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***8 Minutes in the Morning for Real Shapes, Real Sizes

by Jorge Cruise

Reviewed June 17, 2003.
Rodale, 2003.  249 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (613.7 CRU).

Some of you may have been following my efforts to start exercising.  I’ve never been an exerciser, mainly because I’m not willing to devote any time to it.  However, reading Pain Free for Women, by Pete Egoscue, convinced me that leaving exercise out of my life probably wasn’t good for my health.  I tried the exercises in that book and in Pain Free, in hopes that it would help my headaches, but with no real improvement.  I gave them up after a few months, because they simply took too long.

Next, I read The Slow Burn Workout.  This book claimed that their slow burn strength training techniques, done only once a week (taking about a half-hour), would keep you just as fit as time-consuming aerobic exercise.  I’ve been doing those exercises for about four months.  They’re boring, with the same routine every time, but I figured that I can stand a half-hour a week for the sake of fitness.  In the mean time, I read The New Sugar Busters and lost ten pounds simply by cutting out my four cans of Mountain Dew per day and having oatmeal for breakfast.  (Of course, the Slow Burn Workouts may have also contributed, as did catching the flu!)

Parenthetically, I should mention that cutting the caffeine made a big difference in my headaches, at least once I took antibiotics and got rid of the sinus infection that came on when I had the flu.  I’m sure the exercises don’t hurt, but cutting the caffeine helped more than anything.

I almost didn’t bring home 8 Minutes in the Morning for Real Shapes Real Sizes, because it says on the cover that it’s “specifically designed for people who want to lose 30 pounds or more.”  I would definitely be in serious trouble if I lost 30 pounds!

However, the book was sitting on my desk while I waited for its circulation date.  When I looked at the exercises, they are very similar to the Slow Burn technique.  They are strength-training workouts.  Because they are designed for overweight people, they are perfect for a thin but weak person like me.  Like the Slow Burn workout, they exercise all your different muscle groups.  However, instead of exercising everything and then waiting a week to exercise again, with this book, you exercise two muscle groups per day, going through your whole body in six days, with each muscle group getting a week off before it’s worked again.

Best of all, this book has a set of four weeks worth of exercises, with different exercises for each day (with Sundays off), so it’s much less boring than repeating the one Slow Burn workout each week.

This book also includes an eating system.  It seems reasonable--simply fill half your plate with vegetables, one-fourth with grains and one-fourth with protein, using one tablespoon of fat.  He also recommends small snacks a couple of hours after eating, and a treat each day.  The book is full of motivational ideas for losing weight.

Since I’m not doing the exercises to lose weight (though I wouldn’t mind losing another five to ten pounds), but to gain some strength and fitness, I’m skipping the “people solution” sections.  These sections include ideas like enlisting a team of friends to help you lose weight and visualizing yourself in your new body.  It all seems like a great plan if you do want to lose 30 pounds or more.  As it is, I’m enjoying these exercises and am finding that getting my body moving is a great way to start the day.  Like a half-hour per week, I find I can stand to give 8 to 10 minutes to exercise each morning.  Any more than that I’m too busy for, but 8 minutes, I can do. 

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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