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Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite:
One user's log and general health and fitness journal

This page last updated on or about 4-16-11
a - j m o o n e y h a m . c o m - o r i g i n a l

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AUTHOR'S NOTE: Certain items like embedded web links and documented costs/prices for certain wares discussed below may be out-of-date by the time you read this. This is real world usage rather than a syrupy evangelistic exercise, so you'll find both good and bad things about exercise machines here. For more general information regarding health maintenance, please refer to More ways to guard your health and attend to basic medical needs for very, very low cost.

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Table of Contents

4-16-11: An update for readers

Man! It's tough to believe it's been years since I last updated this log! Whew!

I finally recovered from my first and then second cataract operations, but things seemed pretty iffy about both. Then I got busy with lots of other things, and so never got around to updating this blog.

However, my Gazelle is still going strong, and I use it for 40 minutes or more a day, five days a week.

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

12-26-07: My first cataract operation follow up: Blow out

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

12-10-07: My first cataract operation

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

7-3-07: Replacement piston results and real-life TV cartoon head bump

I managed to get in almost a solid month of six-day a week, 40 minute exercise sessions since replacing the pistons.

The pistons are doing great, and perhaps offer a tad more resistance than their worn out predecessors, as I noticed my inner thighs got a tad sore after the first new piston session or two.

I set the new pistons to their middle resistance setting-- the same I'd had the old ones on. But I may change this to the strongest resistance setting soon, so that I can pack a more strenuous workout into the same time frame.

However, new babysitting duties suddenly arose at the start of July, interfering as usual with my workouts, since those make for drastically less free time on my part. Plus, I overdid it and injured myself. Not on the Gazelle, but playing with the kids. Three of my nephews are currently aged around seven to eleven, and love being chased. I like chasing them too, partly because of the extra exercise aspect for all involved, and partly because it's easier than coming up with a story to tell them, or many other baby-sitting related duties.

But as their legs get longer they get faster, and I have to get nearer to my own maximum speeds to outrun them.

A couple days ago I ran faster than I should have, and careened my forehead smack into a hardwood door frame. Ouch! Thankfully my nine-year old nephew wasn't hurt: he'd suddenly stopped dead in his tracks and ducked, which left me flying over the top of him! Ha, ha.

I was amazed to feel and see a massive wedge-like knot arise instantly on my forehead, much like the outrageous fleshy spikes seen in kids' cartoons, when characters get konked on the head.

This particular one looked a lot like someone had surgically inserted an old-fashioned box of wooden matches under my skin there, with one of the longer narrow sides against my skull, in a vertical orientation. It seemed an amazingly unlikely sight to me.

Although I was momentarily blinded by the impact itself (maybe for half a second), I didn't suffer any symptoms of a concussion like dizziness, blurred vision, or nausea, and there was barely a spot of blood displayed, so I treated it on my own by soon applying a zip lock bag of ice to the bump and holding it there for maybe three hours, to get the enormous swelling down. Plus, I made sure to stay awake around six hours or so afterwards (it can be dangerous to go to sleep less than four hours after a robust head bump, I believe).

As my cataracts DO cause badly blurred vision all on their own normally, I had to differentiate there between my standard vision blurring, and anything added to it.

I later noticed tenderness in an arm and both knees too from the escapade. A couple days later the tenderness in all those spots still remains, but my head bump has almost shrunk back to normal dimensions again.

The worst pain in all this seemed to stem from the application of the ice-pack itself. But I had to get the swelling down.

My eyeglasses too got bent out of shape here, requiring some reshaping of an earpiece with a couple needle-nose plier tools the next day.

In other news, my continued health maintenance efforts are so far still working in keeping me off the liquid gold glaucoma medicine. I had another exam last week. Unfortunately, I've been unable to hold back the progression of my cataracts, and will probably have to have surgery soon (it's getting very hard to see).

I've come to the conclusion that my long term B-12 deficiency, ten years of inadequate sleep, and virtually no vitamin D, all combined to so impair my immune system that a lurking infection which maybe we all possess our entire lives was able to emerge to cause my sudden cataract progression the last few years. I can't recall the name of this malady off the top of my head, but I learned of its existence during my related research. It seems we all or most of us pick up certain germs during our childhood which are like time bombs inside us. That is, they have absolutely no effect on us until we have substantial immune system problems due to other factors, or else get sufficiently sick or old in general. Then they pounce on us, to add to our woes. Bastards! Ha, ha.

So anyway-- I'm also in the same predicament as many other Americans these days: my awfully expensive health insurance almost certainly will not cover my surgery-- at all. The cost will come wholly out of my own pocket. I've been trying to prepare for this the past year by redoubling my entrepreneurial efforts. But alas, I've fallen far short of generating the cash this is likely to require. Substantial new debt, here I come!

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

6-1-07: The pistons have arrived, and been installed

The replacement pistons arrived late yesterday; I waited until today to install them.

It appears they sent the correct parts. And actually more parts than I expected. As along with the pistons appeared to be bundled the entire combination tool and fastener kit which originally came with the whole machine. This would be especially helpful for anyone who's lost the original hex wrenches, and had no independent tool kit of their own. Too, someone pointed out to me some of the related old parts besides the pistons might also be worn, and in need of replacement. So installing the new pistons along with their fresh accessories might be a good idea.

The replacement process required about 20 minutes, including preparation time. It all now seems back together and functioning again. I plan to resume my exercise sessions tomorrow morning.

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

5-25-07: My broken down Gazelle

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

1-21-07: Vitamin tweaks and mistakes

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

8-27-06: A massive physical test

Well, I managed to put in 30-plus minute sessions almost daily for a couple weeks on the Gazelle, plus perhaps vastly improve my nutrient intake over roughly the same amount of time, and sleep pretty well too over that span. Thank goodness I'd been on the vitamin D long enough for my right elbow to be 100% functional again, too!

All that was excellent prep for what came next, as I ended up spending the day in Knoxville Tennessee helping my dad tear down an interior wall for one of my sisters.

As I'm always always pressed for time, I badly wanted to get the job done in the single day, and dad knew it. So we worked our asses off, in maybe the hardest single work day I've physically put in in perhaps a few years now. Some of the work required was using an axe to chop out an arched doorway built into the wall. We also had to tear out plaster and the narrow wooden strips to which it was attached (this was an old house), then cut out and take down the main support beams for all this. And collecting up all the debris produced and hauling it outside too, of course. Jobs like locating and protecting the wall's inner electrical wiring, careful removal of the molding for possible re-use elsewhere, man-handling vertically stacked washer-dryer and refrigerator, taking down open shelving that was in the way, and avoiding harm to kitchen cabinets which adjoined the demolished wall all slowed us down some and added to our energy and time expenses. We used an electric chain saw and sabre saw for cutting some of the beams. Or tried to, anyway. The all-ecompassing plaster dust dulled our blades to irrelevancy almost instantly, severely limiting what we could do with the tools. Hence, the use of the axe.

Some things I noticed from the event included me being able to expend an incredible amount of effort and energy for hours on end without any substantial weakening as I remember suffering the last few times I did something like this.

Although I still had some major soreness the day after, and to a lesser extent the next, it was nowhere near as bad as expected from my previous similar sessions of recent years. Back then I got much more sore and it lasted much longer, for what was likely considerably less strenuous jobs than this one. Getting the proper nutrition and amount of sleep and exercise truly works wonders!

Maybe the worst fallout from stints like this is mental. For it knocks me out of my normal work 'groove', and I often find it difficult to get back into it again.

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

8-20-06: Vitamin regimen update

I've widened the range of supplements I'm taking, in order to address other deficiencies I may be at risk for. Plus, to try to do something to slow down or stop my cataract development. As I suspect the sudden spike in cataract growth stemmed in large part from either or both some vitamin deficiencies, and my decade-long span of sleep deprivation.

I'm trying to be careful not to overdose on anything here. Some vitamins are like Tylenol: it's scarily easy to get too much of them, in pill form. While certain others may be so safe you almost can't hurt yourself with them.

My supplement armory presently includes the following:

Two different dose sizes of B-12 (250 mcg and 1000 mcg), which helps me better manage the doses in combination with other pills.

"Super B-Complex", which includes not only B12 but many other of the B vitamins as well, plus C and a few other ingredients (such as biotin, liver powder, brewer's yeast, and pantothenic acid) which I'm really uncertain about, info-wise (and so should probably study up on a bit when I get the chance).

Note that accidentally getting too much B12 could deplete you on other B-family vitamins. Hence, my effort to occaisonally top off my other Bs here.

A general purpose mult-vitamin, multi-mineral supplement for Old Geezers ("mature") which includes a full day's recommended dose of many nutrients, and more than that for a few select things (like B12).

A "vision formula" pill which includes a specially tuned subset of the multi-vitamin horse-pill (it's big!) for vision health.

800 IU dose pills of vitamin D.

A garlic supplement.

The B12 seems to be aiding my food digestion enormously. I suffer far less gas production than before, plus my frequency of bowel movements has been reduced as well.

It seems I'm digesting my food much more efficiently now, than before.

And surprise, surprise-- milk's not bothering me nearly as much as before. I don't know if it's because I'm eating lots more meat now than before, or the new vitamin regimen, but I can eat a bowl of cereal drenched in milk now like anyone else, again. For the first time in years! Yay! I've done it several times now, with no migraine auras showing up afterwards.

Note that I am NOT taking all these different pills on a daily basis(!) But rather, sort of rotating or cycling through several of them on a periodic basis, as I try to avoid overdoses or other ill effects.

I'm writing down what I take and when. Plus any observations of perceived changes in my health status along the way. Especially the condition of my eye floaters, or my right elbow, or left hand. As the floaters are apparently connected to cataract development (plus when heavy sorely interfere with my vision), my right elbow seems a prime indicator of whether I'm getting enough vitamin D, and my left hand seems my best gauge of B-12 sufficiency.

At least half the time now I'm taking 800 IU of D a day, as sometimes just 400 IU doesn't seem to keep my right elbow in the desired condition.

I guess this is a good spot to better relate my D-specific experiences so far.

The first week or so of D supplementation was strange. For a few days I actually wondered if the D might be making me worse rather than better. As some of my joint pains seemed to get slightly worse for a brief time. And the pains seemed to move around my body! Even if I felt relief in one joint, a different joint might suddenly flare up with ache!

Much of this weirdness seemed to happen after I'd laid down for the night. Indeed, one night in particular early on, I got the impression the D was like an electrical charge moving about my body at random, causing me to feel its arcs happening here and there.

All this strangeness was why I took the D only sporadically in the beginning. Because I wasn't sure if it was doing me good or bad.

Things got further complicated when I realized the D was energizing me, and thereby making it harder for me to sleep at night. For a time I had to make sure never to take any D early in the day, as it would disrupt my sleep that night. It seemed always best to take it just before bed.

But some of these effects seemed to have been only temporary. For instance, it doesn't seem to matter as much now about when I take the D during the day, as it did before. But 400 IU a day often feels insufficient. My right elbow will register a slight complaint at that dosage level, the very next day.

I'm still energized by the D, but its interference with my sleep seems to be receding now.

Keep in mind that my likely long term D deficiency before this-- as well as my recent widening of my vitamin regimen across-the-board-- is also likely affecting my reactions to the B12 and D.

I'm trying to use up my time-release 1000 mcg B-12 doses now, as I have a backlog of them. But these time-released 1000 mcg doses don't work as well for me as 1000 mcg of immediate release B-12. So when I take the time-release 1000 mcg I need to also take a bit more B12 atop that, as in the form of one of my old geezer multi-vitamins, or the super-B-complex.

I'm just guessing here, but I figure time-released versions of mega B-12 doses like this really are better suited to folks who don't have a deficiency like me to start with.

The super-B-complex and vision formula don't overlap at all but for their vitamin C, so I can take both those in the same day as my big B-12 dose with little problem. I fooled around with mega-doses of vitamin C many years ago, plus studied on it a bit, and learned that it's relatively tough to hurt yourself with it, overdose-wise. If I wish to be extra cautious I'll just take the vision formula late in the day and the super-B-complex early.

I guess it wouldn't hurt if I rechecked the latest C findings though, just to make sure the recommendations from a decade back haven't changed in some significant way.

Whatever extra B12 I take to make the 1000 mcg time-release work, I need to take at around the same time as the 1000 mcg dose. Which is why the vision formula tends to get the late slot.

I read somewhere that for folks with a B-12 problem like me, doses smaller than 500 mcg might not work. So I'm guessing that's why the time-release 1000 mcg seems to fall short at times on its own: it just isn't releasing 500 mcg all at once as it digests. Maybe it's close though. For just adding the 15 mcg of the super-B-complex, or the 25 mcg of the Old Geezer multi-vitamin, seems to make it all work out.

Whatever I do though, I MUST take at minimum 1000 mcg of B12 daily, or risk the scary numb limbs and other severe symptoms of before. I know this due to my experimentation over past weeks.

So far I've only taken the vision formula relatively few times, as I'm still working it into the cycle. Plus, I wanted to more heavily weight my regimen with the Geezer multiple for a while in order to made sure to address any pressing general system deficiencies I might still possess, first.

I've not taken any of the garlic supplements yet.

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

8-12-06: Revelations regarding the ills of one old computer geezer UPDATED

Hmm. It appears I'll have to reveal more here about my general health status than I ever expected. Because, alas, most things are inter-connected in some way.

Plus, we Americans have absolutely zero privacy and zero credibility of identity or property ownership now anyway. We're all just waiting our turn to have all our money and possessions confiscated or tied up in useless limbo (as millions of us already have), and then be thrown into prison for being poor and homeless after it's all been taken from us. We're all guilty until proven innocent now. Guilty of what? Take your pick. The powers-that-be can line up the paperwork for anything now. It doesn't matter if you're innocent. It's the new American way. So since my medical records (among other things) are available to Bush and Cheney and Rove and anyone else who wants them, I figure I might as well post my info here, too. That way maybe some decent people out there might find out something that'll help them with their own similar conditions (since one of the liabilities of being an American is having health insurance which sucks-- if you have insurance at all).

Or at least it'll be available here until my turn for property seizure or censorship comes up, anyway. Then I'll be 'disappeared', too. Out of sight, out of mind. But as my fellow Americans keep mindlessly voting for such Nazi-like and USSR-like stripping away of our Constitutional rights (and property too), I'm pretty much stuck. Out-voted by the lemmings.

Escaping glaucoma

My first new disclosure: the eye ailment I've written about here repeatedly, for which I had to take expensive medicine for a year or two there-- but then I managed to improve enough for the doc to take me OFF the medicine-- was glaucoma. Ta-da! Yeah, my pressures could worsen again at any time. But so far so good!

Determining my required B12 dosage

After doing more research and self-experimentation, I settled on a daily dosage of 1000 micrograms of B12 a day (pills taken orally).

I tried this dosage in a time-released form for a while, but it didn't seem to work as well as the immediate kind.

I endured some nerve-wracking symptoms early on, which thankfully have disappeared at the higher and more consistent dosage.

However, I've still experienced a handful of scalp-tingling instances along the way, after laying down. They're different from before though. Now they're usually very weak and short-lived, and might actually come upon me before I've even fell asleep, rather than waiting until I'm unconscious and waking me up.

Maybe these have something to do with my depleted inner reservoir of B12, and will disappear entirely over time. Or maybe the B12 is just a major factor in them, with a smaller, weaker (but as yet unknown) element also a part of the cause.

Coping with migraine auras

The first weeks involved in correcting my B12 deficiency forced me to change my diet somewhat. But not solely from the B12 problem. You see, since late college I've also experienced something which seems to be technically called an aura from a migraine. Basically my diet, or stress, or bright lights (or some combination of all these) can cause me to suddenly experience a strobe light effect which also seems to cause me thinking problems at the same time. I've actually had to pull over before when it struck me driving.

(Those familiar with my supercar accounts may find it interesting that I'm now afflicted with such an ailment in my old age: since one of my old car's tricks there were strobe lights with which to blind pursuers)

I can remember the very first time it happened. It was during my second stint at Tech (college). I was in a brightly lit supermarket, shopping after dark. When it hit me I was baffled about what it might be.

I'd surely been asking for something bad to happen just prior to that though. Before leaving for the store I'd gorged myself on salty potato chips, peppermint patties (the full-sized sort), and ice cream I think. And maybe washed it all down with a regular soda. Egads! It'd be difficult for me to swallow that combo these days at gun point! Ha, ha.

However, these aura things apparently run in my family, as I now have a sister and mom who also experience some variation of same. I perhaps have the best version of us three, as actual headaches almost never accompany my visual and thinking miscues.

Protein seems to stop the aura attacks almost instantly. At least for me. The last few years I got in the habit of making myself a couple tuna fish sandwiches to fix them when they arose. The symptoms would seem to disappear almost as soon as the second tuna swallow hit my stomach.

My sister got every check known to man for hers not long ago. The doctors terrified her with some possible causes. But finally they ended up telling her basically the same thing I did all along about them: she needed to reduce her daily stress and scrutinize her diet. They also had some pill they thought might help, but my sis was needing to wean an infant first. I don't know if she's ever started taking the pills yet.

Anyway, once I began taking 1000 micrograms of B12 every day my aura problem soared for a week or so. That is, it got triggered ultra-easily, and came on stronger than it ever had before. So fast I felt I didn't have time to prepare sandwiches, and just had to cut open a tuna can, dump it in a bowl, and eat it immediately.

Of course, that's not the whole story.

Ridding myself of unexplained joint pains

You see, I've had this other problem for maybe a year now. Namely, my right elbow many months back suddenly one day felt like I torn something loose inside it. The result was my right arm was effectively weakened from its normal state, and pained me a surprising amount when I merely performed many every day actions with it, like pulling on a door knob to test a door's locked status, or trying to rapidly flap a sheet or blanket to clear it of something.

I'm accustomed to injury, so I simply waited for it to heal up, while I tried to favor it somewhat in my daily routine. I had no idea how I'd injured it. But it's not uncommon for the pain or effects of an injury not to show up until hours or even days after it happened.

But it didn't heal up. For months. I began to suspect carpal tunnel syndrome or repetitive stress-- stuff associated with heavy computer use. But nothing I tried worked to relieve it.

After a while I also began to suspect arthritis.

There were other joint problems as well. Like it became super-easy for my knees or ankles to flare up in pain if I didn't step just right, or happened to be turning a corner at the same time as the step. Stuff like that.

When the B12 symptoms got so alarming though so that I was seeking to diagnose myself via the net, I happened upon some surprising info about vitamin D relating to unexplained joint pains and more.

Most Americans likely get just about all their vitamin D from sun exposure or dairy products. But as with the B12, my personal routine had basically closed off those avenues.

I'd drank tons of milk when younger. And spent great gobs of time in the outdoors. But when I got older milk began to disagree with me. To the point that I can today cause myself a migraine aura as if flicking on a switch, by simply eating a bowl of cheerios with plenty of milk in it. Agh! Other breakfast cereals will also do it, but Cheerios seems the most potent here. I still at times eat cereal now, but almost dry, with just maybe several teaspoons of milk in the bowl. So there went that source of vitamin D!

As for the outdoors, I'm almost never there anymore. I spend tons of time on the computer. And when I work something like regular jobs that's usually indoors too nowadays. So there went that source of D!

Basically I went for roughly a decade or longer with an ever worsening B-12 deficit, and only minimal (much lower than the recommended daily allowance) of vitamin D.

My arm was bugging the heck out of me. So very early into my new B12 regimen I also bought me some vitamin D supplements. Pills with twice the recommended daily allowance.

And I began experimenting with D too.

The effects of D doses lag behind maybe days or longer after taking them. So there was no immediate relief like with the B12.

I soon began breaking the D pills in half so I'd only be getting the RDA in a dose. Like the B12, at first I only took the D sporadically. Finally though, I was taking the RDA (400 International Units) daily.

My elbow joint has improved tremendously since then, and my other joints seem much less vulnerable to twists, etc. I'd judge my elbow to presently be about 95% recovered now.

Something else the D seemed to fix was pain from taking deep breaths. Prior to taking the D, I'd noticed my rib cage would hurt when I took a deep breath. That's gone now.

Like I said before, the D is slower-acting than the B-12.

My night vision has returned; chronic skin and nail ailments put into retreat

There's also been other effects of the new regimen. Like the return of my night vision(!) I lost most of it years ago, thinking it was just another effect of aging. But it was apparently due in some part to a vitamin deficiency. I believe my night vision was fixed by the B12, but I can't be entirely certain D had nothing to do with it. A form of eczema which runs in my family (a recurring itchy rash, which at best moves to different spots from time to time, and at worst itches you all over like an adverse anti-biotic reaction) seems to be in retreat too. The incessant itching of that problem years ago made me try a skin lotion on my feet for relief so I could sleep. That lotion, applied nightly for maybe a couple weeks, ended up giving me the first and only case of toe nail fungus infection I've ever had in my life. It was primarily an annoyance, but seemed never to get better on its own. When I was drinking green tea heavily, the infection almost disappeared entirely-- but not completely. Then I discovered the flouride overdose from the tea and stopped drinking it, and the fungus grew in strength again.

The new vitamins though have apparently killed it at last. B12 is supposed to help with your immune system, among other things.

There is a trade off though.

Adding the D to my B12 regimen seemed to be what made me prone to more easily triggered migraine auras. I adapted as best I could by adding protein to my diet pre-emptively. I'm eating more meat on a daily basis now than I was likely ingesting in a whole month before.

The D also seems to give you more energy-- but that means it forces me to give back a big chunk of that easy-going sleep capacity the B12 alone bequeathed upon me early on. Agh! In light of this I do seem to recall nights in my youth that I'd have a tougher time dropping off to sleep if I'd gotten lots of sunshine the day before.

So! How to balance more sleep against more joint pain? Hmm. Also, now that I've been taking 400 IU of D more or less daily, my elbow pain will actually return a bit from me missing just a single dose in 24 hours(!)

But luckily, even when I get only four or five hours of sleep a night now, they're much more restful hours than the eight to ten I'd have to expend in the bed the last few years trying to get just five or six lower quality hours of actual sleep.

Vitamin D and libido

The D also seems to strongly affect libido. Something I don't recall seeing in the literature. Yikes! (That was actually something I already had more than enough of, thanks) Heck, the last ten years I felt a little relieved that my libido had finally lessened somewhat from its previous levels (Near constant lust is a huge problem for many of we men. Any fellow who tells you different is either lying, or may have some sort of health problem). But now it turns out my slight reduction there was just a vitamin deficiency, rather than aging. Holy cow! Ha, ha.

Well, some of these effects may be somewhat temporary, as my body catches up to where it's supposed to be. I'm also hoping to even things out some by acquiring a full-blown multi-vitamin-and-mineral supplement soon. For I'm likely low or imbalanced on a few other essentials as well.

Yes, I've taken vitamins before. Mostly like 15 or 20 years ago or before. I stopped because the only differences I could detect from them was a lighter wallet and a different color to my urine, as I seemed usually to just flush most of those extra vitamins down the toilet. It appears though that aging has finally made supplements a necessity for me.

Dealing with dizziness from both "benign paroxysmal positional vertigo" and B12-deficiency causes

I've suffered from two different sources of dizziness or unsteadiness on my feet in past years. One stemming from aging and/or one or more hard knocks to the head years back, with the fancy name of "benign paroxysmal positional vertigo" (BPPV for short), and a lesser condition.

The effects of BPPV can be quite severe-- to the point of disabling. That is, it can nauseate you to the point of retching and dry heaving until you die, as well as make you wholly unable to stand or walk at all. You can feel like you're madly spinning round in an amusement park ride when all you're doing is laying in bed. Unfortunately BPPV can strike you right out of the blue with no warning. And so can be terribly dangerous if you're driving or traversing stairs at the time.

Fortunately there's some strange exercises you can do to alleviate BPPV. Which resemble somewhat rolling around a bit on a bed, very slowly. I found this treatment on the internet one day when I was in dire need. I printed out the graphic instructions, and today try to make sure to keep that document close by, everywhere I go. The exercises work for me. How often am I afflicted with this? Maybe fairly badly for a few weeks once every couple years or so. I try not to set it off by turning my head upside down for anything. Or other extreme positions.

The other form of dizziness is much more readily withstood. For a while I thought it related to the BPPV-- but when I tried the BPPV exercises, they didn't help for it. Now it seems it was due to the B12 deficiency. For it's cleared up. This second type was a slight dizziness I might get from simply moving too quickly, or lowering my head, or tilting it at an unusual angle. As you might guess, this second dizziness source could be very annoying in regards to many every day tasks. Thankfully it seems gone or in retreat now.

UPDATE written maybe a week or so after most of the above:

Well, I postponed shopping for a multi-vitamin for a while, partly due to sheer laziness, and partly to the need to give the original regimen a couple weeks to determine their most significant and early impact.

But another of my on-again-off-again ailments popped up to remind me I'd left it out of the previous list, and to encourage me to get on with it in regards to the multi-vitamin shopping.

Namely, foot cramps.

Foot cramp relief

My feet and toes sometimes seize up on me-- and quite painfully-- in muscle spasms of some sort. They come on with no warning, but I can also trigger them purposely if I want, with certain positions.

This happened again just a couple nights ago, just as I was about to drop off to sleep. Once I got my foot into a position which 'unlocked' the spasm, I got on the internet to look for a possible cause I could do something about. I've looked for this topic before, with seemingly little concrete resolution. Foot cramps seem commonplace, and possibly caused by all sorts of things, including vitamin or mineral deficiencies. However, this night I also found advice that keeping your legs bent at the knee might stave them off. Plus, that dehydration might have something to do with it. I did already feel thirsty at the time. So I quenched my thirst and kept my legs bent that night, and the cramps didn't return. But they're pretty random anyway.

I may often be somewhat dehydrated at bed-time. Largely because like many men, my prostate had enlarged with age, reducing my bladder capacity, and thereby forcing me to get up during the night to take care of the problem. So I try not to drink much in the hours before bed. These necessary extra awakenings also added to my sleep problems of past years. The B12 and maybe the D too may be helping in this area as well.

Anyway, the foot cramps made me resolve to seek out a good multi-vitamin-mineral supplement the very next day-- and I went shopping.

I'm concerned that my big doses of B12 may deplete me on some other B vitamins-- as the literature says a B12 overdose may do that. So I picked up a bottle of B-complex I figure I'll take on occasion. I also bought a bottle of supplements supposedly tuned to help the eyes (since I have problems there). Figuring I'd take that somewhat irregularly too (I'm studiously trying to avoid overdosing on any particular nutrient: some of them can be quite dangerous in excessive doses).

I'm hoping my new vitamin regimen might help reduce my vision floaters, and thereby the development of my cataracts.

Although surgery fixes cataracts for many folks, in my case my useless insurance probably wouldn't pay for it. Plus, such surgery might cause my eyes to tip over into full-blown glaucoma territory. So my doc advises I wait as long as possible before such a fix.

Of course, my vision is already seriously impaired. Very near alarmingly so. If money was no object I'd be very tempted to go ahead and get my right eye fixed today.

But back to the vitamin shopping. I also got this big bottle of what resembles horse pills which is supposed to be formulated to give creaking old people like me most of what they need across the board, vitamin and mineral-wise. I took my first one yesterday. As it includes some B12 (but not a huge dose), I cut my later B12-only dose to just 750 mcg, rather than the usual 1000. The multi offers just 25 mcg, so that puts my daily total at 775 mcg. It'd be nice if events show I can get by with the lower B12 dosage over time. I'm thinking that after taking 1000 mcg a day of B12 for a while now, and maybe fixing a few other deficiencies too along the way, I might be able to get by with a lower B12 dose indefinitely.

Yeah, I'm going to be doing some awful fancy juggling of pills in the weeks to come! Ha, ha.

In my efforts to battle my new affliction of cataracts, I've taken up drinking green tea again (as research suggests it might help there). But just one cup a day. And yanking the bag out of the cup entirely after 2-3 minutes of steeping. Previously I drank several cups a day, and kept the bag in them the whole time, when that caused me to overdose on flouride and discolor my teeth. I also have an unconscious habit of letting a hot drink sit in my mouth for a while before swallowing. That too may have hurt my teeth before, with the tea. So today I make a conscious effort to gulp my tea down fast. My teeth have recovered somewhat since the overdose episode-- but not 100%. It takes a long time to replace that absorbed flouride with calcium again. But maybe the new vitamin regimen will speed that up.

As the tea possesses much less caffeine than coffee, the change also helped me during my amplified aura phase from the B12 and D. Plus, caffeine can interfere with B12 digestion. I'd drink a cup of coffee in the morning, tea in the middle of the day (while digesting my B12), and one coffee in the evening.

Another note here about sleep and vitamin D: It seems D will hurt your sleep most if you take it early in the day, and least if you take it just before bed. Apparently it requires some hours for its effect to kick in. Hence, the non-intuitive scheduling in regards to sleep interference.

My Gazelle use of late

As usual, through the summer I had to abandon any notion of Gazelle use, as I rarely had any free time at all of any consequence. I was baby-sitting my three little nephews, and they and others kept me terribly busy. Just one example: the six year old getting his little finger stuck in a sprinkle hole atop a container of Parmesan Cheese, and going into hysterics if we came near him with a tool to cut the plastic lid off (I'd immediately unscrewed the can off it for such access). But also lapsing into hysterics if we did nothing(!) We had to wait until he exhausted himself and fell asleep before we could remove it. That alone was an ordeal of several hours. The kid's an asthmatic too, so you MUST try to keep him calm, no matter what the problem. Yikes! Ha, ha.

Fortunately the kids often keep me hopping when they're here (sometimes I spend several hours straight just fixing food as fast as they can eat it). So I do get some exercise despite being away from the Gazelle.

The kids have left to return to school now. So I've managed to make three 30 minute sessions on the Gazelle in the past week.

If I remember correctly from my reading, cataracts also seem linked to cholesterol. And higher than desired cholesterol seems to run in my family. I believe I came across something suggesting garlic was beneficial for that, as well as other things. So I picked up a garlic supplement too at the store.

In earlier glaucoma-related tests, it seemed eating a chunk of garlic the morning of the test led to lower eye pressures.

Unfortunately, it's a pain dealing with raw garlic on any sort of regular basis. For one thing, it's often too hot to get down. And for another, there's the smell.

But garlic seems to provide significant health benefits.

So although the highly processed garlic in supplements likely isn't nearly as good as the raw, it may be the only practical and convenient way to try using it regularly in a test. Which I plan to do beginning maybe a couple weeks from now (as I want a chance to gauge the effects of different supplements in a distinct fashion). END UPDATE.

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

6-24-06: Bumping along at the bottom of a Vitamin B-12 deficiency

Holy cow! I didn't realize how rough it'd be to determine what my daily dosage of B-12 should be-- until I struck empty again. Agh!

I previously documented how I was taking the supplement on only a spotty basis, basically fearing an overdose which might deplete me of the other types of B vitamins.

But I must have been in worse shape than expected deficiency-wise. Plus, my body doesn't seem to be storing any extra as I thought it would when I do take a large dose.

My on-again-off-again dosage schedule led to me noticing some small signs of returning deficiency for a couple days, but paying little heed to them. Plus, I was pretty busy with other matters. Then I suddenly awoke in the middle of the night with my left hand scarily more numb than it had ever been before. Plus all the smaller symptoms had ramped up considerably in intensity as well.

What made it all the more alarming was I'd taken one 250 mcg dose maybe 16 hours before that day (although just one other 250 mcg dose in the whole preceding six days). Plus my continuing research into the matter indicated that 250 mcg was an awfully big dose where a more or less healthy person was concerned.

Yes, I kept forgetting I was NOT a healthy person where this deficiency was concerned. Plus, it took me a while to realize how little I'd actually taken over the preceding week. And the dose I'd taken that very day had been with a cup of coffee-- and caffeine may greatly interfere with absorption.

So I spent some time on the net once again confirming the small likelihood that a B-12 overdose was causing my present problems.

As I said before, the resurgence in symptoms was somewhat alarming. I ended up taking another 250 mcg dose at 5:15 AM, and only sleeping somewhat fitfully the rest of that night/morning, due to the anxiety and uncertainty. Plus, it takes around 3 hours for the B-12 to be absorbed.

Later that day, although the worst of my symptoms had been alleviated, I still felt bad: something like I had weeks before, when I was approaching the very end of my body's B-12 reserves: like an old, old man. I was beginning to better realize my circumstances by that point. I'd documented my B-12 supplement dosage since the beginning, and so now was able to calculate what my daily average requirement seemed to be to prevent hitting the scary bottom. The average worked out to be around 206 mcg a day.

That same day I decided to take a second 250 mcg dose around 1:15 PM. I also took a brief nap of less than an hour I believe, about the time the fresh B-12 was kicking in three hours later.

All that was yesterday. Last night I experienced no numbness, and my overall symptoms seem much improved. I'm thinking that I must take at least 250 mcg daily now-- and try to avoid taking it too close to my coffee breaks.

This episode gives me a new appreciation of what my dad must have been going through years back, when my mom and I were taking him to the hospital repeatedly over weeks and months as they tried to diagnose his own B-12 deficiency. At first they thought it might be Parkinson's Disease or something. They really ran him through the wringer: MRIs and the whole bit. In the end it turned out he simply needed a B-12 injection once a month.

My dad must have been in agony the whole time. Maybe even thinking death was imminent. Heck, he likely went far longer with and deeper into severe deficiency than I have. So his own suffering must have been horrific. But the main outward signs he gave of this was occasional irritation, or keeping quiet and to himself a lot.

Folks, if you have elderly parents or relatives you care about, I hope you'll help them realize the existence of something like a B-12 deficiency as early as possible. For it can truly be a scary, dangerous, and debilitating condition, until remedied.

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

6-21-06: The costs of sleep deprivation and one possible (even astonishing!) cure for insomnia

I've suffered ever worsening sleep problems (insomnia) for years now-- maybe since around 1998 or before. I sought out all the tips I could on reducing the problem, but nothing seemed to help very much.

This condition was the polar opposite to how my sleep patterns were in my younger days. Heck, I could catnap 60 seconds at a time just about anywhere, under any conditions-- and even somehow time it internally as if with a biological alarm clock. I could also sleep in solid blocks of eight to fourteen hours as desired-- which came in handy for catchup after the times I'd stayed awake for way too long intervals.

Yes: I possessed super sleep powers. This helped me do the research which led to events I later documented in Playing God, among other things.

The waning of my sleep powers came on gradually, over something like a decade or longer. Accompanied by a variety of other nagging, even sometimes alarming, conditions.

All this pretty much forced me into making radical diet and lifestyle changes, involving basically much experimentation upon myself.

Along the way I tried to avoid doing things which seemed too far out of the mainstream, too unproven, or simply too implausible or risky. But still I fell prey at times to going to extremes. Such as with the green tea, which gave me an overdose of flouride from which my teeth have yet to fully recover.

Such self-experimentation gets even riskier when being done by a middle-aged or older fellow like myself. For getting that long in the tooth means even if you changed nothing at all you'd be often experiencing unexpected changes in your health and well being from the aging process alone. Combine that with the effects of your experiments-- sometimes multiple ones occurring simultaneously-- and you can get a bewildering array of new things happening to you all at once, making it difficult to determine the precise reason for results either good or bad. Especially if your circumstances place you in a tiny niche group of the population, thereby making for a dearth of available documentation regarding your concerns.

Hence, the reason it took me so long to realize the flouride overdose I was getting with the tea.

Sooner or later though, certain changes will come to a head. Reach a point where indicators become much clearer as to what's going on. This happened in past weeks with regard to certain things among my own personal health trends.

Recall that weird scalp tingling I'd get at night? Well, it spread to my arms, and especially my hands and fingers. The worst was on my left side. After a couple weeks of this, my left pinkie would feel a bit numb even after I got up in the morning, and everything else had gone back to normal.

These things always felt like a circulation problem: like my limbs were going to sleep from an awkward position. But sometimes I'd awake in the middle of the night and my arms would feel this way even when I wasn't lying on them.

My semi-regular use of the Gazelle helped keep me calm in regards to possible heart attack possibilities-- for I simply couldn't believe I'd have heart problems lying in bed when I had none pushing myself hard on the machine.

But what the heck was it? Hardening of the arteries? My exercise and diet-- and daily dose of dark chocolate-- were all supposed to protect against that. And I believe there were recent scientific reports even saying up to four cups of regular coffee a day didn't cause such harm.

All this was muddied somewhat by my knowledge that my elderly parents have circulation problems and some regularly occuring numbness of extremities. Note such symptoms can also be signs of other conditions, like diabetes, etc.

This latest stuff seemed to come on me fast. In just a couple weeks I suddenly felt significantly weaker, and was experiencing hand and/or arm numbness regularly during sleep. All atop other physical annoyances which had gradually ramped up over years.

But this latest onset proved to be the key to finding the cause. For the latest symptom details, combined (it turned out) with many of the maladies I'd been enduring for some years now (like an at times awfully loud and annoying ringing in the ears, or tinnitus-type condition), all led to one conclusion in my related internet research: Vitamin B-12 deficiency.

The evidence piled up fast. For instance, upon examination I quickly determined my diet for maybe 10 years now had included ever fewer sources of B-12, which basically you only get from red meat, egg yolks, and some dairy products. It's found in some other places as well, but virtually none of them but the red meat, eggs, and dairy had ever been in my diet, even on an irregular basis. And I'd unintentionally become something closer to a vegetarian over past years. What with the multiple rising health risks of fast food, Mad Cow, etc.


Caffeine too can interfere with B-12 digestion.

It turns out your body tries to maintain a reserve of B-12 from which it can draw during lean times. So it can literally take you years to strike empty, like I did a few weeks back.

After determining the likely problem, I got hold of a couple different dosage size pill bottles of the stuff-- 250 micro grams, and a time-released 1000 micro grams-- and began gingerly trying it out.

It seems an overdose of B-12 will mainly prevent you from absorbing the other B vitamins. And in cases like mine some pretty hefty daily doses might be prescribed by doctors for a while-- maybe for the rest of my life.

Still, I was wary of going to extremes. So I took one 250 micro gram pill the first day. Basically to test my self-diagnosis, and see if I could detect any change after 24 hours.

I believe I read somewhere it takes at minimum around three hours to digest B-12. But in less time than that it seemed I was already feeling significantly better.

My earliest indicator was my left pinkie. It had alarmingly retained a bit of its numbness from the night before. Not long after taking the first B-12 dose, it seemed perceptively better.

My research indicated sometimes a dose of 500 micrograms might be required to kick in absorption. Plus, indications were my reserves were absolutely empty. So the next day I took a time released 1000 micrograms. The day after that I took none at all. Then 250 micrograms the following day. None the next. 250 the next day. None for two days. One 1000 mcg the following day. None for three days. One 250 mcg the next day (yesterday). Trying to make sure to leave gaps where I can absorb the other B vitamins, while also trying to rebuild my stockpile a little.

I think I experienced one brief and very limited instance of hand or finger numbness on my right since I began the new regimen. But that's it. No more since. And the sudden spike in daily weakness I felt during those two weeks of almost nightly numbness has also receded. But all that's not the best part.

I'm suddenly sleeping better now than I have in years! More like my younger self! Getting six quality hours is now almost a given, where I had to struggle mightily for just four or five LOW quality hours before. And when I say low quality, I mean sleep which doesn't seem to rest you very well at all.

Of course, all those past years of sleep deprivation took their toll, causing me to age faster than I should have, in some ways. But until the symptoms reached this stage, there was no easy way to make a certain diagnosis of the problem. Especially when it seemed I'd merely inherited the worst aspects of both my parents' health conditions. Agh!

Another B-12 benefit seems to be much reduced gas generation related to digestion. The research indicates such gassy bloating too is related to B-12 deficiency. At times the bloating would be bad enough to be painful-- especially at night. It seems odd for it to have now been banished so easily.

Alas, one particular cost of those years of sleep deprivation may be the formation of cataracts. A regular six month exam with my eye doc yesterday gave me the news. This is a new problem, apparently unrelated to my previous eye malady-- which for the moment seems to be staying in territory not requiring treatment.

I'd noticed my vision deteriorating over the past year. And mentioned to my doc yesterday it seemed I'd need to refresh the lenses prescription for my eye glasses. But the problem turned out to be cataracts. Which seemed to develop rapidly the past year. Just as I was hitting bottom in my vitamin B-12 deficiency. Of course, that just may be a coincidence.

So now I have a new research campaign and possible experiments to carry out!

If I sound optimistic, it's probably because the B-12 thing made me feel like I bounced back health-wise in some big ways the past week or so. I was feeling really old before I discovered my vitamin deficiency.

It's also true that in many cases cataracts can be fixed with surgery. I know people who've done it. Unfortunately, my other vision frailties may mean the risks of surgery are higher for me than many others. Plus, my own health insurance probably wouldn't cover such an operation. Yes. I am an American: native of a military superpower with an increasingly third world-like economic and health maintenance infrastructure for the majority of its citizens.

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

7-12-05: The numbers just keep getting better; peanut butter as grocery bag Viagra?

I recently had another eye exam and the returns were better than ever-- the best since my first appointment with the doc a few years back. Now he's starting to think that maybe I don't have the condition he thought after all. I'm still off the liquid gold (cost-wise) medicine. But still going in for six month exams too. If the next exam has good results too, I'm at least going to try stretching things out to a year between exams after that. Because those exams are costing me a fortune.

I'm self-employed with a health insurance deductible big enough to scare the toughest guy around-- so basically I just have catastrophic insurance. Everything short of that comes out of my pocket in addition to the still sky high monthly premiums (which go up again about every two months it seems-- even though they've never paid out a cent on me in the years I've been with them. Doh!).

I keep asking the doc if he thinks my fierce lifestyle changes could have anything to do with my vastly improved numbers, and he keeps saying NO, none of that could be affecting my numbers. But he gives no alternative reason why things have changed so dramatically for me.

I've stopped taking the daily children's aspirin I once did for general health purposes, as it sometimes seemed to give me a headache at bedtime to do so.

I've been eating a bowl of ice cream almost daily the last couple months, in addition to drinking a big glass of milk, in my effort to re-calcify my teeth after the flouride overdose. I'm even thinking that overdose may itself had have something to do with my increased eye pressures. I've not drunk any more green tea at all for months now, due to the fluoride problem. I was using a specifically flouride-free toothpaste for a while but am now using conventional paste once more-- only in itsy bitsy dabs on the tip of my brush, to minimize the flouride dose there. My teeth seem to be slowly improving.

I'm drinking four cups of coffee a day now. And yet my eye pressure's the lowest since the doc started measuring it! I'm still taking a dose of dark chocolate daily to stave off skin problems too. I seem to require the amount of caffeine I get from all that in order to function well during the day and sleep fairly decently at night. I tried having no caffeine at all for at least a couple years (and drinking little or no milk)-- and that's when I developed my worst insomnia, my eye problems, and just generally felt like crap all the time. Yech! Oh yeah. I gained weight then too.

a - j m o o n e y h a m . c o m - o r i g i n a l

I DON'T drink soft drinks today. Of any kind. Or eat the general junk food most do. One hamburger and fries every several months is probably the going rate on those. The dark chocolate and plain ice cream is the closest to that sort of junk food in which I indulge. I eat lots more fruit than I used to now. And a peanut butter sandwich on occasion. However I've come to realize lately that peanut butter seems to increase sexual appetites in men for some reason. So if you're already bothered by too much stimulation you might want to lay off the peanut butter. Now I see why I was so pent up at various points in the past: I was eating way, way too many peanut butter sandwiches! Heck man, that may be a cheap natural version of Viagra! If only I'd realized that decades back I could have changed my diet and been far more relaxed. Sheesh! But I didn't pay that much attention to cause and effect in my diet back then. And I sure don't recall seeing any articles about such a link. Of course, it's also possible that such a link only exists for folks with a particular version of DNA. But maybe it'd be worth a little extra research for anybody who was interested. Me, I just try to make sure I'm not overdoing the peanut butter these days (many years past I practically lived exclusively on the stuff). One or two sandwiches a day seems OK. But go much beyond that and you're just asking for a return to your over-sexed teenage years again...

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

5-19-05: Exercise versus expensive medicine, an aching foot/ankle, shrinking, and fluoride update

I've been off my super-expensive and annoying-to-use eye medicine for many months now. Yay! Let us hope my next exam in a few weeks continues the winning streak!

That medicine's so expensive just avoiding its use by maybe five months roughly pays for the original cost of the Gazelle! And from some commercials I've seen lately it may be that folks buying Gazelles today may be able to find deals of half what we paid.

These days my Gazelle schedule has been working out to about 33 minutes a day, four days a week on average.

I'm pleased with my gut reduction and tightening, but as readers know I've been following a fairly mild regimen with the Gazelle since I had it. Anyone wanting faster or more dramatic results would have to undertake a more rigorous routine.

Keep in mind if extra rigor with minimal extra chore factor is your goal in your Gazelle use, viewing a TV show or film you really like while exercising helps. But maybe the best technique of all is to turn off the TV and turn on some favorite music with a good exercise beat to it.

I realize now that although to me personally my gut originally seemed almost the only outwardly visible change in my body from aging, there was also an extremely gradual buildup of a thin layer of fat all over me under my skin, mainly detectable to people who hadn't seen me in years. Turned out it made me almost unrecognizable to some. I discovered this by accident a few years back by meeting one of those folks and recognizing them without them recognizing me.

After having this pointed out to me I could see it too. I just hadn't been paying attention before. Although of course over the years the scales had informed me I was getting bigger somewhere-- I thought it was just my gut, and missed the all over thing. Although I do remember thinking that I seemed to have "grown" some all over since young adulthood(!) Ha, ha.

Now it seems that my Gazelle and I have reached the stage where any further progress about what remains about my middle will be somewhat linked to that thin all over layer too. In a logical reverse of the process of how it all built up on me in the first place.

So I guess I'm starting to get smaller overall again now. Crap! I liked being a little bit bigger than I was in high school! Ha, ha. Being small in stature might be OK for women, but we men like having a little heft on us.

Of course if I shrink in size a little but actually become as strong or stronger than before, as well as possess more stamina and am healthier, it won't be all bad.

My teeth appear to be slowly re-calcifying after I stopped my multi-year fluoride overdose via green tea, fluoridated water, and fluoridated toothpaste (sheesh!).

Unfortunately if they ever do whiten back all the way to their previous level from the fluoride induced transparency in spots, it's going to take a while. I read somewhere it can take years for excess fluoride to leave your system again. But the creepy-crawly scalp feelings during sleep seem to be gone entirely-- or else are happening extremely rarely now. So I believe the fluoride had something to do with that.

I've got an old ankle injury that doesn't usually bother me except when I must stay on my feet a lot for many hours or after I've indulged the little kids around here by chasing them at top speed for a while (ha, ha). But apparently this is one down-side to the extra stamina the Gazelle can bestow on users. Recall how I mentioned earlier my stamina had increased to the point that the kids run out of energy before I do at times? Well, that extra time spent running on the old injury aggravates it worse than my old tired self could ever do voluntarily. Ergo, a full month after the last time I chased the kids my foot and ankle are still protesting over the event. I think it has something to do with circulation patterns that changed there after I broke some ligaments in the region many years ago.

What I usually do to help it is try to keep it elevated as much as possible. Daily use of the Gazelle seems to help more than hurt, in keeping the ache down to a minimum-- I guess by improving my general circulation-- although in terms of overall activity my leg does best if I stay off it.

In my young adult days I was pretty darn active physically, frequently walking many miles several days a week, or working a full-time and fairly physical job in a restaurant or factory, in addition to doing lots of work on my hot rod or those of my friends (CLICK HERE for more on that). But eventually I got into computers big time and that really sucked the physical activity out of my life. For quite a few years. I eventually began trying to compensate for that in various ways and with various devices. So far the Gazelle seems the best-- although still not perfect-- tool. After all, if it was perfect using it would be no chore at all! Ha, ha.

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

12-27-04: My eye doc's verdict on my four month hiatus from medicine; Fluoride overdose nearly unique to American tea drinkers? Appetite changes seem to uncomfortably lag behind physical changes

So far so good! I went in for a four month followup concerning my vision ailment, dreading the possibility I might have to start up the expensive medicine again.

Besides the cost, the drug seems to greatly impede my work by making my eyes get fatigued much quicker than they otherwise would. Since getting off the medicine I seemed able to get much more done. Indeed, I pushed my eyes to their new expanded limits several times (something I really shouldn't do-- especially since new reports say computer work raises the risk for my diagnosed ailment). So over these past four months I tended to work long hours comparable to those I put in several years back, prior to my diagnosis.

Then there's the hassle involved in taking the medicine. This hassle every night before sleep-- along with the drug effects themselves-- seem to muck up my falling asleep and staying that way too. I've slept consistently terribly during the years I was on the medicine. Since getting off it, I seem to have slept consistently better (not as well as I did in my thirties, but better).

So during my four month hiatus I made sure to use the Gazelle as regularly as I could. Plus further improve my diet. Lately I've added some mixed fruit cups, and lots more walnuts, pecans, and almonds to my diet than ever before.

I was probably using the Gazelle around 33-35 minutes a day, five to six days a week over the period. I've also taken on a few extra daily chores around the house over past months which slightly increases my overall physical activity-- though the chores are pretty light duty.

As I'd just bought a fresh monthly supply of my super-expensive eye medicine days before my previous appointment, and my doc emphasized the risks to my vision of being off it even for a period of months before he OK'ed me trying its absence, I continued taking the stuff until it ran out. I figured it'd reduce the risk of the test period by around 30 days, plus save some money as the stuff expires almost immediately. So I couldn't have simply put it away for later possible use.

The latest verdict from my doctor? I can stay off the medicine for the next six months. Yay! Now if I can just keep this up every check up...

I don't know if I've mentioned it in this log before or not, but I've also taken up coffee drinking again. Why? The daily caffeine seems to help me sleep better at night, for some odd reason. The tea was too low in caffeine to help much there.

I've also stopped drinking tea entirely. Not because I wanted to. It has excellent health benefits. But it's also loaded with fluoride.

In the USA most public water supplies are apparently fluoridated, Plus we get fluoride doses in much of our toothpaste brands as well.

So it seems I overdosed on fluoride with the tea. Yikes! So what were the symptoms? A progressive mottling of the enamel on my front teeth. Some sections actually seemed to turn transparent.

Some sources indicate that the teeth actually become stronger in such a circumstance-- at least up to a certain point-- but the accompanying appearance is definitely undesirable.

I continued overdosing myself for quite a while, being puzzled as to what was causing it. It didn't help matters that it was tough to find much about it on the internet. Or that I'd changed a LOT about my lifestyle around the same time I began my tea drinking (so there were many possible culprits). But here seems the crux of things:

The average American consumes little or no tea-- especially green tea-- on a regular basis. Tons of folks in other nations do though. Plus America seems to be one of the few nations which broadly fluoridates its water AND its toothpaste and related products. Hence, very few Americans ever drink enough tea to get overdosed with fluoride, while few non-American tea drinkers ever get overdosed because their water and various toiletries are not typically loaded with fluoride. Ergo, a very small niche of folks like me to post about the phenomenon, or for doctors to notice. Agh!

So anyway I dropped the tea plus even my toothpaste lately, in an attempt to give my teeth a chance to recover.

I still brush and floss and use a dental antiseptic rinse. Plus I don't consume nearly so much junk as average Americans anymore, which helps keep my teeth maybe a little cleaner than most anyway.

Drastically cutting my fluoride intake has seemed to help my teeth recover a bit. But as it took maybe a couple years to do the damage it could take a while to recover too. It's very possible I'll need a dentist to do a cosmetic fix for it. In children such overdoses can do permanent damage. Adults may recover more easily than kids, based on what articles I've seen. So I'll give it some time before resorting to cosmetic dental work.

Another weird effect of the fluoride overdose may have been a creepy-crawling sensation in my scalp during sleep, much like how an extremity feels when it has 'fallen asleep', or the circulation has been momentarily curtailed there, and started up again afresh. The creepy crawlies seem to have greatly diminished since I cut back on the fluoride.

The Gazelle has visibly and substantially reduced the size of my gut. It seems to have also shrunk my overall stomach capacity. Though this is a good thing, it apparently takes a while for one's appetite or feelings of hunger to re-synchronize themselves with the shrunken belly. Over past months I've often overeaten to the point of substantial overnight discomfort.

Am I eating bigger meals than before? No. I've actually found I can no longer eat as much at one setting as I did maybe a year or more ago. Examples: My whole adult life I'd usually eaten a couple pieces of bread with a bowl of soup. I dare not do that now. The soup alone is usually all I can take without experiencing later discomfort. I used to always tear up a couple pieces of bread to add to my two packets of instant oatmeal in a bowl, too. Now it's far more common for me to forego the bread slices entirely.

The last few months I even ate fewer daily meals too. Sometimes just a single one all day, late in the day, prior to bed. So I'm eating fewer meals, and those meals tend to be maybe 50% smaller in mass than they used to be. But my appetite is now confused. Often I'll still feel hungry even though eating more will hurt me. So while my appetite catches up to the new me I must try to consciously avoid afflicting later suffering on myself by overeating in a meal.

On the face of it all this sounds illogical. After all, how is it that I've increased my daily physical activity but this has resulted in me lowering my daily food intake? I guess I'm processing food more efficiently now. And maybe some of my eating before was merely time-killing? Or related to TV-watching? For which I no longer have the time to spare? Yikes! Maybe so.

Note that I have a slightly younger sister who may keep even busier than I, plus maybe exercises more too (sheesh! How the heck are both those things true!?!), and has done so for many years. That sister I believe for a long time now has often eaten just one large meal a day, or maybe one large and one small. So maybe my own routine will eventually match the one she's ended up with over time.

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

8-29-04: I get to quit my expensive medicine in a test

Well, I managed to squeeze in about a week's worth of Gazelle use (around 30+ minutes a day) prior to my checkup.

Remember that expensive medicine I wanted to get off of? As my test results in this latest exam looked pretty good, my doc said it was OK for me to try quitting for a while (we talked at length). He also scheduled my next appointment to check my status only four months in the future rather than the usual six, in order to minimize any risk that my medicine may still be necessary after all, and so cause me harm to go without for long.

Eureka! I'm free! At least until my next exam. Now it's up to me to try to keep up my regular exercise, get enough sleep, and eat right so I can still hopefully pass my next test. YAY!

Note that although my injury kept me off the Gazelle for quite a while prior to my exam, I still kept up a more active lifestyle in general than my usual during that time, due to my little nephews being around for much of the period. So maybe that activity helped in lieu of the Gazelle.

Another point: three factors seem to have more to do with the 'floaters' which waft before my vision these days, than any other. Stress, lack of sleep, and physical activity. Regular exercise plus sleeping better, plus maybe just a coincidental reduction in personal stress appear to have all combined to reduce my floaters significantly the past few years.

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

8-7-04: I must stay off the Gazelle for a while due to injury and other reasons

I've had to do much more babysitting lately than usual. That alone typically interrupts my regular Gazelle sessions, due to me needing the extra time and energy to deal with the little tykes. But this time I was also injured.

How and why? Well, for a variety of reasons I often don't get enough sleep. So sooner or later I must endure a day where I undertake unusual exertions of mind or body despite having had little or no sleep the night before.

A while back such a day took place when my sister needed help moving from an apartment to a newly purchased house.

Fortunately there were five of us to split the task. Unfortunately only two of us were relatively young adult males, and so me and a friend tended to share the heaviest loads.

I was aware that having no sleep the night before made injury more likely. But grinding away for many hours at the task you tend to simply accept the numbness that fatigue offers, and not be very alert to signs of injury.

I did notice a severe pain in my chest when I leaned too heavily on a vertically pointing arm rest in a van as I heaved a computer system over the seats at full arm extension (note several bad circumstances in that sentence). Hours later I temporarily gave out suddenly after we hoisted a large couch over our heads to clear the handrail of a stairway, after we'd already had to carry the couch off a truck and all the way around the house. I recovered within minutes and continued to work. I mention these two specific incidents as those are the main suspects in my injury.

The first major post-move pains of injury didn't even show up until something like three days later. Then, for maybe a week, I ended up having to carry my left arm in a sling for relief, off and on. I wondered if I'd broken a rib, the way it felt. But over time it seemed to become apparent it was a shoulder injury-- both in front and behind. Chest and back.

Some five weeks later I still often awaken with a feeling like I have an old stab wound healing up in the vicinity of my left armpit.

Anyway, I've burned myself a couple times in the past by trying to start up my exercise routine again too soon after a respiratory illness. So I figured I'd allow myself plenty of healing time before cranking up with this bum shoulder. Plus, there's the babysitting I mentioned before.

My main regret is I have an exam regarding a chronic condition coming up that my exercise seems to help a lot with. I expect the lack of exercise will skew the exam results worse than the stellar score they offered up last time, darn it.

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

3-17-04: Interesting workout-related 'fountain of youth' effects UPDATED

As the flab on your body diminishes, you discover more slack or looseness in your skin. I'm finding this on my trunk (main body, including waist). I expect this looseness will tighten up over time, as my skin gets a chance to adjust to my new body-size.

Judging by the increasing looseness of the waist band in my jeans, I'm going backwards in time in that particular dimension.

I've been sleeping better the past few months than before. Partly this comes from a vast improvement in circulation. Before regular workouts I was having increasing problems with my arms or legs 'falling asleep'/getting numb in certain sleeping positions, because my blood veins were apparently collapsing too easily, blocking the flow. Now though the problem is practically non-existent.

The last few times I had my vision checked, it was actually sharper than previous years(!) Yes, I wear fairly strong prescription lenses, but even using those for quite a few years I could only clearly read maybe the second or third line up from the bottom of eye test charts. In some cases the doctors said it was due to strain or stress. In many cases it was definitely due to a heavy dose of 'floaters' in my eyes-- objects which resemble what you might see under a microscope, only in this case, aging causes the eyeball to elongate and the eyeball wall to pull away from the gel inside, thereby allowing various garbage to float around between the gel and retina, causing you to see such 'floaters'. My own floaters got so bad for maybe ten years and stayed that way, that they significantly affected my vision. Basically the things move around as you move your eyes, but when you're having to look through one to read an eye chart your vision accuracy is diminished. Anyway, for the first time in years my floaters have markedly declined, so that now the last few eye tests I had I was able to read the tiniest print on the chart! Yay!

I can remember in my youth I'd frequently and spontaneously stretch, like a cat. At some point over the years though, I seemed to stop this spontaneous stretching entirely. Apparently this was due to me falling into worse physical shape. In past months however, my youthful yearning to stretch on occasion has returned. Maybe this has to do with my muscles being better toned(?)

I have three little nephews who love being chased at breakneck speed. In years past, I always had to beg to rest pretty quickly, and end the pursuit. Nowadays though, at least sometimes, the kids need a rest break before I do(!)

Speaking of young children's love of running, the other day I caught myself running indoors, inbetween chores, while totally alone in the building, for really no good reason at all. Once I realized this I stopped myself for safety reasons, of course. Then pondered the why of my subconscious impulse. All I could come up with is a regression to youthful tendencies, due to improving physical condition. Like my nephews I too loved to run as a child. And even into my twenties and thirties, I'd often break into a run or sprint while on the job and off. So to catch myself bursting into running now like this seems a sign of returning youthfulness.

I have a certain serious medical condition which was first diagnosed a few years back. A couple weeks ago I had my latest six month exam for it, and guess what? I got the best (most healthy) instrument readings on the condition ever since my original diagnosis! The doc told me he was still keeping me on the expensive medicine though because of the existing system damage from the past. But he also seemed less certain of his original diagnosis, now relying solely upon the old damage than any current readings.

Hmm. So I guess now I have to somehow heal that old damage to get weaned off my medicine? That may be harder than affecting the current readings themselves. But still, I feel I'm making progress. Especially since this particular condition supposedly has no cure.

Regular use of the Gazelle isn't the only way I've changed my lifestyle for health reasons in past years, so it might be misleading to say the Gazelle is solely responsible for the effects described above. Then again, I've got research reports from third parties around here somewhere that say regular exercise is the closest thing to a fountain of youth known today. So I wouldn't be surprised if some advanced analysis of my progress gave a large or majority share of the credit to my workouts.

To see some of the information I'm aware of and might use to complement the Gazelle for purposes of health maintenance, please refer to More ways to guard your health and attend to basic medical needs for very, very low cost.

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

2-25-04: The Sears Fitness Quest Gazelle Supra

Here's an item that I wasn't able to post in anything like a timely fashion, due to the Holidays, my own sickness and other pressing matters: Word of a new piston-equipped Gazelle model from a reader (full name, address not posted in order to preserve their privacy).

John wrote me about the Fitness Quest Gazelle Supra available from Sears in late 2003. He bought one and was impressed. The pistons are situated nearer the top of the machine than the bottom, and there's no option of changing resistance modes. John saw nothing wrong with a single resistance mode, and neither do I, so long as it's reasonably stout. You can always increase intensity of your workout via the different attack angles of your posture on the machine (as displayed in the TV advertisements) as well as the speed of your movements. The Supra was available through both www.sears.com and www.bobvila.com, for between $200 and $250 (depending on sales discounts) at last check.

It's been a while since I visited the Sears site to look at this model, but I believe I got the impression it was pretty nice looking, with maybe a few pleasing curves where my own Gazelle just sports straight lines in the framework.

(John, sorry I couldn't post this earlier! If you'd witnessed my personal world these past months you'd understand! Thanks for the info!)

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

2-12-04: A workout intermission due to illness; the usefulness of green tea and garlic; music, coffee, and sweats; optimizing your workout time of day

Sickness shuts down my workouts for a while (darn it)

Well, I got thrown off my Gazelle schedule by first a bout of flu, and immediately on the heels of that a considerably worse sinus infection. I still exhibit a trace of the infection symptoms even today, following any venture outside in the cold for several minutes or more. This particular sinus affliction seemed most unusual in how immediately and consistently it would make the victim pay for even brief bouts of cold air exposure.

I was thankful for the physical conditioning I'd done on the Gazelle in the months prior to the latest flu case. This particular bout seemed much milder in general than my previous stints in years past, though it did stubbornly hang on to me for quite a while. I attribute the mildness to my decent physical shape at the onset. Plus, of course, I drink green tea regularly now too.

Green tea and garlic

I've also found that eating garlic will stop a runny nose for a while. How long depends on the severity of your illness. During this last flu span one dose of garlic would stop my runny nose for maybe 12-24 hours. However, when the considerably worse sinus infection came weeks later the garlic only worked for a couple hours at a time-- not long enough to ensure a non-choking overnight sleep, unfortunately.

All in all though I was impressed at how well the green tea and garlic combination worked compared to over-the-counter medicines for the same thing. This was the first year I'd possessed the knowledge to use such stuff against my old seasonal foes. I don't think I had to use any pain reliever stronger than aspirin for the flu part-- but I did use plain Tylenol for a week or longer when the sinus infection hit.

NOTE: Above I DON'T mean I'm taking a dose of garlic with my tea. YUCK! I mean I drink one to three cups of green tea daily, and also at some point swallow a cut up or crushed clove of garlic, if the need is felt. I usually wash the garlic down with a diet (no sugar) soda. But a cup of green tea sometime afterwards will do a much better job of taking the garlic off your breath than the soda will. END NOTE.

When to restart a workout regimen after recovery from sickness

I tried re-starting my Gazelle routine as soon as possible, but jumped the gun by too wide a margin and was rewarded with a relapse of my respiratory illness. This has happened to me before. Folks, you simply can't rush back into your exercise regimen too soon into respiratory illness recovery (and perhaps other sickness types as well). I've made this same mistake several times in the past, on pre-Gazelle machines and via altogether different exercise practices. But in my defense it can truly be difficult to ascertain exactly how soon it's safe to jump back into the routine again, in many cases. Plus, anyone who's been off their routine for a while tends to champ at the bit to get back in the saddle, for reasons like the greater optimism it gives you, and all the little aches and pains that no longer bug you when you're exercising regularly.

Many of those little aches and pains that accompany lengthy periods devoid of exercise may primarily be noticed when you lay down to sleep. So ridding yourself of those ailments via exercise makes for a more restful night on average.

My Gazelle is pretty noisy still. Applying Vaseline to the obvious spots long ago made no difference whatsoever. But I admit I've not consulted the instructions or spent any time on performing maintenance related to all this, for months. Heck, I'm lucky to get the chance to do a workout at all! Fortunately here at WebFLUX Central the machine noise is not usually a problem, but for forcing me to turn up the volume of an accompanying music box or TV.

What time of day is best for a workout?

For the first few months on the Gazelle I purposely timed my workouts to be in the early evenings so I'd be assured of preferred TV shows to watch during the span. But eventually I had nothing but re-runs left there, plus the late workouts seemed to adversely affect my sleep cycles. I ran across scientific studies confirming this possibility.

So I changed my exercise schedule to the early morning: using the Gazelle first thing after I arose for the day-- before breakfast, shower, just about everything. Early morning exercise sessions seem pretty popular among lots of folks. Plus, studies seem to indicate that's a good time for such stuff as well. It also cuts out the need for a second shower the same day, if you exercise immediately after waking, THEN shower. So presto-chango you immediately gain maybe 15-20 minutes on your day, or more.

Exercising immediately after waking offers a few other advantages as well. One, you're about as rested as you're ever going to be, so there should be minimal stamina or endurance problems at that time. Two, as unlike such a session later in the day, you're virtually guaranteed you'll get to clean up after. So you can get as hot and sweaty as you'd like-- meaning the session can be more intense or rigorous than circumstances might allow for later sessions. Three, such early morning workouts might reduce the number and severity of workout interruptions too, allowing you to get your full workout completed and performed more often, than if it were scheduled in a different period. Four, working out on an empty stomach can often be more comfortable than immediately following a meal-- especially a heavy meal.

Coffee, sweats, and music

Another nice thing about morning sessions is you can take your morning coffee with you. I take a swallow every once in a while during my sessions now. The hot beverage helps you break a sweat quicker, and the caffeine stimulant dulls the chore element of the workout. I've got a handy waist-high surface next to the Gazelle to park my coffee, boombox, etc. I've also taken to wearing fairly heavy clothing during sessions, to enhance the sweating.

Note that breaking a sweat during exercise indicates the best type of physical maintenance, in terms of cardio-vascular workouts. And any additional sweating you accomplish beyond ten or fifteen minutes in a session may actually help you trim your weight and flab down some too.

However, you gotta be careful not to hurt yourself. Moderation not only reduces the risk of injury, but also won't discourage you about exercising in general like excesses will. I've seen research reports verifying that, too. Basically, if you feel like you're overdoing it, you probably are. So ease up and see if you can get that extra push instead in tomorrow's session with less strain. Easy does it folks.

Anyway, I began working out in the mornings rather than evenings. Alas, morning TV is awful, and of little help to me personally in my sessions. So I'm using a boombox, or stereo music player now. I still keep the TV on, but with the volume muted, and usually set to headline news or business news, with lots of readable headlines scrolling across the bottom.

Although an engrossing film or TV show may be the most preferable entertainment for distracting you from the chore of a workout, such items are few and far between for me. Fortunately, music is a decent second-- and may even be superior to TV or films in some ways.

When I used to use a stationary bike, I had a Sony Walkman or knock off of same I used to listen to music cassettes. It seems pop or pop rock music is best for exercise. You want pleasant sound with some alternating beats or rhythms with which to synch your movements. The changing tempos offer good opportunities for changing your pace of workout exertions. I.e., 30 minutes of music mostly composed of moderate paced rhythms, but including one or two faster beat songs among them, is just about perfect to give you a satisfactory routine. Especially if the first 10-15 minutes consists of the moderate pace, allowing you to sort of warm up before getting more strenuous.

If you can find such music that also has great lyrics and lessons or principles you can live by, that's even better, as that could allow you to do some mental conditioning at the same time you're strengthening your body.

a - j m o o n e y h a m . c o m - o r i g i n a l

Unfortunately, that last item can really be hard to find in combination with music and beats that really go well with your routine, as well as consist of tunes you enjoy.

Because of this, my own preferred music doesn't sport great mental conditioning lyrics. Indeed, it's more silly than anything else. But at least it's not dismal and depressing like some music out there (I feel sorry for anyone who finds they must work out to sad country or blues songs, for instance).

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

12-10-03: An overseas reader asks for help acquiring our USA Gazelle model-- or else modifying a different model to include resistance mechanisms

A reader in Israel wrote in that they'd love to acquire the model of Gazelle described here but it isn't normally sold there, and the shipping costs from the US appear prohibitive. Could I offer them some ideas for getting around the shipping obstacle, or else improvising some resistance mechanisms on a Gazelle model which doesn't come with the hydraulic pistons? Below is my [edited] reply:

There's apparently several different variations of this device now equipped with pistons-- unfortunately I don't have a list of the model name variations.

The smaller looking model I saw on QVC or wherever seems to possess pistons, and might offer some storage and transport (and delivery cost) advantages over the heavier built version we own (I describe it elsewhere in the log).

Unfortunately, extensive user modification of the Gazelle in regards to its pistons would be a formidable task, as I also discuss below in the log. My dad and I are pretty experienced fabricators, but considered the Gazelle mods to be significant in their difficulty and risk. I wouldn't advise you to try actual metal-forming mods with the Gazelle unless you have lots of prior experience in this area already.

Alternatively, if you have a close friend who's experienced in such stuff, you might persuade them to do the mods for you instead. Keep in mind though that they might need videos of such models in action, as well as whatever other info you can provide them (for it might be a surprisingly difficult mod!).

The mod difficulties could be extensive enough that an experienced fabricator might consider the alternative of designing and building their own clone machine from scratch(!)

Less drastic mods to accomplish the same thing you desire might also be possible. For instance, some arrangement of bungee cords, secured by screws, clamps, or tying or wrapping to the proper places on the machine. But you'd need to figure out how to do this while still being able to periodically adjust the tension, as it might take quite a while to get it right. You'd also need safeguards to protect you from the consequences of a cord breaking at high tension (such stuff can be dangerous, especially for the eyes), and the cords themselves from chaffing against themselves or the Gazelle, which might cause them to wear and break prematurely.

Maybe you could cut the delivery cost by having someone who was already traveling to Israel from a country where the Gazelle was available, bring it with them in their personal effects?

People have also told me that US military folks who are ordered to move to various places get great deals on the moving of their personal possessions. If it can be done without breaking any laws, you might seek out a transport favor from someone in that position?

Or maybe post a 'want to buy' message on ebay or wherever else such is possible, that explains you wish to buy a certain used Gazelle model that's ALREADY situated in Israel, and so bypassing the shipping problem in that way? Odds are such a beast does exist!

Of course, even if you get a Gazelle delivered to you, you may still experience considerable problems if the package arrives incomplete, or damaged, or some critically important piece fails soon after delivery, as happened with our own piston.

Before we acquired the Gazelle, I searched for similar devices at lower cost and found one on the internet. It's an obscure device from an obscure source, which if I recall looked a bit clunkier than the Gazelle but more heavy duty, and maybe no assembly required(?) It was somewhat cheaper I think.

If I run across more info on the alternative machine, or some other idea that might be helpful to your situation, I'll post it in this log.

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

12-10-03: An online Gazelle manual

I previously mentioned locating a user manual for the Gazelle online, albeit an incomplete one. Since then, a reader wrote in asking for an URL.

This PDF file was one possible URL for this at last check.

I used this google search to find it.

If you check out the other results it's possible you may find alternative manuals of some sort.

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

10-29-03: Captain Kirk status

Well, it's still tough to average more than four 30 minute sessions per seven day week on the Gazelle, due to my schedule. But even at that somewhat sedate pace, I seem to derive quite a few benefits, including gradually slimming down my middle and looking more 'buff' than perhaps ever before in my life. Don't get me wrong: I'm not looking like a body-builder, but more like one of those film heroes of the fifties or sixties when going shirtless (you know-- before steroids and massive weight-lifting became requirements for stars). Or, in other words, more like a shirtless Captain Kirk from the original Star Trek series.
The true source of this page is

Hey, don't laugh! For me that's an improvement. I may be looking fitter in torso and arm aspects now than I did in high school or college. I can't compare my appearance to my construction worker stints because I can't recall seeing myself in a suitable mirror during those times (cramped, low cost quarters, you know).

I still have some gut flab, but it's gradually disappearing.

Just before the one piston failed on the machine some months back, I adjusted the resistance up one notch to medium, and have kept it there ever since. Partly I did this because the lesser resistance setting sort of encouraged a wider and wilder range of motion to work up a sweat. I also found I usually couldn't stand to spend more than 30 minutes at a time on a session. The wide range of motion was extra tough on my feet. But I still wanted to get a maximum workout in just 30 minutes. So I went up to the medium setting to accomplish more with a smaller range of motion and minimum session span.

It was also around that time that new guidelines from some health-related agency were released indicating that everyone needed to spend at least an hour(!) rather than 30 minutes exercising a day, in order to attain or keep personal fitness. YIKES! So increasing the intensity of my 30 minute session seemed one of the best responses I could make to all these varying conditions.

The machine is on the second floor of WebFLUX Central, which gets pretty warm in the summer months. That helped me work up a sweat pretty easily, even shirtless. Now though things are cooling down, so I often sip a cup of hot tea during a session, plus wear some sort of shirt as well, to make it more likely I'll break a sweat during the session.

The sweating seems to be what actually burns the fat. Studies also show sweat signifies the most productive portion of a workout cardio-vascular-wise.

Keep in mind though that anyone just starting out on the machine, or with a pre-existing medical problem of some sort might should avoid my own 'sweat-enhancement' practices, at least until after they've already used the machine regularly for some weeks, and/or consulted their doctor about mixing such habits with their own circumstances.

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

8-23-03: I get the Gazelle up and running again

The hydraulic unit arrived in the late afternoon of 8-20-03, some eight business days after talking to Sharon, and getting the seven business day estimate. I installed it the next day, and resumed my (almost) daily exercise sessions.

Going for two weeks with no Gazelle was not a welcome experience. Such an interruption in my exercise routine was not good, for many reasons. If money was no object, I'd likely buy the smaller, less expensive version of the Gazelle described previously just for backup purposes for when the main machine was down like this.

I wonder how much these pistons will cost after the warranty runs out?

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

8-9-03: Good and bad news on the exercise machine experience

We like this machine a lot, after close to three months of use. I'm by far the main user at this time, putting in on average maybe 30 minutes a session, 4-5 days a week. There's maybe three other significant users, but all combined they likely amount to only around one 30 minute session per week, on average.

On 8-7-03 the Gazelle effectively quit working. What happened was one of the 'power pistons', also known as a 'hydraulic unit', which looks remarkably like a shock absorber from a 1969 Ford Mustang I once owned, suddenly lost all capacity to offer resistance to movement on the machine. This made one side of the machine not only move so freely it'd be tough to get a workout at all, but as the machine is built from fairly large and heavy metal parts, inertia alone will now cause that side to swing alarmingly on its own, once movement is initiated. Under these conditions it seems it'd be easy for a user to get hurt, and/or fall off the machine.

This being the case, I unfastened the top end of the non-working piston from the rest of the machine to see if I could fix the problem. I pulled the shaft outwards and was stunned when the thing instantly slid completely out of the cylinder. As the bottom of the cylinder remained attached to the Gazelle, I hadn't been supporting its length at the time, so the other end, when suddenly freed of the shaft, fell to the floor and hydraulic fluid began spilling out all over everything. YIKES!

After taking remedial clean up action for all the fluid and grease that accompanied the spill, I noticed the shaft was threaded at the end which had popped out of the cylinder. Hey, I thought-- maybe it hadn't been screwed in properly at the factory? And could be fixed simply by replacing the lost hydraulic fluid and screwing in the shaft until tight? But no go. I didn't immediately try a fluid refill, but simply screwing the shaft back into its hidden fitting-- to see if it was even possible. It wouldn't work. It seemed whatever the shaft had once been screwed into had fallen out of its proper place deep in the shaft, and might never be successfully utilized again. The cylinder itself was sealed against all practical repair efforts, too.

Well heck. I hate it when stuff like that happens. Being an Old Computer Geezer I'm also accustomed to getting no help at all from manufacturers, or else the bare minimum they can get by with by law, which usually means a prohibitively expensive fix, if one is available at all. Note that this is not necessarily true of many companies outside the USA's tech industry. It's just that most all my experience has been with the tech industry the last 30 years or so, and thus to me the whole country has seemed to go to hell in terms of customer service.

So with this in mind, and wishing to suffer as little Gazelle downtime as possible, I immediately began pursuing several different tracks towards repair of the Gazelle, all at the same time (Concurrent parallel tracks usually offer a better chance at more rapid recovery than the alternatives-- but you do have to be careful that significant amounts of time and money are not unnecessarily wasted in such a strategy).

We set out trying to locate all the original documentation that had accompanyed the machine, to see if they might offer some replacement parts info. Though we have much stuff related to the Gazelle laying around, we seem to have lost the main manual itself(!) There's maybe three to five video tapes that came with the machine, but according to the slipcases only one offers info on the nuts and bolts of the machine itself, and that just regarding assembly, not replacement of parts. Yes, spending 5-10 hours slogging through those tapes might offer some relevant info, but I wouldn't do that but for a last resort. I did run across the warranty info, which didn't look promising. The hard copy indicated just a 90 day period, which we were flirting with the end of that very day. It also said we'd need either a product ID that was on the shipping label of the original box we'd thrown away months before, or other proof of purchase. Plus, we might have to ship back the whole machine by one read of the document. YIKES! Or at least ship back the broken piston to get a new one.

I alerted my dad to the replacement part problem, and the similarity of the hydraulic units to old timey automobile shock absorbers, and how we might adapt such things to the Gazelle if necessary (see the Junkstorming page for a general idea of what we sometimes do in such situations). Unfortunately, as is typical in such cases today, the Gazelle pistons themselves are devoid of any and all technical information which might allow a customer to go straight to the piston maker themselves to get such a part, or else seek out a part of similar specifications elsewhere.

I searched the web for such DIY options, as well as the home site of the Gazelle itself for price listings on replacement parts. The Gazelle site listed nothing at all, so I could only email customer service there about it, and wait for a reply. The Gazelle site did have a PDF of a Gazelle manual online-- but it was only a partial PDF-- the crucial last several pages concerning replacement parts were inaccessible online.

I found ZERO do-it-yourself info on the web about such repairs and replacements for a Gazelle. And ZERO useful info on possible independent or third party suppliers of the type of hydraulic units used by the Gazelle.

Dad did uncover some old automotive shocks which we might could adapt in a pinch, but they were slightly different in various specs from one another, which would complicate the adaptation process.

I pondered a bit the use of entirely different materials and devices as substitutes for the units, such as Bungee cords, or powerful enclosed springs maybe used for weight scales in various scenarios. But safety and ease-of-adaptation issues would need addressing there.

By the next day it was obvious that a do-it-yourself option would entail significant commitment, time, and resources to undertake, and maybe even more than one design concept to get one which would suffice. So dad recommended we phone the company to see if they'd just send us one, or at least let us know what one would cost.

Boy, was I pleasantly surprised.

Prior to calling I jotted down the exact part required (right side power piston), original order date, and got the credit card out we believed had been used for the Gazelle purchase.

I called their 800 number and a recorded voice informed me that I'd need the Gazelle's serial number to talk about replacement parts. It didn't say where I might find such a number. I hung up to seek a number.

By happy coincidence I'd previously folded the Gazelle up to prevent anyone from getting hurt now that it was missing a piston, and lo and behold, right there on the exposed underside of one of the footrests was an 800 number and something resembling a serial number (although it wasn't explicitly labeled as such).

It turned out the 800 number on the footrest was no longer in service, but the 800 number we'd used in the initial buy, and that I'd used just minutes before, did work.

I talked to Sharon, gave her the serial number, described the problem, and she said they'd ship one out to us immediately. I asked her if it'd cost us anything and she said no, we had a one year warranty on our Gazelle (note this was better than what our documents on-site suggested). I asked her when we might expect the part to arrive, and she said about seven business days.

Whoopee! Too bad the computer and software industries can't work like that.

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

6-16-03: Exercise machine update: Boosts in optimism (and noise)

It turns out the Gazelle indeed seems to be improving my general attitude about things. Basically I worry less and don't become annoyed as easily as I did before. This effect seems to hold or linger even through several days of missed exercise sessions. I'd seen scientific reports discussing this aspect of exercise, but experiencing it firsthand really brings it home. This effect alone would be enough for me personally to use the Gazelle regularly, even if no other benefits existed.

Yes, other machines or types of exercise should provide this same effect as well, and I believe I felt it sometimes from other sources before. But having a machine like the Gazelle handy makes the attitude adjustment much easier to achieve on a consistent basis, than other methods I've tried. I.e., all sorts of things can prevent a person from taking a daily 30 minute walk, but the majority of those obstacles don't apply to an in-house exercise machine.

The Gazelle IS making a LOT of noise in use. A really distracting popping and cracking sort of noise. I've applied petroleum jelly to several suspect spots on the machine as is mentioned in the documentation, but it seemed to have no effect. I guess I'll have to examine the documentation and the machine more closely. The noise is mainly an issue of wear and tear on the machine, than anything else, for us. But for other circumstances it might be troublesome-- for instance, one's sleeping roomate might not appreciate the racket during certain times of the day or night.

The noise primarily seems to be coming from the shafts of the 'power pistons' as they pump up and down. I didn't apply the jelly to those because I'm unsure if the docs recommend that (graphite is recommended for some spots, jelly for others). I haven't had time to do much about it just yet.

Whenever I manage to use the Gazelle for two or three days in a row my stride lengthens enough so that I've now moved a bookcase that once sat behind the machine for an extra foot of clearance.

I often wear sandals around WebFLUX Central, and was also wearing them on the Gazelle, but that proved too rough on the soles of my feet (keep in mind some heightened skin sensitivity to combined contact, friction, and moisture (including sweat) runs in my family). So I've taken to changing into sneakers for using the Gazelle.

So far I'm only managing to use the Gazelle about 30 minutes a day, four times a week on average, due to schedule problems. I learned today the US government has revised its guidelines to say adults should get a full hour of exercise a day, seven days a week, rather than the 30 minutes four times a week or so recommended before. Sheesh! How in the heck are folks supposed to gather up that much free time?

My gut has all but disappeared already. But I can still tell I have a layer of fat there and various other places-- though these seem to be in retreat. This layer, thicker in some spots than others, still obscures certain contours of the male anatomy that we men like to display with shirt removal and such. But I'm working on it. I don't really know just how far the Gazelle alone will take me on this, but it'll be interesting to find out.

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

5-22-03: A new exercise machine

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite User's Log Contents

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