Does Anyone Have a ROM?

ROM SpaceKnightNo, not ROM Spaceknight, you comics aficionado sillies; ROM as in the über-high-end 4-minute workout machine that just screams Range of Motion (hence the acronym). I found out about it one night whilst venturing into the back pages of my Atlantic Monthly, something I rarely do for fear of being pelted by the conclusions of articles that have already taxed my ADD-addled attention span to the limits, arranged between ads for the Belgian Waffle Pro and custom-crafted leather bookbinding. I know, it’s what I get for subscribing to The Atlantic (and Harpers, and Mother Jones, and other magazines that make me what my friend Gareth calls ‘a certified member of the liberal white guilt intelligentsia’).

So anyway. I was flipping through the mag when I came across this ad, headlined in all caps EXERCISE IN EXACTLY 4 MINUTES PER DAY. I used to be a copywriter for a living (I still maintain some clients, but I mostly do my publishing consulting stuff nowadays), so I’m always a tough critic for ads like this. The sheer audacity of what comes next drew me in:

The typical ROM purchaser goes through several stages:

1.     Total disbelief that the ROM can do all this in only 4 minutes.
2.     Rhetorical (and sometimes hostile) questioning and ridicule.
3.     Reading the ROM literature and reluctantly understanding it.
4.     Taking a leap of faith and renting a ROM for 30 days.
5.     Being highly impressed by the results and purchasing a ROM.
6.     Becoming a ROM enthusiast and trying to persuade friends.
7.     Being ignored and ridiculed by the friends who think you’ve lost your mind.
8.     After a year of using the ROM your friends admiring your good shape.
9.     You telling them (again) that you only exercise those 4 minutes per day.
10.     Those friends reluctantly renting the ROM for a 30 day trial.Then the above cycle repeats from point 5 on down.

Take a look at this thing:

ROM Machine

It’s, like, totally Zen. And it carries a $14,615.00 price tag. Holy Guacamole, Batman! And yet they have these 15-year warranties, and I’m adding up gym costs plus gas costs in my head, plus (of course) time costs – which are the biggest one for a certified-ADD father/husband/student/small business owner/author. Their ad concludes:

From 4 minutes on the ROM you get the same results as from 20 to 45 minutes aerobic exercise (jogging, running, etc.) for cardio and respiratory benefits, plus 45 minutes weight training for muscle tone and strength, plus 20 minutes stretching exercise for limberness/flexibility.

O. Really?

Well, I’ve poked around the internets, running keyword searches like “ROM scam” and “ROM ripoff” – nada. Instead, I see testimonials from people who really seem to be losing weight, building muscle, feeling better, and having more time on their hands. For someone who’s never been into sports (or athletics of any kind for that matter), I’ve gotta admit: four minutes a day is appealing.

So here’s what I’m thinking.

I just turned 29 last month. Less than one year from 30, I’ve been taking a lot of inventory of my life. In my Foresight@Regent courses, we learn a mode of personal and organizational learning called Systems Thinking – popularized by Peter Senge of The Fifth Discipline fame. The gist is we’re always creating the life we live; we’re always designing it. The problem is, most of us design it by default, unconsciously, and often in self-sabotaging ways. Bringing life-design to a conscious level is a skill set we humans are just developing. (Hence the rationale for Strategic Foresight, btw) This ‘intelligent design’ happens on societal levels of course, but also personal. These past couple of years I’ve been privileged to have some wonderful people in my life – mentors, life coaches, and even (gasp!) therapists and counselors who are helping me work through my ‘shadow’ sides and interact with reality in a more healthy and whole manner. I guess what I’m seeking is integration, a whole life well-lived for myself and others. Isn’t that what we all want?

So: A friend of mine, Drew, was recently reading Integral Life Practice, edited by Ken Wilber and published out of the Integral Institute. The Integral folks are always fascinating, what with their map-making theories of everything and all. It turns out they have a great programme for ‘whole-life cross-training’ involving our physical, mental, and spiritual selves. Taking a cue from ILP (I’m still reading my own copy of the book), I’ve decided: I want to develop a doable life-rhthym, one that incorporates Centering Prayer, maybe some Yoga or DoxaSoma, and – of course – physical training. True, the apostle Paul said (in perfect Elizabethan English) “bodily exercise profiteth little,” but hey: that guy built low-cost dwelling for a living. I’d like to see him sit behind a computer all day and tell me that! (Plus at four minutes a day, I’d like to think even Paul would approve.)

In short, by the time I’m 30 I’d like to:

  • Engage in centering prayer daily – ’cause we can all use more of the conscious fellowship of the Godhead in our lives.
  • Practice Yoga – seeing as I have the grace and flexibility and in-touch-with-my-body-ness of a dried-up turnip
  • Exercise my body – because I need cardiovascular health; I want to keep up with my little girl; I like natural endorphin highs; I like to concentrate on my work; I need to lose 50 pounds this year

…and I want to do all this in about an hour a day. Because I want to delve more deeply into my studies, love my family more, spend more time with my neighbors, and hang out more with my friend Hugh Hollowell and his homeless friends downtown. Stuff I think I could do with some whole-life cross-training.

What If…

What if I could somehow procure a ROM? (I have my ways) Would any of you, dear readers, be interested in charting my progress with me? I’m thinking I’d blog about what it’s like for a time-management-challenged guy like me to engage in some ‘intelligent life design,’ how it feels to make positive, healthy, & consistent changes, and if this ROM thing really does what it says. Since workouts are ostensibly only four minutes long, I’m thinking that once a week I’d actually record my entire workout and put it on YouTube or Vimeo or something. It might not be as funny as Will It Blend?, but I’m thinking a pasty white guy like me working out could provide some of you with catharsis or comic relief.

Please comment if…

  • You have experience with the ROM or some kinda similar exercise equipment
  • You’d get a laugh out of seeing some ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics and workout vids along The Countdown to 30
  • You have stories of your own whole-life rhythms and lifestyle design you’d like to share
  • You want to make fun of me.

Update 12/10: I’m getting a ROM!

81 Responses to Does Anyone Have a ROM?

  1. Tara Eastman November 20, 2008 at 3:31 pm #

    Looks really cool – I’d ask Santa for one!

  2. Jonathan Blundell November 20, 2008 at 3:31 pm #

    I’d be interested in seeing how this thing works. So far my weight loss challenge hasn’t been going to well… trying to write a novel in 30 days probably doesn’t help.

  3. hughlh November 20, 2008 at 3:35 pm #

    I love you and all, but I have to tell you, the thought of you in workout attire, sweating it out for 4 minutes on youtube just, uhhm, does not do it for me. 🙂

    If you want a 4 minute workout that adherents swear by without dropping the 14K, google the word ‘tabata’ [sans the quotes].

    I once read something from Brennan Manning that said something along the lines of “Imagine the change in our lives if we spent as much time working on our relationship with God as we do worrying about our waistlines.” (As a stocky, over 30 guy who spends too much time at a computer, though, I feel ya).

  4. eyesofhope November 20, 2008 at 3:42 pm #

    Maybe if you talk a long, brisk walk every morning in the countryside you would find you are getting your exercise and you centering? On those off days when I can get away from my little ones long enough, it works amazingly for me. 🙂 Good luck either way. God be with you!

  5. Mike Walker November 20, 2008 at 3:52 pm #

    fitness is very important, this looks like a great machine

  6. John November 20, 2008 at 4:00 pm #

    I can’t wait for the videos.

  7. Makeesha November 20, 2008 at 4:00 pm #

    4 minutes sounds appealing that’s for sure.

  8. Jamie Arpin-Ricci November 20, 2008 at 4:01 pm #

    Sounds great! I’ll be sure to link over to your videos from my own blog too. Sounds like a great product. Best of luck!


  9. Mike Todd November 20, 2008 at 4:03 pm #

    Yeah, I’ll be watching for sure. Then again, YouTube does have some standards….

    Good luck procuring one. Don’t get caught.

  10. Jason Boyett November 20, 2008 at 4:09 pm #

    As a fellow copywriter, I am impressed by the forthrightness and wit of that ROM ad in The Atlantic. I think it would have caught my attention, too, until I discovered the $14K price tag and feel to the floor weeping.

  11. Matt November 20, 2008 at 4:10 pm #

    Wow… does it go anywhere? It sure looks like it could with some changes 🙂 Yeah, you should get one. In the mean time you could practice on it in your lucid dreaming (yeah, this is THAT Matt) 🙂

  12. Ariah Fine November 20, 2008 at 4:10 pm #

    This would be the most hilarious and creative viral marketing campaign ever. I remember the Hula Chair infomercial video that got passed around the web not too long ago. this would be even better!

    And yes, if you reached your goal of losing 50 lbs I think the machine would sell like hot cakes.

  13. Jason Boyett November 20, 2008 at 4:10 pm #

    FELL to the floor. Not sure I would weep hard enough to actually FEEL the floor, but you never know. That IS a lot of money.

  14. Eriana Rivera November 20, 2008 at 4:14 pm #

    I’ve seen their ads on Sky Magazine and cannot fathom how 4-minutes can do the trick. I’d like to a- laugh at you and the videos and b- believe for myself that the ROM can actually do what it claims.

  15. Becky November 20, 2008 at 4:16 pm #

    I would pay to watch this especially if you do your exercises in a man-kini.

  16. Micah Redding November 20, 2008 at 4:17 pm #

    You have accurately captured the poignancy of lifestyle design.

  17. pomopirate November 20, 2008 at 4:22 pm #

    I want Mike on a Rom and on the web. I would watch and am interested in seeing its effectiveness.

  18. Hugh Hollowell November 20, 2008 at 4:30 pm #


    Mike in a man-kini? THAT is scary…

  19. Jasmin November 20, 2008 at 4:44 pm #

    where would we put the thing?!

  20. Jasmin November 20, 2008 at 4:45 pm #


  21. Aline Talmage November 20, 2008 at 4:47 pm #

    So I am skeptical, but interested in your journey. You certainly do sound convincing already.
    Once you get one, how do I get one?

  22. b skaggs November 20, 2008 at 5:01 pm #

    I use to work for a company, and had some experience with the ROM machines. They are very good; HOWEVER, it is just like any type of exericese equipment….you must use it. 🙂

    With my family, WE began running. For us it has been great becuase it get the WHOLE family to get involved. Running has allowed us things to share about, and actually now many people in our S.S. class have started, so it has brought us closer as a community as well.

    When I run/workout I listen to podcast, which allows me to focus my thoughts upward, and spend time talking with the Father.

    And it has spread to our extended family. the more motivation and encouragement from others, the easier it will be to shed those pounds.

    just my two cents… 🙂

    I will be praying for you…


  23. Carla November 20, 2008 at 5:01 pm #

    That looks so cool!!! I never trust infomercials. I’d love to hear from someone I actually know to find out if it actually works.

  24. Rachel November 20, 2008 at 5:03 pm #

    Brilliant! Can’t wait to hear. (and just a little jealous in that non-breaking-the-commandment kind of way)

  25. Mick November 20, 2008 at 5:04 pm #

    It’s the perfect human experiment. If it works as they claim, everyone wins! I’m eager to see.

  26. charlie November 20, 2008 at 5:06 pm #

    Dude, I’m on planes all the time and I see these things and think, “Who can afford to buy those things?” I’m coming to your house to try it out if you get one. You know in soliciting help, we all have a share in your ROM, right?

  27. Jerilyn November 20, 2008 at 5:27 pm #

    I would love to just laugh at you. And yes, where would you put it? :0) I have one workout program, based on a video, that produces results in only 10 minutes a day. It’s called Body Flex. It’s more geared to women. Whenever I do it, my kids laugh at me, it’s funny to watch. But, like everything else, I’ve gotten bored with it, so even though I know it’s only 10 minutes and it really works, I never do it. My exercise has to be something I enjoy doing or forget it.

  28. Frank November 20, 2008 at 5:53 pm #

    $14,000!!! Holy Cow! I would love to see if the benefit matches the cost. Send this man a machine!

  29. cynthia November 20, 2008 at 6:09 pm #

    I’ll be watching for sure!

  30. A. David Lewis November 20, 2008 at 6:28 pm #

    I would be fine with making fun of you. (If only to assuage my 31 year-old flabby ego.) 🙂

  31. Ted November 20, 2008 at 6:36 pm #

    I just find it hilarious that on a post about an exercise machine, you get 30 comments in 3 hours.

  32. jo November 20, 2008 at 6:57 pm #

    love the integration of body and spirit and web. yaaaaay mike! i’ll watch!

  33. Jon November 20, 2008 at 7:04 pm #

    There’s a gym near where I live that’s built around it. Just three machines like that (or very similar) and a five-minute workout.

    Forget how much the membership is, but it’s cheaper than buying one!

  34. Steve K. November 20, 2008 at 7:29 pm #

    ROM people, get Mike on a ROM and posting weekly Web videos and I will be forever grateful!

  35. Steve K. November 20, 2008 at 7:31 pm #

    ROM people, get Mike on a ROM and posting weekly Web videos and I will be forever grateful!

  36. Gareth Higgins November 20, 2008 at 7:42 pm #

    dude that is an incredible idea – can i borrow it? 😉 if you and i can become lithe men of action anyone can…

  37. elissa November 20, 2008 at 7:42 pm #

    OK, so we gotta see this…go for it, Mike!

  38. Amy Tinkler November 20, 2008 at 7:44 pm #

    yeah for mike!

  39. Frank Emanuel November 20, 2008 at 8:02 pm #

    I’m doing about 15 minutes a day just on my neck, I would love to cut that down. Just not sure where I’d store a beast like that.

  40. Gunnar November 20, 2008 at 8:03 pm #

    I want videos, blog updates, and analysis by others than you as well who are close to you adn observing the changes.

  41. Todd Littleton November 20, 2008 at 8:14 pm #

    I am all in for seeing how this would play out in your life and maybe influence others.

  42. pberry November 20, 2008 at 8:40 pm #

    You should get one of these and test it against a jump rope work out. Do each one for three months with the same consistency and see which one works better.

  43. Johnny November 20, 2008 at 8:52 pm #

    It’s all about the vids for me,bro….but good luck with your health goals!!

  44. Amy B. November 20, 2008 at 9:29 pm #

    Way to go Mike!

  45. Cathryn November 20, 2008 at 9:42 pm #

    Isn’t LiePo suction easier?- and less expensive… You Lie down and they POke you – i need a video on getting outta bed today- and hit repeat for the motor planning training!

  46. Jake November 20, 2008 at 10:16 pm #

    I’d watch…

  47. Christi Krug November 20, 2008 at 11:09 pm #

    The ROM looks great, but having practiced centering prayer for five years, I’d have to say it gives a whole lot more benefits, and it’s a ton cheaper. Although it would be nice to have something shiny in the living room.

  48. Darrell Grizzle November 20, 2008 at 11:53 pm #

    Mike, I hope you get one of these machines and document your progress. I’m skeptical about the claims made about the four-minute workout, but I trust your judgment and would love to keep track of your experiences with the ROM.

  49. Kelly Davis November 21, 2008 at 12:36 am #

    Here’s MHO on the ROM. They usually are advertised in those airline mags, so they are targeting high income people who travel a lot (and don’t have a lot of time to exercise). This is probably not a huge market with large volumes, and thus to succeed, they have to sell a high end product with a big price tag. My gut says this is for suckers with lots of money. These are probably the same people who would not be likely to talk about how this really doesn’t work as advertised. If this is true, then it is probably unlikely that they are going to send you one for review, since you will probably not get the results they are advertising.

  50. Deb November 21, 2008 at 2:48 am #

    That is so funny! John and I just saw an ad for the ROM in SkyMall coming back from his bro’s wedding in TX! We were totally appalled, by the claim and the price! But…I would definitely watch your progress if this thing worked out!

  51. zoecarnate November 21, 2008 at 3:51 am #

    Thanks for the feedback, all! I might go more in-depth with many of these tomorrow but not tonight. For now I’ll reply to Deb – I’m not appalled at all by the claims, particularly if they’re true. (And this FAQ section seems to substantiate them in more detail. But of course, experience is the best vindicator.) As for the cost, I’ll admit it’s pricey! Responding to this, the ROM folks have an entire website dedicated to the question Why Is It So Expensive? The founder of the company tells an intriguing story of their beginnings here.

  52. baju November 21, 2008 at 4:38 am #

    As a slightly over 40 guy slightly over the Mendoza line in weight and cholesterol level, but largely skeptical of the claims and greatly in need of a good laugh – I’m very interested in your journey. Did I mention I have money burning a hole in my pocket?

  53. Rob Sheridan November 21, 2008 at 5:14 am #

    I’d like to make fun of you, but I cannot. It is a genius idea, and I don’t say that very often.

    I would probably get a laugh out of the Countdown vids, but also a flash of auto-homo-terror, so I’d probably watch it in secret, for only a minute a week.

    But rest assured, ROM marketeeers, I will become entranced by it and tell my friends.

    I actually work with people who have cerebral palsy as well, so I’ll even have a professional angle. Increasing range of motion without resistance is the name of the (physical part) of our game, yo.

    Best of Luck!


  54. Justin November 21, 2008 at 8:57 pm #

    Sounds like fun. Let us know how it goes.

  55. Seth Irby November 21, 2008 at 10:20 pm #

    Hey Mike, that would be sweet! I would love to see you do your thang on a ROM. By the way…how does it work anyway.


  56. pomopirate November 21, 2008 at 10:32 pm #

    We want ROM, we want ROM.

  57. Michael Williams November 22, 2008 at 12:08 am #

    Mike…. they should do this…. if it works for you, I will buy one! I would love to know someone who tries it first….

    Good luck!

  58. Fran November 22, 2008 at 2:39 am #

    Wow, what a great idea! I would love to see you get the opportunity to use this machine. It looks almost too good to be true. However, I know you and if it really did what you want it to that would be terrific! I know I could believe you to be straight about it. I am sure you would give it an honest review which I would be able to trust more than those glamorous folks that sometimes show up in ads! So if it worked for you I would love to add it to my list of items I will purchase… when I win the lottery!

    Go For It!

  59. Heather W November 22, 2008 at 2:55 pm #

    Even if I had zero interest in you as a person, or you losing weight, or a ROM, or any of that – I still imagine that a youtube video of you working out would be VERY …photoworthy shall we say 😉
    Perhaps even an internet sensation of sorts.

    (Sorry, don’t want to pick on you TOO badly Mike.)

    Have you seen the “Noah” video on YouTube?

    And all its spinoffs:

    Definitely a “Mike loses weight in 4 minutes a day” version could work very nicely..that is, if this ROM thing actually does work in 4 minutes a day…The jury is out on that one, huh.

  60. Gunnar November 23, 2008 at 4:28 am #

    Seriously, I have to just write this again…I would so subscribe to the feed of a blog on your progress with this.

  61. John Shore November 23, 2008 at 5:34 am #

    You get a ROM, and I promise I’ll monitor your progress with it like a vulture on a limping rabbit. But in a nicer way, of course. Seriously: What better way to discover if the thing works than to see if it works for you?

  62. Heather W November 23, 2008 at 6:18 pm #

    I need to get my blog back up and running so I can RSS your crazy ideas like this one 🙂

  63. brYce November 23, 2008 at 8:48 pm #

    Wow! This sure beats “6-Minute Abs”

  64. Eric November 24, 2008 at 2:40 pm #

    i’d be thrilled to see how this works. 🙂

  65. Danielle Paxton November 24, 2008 at 6:46 pm #

    Definitely, yes, I’d love to see any proof that you, Mike Morrell, rode this thing. I would also like to see the mount and dismount included in the video, just to make sure you were really doing it all by yourself! 🙂

  66. Jim B. November 25, 2008 at 5:47 am #

    I’m very interested Mike! I’ll bet that 4 minutes is quite a workout but, hey, 4 minutes? I know I can do it if you can! I’ll be watching!

  67. nicole November 25, 2008 at 7:59 pm #

    I love making fun of people (including myself)!

  68. Burt November 25, 2008 at 8:22 pm #

    I used one of these for a couple of months well over a year ago. A local fitness center acquired one. It’s a workout, that’s for sure! My heart rate shot up like crazy. My legs were incredibly wobbly afterward at first. After a couple of weeks, I could definitely see my strength and stamina increasing. I’m not sure I did it long enough to see significant weight loss benefits. After a couple of months, I experienced some changes to my schedule and the fitness center hours didn’t work out so well for me, so I didn’t continue.

  69. Jessica November 25, 2008 at 11:22 pm #

    Dancing is a great workout.

  70. ded3255 November 26, 2008 at 12:14 am #

    I think walking three times a week for 45 minutes meets all the criteria except time. Since you added centering prayer to your list of needs, then the walks fit in nicely.

    You’ll save $14K, be healthy and avoid feeling guilty when you don’t get on that machine for four minutes, as well as, getting caught up in admiring your body.

  71. noseintheair November 26, 2008 at 1:54 am #

    I just dance for my ROM.

  72. Jason November 27, 2008 at 1:50 am #

    great webesite.

  73. Jeff Goins November 28, 2008 at 10:15 pm #

    don’t have one. sounds too good to be true, but it’s worth an experiment (that is, if the experiment doesn’t cost 15K). I’d be interested in the before-and-after pics, for sure. definitely feeling you on the wanting-to-get-into-shape-but-not-having-the-time dilemma.

    why yoga? my understanding of it is that it was originally a hindu practice to open up your mind to allowing the gods access to your body ( is that true? i know lots of christians practice it, but it just seems like flirting with disaster, like along the same line as playing a harmless game of ouija board.

    re: centering prayer – I liked Campolo/Darling’s the God of Intimacy and Action that came out last year. It balanced prayer with social action, and how the two need each other. good read. i wrote a review on it here:

  74. linda December 5, 2008 at 12:11 am #

    mike, you could stick the thing in your garage and let all your friends use it…for a price. can anybody say mike’s home gym? 🙂 you could put in a webcam too.

  75. Bonnie Jo January 18, 2009 at 5:06 pm #

    I would also like to know what you discover after purcchasing and using the ROM.

  76. john Hanna November 9, 2021 at 4:41 pm #

    How can I find a technician who is able to repair a ROM (broken cable). The MFG sent me the replacement parts and a video showing how to make the repairs, but I lack the special tools and the mechanical skills required to make the repairs. Looking for a repair person in the Bay Area.

    • Scott October 16, 2022 at 3:29 pm #

      You fucked bro


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