’t tear anything. But I still like to work out early in the day, because then it’s done and I can’t find excuses not to work out (which I will do: I may really like actually working out, but I still have to sort of drag myself out to do it and to stay on whatever I’m doing for five or six minutes until the endorphin high kicks in.)


    1. The Gatorade I actually drink is G2, which has substantially fewer calories and carbs, so I’m not worried there. Tricking my brain into being somewhat fed while also hydrating myself might be a good thing!

      Working out on coffee though? I can’t imagine. πŸ™‚


      1. Well, it obviously helps when you’ve gotten used to not eating for an hour because you can’t eat anyway. (It’s me again, I just flipped to the wordpress account I don’t really use.) But, again, the point is: you get used to it.

        If you start finding that makes you all light headed as your duration goes up try eating something little, like a small apple–I see that recommended a lot if you find you need something tiny first.


        1. Thanks. Today’s few sips of G2 really helped. I didn’t want to die, and I lasted 25 minutes. I’ll aim for 30 tomorrow, though I worry that part of the reason I did so well today was because I kind of over-ate yesterday, especially at dinner. The trick now is to eat normal (maybe on the slight minimum side) and repeat today’s experiment with the G2 and see how that goes…


  2. I hit the exercise bike for about thirty minutes every morning (although THANK GOD I don’t have to wake up at 6AM to do it), and when I’m feeling really ambitious, 45 minutes. This was something I had to work up to. When I started out, I was doing about twenty minutes as you are. I always drink a glass of water before starting out, which I recommend doing. As far as how to motivate yourself to get up that early, making sure you go to bed at a decent hour the night before is a big part of that. If I’m super sleepy, the last thing I’m going to want to do is start moving, and my stomach just won’t be ready for that. I also read a book or watch videos on my tablet as I’m doing it, to keep me slightly distracted. Beyond that, it’s all about forming a habit. Once you’ve been working out regularly for a few weeks, it’s a lot easier than when you’re first starting out.


    1. I’ve got my new Nano, and I’m listening to the Writing Excuses podcast you recommended to me. So far, so good!


  3. There’s actually some recent research showing that working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach helps you burn more calories than working out later in the day does. That being said, any time we’ve gotten up early on a weekend morning for a bike ride, I’ve always had to drink something and have a small meal otherwise I simply don’t have the energy and I feel like crap. If you’re feeling sick to your stomach you probably need a little something in there to fuel you–a small amount of protein or carbs should do the trick (carbs + protein is even better). I kind of envy the folks who can get up early and work out in the mornings on weekdays. I get up at 5:30 as it is, and that’s already way too early, IMO. And once I’m up, it’s go-go-go non-stop.


    1. Greg had seen such research a few years ago, and when he told me, I was all like, “Bitch, please! I gotta have food on my belly!” But now I’m reaching the point I think I can pull it off, so long as I have plenty of fluid: water or G2 or whatever. πŸ™‚ If I need to upgrade to proteins, I may pick your brain for something tiny but useful, because the only thing I can think of is a spoonful of peanut butter (something I know isn’t an option for you, due to allergies).


  4. I am a workout person, but not a morning workout person. In my case, the arthritis is usually a little worse in the mornings and a little better in the evenings. I don’t really have any advice other than to make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night. I always listen to music when working out and I read on the exercise bike, although I have had people tell me I shouldn’t do that because it means I’m not exercising hard enough.


    1. I’d love to be able to read on the elliptical! I used to watch tv, but I had that “not exercising hard enough” problem. When I switched to music (and right now, I’m listening to podcasts), I seem to be able to pick up the pace.


  5. I don’t know if this is particularly relevant to you, but Ihave had great success with the couch-to-5k progam. It’s for running, not for the elliptical, but it starts you out running for 60 seconds, followed by 90 secondes of walking, repeated 8 times. You gradually work up to more. It’s nice to have small achievable goals and to see yourself making progress.

    I also listen to lectures from The Teaching Company, which I really enjoy and look forward to, even if I am not looking forward to the exercise itself. Audiobooks would work well too, I would think.

    The link for couch-to-5k is here:


    1. Thanks for the link! At certain points in my daily walk, my brain’s been wondering what it would take to try and start running, but running is something I shy away from: I am NOT built as a runner. But if I could actually do it? It’d be a worthy accomplishment!


  6. Heh, I’m not one of those people, either. (My mom is, though, since she LOVES exercising. Guess I didn’t get the gene!) So, I don’t have any advice to share, but I will wish you good luck! It can be so difficult getting used to a new routine like this…


    1. I think once I develop the habit/routine, it’ll get easier, and then I’ll get antsy when I don’t do it. What I’m interested in learning is, since I only plan on doing this on weekdays when I work, whether or not I’ll find myself waking up early on weekends/days off regardless, you know?


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