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Experiment Results Shocker: I Did Not Lose 10 Pounds In One Month

Posted Feb 03 2009 12:09am
Although this elephant probably just lost 10 pounds in 10 seconds.

There's just something about doing handstand push-ups on the weight floor that brings it out in people. Brings what out, you ask? Eye rolls, high fives, stares, giggles... wedgies - trust me, we got it all today! But before we get to our crazy behavior*, you probably have a second question (if you've been paying attention): "But Charlotte why were you doing handstand push-ups at the gym? The Self Magazine January Fitness Experiment has zero handstand push-ups in it."

My answer: Exactly.

The Shape Magazine "Lose 10 Pounds in One Month" Workout Experiment is over. Which is a good thing because this may possibly be my most hated Experiment ever. True, it wasn't a spectacular failure that sent me screaming back to therapy like the Primal Blueprint was (again - not knocking the diet, just knocking myself) but it was worse in one important way. It was horribly horribly boring.

Despite giving a decent burn - especially on those Tabata squats! - it didn't work all the muscle groups. It focused mostly on lower body, almost completely skipped the upper body and, well, it never changed. The allure of the medicine balls wasn't even enough to keep me interested. I knew it was bad when most of the Gym Buddies found reasons* to skip the gym last week.

So I staged an intervention. I brought in other magazine workouts which the Gym Buddies and I dutifully tried. Not only did we do the "Lose 10 lbs in One Month" workout but we also tackled the "Drop 10 lbs in One month" workout and the "Banish 10 lbs - Fast!" workout. Okay, so I only skimmed the last one before chucking it into the garbage with the rest of them. Because the problem with magazine workouts - all magazine workouts - is that they're limited. They're limited by body part, by equipment, and even by aggressive crack-seeking spandex. But most of all they're limited by their medium: print.

I'm not saying it's bad to throw one in every once in a while to mix stuff up. In fact, I enjoy trying out new moves and tricks. But you simply can't structure a whole workout routine around one. Finally, on Monday, when everyone dragged in and sighed, "So... magazine workout today?" it was the last straw. We were done with the glossy pictures and that stupid model with her stupid blue shoes (hey, yellow and blue are complementary colors everyone!).

Gym Buddy Krista, being relatively new to the insanity, has been going back through my archives and mentioned that she was sad that she had missed The Monkey Bar Gym Experiment. I was pleased because that one happened to be one of my all-time faves! In fact, when people ask me which workout I would recommend first for them, I always say The Monkey Bar Gym. (Unless you are seriously hardcore and/or have a high threshold for discomfort - then I recommend CrossFit. You get faster & more extreme results but I've found that very few people have the stamina or will to stick with it for very long. Plus it does take a bit of specialized training and equipment.)

The Monkey Bar Gym
on the other hand is perfect for everyone from beginners to seasoned athletes. They offer 3 different levels for each exercise allowing you to get as much of a workout as you want. In addition each workout lasts only 20-30 minutes so it is great for the time crunched. It also uses very little equipment and can be done almost anywhere (hence the name). But my favorite part? It's new every single day. Like CrossFit, MBG posts a workout of the day on their website. They even have a video gallery to show you how to do each move.

How does Gym Buddy Krista like her own mini-Experiment? Well at the moment she's so sore she can't lift her arms above her head. But she's still smiling! I'd call that success.
Conclusions
The Shape Magazine workout was unbalanced, ineffective and boring. I most certainly did not lose 10 pounds (in fact, I gained a few). I don't suppose that anyone will be terribly surprised to discover that magazine workouts of this type are just a gimmick to sell copies but it still was kind of a let down. Like I said, magazine workouts have their place. There is nothing wrong with using one to mix stuff up or introduce new moves but it certainly doesn't replace a good total body workout. Not to mention you have to look at their obnoxiously thin, smiling models every day which I think depressed all of us.

And hey - Monkey Bar Gym is FUN! I was definitely glad to come back to it. Even if it did make us the punchline to every joke on the weight floor today! Don't forget: New Experiment coming at you on Monday. And trust me, I've never done anything like this one before!

*The Male Gym Buddies, after being called out on my blog yesterday, have drafted a statement. They say, "I can’t reply on your blog, it is considered a security breach. But I would like to respond to your recent query on your latest article about where are all the male Gym Buddies are. It was in regards to the comment about female hormones. We, the male Gym Buddies felt a great disturbance in the force, we gathered around the weight bench and pondered and discussed at great lengths about what we should do (all of 2 minutes). One of us pointed toward the exit and we all nodded in acknowledgment and made an orderly retreat to the parking lot. Lest we be put in a situation where our very response would be an entrapment to any query you female Gym buddies may put in our direction, we decided it would be best to come very early to the “Y” or not at all =P." I say, "Geez men, at least you could have thrown us some chocolate protein bars before beating such a hasty retreat!"

PS> Thanks to everyone for their kind compliments on my new profile picture! You all made my day:)

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