Saturday, March 1, 2014

7 Rabbits, 7 Rabbits

Rabbit, rabbit!  

It’s the first day of the month.  When you wake up on the first day of the month, you’re supposed to say “rabbit, rabbit” the very first thing, and then you’ll have a month of good luck.  I did not say “rabbit, rabbit” first thing this morning.  I have a very boisterous kitten whose preferred method of ordering breakfast is to bite my nose.  If you have never been woken up in this manner, I will share that it is highly effective, like an alarm with no snooze button.  So the first thing I said this morning was the first thing I say every morning, which is a rather desperate plea of, “No biting!  No biting!”  Sadly, this command has never been heeded.

The first thing I see, every morning.

But I digress!  And I digress on purpose, frankly, because I remember that I was supposed to check in about my progress on Prevention Magazine’s 28-day challenge.  And I never did.  I have good reasons for this communication breakdown, namely that I was totally overwhelmed by the 28-day challenge and I quit on Day 3.

I am sorry.  But you guys, Prevention Magazine totally slapped that challenge together on the fly.  It was just a random combination of bodyweight exercises illustrated in pink, with no instructions aside from the words “Ten Minutes.”  Even the schedule is weird: you spend a week working on your arms and glutes and then you switch to a new exercise, allowing your chicken flaps to soften and sag for three weeks while you work on your tummy.  But mostly the timing was impossible.  I cannot do 2.5 minutes of triceps dips and then a full five minutes of lunges.  I simply cannot.  I do not have the capacity.  And triceps dips can be dangerous if performed improperly.

So I quit.  And that was a while ago and then I spent maybe a teensy bit too much time offline between quitting and announcing I had quit.  But today is a new month!  It is a month of spring!  It is a month of rabbits!  So I’m starting a new challenge.  It’s going to have to be a 31-day challenge this time, since March is a long month, but I can take it.


This challenge is going to be worlds different from the last, in part because it hasn’t been designed as a ploy by Prevention Magazine to obtain my email address.  Instead I’ve converted to the 7-minute workout.

The 7-minute workout, if you haven’t heard, is a fitness trend that’s gained some popularity among people who don’t care to spend hours at the gym.  The workout was developed as part of a study published last year in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal.  Public response was positive.  People loved it.  They loved it so much that they distilled the workout to its essence (the seven minutes part) without paying attention to some of the finer details, such as:

  • The workout was designed to be completed two or three times in full.  So although “7-minute workout” is catchier, the benefits described in this study actually come from a 21-minute workout.  Full disclosure: since I’m still only halflistic, I’ll be taking on just seven extra minutes a day for this challenge.
  • The authors suggest taking enough time to do 15 to 20 repetitions of each exercise.  (Which, show me a person who can do 20 pushups and rotations in 30 seconds, and I’ll show you Dolph Lundgren.)
  • Critics have noted that the science behind the workout may not totally hold water.

But you know what does hold water?  My gut. (HEY-O!)  So I downloaded the app, which is free, and for the next month, I’m letting Siri bark orders at me for seven minutes each morning.  I gave myself a taste of this challenge in February, on mornings when it was too cold to go to the gym or on days when I wanted to kick off my cardio with seven extra minutes.  I will say this: when I add the 7-minute workout to 30 on the elliptical, it wipes me out.  Likewise, when I do a couple rounds in the morning before breakfast, I end up ravenous.  (Morning workouts have been touted to improve metabolism throughout the day, which may not be entirely true, but personally I can say they make me a lot hungrier.)

Plus it’s best to eat most of your calories early in the day.

Just to spare myself the indignity of doing the same exercises day after day (the futility of which has been well documented) I’m going to go big and pay the extra $1.98 for two alternate 7-minute workouts that come as add-ons with the free app.  And I’ll continue my normal routine of cardio and yoga.  I’ll check in (PINKY SWEAR) to report my progress.  And this month will be mine.

Rabbit, rabbit, indeed.

No joke.

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