Monday 26 January 2009

Overnight Fitness?

Every weekend when I am in the gym prior to doing my spinning classes I do 30-45 minutes on an elliptical trainer. There is a bank of televisions in front of the machines and early on Saturday and Sunday two of the screens are generally showing infomercials for fitness stuff. There is one machine that looks like a frame with handles on pulleys, and one-time-famous-supermodel Christie Brinkley is promoting this, along with one-time-political-campaigner Chuck Norris. Everyone shown using the machine looks completely chiselled so they take it to the beach in California to try out on average people, everyone of whom also looks completely chiselled. My favourite segment is when a large group (as in very large crowd) of people stand around to watch Christie Brinkley working out on the machine.

But the other infomercial is more intriguing. It offers a 12 week course for around $140 that is supposed to turn you into a ripplingly-muscled athlete. It actually looks very impressive: you get 12 DVDs with a series of workouts including yoga and stretching (of course, I like the one called "Ab Ripper X"), a workout calendar, a nutrition plan and extensive on-line support. Although I am quite happy with my current training plan, which is cycling-oriented, this program looked quite good although many of the workouts seemed brutally hard. And can you really get a ripped physique in only 3 months?

The answer, according to the New York Times, is no. Fitness requires a considerable investment in time and the changes are gradual. The NYT piece quotes a number of experts, including several who lost a great deal of weight themselves. But the six months to a year to see real change is not so bad and I have to remind myself of this when I don't see improvements as fast as I would like. So even if I will not "get absolutely ripped in 90 days," as the infomercial says, I have to look at this as a lifetime journey and keep my motivation strong.


ItchyBits said...

I agree - no matter what you do if you don't stick with it for the long term AND eat right you will not see the results. It totally depends on what motivates you. I know working out from home does NOT motivate me and I have failed at it repeatedly. I owned that thing Christie B was on. It was so much work to rearrange for each exercise that it became tedious very quickly. I ended up returning.

Sprocketboy said...

I think that the motivation is everything. There are certain things I can do at home (riding on the trainer) but for others I prefer the gym. It struck me that anyone who would have the dedication to do the 12 week DVD program would probably already have so much motivation they would not need to buy it!

Bandobras said...

Tsk tsk Of course you can get ripped in 3 months. Quit the job, leave the family and work out 6 to 8 hours every day. Eat and train under the supervision of a pro fitness coach and nutritionist and its easy peasy.
For all the rest of us in the real world it may take a little bit longer.

Sprocketboy said...

I think you are probably right, Bandobras, that it is not impossible to get ripped in three months of full-time effort with a coach, but I suspect that will cost more than the $140 program, which claims you can do it in 90 days of brief daily workouts. But it would be great to try the trainer/nutritionist/full-time program for those three months just to see what is possible.

Anonymous said...

I've never been very motivated to work out in a gym. Wish I was, I think that weight training would benefit me.

I am motivated to ride and living in San Diego lets me get on the bike (almost) any time I want. So, I do what comes natural, I ride.