Thursday, April 30, 2009

Getting Back in Shape

My father has invested in an exercise machine called the ROM. While their price ($14k) might make you think ROM stands for “Ridiculously Overpriced Machine” it actually means “Range of Motion." The ROM claims to work your entire body in two 4-minute workouts. Now, if I hadn’t watched my father’s body slowly transform into the body he had 20 years ago, exclusively through the use of this machine, I’d be as skeptical as you are now.

My post-baby workout consisted of practicing yoga once or twice a week, occasional hikes with the dog, and that everyday stuff of toting around a 10 or 20 pound child while making 50 trips a day up and down the stairs in our house. I thought it was a pretty good workout. Until I was carrying 20 and 25 pound kids around, and regularly hurting my back doing it.

I decided to give the ROM a try. My dad’s house isn’t far from mine, so on my bi-weekly breaks I worked in a trip over there for a 4-minute workout. It’s hard to argue you just don’t have that kind of time in a day. You’re supposed to alternate between the upper body workout one day, which is like a rowing machine, and the lower body workout, which is like a stair-stepper, the next day. Since I was only working out twice a week, I worked up to doing both upper and lower body workouts every Tuesday and Thursday. This had the added benefit of making me feel too ill to eat for a good hour afterward, sort of a built-in diet.

I have to admit, even with this abbreviated version of the mini-workout, I’ve been very happy with the results. In just a few months I’d slimmed down while putting on muscle, most visibly in my upper arms and thighs. I can now haul my kids around without straining my back, and most of the post-pregnancy flab is gone. But most importantly, I'm the strongest I've ever been. As a little person who hates being seen as a weakling, it gives me immense satisfaction to be able to haul heavy things around without any help.

Every time I think of skipping my workout, I calculate exactly what I hope to accomplish in my 2-3 hour break, and have a hard time convincing myself I don't have 4-8 minutes to spare. And then I think of the roughhousing I'm able to do with my kids now that I'm strong enough not to hurt myself, and I find my car steering itself toward my dad's house.

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