Reader Maggie made an astute observation in her comment on my post “Can You Be Too Old To Exercise?” Smart girl, she writes:
[…] it really bothers me when a fitness magazine has an article about loving yourself and your body the way you are… and on the next page there’s an article telling you how to lose 10 pounds fast (!).
Shape Magazine heard Maggie and decided to give her a late holiday gift (just like when your aunt “forgets” you are allergic to peanuts and gives you a gigantic tin of her famous peanut brittle): On page 150 they have a delightful little article called “Banish Those Body Issues” illustrated with a photo of 6 naked women. (Why is it that for a woman to show she is body confident, she must be naked? Is confident and clothed some kind of oxymoron?) On the very next page is the article with largest font from the cover: “Drop 10 lbs This Month.” Not only that but it was subtitled: “Our best plan ever!”
To paraphrase my favorite karaoke song ever “Why do you build me up (build me up!), buttercup baby, just to let me down (let me down!)?” (If you are currently singing “And worst of all (worst of all!), you never call darlin’ when you say you will (say you will!)” then you will love this.) Shape gave me a challenge I could not refuse. I am going to do their “Drop 10 lbs this month” plan and see what happens. Will I learn to “banish those body issues?” or will I banish that pesky poundage?
I’ve always wanted to take a magazine at their word and then write about the results. It’s like those commercials that say you can burn (tiny type) up to (huge type) 1,000 calories an hour doing Zumba! Now I love Zumba but I’ve done that class with a heart-rate monitor on and I’ll be darned if I ever broke 400. This workout not only says it will “burn more than 400 calories in just 30 minutes!” they also promise “you’ll have firmer muscles, your clothes will be noticeably looser, and the number on the scale will plummet. Plus you’ll feel like you can take on antyhing the world throws at you.” I don’t know about you but interplanetary objects chuck stuff at me like all the time. Who can resist that?
It’s the smart aleck in me. I can’t help it.
All snarking aside, a lot of people look to magazine workouts for ideas and while occasionally they come up with some flat-out craziness, often they have some good plans for spicing things up. In addition to novelty, you can’t beat them for cost effectiveness. In this time of financial hardship, shelling out a few bucks for a magazine certainly beats an hour with a pricey trainer. Also, they are widely available, come with pictures and are a good place to start. And what is January if not a good place to start?
My sister, who knows me better than I know me, pointed out that a lot of people find my Experiments intimidating because I’m such a die-hard exerciser (post about compulsive exercise coming at you soon!) “Why don’t you do something that everyone can try?” she asked me the other day. “Oh but everyone can try the stuff I do,” I began to enthuse. She cut me off, “What I should have said was, ‘Why don’t you do something that everyone will want to try?'” Ah. And while I do realize that some of you read this just for the freak-show appeal of watching me do hilarious and sometimes idiotic things – and that’s not going away, don’t worry – I do worry about alienating people who are just getting into fitness. Exercise is for everyone! No matter how young or old, how weak or strong, how thin or thick, how introverted or extroverted; there is something for everyone. So this month there are no excuses. This is a real workout – your quads will burn – but it is customizable to every level, requires little to no equipment and has a good healthy balance of strength training and cardio.
You’ve got two days of the strength circuit in the magazine, two days of high intensity interval work and one day of something low-n-slow like yoga or walking. Every 4th day is a rest day.
The workout the Gym Buddies and I will be following is:
Monday – Shape Magazine strength circuit (see pictures below)
Tuesday – Boot Camp interval workout (you can sub biking, running, swimming or any other activity that gets heart rate upupup and then takes it down for a rest and then back up again. The key is the intensity – you want something short and hard. Don’t go over 45 minutes. You want a suggestion? Do the 8/12 bicycle sprints!)
Wednesday – Shape Magazine strength circuit
Thursday – Yoga/walking
Friday – Turbokick interval workout (again, sub in what you like)
We will also be doing a Hip-Hop cardio class Monday nights that falls into the steady state cardio category and a TurboKick class on Saturday but that’s just because we love those classes so much and can’t bear to give them up. You don’t have to add anything else in.
While I would be highly surprised if I lost 10 lbs this month, this workout has some new moves and takes anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes depending on how much time you have to give to it. If you can get past the editorial hyperbole, I think you might like it. We did it at the gym today and it kicked our butts! So throw those resolutions in high gear and join the Gym Buddies and I this month. This is your month, people and I want to hear all about it! Who’s in with me?
Shape Magazine Workout Scans
*note: This workout uses a weighted ball but there is nothing special about the ball. If you don’t have a ball, use a dumbbell or a milk jug or two soup cans. You can even do the moves without any weights at all! (Click the images to enlarge)