ROM Year One: The Results Are In…
What a year it’s been. Just over a year ago, I received the fruits of what you demanded: a ROM at my house – a $14,000 piece of exercise equipment that makes an audacious promise: A complete workout in just four minutes a day. My plan was in one year – from age 29 to age 30 – to not only maintain the shape I was in from my on-again, off-again gym attendance, but to get in better shape: To lose about 50 pounds and, as I put it in the Fitness Challenge,
- Keep up with my growing little girl
- Think clearer
- Radiate peace
- Be the very picture of virility
- Attain body-mind-spirit health
- See God
So! It’s been a year and those results are in. What’s happened? Well, I’ve sustained about 10 pounds of weight loss, I managed to watch Jubilee solo for nine (!) days in a row last year, and I’m growing in the other areas incrementally. This is in switching from 45-minute – 90-minute workouts at the gym (when I could make myself go) to 4-minute workouts from home. To me, this is impressive. But it’s also, if I’m completely candid, a little disappointing. After all, 10 pounds is not 50 pounds; I am not Charles Atlas at the beach.
Whenever our goals are not met, we quite naturally ask “Why?” Taking an inventory, it’s difficult to determine precisely why, in this case. Was I not ROMming diligently enough? That’s a possible explanation, but I pinky-promise that I’ve been way more diligent in hopping on the ROM than in driving downtown to work out. More likely is that I’ve not been ‘pushing it’ enough. An outside observer into my life might initially conclude that I’m a hypochondriac; while I’m in basically excellent health I do have occasional concerns about my heart health. This is tied into a decade-long struggle with anxiety and phobias – something I want to blog about more this year, as I think many of you could probably connect. All this to say, working out doesn’t always make me feel good. Maybe I’ve just been lazy from my youth, but feeling an elevated metabolism is deeply uncomfortable for me at times; I think I’m having a heart attack or something. All this to say, this past Fall I underwent an extensive battery of tests at a cardiologists’ office. I’ll probably have more to say about this in the anxiety/phobia posts, but suffice to say for now that my Doc gave me a clean bill of health in the exercise department. When I told him what I was doing, he said “ROM away.”
I am now resolved to accomplish in my 30th year what I’d hoped to in my 29th. I know more about the ROM and my own body than I did last year. With this in mind, I had a phone consultation with a ROM coach, Tom. (When you own a ROM, you have lifetime phone and in-person access to the ROM family of coaches in California. You also end up discovering other ROM enthusiasts nationwide – like my new friend Jeff.) Tom listened to my breakthroughs and struggles, and made three very practical suggestions:
- Put my ROM on lower resistance settings. I wasn’t scoring too high – typically around 80 when I should be around 110. I’ve had my resistance set at 220 pounds, which in retrospect is a bit he-mannish and macho. Not to mention futile, as it’s the motion that generates resistance ultimately – the faster I can turn that flywheel, the more results I can get. So I had it as 200 over the weekend, but my score still isn’t as high as I’d like; I’m dialing down to 180.
- ROM interval-style. It’s only four minutes so you’d think it’d be easy to just go all-out for the entire duration. But oh, no – not necessarily. Plus even if you do, your muscles and metabolism get used to that, so it could have diminishing returns. Better to vary it up a little, going (say) 30 seconds at a brisk-but-stable pace, and then 30 minutes b@lls-to-the-wall. That’s what I’ve been doing these past few days…and I can feel the difference.
- Do an additional nighttime ROM workout. I usually ROM in the mornings, which is a great way to start my day. But Tom noted that I have, essentially a desk job for a living – and a desk-job at home, at that. (My commute is about 50 feet from bedroom to home office!) Which is lovely in all kinds of ways, but fighting sedentary-ness is not one of them. Since I’m not digging teaches, plowing fields, or wrestling wooly mammoths, a later ROM session could be beneficial to jump-start my metabolism later in the day. This latter ROMming, Tom stresses, should not be a super-strenuous one…that could interfere with sleep for a sensitive lad like me. But a ‘light’ ROM session would be helpful. So be it.
So here we go! Following this already-helpful fitness advice, I still hope to meet my fitness and well-being goals, and see if the ROM is a good solution for people with less time and perhaps less of a discipline threshold than career gym-o-philes. I thank you for joining me on my ROM fitness journey last year, and I hope you stay tuned for my updates in 2010!
About Mike Morrell
Mike is the Communications Director for the Integral Theology think-tank Presence International, co-founder of The Buzz Seminar, and a founding organizer of the Wild Goose Festival. Mike curates contemplative and community experiences via Authentic World, Relational Yoga, the ManKind Project, and (H) Opp, taking joy in holding space for the extraordinary transformation that can take place at the intersection of anticipation, imagination, and radical acceptance. Mike is also an avid writer, publishing consultant, author coach, futurist, and curator of the book-reviewing community at TheSpeakeasy.info. He lives with his wife and two daughters in North Carolina.